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INDIANA vs. CENTRAL ARKANSAS: Game preview, odds, how-to-watch, and more

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Indiana might actually be really good, guys

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Butler at Indiana Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? Indiana Hoosiers (9-2, #24 KenPom) vs. Central Arkansas Bears (4-6, #267 KenPom)

When? Wednesday, 12/19/18 7:00 P.M., Assembly Hall

Channel? BTN

Vegas? N/A

KenPom Projection? Indiana by 22, 85-63


While it wasn’t the toughest stretch of the season, Indiana just completed the defining stretch of its season. Coming into the Northwestern game, the Hoosiers could have legitimately gone either way. Four wins later, Indiana looks like one of the best teams in the Big Ten and a legitimate top-25 team in the nation.

Indiana will have four-game stretches tougher than the one they just played. But we likely won’t learn as much about the team in any four-game stretch before the postseason with the lone exception being at Michigan, at Maryland, vs. Nebraska and at Purdue in early January.

To the numbers

Four Factors

- eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
- eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
INDIANA (#36 adj. offense) 57.2 (9th) 20.9 (270th) 27.4 (211th) 37.1 (110th)
CENT. ARKANSAS (#268 adj. defense) 54.3 (282nd) 19.3 (164th) 31.6 (277th) 38.9 (272nd)
- - - - -
CENT. ARKANSAS (#265 adj. defense) 47.5 (267th) 20.3 (247th) 23.5 (305th) 21.7 (350th)
INDIANA (#21 adj. defense) 46.6 (62nd) 20.0 (89th) 26.9 (105th) 26.0 (30th)

Indiana remains a crazy-efficient offense buoyed by the ninth-best effective field goal percentage in the nation. Fortunately, that figure doesn’t include field goal shooting, which Indiana ranks 301st in the nation in percentage. Also, the defense isn’t half bad either!

Their free throw defense, though, remains elite.

The Opponent

Not going to spend a particularly long time discussing Central Arkansas because they’re dreadful. Their only two Division I wins are an in-season home-and-home against Little Rock, which by the way, is very dope. The two teams played on Nov. 28 at Central Arkansas, then met again 10 days later at Little Rock for the second game. Someone fax Kentucky a contract to do that, pronto. Maybe then John Calipari will acquiesce.

That is truly the only interesting fact about Central Arkansas. Their KenPom page looks like my graded Scantron from finite class freshman year.

Things to Watch

  • Playing down to opponents - The last time we watched Indiana against sub-200 KenPom teams, they looked woeful, albeit while being badly undermanned. Indiana has a better sense of its identity now and I suspect will roll these next two teams.
  • Establishing the rotation - With two games left to experiment and get things in place, Indiana should walk out of this pair of games knowing exactly what the rotation should be, especially because things get real wild, real quick in Big Ten play after a home game against Illinois.
  • Establishing rhythms - Likewise, the Hoosiers should look to get the likes of Zach McRoberts, Devonte Green and DeRon Davis further established over the next two games. The trio can provide valuable and critical depth for the Big Ten season but none have been in rhythm in recent contests.

Prediction

Indiana wins. By a lot. It’d be cool to see dunks and three-pointers. 96-69.