Game Info / How to Watch
When? Sunday, 11/18/18 3:30 PM, Fayetteville, ARK
KenPom Projection? Indiana by 3, 76-73
A non-conference road game? And it’s not part of the Gavitt Games or the Big Te/ACC challenge? How rare is that!? Well let’s take a trip down memory lane.
- Indiana’s last regular season (we’re not bringing up the Georgia Tech NIT experience again) road game non-conference against a Power 5 team that wasn’t part of the aforementioned Gavitt Games or Big Ten/ACC Challenge was, obviously, last year against Louisville. Prior to that, it was Kentucky in 2011.
- The last non-Kentucky game to fit the qualifers listed above? UConn in 2007.
- Indiana’s last road win in a non-conference game against a KenPom top 60 team that wasn’t part of the aforementioned Gavitt Games or Big Ten/ACC Challenge was in that game against UConn. Prior to that, it was 2003 against Notre Dame.
- The last road game against an SEC team that wasn’t Kentucky also came in 2003 against Vanderbilt.
Allow me to step onto a soapbox for a moment and say that neutral site games are trash. I understand the financial aspect of it but these colleges are already making enough money exploiting the student-athletes. Go on the road, learn something about your team. Get better. It’ll pay off in March
[steps off soapbox]
To the numbers!
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|-||eFG%||TO%||Off. Reb %||FT Rate|
|INDIANA (#20 adj. offense)||64.6 (3rd)||17.6 (123rd)||31.2 (136th)||41.4 (80th)|
|ARKANSAS (#44 adj. defense)||38.6 (13th)||24.1 (42nd)||30.3 (206th)||39.0 (230th)|
|ARKANSAS (#72 adj. offense)||50.9 (151st)||20.9 (244th)||20.8 (319th)||59.1 (10th)|
|INDIANA (#22 adj. defense)||37.1 (5th)||26.0 (21st)||25.2 (92nd)||32.8 (153rd)|
It’s obviously a small sample size, but being third in the country in offense effective field goal percentage and fifth in defense is very cool! And really, the only thing holding Indiana’s overall defensive value back is too many fouls. Aside from that, Indiana is above average or better in every facet defensively.
And the most impressive part of the Marquette performance is Indiana did it while shorthanded and experiencing moderate foul trouble. This team is crazy deep and that might be its best strength.
Arkansas is led by big man Daniel Gafford. Projected as a first-round pick, Gafford is 6’11”, 233 pounds and can do windmill dunks. He averaged 11.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game last year and has seen both those numbers jump this season in increased minutes.
He dropped 21 and 10 in a win over the SEC champions Auburn last season. He had two other double-doubles last year.
Aside from Gafford, Arkansas has a host of new pieces after losing many of the key contributors from last year’s team that lost to Butler in the NCAA Tournament. Junior college transfer Mason Jones scored 21 points in the win over UC-Davis while hitting 4-of-7 threes.
Arkansas is crazy young. They don’t have a senior on the roster but do have seven freshman and four sophomores. Adrio Bailey and Jalen Harris are the only other regular contributors back from last year’s team and both played marginal roles.
Things to Watch
- Freshmen on the road - The good news for Indiana is that this freshman class looks legit. Romeo Langford was always expected to be good but Rob Phinisee has locked down his starting spot and Damezi Anderson will be one of the first guys off the bench all season. However, this is a road game against a Power 5 school. You wouldn’t fault them if they had a lackluster performance
- Gafford vs. Indiana’s front line - When healthy, Indiana has a host of forwards they could throw at Gafford. They aren’t healthy so they don’t. Still, Justin Smith, De’Ron Davis, Juwan Morgan and possibly Jake Forrester will have their chance on Gafford. Gafford draws fouls at a crazy rate (9.0 per 40 minutes) and Indiana is fouling at a high rate. That doesn’t mesh!
- Resume builder - In years past, Indiana’s non-conference schedule was generally buoyed by an ACC opponent or Kentucky in past years. Wins over Marquette and Arkansas in the same week would be big come March.
I feel very good about this Indiana team. Their depth is a huge plus and we haven’t even seen the best of Juwan Morgan this year. Indiana 80, Arkansas 69.