Good news: Indiana basketball’s back! Bad news: they’re in Hawaii again.
A fairly-new look Tom Crean team, without Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams who are off in the NBA being fairly compensated for their basketball worths, travels to the lovely STAN SHERIFF CENTER on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Armed Forces Classic double-header, which features Michigan State and Arizona playing the opener of the two games. The showcase was originally intended to be played at Pearl Harbor, but was moved away in an attempt to allow more fans to come to the game. This is cool and good thing for our nation on Veterans Day, and a nice way to open the college basketball season.
Now that we’ve said that, a quick message about this game.
Hi. This is a college basketball game in November. In early November. Six time zones away from here. Do not read too deeply into the results of this game, positive or negative. Don’t. Don’t do it. We’re not going through this again.
You should be excited as hell that college basketball is back, and that Indiana’s playing a showcase game on national TV to kick it off. But if the 2015-16 Indiana basketball season taught you anything, you should’ve learned not to overread too deeply into the results of a preseason showcase in the Hawaiian Isles.
Okay, let’s dive in.
What to know about Kansas
Hey, remember how Kansas was pretty dang good last year? Won the Big 12 for roughly the millionth straight year, went to the Elite Eight, pretty good right? Well, Bill Self lost Person Only Used For Old People Jokes Perry Ellis and not-very-good Chieck Diallo and Wayne Selden... and cashed them in for only the best high school player in the country in Josh Jackson. He’s good. Very good.
Pair that with Frank Mason and Carlton Bragg and others and yeaaaaaah Kansas is, right now, a better team than Indiana.
What KenPom says
KenPom likes Kansas by 5, 77-72. His preseason ratings expect these two teams to feature the 6th and 7th best offenses in the country -- and the 4th and 50th best defenses. Indiana’s defense is, um, not 4th.
You’d normally get the four factors projections here, but, first game, etc, etc.
Three things to watch for
- OG Anunoby vs. Josh Jackson. Early season or not, this matchup will be the ones all the NBA Draft scouts have their eye on — and it might go a long way in validating the hype around both players, depending on how it plays out. Enjoy this matchup. It’ll be fun.
- Indiana’s point guard is _______? We’d expect Josh Newkirk or Rob Johnson to be Indiana’s primary point guard, but who knows what Tom Crean will concoct. This is the man that put Troy Williams at the point for long stretches of ball game while Yogi Ferrell. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it did not. Rotations will play themselves out through the season and you shouldn’t freak out.
- Honestly, just kinda relax and enjoy this one. It’s November. Enjoy that basketball is back. Enjoy Indiana having a should-be-good team. Enjoy the national spotlight. A win would help Indiana’s RPI down the road, but they certainly won’t be dinged for this loss by the committee in March. It’s hard to even see them giving a win that much weight, considering how dated it would be by Selection Sunday.