Game Info/How to Watch
When? Wednesday, November 29, 9:30 pm EST, ESPN
Where? Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN
Pomeroy? DUKE by 9, 21% chance of victory for IU
Are you guys ready for blood? Because there’s about to be lots and lots of blood.
After a slow start, Indiana had three games where they had to get things right and now have an absolute gauntlet over the next five games. It’ll be the toughest stretch of the season by far.
Indiana starts with Wednesday’s game against No. 1 ranked Duke, then opens Big Ten play with a road game at Michigan and a home game against Iowa before going back out into non-conference play against Louisville on the road and Notre Dame at the Crossroads Classic.
Simplified, that is games against KenPom’s 1st, 40th, 66th, 24th and 11th-ranked teams. And we start it all with a home game against Duke.
CUE THE MARCO KILLINGSWORTH FOOTAGE
Hey look, some facto....OH MY GOD
|INDIANA (#47 adj. offense)||54.4 (68th)||17.9 (105th)||65.2 (288th)||33.1 (224th)|
|IOWA (#132 adj. defense)||48.9 (122nd)||18.4 (223rd)||-||34.7 (173rd)|
|IOWA (#60 adj. offense)||55.1 (57th)||19.6 (188th)||66.4 (281st)||39.7 (46th)|
|INDIANA (#203 adj. defense)||54.4 (276th)||18.8 (188th)||-||40.7 (327th)|
Last time Duke came to Bloomington in that 2005 game, they were No. 1 ranked. However, they were facing a much better version of an Indiana team.
That 2005 Duke team resembled what most of Mike Krzyzewski’s teams have looked like: a lot of talent around the perimeter and one, maybe two, decent post players. That year it was J.J. Redick, Sean Dockery and Greg Paulus around Shelden Williams.
Last time Duke-IU met, the Blue Devils had so few big men that Brandon Ingram spent much of the year playing power forward while being surrounded by Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard.
All that is to preface the following point: this Duke team is unlike pretty much any team Coach K has had. And they’re a terrible match-up for the Hoosiers.
Duke is loaded with big men. Marvin Bagley has dominated the headlines and rightfully so, but Wendell Carter was a top prospect in his own right. You can also add a former McDonald’s All-American in sophomore Marques Bolden and classmate Javin DeLaurier and Duke has four players listed at least 6’10” or above.
This team is built from the inside out and are actually somewhat thin in the backcourt. Allen is still around while freshman Trevon Duval and Gary Trent have taken backseats out of the spotlight this season.
Duke simply overwhelms teams with size. They’re the No. 1 offense in Kenpom by over three points, but are 300th in the country in 3PA/FGA. They have an astounding offensive rebound percentage of 43.2% (that’s forty-three point two percent, American) that is tops in the nation. They only play at the 95th-fastest tempo in the country.
Compare all that to Indiana, who has a bad defense (193rd), struggles to keep teams off the glass on defense (213th) and allows teams still to score at a high rate (252nd).
And we’re 500 words into this piece and haven’t even mentioned Marvin Bagley, who is putting together a freshman season we haven’t seen since possibly Greg Oden. Bagley is coming off back-to-back 30-point, 15-rebound games, something the rest of college basketball has only done four times this year.
Bagley’s worst game this season was an 18-point, 15-rebound performance against Portland State. He’s had a double-double in all but two games, one in which he suffered an eye injury against Michigan State 10 minutes in and the other when he dropped 24 points and eight rebounds on Furman.
Suffice to say Indiana probably isn’t going to come up against a better big man this season and maybe no better player period.
If you somehow stop or slow down Bagley, there’s still everyone’s favorite politician’s son Grayson Allen to worry about. The one game Duke played essentially without Bagley, Allen rained in 37 points on Michigan State, including 7-for-11 three-point shooting.
Duval has settled into the role of facilitator, currently sitting inside the top 100 in the country in assist rate. Carter has the team’s best block percentage at 8.9 percent (65th nationally) and Trent is capable in his own right of making big plays on either end as Florida found out on Sunday.
Stuff to Watch for:
1. Who is going to step up down low - Indiana badly needs a healthy Collin Hartman Wednesday and even that isn’t going to be enough in itself. Unfortunately, you can probably pencil in De’Ron Davis for two fouls in the opening ten minutes as Bagley is great at drawing fouls, which means Juwan Morgan is going to have to step up. If it ends up being Freddie McSwain vs. Bagley, well.... Guards are going to have to be smart about double teams and trapping and it’ll have to be an advantageous IU defense that creates turnovers, something they haven’t done (117th in def. TO%) and something Duke doesn’t do (44th in off. TO%).
2. Winning the three-point battle - Duke hasn’t been a team that’s knocked down threes this season aside from Allen’s explosion against Michigan State. I already mentioned how rarely Duke shoots threes and they’re an average shooting team when they take them (34.1 percent). At home in front of what should be an electric crowd, if IU can connect from long distance and shut down Duke from deep, it could be one way the Hoosiers keep it close throughout.
3. Free throws and freebies - Fortunately for IU, some of the Hoosiers’ areas of struggle on defense likely can’t be exploited by Duke. On top of three-point defense by IU, Duke isn’t good at forcing turnovers (284th nationally) and isn’t a good free throw shooting team (67.3 percent). If IU is going to upset the Blue Devils, they can’t turn the ball over and will need to hit free throws. It’s your basic recipes for an upset, but it’s still of the utmost importance.
Having hashed all that out, I don’t see this going well for Indiana. Duke is a downright terrible match-up for the Hoosiers and there’s a good chance we see Freddie McSwain or Zach McRoberts matched up against Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter. Duke wins 83-65.