It’s the eve of college basketball’s opening day and things are going great. Just great.
There have been 20 cancellations/postponements as of publication Tuesday afternoon, with more sure to come as Wednesday tipoff times approach. Might that include Indiana’s game against Tennessee Tech?
News of Tennessee Tech coach John Pelphrey’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Tuesday has thrown the status of the game into question. Per the Indianapolis Star, the Golden Eagles will undergo a series of tests throughout their stay in Bloomington this week — the team was scheduled to arrive in town on Tuesday afternoon — in order to ensure the safety of all involved. Should all the testing check out, the game will go on and TTU assistant Marcus King will call the shots from the visitor’s bench. Still, seems like a lot of wishing and hoping to get ... *checks notes* ... a team predicted to finish ninth in the Ohio Valley on the court for a glorified scrimmage. The goal over the next week should be to get to
Maui Asheville as healthy as possible.
Whether or not Wednesday’s game is played, it’s probably time to briefly shift gears from thinking about Indiana’s fun and important football program to reacquainting ourselves with a team that is — or at least has been — very much the opposite: Archie Miller’s IU Hoosiers.
I don’t know that there’s much to learn from a game against Tennessee Tech, a program rated No. 314 in KenPom. But we’ll watch it, force ourselves to enjoy it, and convince ourselves that, yes, this will be the year that Archieball doesn’t frustrate and bore us damn near to tears.
Anyway, here we go. (We think.)
Tennessee Tech is coming off a 9-22 season that saw it endure a stretch of 13 losses in 15 games during the middle of the winter. Leading scorer Jr. Clay, a junior guard, is back after averaging 13.4 points per game and receiving his second straight selection to the All-OVC Second Team. Though he’s not a particularly efficient player, Clay has led the Golden Eagles in scoring and steals in each of his first two seasons.
Keishawn Davidson, TTU’s second-leading scorer from last season, is also back. A year ago, Clay and Davidson became the first pair of Tech teammates to each total at least 100 assists in the same season since 2001-02. Amadou Sylla, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, is the Golden Eagles’ most efficient returning player. Sylla did good work on the glass as a second-year player, while shooting nearly 70 percent on close 2-pointers, per Bart Torvik.
Things To Watch
Play ‘em all: With such a short runway to bigger games, Wednesday presents IU with its lone tune-up opportunity before high-majors come calling. So we should get a good look at multiple lineups — and several newcomers. I’m not sure how much run freshmen such as Anthony Leal, Jordan Geronimo and Trey Galloway will earn this year, but Wednesday should provide a glimpse as to where they are and what they might offer.
Get Hunter going: It sounds like redshirt sophomore Jerome Hunter is as healthy and ready-to-go as he has been since arriving on campus in 2018. So the goal now is to get Hunter some early confidence, because his contributions will be needed. That will be particularly true on the perimeter, where Hunter can be a bigger factor as IU attempts to solve its longstanding shooting struggles. Hunter hit a few big (and deep) shots toward the end of last season, and it sounds like he’ll have a green light from Game 1.
Lander’s debut: We should probably temper expectations for five-star guard Khristian Lander, at least initially. Lander, who reclassified to join IU’s roster a season ahead of schedule, will play and contribute, but how much of an impact will he really have? The answer won’t be known for some time, but these first few weeks will at least give us a feel for where he is in the early stages of his development.
Game Info / How to Watch
Who? Indiana vs. Tennessee Tech
Where? Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
When? Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET
Channel? BTN | Brandon Gaudin (p-b-p), Robbie Hummel (analyst)
Radio? IU Radio Network; Sirius 106, XM 196, Internet 958: Don Fischer, Errek Suhr & Joe Smith
Vegas? Indiana -21