Indiana men’s basketball is set to host UIndy in the program’s first exhibition matchup of the season on Sunday afternoon.
It’s difficult to take away too much from exhibition matchups like this, but there are conclusions to be drawn and interesting things to watch for. Lineups, standouts and more. Guys are looking to earn minutes.
That being said, here’s three things to keep in mind:
*Notably, Kaleb Banks will likely be out with a groin injury out of an abundance of caution, per Mike Woodson. The rest of the roster is healthy.
The starting lineup
Starters will only tell you so much because the first five guys that see the floor aren’t necessarily the five who end up playing the most minutes. But with so many variables, especially in the frontcourt, it’ll be interesting to see what Woodson prefers at tipoff.
Johnson and Galloway feel locked into the backcourt while the frontcourt rotation will likely depend on matchups, who has the hot hand and other factors.
Indiana is going to need more from guys like C.J. Gunn and Kaleb Banks this season to get where they wanna be. Banks, as previously mentioned, likely won’t be available so I’d expect Gunn to get a fair amount of minutes as Woodson and co test him.
Gunn’s strength is shooting from distance, particularly off the catch, but he brings plenty of energy and length of defense that should prove valuable in the Hoosiers’ second unit.
Reneau is set to take a step up from playing behind Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson last year. Cut down on fouls, score down low and show off some of that high-level passing we’ve been hearing about and it’ll be hard not to start him.
Finally, Ware. He was knocked at Oregon as being lazy, a narrative he’s put trust in Mike Woodson to help end as he looks to prove the doubters wrong.
Look for him to help on offense as a lob threat and off the pick and pop while being a rim protector with his considerable height and length on defense.
Mgbako will start one way or another thanks to his scoring ability off the drive and from the arc. Cupps is a more interesting case.
He’ll likely run the second unit in relief of Johnson and/or Galloway. Woodson had much praise on his freshman point guard during a media availability on Friday.
“He’s been really one of the bright spots, too,” Woodson said. “He seems to do everything that we’ve asked him to do. I can’t help but think in time he’s going to continue to get better and grow once he figures out the college game. But he’s done a lot of good things on the floor for us in terms of winning, winning basketball plays. That’s what I like to call it because he does a lot of good things to help you win games.”
Woodson is notoriously tough on his point guards, but puts trust in them should they earn it. Based on what he’s said, it sounds like Cupps has been earning that trust for a while now.
He’s smart with the ball and a capable shooter from the arc. It’ll be interesting to see if and how he’s utilized off the ball alongside Johnson or Galloway this year.