What to Expect: Mount St. Mary’s

121812auFollowing Saturday’s 88-86 overtime loss to Butler in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the No. 6 Hoosiers will get a chance to get back in the win column on Wednesday night as Mount St. Mary’s visits Assembly Hall. The Mountaineers (4-4) are coming off a 79-57 loss at Loyola (MD).

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

Comparisons in style of play between Virginia Commonwealth and Mount St. Mary’s have been tossed around this week by Tom Crean on his weekly radio show and Kenny Johnson, who previewed the Mountaineers earlier today with the media.

Those comparisons likely stem from the fact that Mount St. Mary’s is led by Jamion Christian, who spent last year as an assistant under Shaka Smart and landed the head job at his alma mater at age 29 last spring.

Christian inherited an 8-21 team that is experiencing some growing pains, including four losses by an average of 20.3 points.

PERSONNEL

The Mountaineers have three players averaging in double figures — guard Rashad Whack (11.5 ppg), guard Julian Norfleet (10.5) and guard Sam Prescott (10.2). Whack and Norfleet have started all eight games in the backcourt with Prescott coming off the bench.

The style of play Christian has deployed is heavily reliant on 3-point shooting and the Mountaineers have the highest point distribution from behind the arc in the country.

Prescott has been the most effective 3-point shooter on the roster (43.1 percent on 51 attempts) with Whack not far behind at 40 percent on 55 attempts. Norfleet is also putting up 3′s at an alarming rate with 48 attempts thus far. His success, however, has been moderate at just 29.2 percent.

Given Mount St. Mary’s relentless pursuit to force turnovers, both Norfleet and Whack rank highly in steal percentage by KenPom.com. Whack is 23rd nationally at 5.7 percent while Norfleet checks-in at 162nd nationally at 3.9 percent.

POMEROY PREVIEW

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· About that turnover percentage: Yes, Mount St. Mary’s ranks 5th nationally in creating turnovers. That’s because they’re essentially playing defense for steals and if they’re unsuccessful, the result hasn’t been pretty for the Mountaineers. Opponents are shooting a ridiculous 62 percent (!) on 2-point field goals, which ranks 347th nationally. Obviously Indiana is going to turn the ball over on occasion, but this strategy against a team that takes care of the ball like the Hoosiers seems counterproductive and self destructive.

· A free throw parade: The other downside of playing defense almost exclusively for steals is the fouling. Mount St. Mary’s opponents are taking nearly 22 free throw attempts per game compared to 11.8 attempts for the Mountaineers.

· 3-point barrage: As mentioned above, Mount St. Mary’s is living and (mostly) dying by the 3-point shot. They’re chucking nearly 26 attempts from distance each game and connecting on a little less than 35 percent of those attempts. Combine that with no size inside and it’s a recipe to generate very few offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

It may be tough to glean much from tomorrow’s game as Mount St. Mary’s offers little in terms of defensive resistance if you beat their pressure, but it does afford the Hoosiers an opportunity to play against a unique defense.

Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity for Indiana to get back on the winning side of things and begin to finish up a non-conference slate that will likely have just one blemish.

THE HOOSIERS ON MOUNT ST. MARY’S

“He’s a first year head coach, was an assistant at VCU last year, actually a friend of mine. They’ve done a lot of things, from watching them on film, very similar to what VCU tries to get accomplished, not only from their set plays but from their style of play. They’re built on pressure defense, both in the full court and the half court. They’re going to play fast, they’re going to shoot 3s in transition, be in a diamond trap the majority of the game. They present a number of different challenges.” — Kenny Johnson.

“There’s a lot of similarities [with VCU]. They do the run and jump press and the trap press as well. We kind of struggled a little bit with VCU in the tournament, but I feel like we’re a little mature now and since we’ve been through it we know what to expect.” — Victor Oladipo.

QUICK FACTS ON MOUNT ST. MARY’S

Student Enrollment: 2,100
Established: 1808
Notable basketball alumni: Fred Carter, who popularized the “fist bump.”

All tempo-free stats from KenPom.com.

  • Salty

    What To Expect: IU grabbing every single rebound possible.

  • jmfriedman

    Here is what I expect- a 40 point drubbing. If IU is half as pissed about losing Saturday as I am, it should be a massacre. I am so tired of hearing the Butler talk this week, I wanna puke. I wanna see a well coached game by Crean, because in all honesty, I have lost a lot of confidence in his “in game” coaching- not recruiting, but coaching. Calling the timeout at the end when Yogi was one step from crossing half court may be the dumbest coaching move I have ever seen him make. We should have been inbounding on our side of half court with 2 seconds or so remaining. At least we could get something better than a half court shot. I wanna see our swagger back, and NOW.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Fischer/691470077 Steve Fischer

    I also expect a drubbing but no one outside of IU fans will notice or care. So we beat another cupcake-it won’t help our rankings or RPI. It will however help integrate Perea and Jurgin so its worth something.

  • CreamandCrimson

    This game is about getting out to a fast, intense start. Set the tone early and take the ball to the basket and force Mount Saint Mary’s to prove they can do anything about it. The outcome is probably not going to be in doubt. However, these next three games are important.

    The team has 12 days to improve and get ready for what will be a brutally difficult Big Ten season. Getting minutes for Hanner Perea, Peter Jurkin (and hopefully Derek Elston) is important. Figuring out where those guys fit in the rotation is needed. Hollowell’s role will switch and he will need some game time so the coaches can figure out where he fits in this season. Watford could certainly use a few games. The little details that will become big deals when we are in close games in a couple weeks are what I am looking forward to watching.

  • SCHoosier

    Given IU is a 33 pt favorite that shouldn’t be too hard. If selecting top seeds for the NCAA pay any attention to a team’s RPI..Hoosiers will have to win the conference and B-10 tournament to get one.

  • IUMIKE1

    With the way that CW is playing right now the only time Hanner should come out is to take a breather cause he needs all the game time minutes he can get before we start conference play. This also gives the staff a chance to get the kind of feel for him that is only possible with a large number of minutes in an actual game type setting. I’m not saying CW shouldn’t play cause we need him out of this funk that he is in but Hanner also playing several minutes might just help light a fire under him too.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I understand what you are getting at (weak non-conference schedule). However, IU is currently 19th in RPI and we are playing in the Big Ten which will give us a lot of “top 50 RPI” opponents. If we can win the Big Ten regular season title, our RPI and getting a #1 seed, won’t be an issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregory.spera.3 Gregory Spera

    I’m sorry, but this is just another noncompetitive opponent that does nothing to
    prepare the Hoosiers for the start of conference play. Unfortunately, the horrible
    quality of teams IU has been playing disguises any weaknesses in Indiana’s play
    and exposes them to a rude awakening when they run into an even halfway decent
    team, like Butler. That’s just my opinion.

  • http://www.vccm.net/ iubase

    Agree that we could use a UK or Kansas instead. However, this will help to get Jerkin in and give HP more PT. HP is essential to a deep run in the NCAA. I hope
    CWat steps up and hits the boards harder as well. Kinda of embarrasing to see him pushed aside. He knows that to make it to the next level he needs the display more toughness under the hoop….

  • http://www.facebook.com/dylan.drybread Dylan Drybread

    Does anyone know if IU players are aloud to where shooting sleeves? I was just wondering. If you know? Please comment. Thanks!

  • yimyames

    the timeout was given after the made shot, the clock never started when Yogi was going up the floor. If no timeout would have been called, then Yogi would have been jacking up the shot from half court, personally I would rather have Hulls taking that shot. So the “dumbest coaching call you have ever seen him make” actually didn’t even happen.

  • yimyames

    Damn, Creek out again, hope it’s minor!

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Mo Creek out again? WOW

  • jmfriedman

    Not really- If he doesn’t call timeout, Yogi takes the ball on the run before the D was set up and takes one step across half court and then call timeout, we would have 1.5 or so seconds and inbound on our side of the court- quite a bit better chances to make a shot than what that “play” with Hulls produced, so yes, it was a stupid time out.

  • yimyames

    dude there was 2.3 seconds on the clock, it was a half court heave either way.

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