Indiana returns to the court on Saturday afternoon to play another in a long line of Universities you probably didn't know had a basketball team, this time against the Portland State Vikings.
About Indiana (1-0)
Not much long term can be taken from Indiana's win against the Western Illinois Leathernecks, but there were several bright spots. Al Durham was a perfect 7-7 from the field, including 3-3 from behind the arc, Justin Smith had a career high 24 points on 11-17 shooting, and although he didn't score the ball particularly well, Armaan Franklin dished out 8 assists to zero turnovers. Regardless of the competition, those are solid numbers. The entire team played well, shooting nearly 60 percent from the filed and 45 percent from deep, holding the Leathernecks, owners of the best mascot name in college sports, to a pretty ugly 34 percent. As is usually the case, IU was expected to win big and did. (I say usually because I'm sure we all remember the Indiana State and Purdue Fort Wayne disasters a couple seasons ago, as much as we try to forget.) The Hoosiers were a 21.5 point favorite in the season opener and responded with a 33 point win.
About Portland State (1-0)
The Vikings are a pretty experienced team, starting 3 seniors, a junior, and a sophomore. Lots of returning experience is nice in theory, but this is a team that won just 16 games last season in the less than prestigious Big Sky Confenece. They are led by former Conference Freshman of the Year and 2nd Team All-Conference Holland "Boo Boo" Woods. Woods averaged 15 points and 5 assists last year for the Vikings and shot the ball as well from deep as IU did last year. If you're new to IUBB, that's bad, as Boo Boo converted on less than 30 percent of his 3's. In the season operner for Portland State, he scored 12 points on 4-13 shooting, including 0-2 behind the arc, 5 steals, 5 assists, and 5 turnovers. Leading the way with 13 points on 6-16 shooting, 0-5 from deep, was senior Matt Houser, a transfer guard from the Santa Clara College Broncos, a university I didn't know existed. In total, 5 players scored in double figures in a 94-69 win against Puget Sound, a Division 3 school, another team I didn't know existed until a few hours ago, and owners of the second best mascot name in college sports, the Loggers.
This one's pretty simple: Indiana should win. By a lot. IU is favored by 20 points, a total this team should expect to cover. Coach Miller emptied the bench in Game 1, with 15 players seeing action en route to a 98-65 win. More of the same should be be on tap this afternoon in Assembly Hall.
A note from the author:
If you like what you see, please let me know in the comments and I'll continue to do write-ups. As the season progresses (and if I continue to do them) these write-ups will be more in depth as we learn more about each team.