Game Info / How to Watch:
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (#65 KenPom) vs. Indiana State Sycamores (#203 KenPom)
When? Friday, November 10th, 7:00 PM, BTN+
Where? Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
Pomeroy? Indiana by 14, 90% chance of Indiana victory
WELCOME TO COLLEGE BASKETBALL FRIDAY.
One of the more reasonable complaints from Tom Crean’s up-and-down tenure as head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers was the lackluster non-conference schedule, considered by many to have too many cream puffs and not enough local flavor.
In Archie Miller’s first game at the helm, he’s killing two birds with one stone.
The Sycamores offer the Hoosiers their strongest home opener opponent in six years (by preseason KenPom rank) and are a mere 75 minutes up SR 46 from Bloomington. It won’t be the stiffest competition the Hoosiers will face this year, but it’s the exact caliber opponent you want to see in preparation for Big Ten play. Much like with IPFW, this roster is lousy with kids who grew up in Indiana who would probably be just a little stoked to walk into Bloomington and knock off the Hoosier.
This isn’t just some paycheck game. The Sycamores are a decent basketball program and they’ll want this one- badly.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
Well sorry you’ll have to wait until next week.
OK WELL WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME?
I can tell you that the Sycamores were a dreadful offensive unit last year, ranking 266th in offensive efficiency. They did a decent job of protecting the ball (17.8% TO) but my word these shooting percentages aren’t for the faint of heart. They hit 45.8% from inside the arc and 33.9% from outside it, leading to a 47.8% team eFG, good for 284th in the country. Worse yet, they were horrible when it came to corralling their own misses (22.4% OR, 330th) and struggled to get to the line consistently (289th FTR). Granted, they only shot 68.1% from the charity stripe when they did get there.
Despite the shooting struggles, Indiana State has not shied away from the three pointer under head coach Greg Lansing, nearly 40% of their shot attempts last year came from behind the arc, good for 95th in the nation. Indiana struggled at times to run guys off the arc in both exhibitions and the Sycamores won’t be afraid to let it fly from deep if given the space.
They were much tighter defensively, ranking 118th nationally fueled by a spectacular DeFG% (58th) including holding opponents to just 44.2% from 2PT range (20th) and while their 3PT defense doesn’t seem great on the surface (37.7%, 295th) they were tremendous at preventing 3PT attempts, limiting opponents to taking just 30.8% of their total FG attempts from behind the arc, good for 26th nationally. It’s extremely impressive for a team to be that good at limiting looks from the 3PT line while also playing top-20 defense on 2PT shots.
Indiana State kept things interesting for a half in an exhibition game against Purdue before losing 94-72 and defeated Marian 84-64 in their other game, this one at home. If you’re into common opponent forecasting (I’m not), Indiana defeated Marian by 31 points, meaning you could argue (but please don’t) that Indiana will beat the Sycamores by 11.
STUFF TO WATCH FOR:
- The Other Scott Twin Cometh: Y’all remember Bryson Scott, the former Purdue-turned-IPFW guard that, despite an otherwise pedestrian college career, absolutely lit up Indiana pretty much every chance he got? Well he has a twin brother named Brenton and he’s coming for the Hoosiers. Brenton was the centerpiece of ISU’s offense last season, gobbling up 28.0% of the possessions and 31.2% of the shots when he was on the floor (and he was second in minutes played), but he only managed an offensive rating of 94.5. He wasn’t good at shooting the ball (45.1 eFG%) nor a particularly adept facilitator (17.6 assist rate) but it’s in his blood to ball out on the Hoosiers and I’m putting him on triple-double watch.
- Talented freshman: Tyreke Key didn’t get a lot of offers coming out of high school in Tennessee, but has looked good in both exhibitions games. He put up 14 points on 6 of 9 (nice) shooting against Marian and chipped in 8 points and 7 boards in West Lafayette.
- Who starts? Despite Archie’s comments about the starting lineup, I’m not expecting any changes from the two exhibition games just yet. I think Archie is comfortable with RoJo-Newkirk-Green-Morgan-Davis and will stick with them for the time being. As he works his way back from his latest injury, I could see Collin Hartman eventually being inserted as a starter but he’s arguably best-suited as a super sub in the mold of Will Sheehey back in the 2012-13 season. He can (and has) played in about every role there is to play on the floor, allotting lots of flexibility to the coaching staff based on how the game is unfolding.
- Assembly Hall atmosphere: For the past few years, the Hall has been pretty sleepy to start the year. While that can be expected given the opponents that Indiana typically brought in, it will be interesting to see if the regime change, coupled with a decent in-state opponent will breathe some life into the arena on Friday night. It would be great to make the Sycamores have to contend with the kind of raucous atmosphere that Indiana has been known to give marquee opponents.