From our Game Preview, new CQ contributor Hank Greene lists three critical things to keep an eye on this afternoon:
1. Who on earth guards Deng Adel? As an annual NBA League Pass subscriber, I can’t tell you how excited I am for Deng Adel to get drafted by like the Clippers, Nets, or (please, oh, please) the Pelicans—a lone beacon of two-way hope for a franchise destined for a 10th place finish... coming off the bench for a glorious 12/9/5 every night. As an Indiana fan, though, I’m duct-taping two Mikey’s 40s to my palms and hoping that the match-up answer for Adel is somewhere at the bottom of my solo game of Edward 40-hands. Adel is 6-7 with a wingspan that goes forever, has excellent handles, is firing a true shooting percentage of nearly 60%, and, while he doesn’t shoot great from behind the arc, he hits long range shots at a decent enough clip to make you respect him from out there. Indiana doesn’t have anyone that can match-up physically with what Adel will present them with, and even if they’re able to stop him he’s got an assist rate of 17.2%. And with Mahmoud and Spalding playing well, along with the Cardinals other 6-7 forward, Nwora, having an absolutely sensational freshman season (23.2 PER, 68% true shooting, 50% 3pt)… the Hoosiers defense will have to move (and move quickly) to keep Adel from breaking them down and getting into the lane.
2. Can Indiana control the pace? Plain and simple: Indiana’s best chance for success in Louisville tomorrow is to slow down Cardinals’ tempo, and play the game at a speed the Hoosiers are comfortable with. Miller’s offense has operated best this season when the team is making smart, easy passes—using the entire shot clock to get open looks for spot up shooters, or working the ball down low to Juwan Morgan or De’Ron Davis for points in the post. Either way, Archie Miller’s team can afford to lose some battles on the defensive end so long as they are patient on offense... and don’t panic if Louisville gets on a bit of a run. The Boilermakers found success against the Cardinals by limiting their mistakes (see below), taking their time, and never letting the game turn into a foot race. It would behoove the Hoosiers to do the same.
3. Will Indiana be able to take care of the ball on the road? This is really what everything feels like it will come down to tomorrow. No, Louisville isn’t forcing turnovers at an absurd clip (20.2% turnover rate defensively), and yes, Indiana’s gotten their turnover rate down to a surprisingly efficient 17.2%. But much of their progression in this department has come in the friendly confines of Assembly Hall—in their two road match-ups this season, the Hoosiers have a combined 29 turnovers for a 36.25% turnover rate that is… worrisome. If they revert back to their old ways on the road, Louisville will have a field day and won’t give the Hoosiers any shot to stay in this one. Still, tomorrow is another chance for Indiana to show growth in this department, in a game in which that very growth may prove to be the difference.
Ben Did the Damn Thing
As most of you know, CQ Assistant Editor Ben Raphel was on Jeopardy! last night. Not only did Ben represent Hoosier Nation well, he won the damn game! Ben took an early $1,200 lead when he answered the first question correctly, selected the daily double, wagered $1,000, and nailed it. He trailed slightly heading into the double jeopardy round, but he got rolling on a weird category about actors sharing stage names and used a second daily double (I'm pretty sure he guessed when he proffered "Vietnam" as the answer) to build a lead heading into final jeopardy.
With the category being "Primetime TV Actresses," Ben wagered just enough to win by $1 if his closest contender wagered everything. Then he wrote down "Mariska Hargitay," and walked away with $25,201!
Look how pissed the runner-up was that Ben has watched (or at least heard of) Law & Order: SVU: