When? Tonight, 9:00 PM, BTN
Vegas? MARYLAND -4.5
Pomeroy? MARYLAND by 6, 29% chance of Indiana victory
Sequels are rarely better than the original.
Indiana hosted one hell of a welcoming party for Maryland's first visit to Assembly Hall as a member of the Big Ten, hitting 15 of 22 3PT shots and ballooning a narrow halftime lead to 19 points when the final buzzer sounded. Yogi Ferrell hit seven of those three-point shots on eight attempts, and dropped five dimes without a turnover to go with it. It gave the Hoosiers a 5-1 conference mark and was, no doubt, the high-water mark of the young conference season.
Since that game, neither team has had a very memorable stretch, in the four games since, Maryland is 2-2 with the victories being a pair of home wins over Northwestern and Penn State by a combined seven points, and the two losses being on the road to Ohio State and Iowa by a combined 40 points. Similarly, Indiana is 2-3, with single-digit home wins over Rutgers and Michigan, and three double-digit road losses to Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Both, however, join Ohio State and Purdue in the four-way tie for second place with conference records of 7-4 despite their recent swoons.
Melo Trimble remains Maryland's biggest offensive threat, and he had a rough go of it during round one in Bloomington, a similar defensive effort from Yogi Ferrell will likely be key if the Hoosiers want to sweep Maryland in their first B1G season. He remains a player that can kill you in a lot of different ways, either from behind the arc or on the drive (and the free throw line), while also being a skilled passer.
Tom Crean heaped tons of praise on Dez Wells during his radio show, but he's having somewhat of a down year compared to his career numbers. He's done well from distance at 51.5%, possibly because he does a great job at picking his spots, with only 33 such attempts all year, which is one day at the office for Nick Zeisloft. He leads the team in assist rate and turnover rate, which makes it close to a 50/50 proposition that he makes the great pass or fumbles the ball away. He's taking more shots and using more possessions than anyone on the team, so there's no question that whoever is tasked with defending him will have to be ready to do it on every possession.
Jake Layman and Jared Nickens are relied on as scorers, both perimeter threats and while Nickens is essentially their Nick Zeisloft (104 3PTA, 31 2PTA), Layman can score from just about anywhere on the court and at 6-9, has the built-in advantage of standing taller than any Hoosier who will be guarding him.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (Offense)||55.7% (14th)||17.3% (51st)||35.5% (46th)||35.7% (222nd)|
|MARYLAND (Defense)||46.2% (80th)||18.1% (254th)||28.8% (70th)||27.2% (18th)|
|INDIANA (Defense)||50.3% (233rd)||15.9% (334th)||31.7% (202nd)||29.3% (29th)|
|MARYLAND (Offense)||50.6% (98th)||18.5% (115th)||29.6% (226th)||46.1% (19th)
It's unlikely Indiana will be able to match their hot-shooting from the first meeting, but it's not wise to assume that because they won't hit 22 three-point attempts at a 70% clip that they'll be unable to pull out a victory. That said, Maryland has been one of the worst teams at locking down the perimeter in conference play (34.7%, 10th), so there will be open looks to be had and Indiana cannot afford to be cold on the road, or this game will resemble their trip to East Lansing rather quickly. A season-average shooting performance should be able to keep them in the game, because it's not like their otherworldly shooting performance in the first game allowed them to scratch out a win by one or two points, they hit 30% over their season average and won by 19 points.
It won't hurt Indiana that Maryland plays at a similar tempo, in fact, in conference play Maryland is actually playing faster than the Hoosiers through 11 conference games. The Terrapins' pace will be a welcome sight to a Hoosiers team that just slugged through three low-possession games against Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Michigan. With Indiana more than willing to play up-tempo, efficient offense and their borderline hilarious inability to force missed shots, the final score has a very good chance to look like something out of an NBA game than a B1G product. The increased tempo means IU won't have to defend for as long on a given possession, but there will also be more total possessions in which they must play defense. At times against Michigan, it seemed like Indiana would play 28-30 seconds of great defense before collapsing and giving up a great look; Maryland won't take as long to execute their set, but can the Hoosiers stay tight enough over the course of 40 minutes for it to matter?
Stuff to Watch For:
- How does Hanner Mosquera-Perea alter this matchup? Maybe he only makes another 4-minute cameo like he did against Michigan, or maybe he starts the game; I doubt Tom Crean even knows yet. But it'll be interesting to see what HMP's presence does on both ends of the court. The "five-out" offense eviscerated Maryland in the first meeting, and I'm sure they've worked hard on those concepts in practice, but inserting HMP gives Indiana a more traditional look, which Maryland would then have to re-adjust back to. Ultimately, I would guess that Perea plays a little more than he did against Michigan, but still on a strict minutes count.
- How much tighter will the rotation be? Tom Crean, like a lot of other coaches, seems to be tightening up his rotation as the season heads towards its conclusion. He played only eight guys against Wisconsin and only 7 guys had more than 4 minutes against Michigan, with starters all going 30+. Assuming Perea is back to full health by the Big Ten Tournament, I think Indiana is best off with Yogi / Blackmon / RoJo / Troy / Hartman / Zeisloft / Perea getting the majority of the minutes and Holt / Robinson / Hoetzel picking up the rest depending on the given matchup. This will squeeze out two regulars depending on the game, but much like in postseason pitching rotations in baseball, you want your best guys going as much as possible when it matters the most. It's not that they're bad play, I just don't want any of the guys in front of them to be sitting so ten guys play.
- Collin Hartman's offensive rating is 7th in the country. This isn't anything tremendously important to look for, but I had to mention it somewhere because GOOD GOD HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Here's a kid that took 11 shots as a freshman, tore his ACL at the LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT in a postseason-less basketball season and came back for the first game of his sophomore campaign and is absolutely killing it out there. Incredibly happy for the kid, it's a great story for him and a big reason why the Hoosiers have had so much success this year.