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Indiana at Syracuse: Game Preview

Mike Woodson’s squad hits the road for the first time

NCAA Basketball: Marshall at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Date, tipoff time, TV Channel

Indiana tips off at 7 p.m. ET tonight in the Carrier Dome. The game will air on ESPN2.

The Spread

Indiana is favored by 2.5 points with the over/under set at 147.5 according to Caesar’s Sportsbook. Kenpom favors Indiana by one point and gives them a 54% chance of winning. Bart Torvik likes the Hoosiers even more, favoring Indiana by 3 points with a 62% chance of victory.

Game Preview

Indiana enters the game 6-0 after coming back from a slow start against Dan D’Antoni’s Marshall on Saturday. The Hoosiers leaned on Trayce Jackson-Davis’ 43 points to overcome a lackluster defensive effort against the Thundering Herd. Syracuse will be a step up in competition level, coming in 53 spots higher in Kenpom’s rankings than Marshall.

Jim Boeheim’s team has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start this season, coming into tonight’s game at 3-3 with losses to Colgate, VCU and Auburn. In the loss to Colgate, the Orange allowed 100 points on 41.9% 3-point shooting, epitomizing the Orange’s defensive struggles this season. Syracuse’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating is 156th in the country, according to Kenpom.

On offense, all five of Syracuse’s starters average in the double digit points per game. Buddy Boeheim leads the Orange with 20 points per game while his brother Jimmy, a Cornell transfer, is not too far behind with 12.3. Cole Swider, another transfer who Indiana fans may be familiar with is averaging 12.5 in his first year at Syracuse.

As a team, Syracuse is shooting 38.1% behind the arc, so tonight should be a good test of how much of the Archie Miller defense Mike Woodson has been able to exorcise to this point. Also of note is the fact that Boeheim hasn’t been getting much help off the bench this year. Paddy Casey, the lead scorer outside of the starting five, averages just three points per game in two minutes of action per contest.

Indiana will need more balanced scoring tonight, assuming Boeheim will be more proactive with the double-team than Dan D’Antoni was Saturday night. Syracuse’s zone defense should give guys like Parker Stewart and Miller Kopp a chance to find their stroke, but the lack of athleticism on Boeheim’s team this year could open up some driving lanes for Khristian Lander and Xavier Johnson.

Another thing to potentially keep an eye on is the fact that Kofi Cockburn had another big game last night, with 28 points and 8 rebounds. Cockburn and Jackson-Davis have been jockeying for the title of best player in the Big Ten, and Jackson-Davis’ 43 point game Saturday came the day after Cockburn had 38 points of his own on Friday night. Tonight gives Jackson-Davis another opportunity to outdo the Illinois big, who edged out Trayce for Big Ten Preseason player of the year this season.