GAME INFO / HOW TO WATCH:
When? Thursday, March 17, 7:10 PM, CBS
Where? Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Vegas? Indiana -11
Pomeroy? INDIANA by 9, 82% chance of victory
After the dust cleared on a Selection Show that was an unmitigated disaster, the Big Ten appeared to have been sucker-punched by the committee, with just about every single team coming in a full seed line lower than their projections. That said, it wasn't all doom and gloom for the Hoosiers, while they did get dropped to the 5-line, they were rewarded with the worst 12-seed in the bracket (by KenPom rankings) and it wasn't close. Look at these other 12 seeds:
- Yale (38th)
- Arkansas Little Rock (47th)
- South Dakota State (80th)
- Chattanooga (107th)
Chattanooga is the 12th worst team in the field (again, according to KenPom) and Indiana could have easily seen a top-50 squad on a neutral court in round one. There are seven teams in the field that are higher than the Mocs on KenPom but seeded worse in the bracket. So we can be mad at the committee for the seed, but as far as opponent and location, hard to be too upset. And a tantalizing matchup with rival Kentucky awaits if both teams can win their first games.
But that doesn't mean the Mocs are going to roll over to give the Hoosiers a shot at UK, they're a conference champion with two All-Conference caliber players and get to play with the swashbuckling, nothin'-to-lose mentality awarded to every double-digit seed in the Big Dance.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (#7 Adj. Offense)||58.6% (2nd)||19.8% (283th)||37.7% (14th)||33.3% (264th)|
|CHATTANOOGA (#77 Adj. Defense)||49.8% (170th)||20.3% (54th)||28.9% (133rd)||30.8% (57th)|
|INDIANA (#66 Adj. Defense)||49.5% (156th)||18.9% (120th)||28.7% (124th)||29.3% (37th)|
|CHATTANOOGA (#149 Adj. Offense)||51.8% (91st)||17.9% (167th)||32.2% (84th)||42.0% (52nd)
Sure, the statistical profile doesn't overwhelm. The Mocs have a defense that has rated similarly to Indiana's but pair it with an offense that is far worse than the Hoosiers, hovering right around average. They put up good block and steal numbers on defense, but obviously those numbers are going to be inflated by playing in a conference that only had two teams in the top-200 in average height and was collectively 9th in turnovers during conference play.
The Mocs did manage to collect three pretty good wins in their non-conference slate, dispatching of Georgia in overtime and beating Dayton, both on the road. They're also undefeated in Big Ten play this season, beating Illinois in Springfield. They've been without talented senior guard Casey Jones since the beginning of December, who put up 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in the win over Georgia.
Tre' McLean leads the team in minutes and rewards them with a lot of offensive production. He shoots 53.1% from 2, 36.9% from 3, and 78.3% from the line (but he only draws 3.8 fouls per 40 minutes.) He's a strong rebounder but also prone to turnovers and a low assist rate. McLean was named first-team all Southern Conference along with his teammate Justin Tuoyo (who was also the conference's defensive player of the year.) The 6-10 Tuoyo is top-100 in the nation in free throw rate (hitting 68.8% from the charity stripe) and is 20th in the country in block%. To put that number in perspective, AJ Hammons is 23rd. Granted, the two play against vastly different levels of competition, but you don't get to 20th in the country without having a lot of get instincts, especially in help-defense. But he's far from defense-only, his offensive rating is second on the team.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH FOR
- Indiana's TO% (283rd) vs. Nooga's dTO% (54th): This is the matchup that jumps out as the most glaring when comparing the two teams. The Mocs have excelled at turning their opponents over this season and Indiana has, as you may have heard, has struggled to hold onto the ball for much of the year. Granted, turnovers have not been all that indicative of the Hoosiers' success or failure this year (8-4 when they turn it over on 20% or more of their possessions) but it bears watching if the Mocs' ability to turn guys over carries over from the Southern Conference. For example, Illinois (who is top-15 in terms of TO%) turned it over on 21.3% of their possessions in their loss to the Mocs.
- Indiana's 2PT% (7th) vs. Nooga's d2PT% (227th): The Hoosiers' ability to hit 2PT shots remains the biggest indicator of success or failure for the team this season (2-4 when they hit less than 50% of them) and the Mocs' 2PT defense is the most dreadful component of their statistical profile. Outside of the 6-10 Tuoyo, they don't have great size and Indiana's hyper-athletics wings and guards should be able to penetrate and get good looks, particularly if Coach Crean pulls Thomas Bryant / Max Bielfeldt way from the rim and make Tuoyo guard the perimeter instead of hunting blocks in the paint.
- Eric Robertson (Career 40.5% 3PT) vs. Nick Zeisloft (Career 41.0% 3PT): Robertson and Zeisloft are essentially the same player, both are 6-4 senior guards who come onto the floor looking to do one thing: break the back of your defense by drilling shot after shot from beyond the arc. Robertson, unlike Zeisloft, is third on his team in minutes so he does dabble in a couple of other things for the Mocs but has let 191 threes fly in 32 games.
- Indiana's FT Rate (264th) vs. Nooga's dFT Rate (57th): Despite their hyper athletic wings and guards, Indiana never managed to consistently get to the charity stripe this year. The Mocs are also very good at keeping their opponent's off the line. If the Hoosiers can't use their superior athleticism and size to earn trips to the line in spite of this, it could shape up to be a much closer game than any of us would be comfortable watching.