What to Expect: Washington

  • 11/21/2013 8:21 am in

Indiana travels to New York City on Thursday evening where it will meet the Washington Huskies in the first of two games in two nights in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. It will be the first appearance for the Hoosiers in Madison Square Garden since they defeated Pittsburgh, 74-64, on Dec. 8, 2009.

The game will be broadcast live at approximately 9 p.m. ET on ESPN with John Saunders, Fran Fraschilla and Jeff Goodman on the call, as well as on the IU radio network.

The season is just four games young, but the competition level will ramp up this week for Indiana as the Hoosiers face Washington on Thursday night and either Boston College or Connecticut on Friday night in New York.

It’s not that Washington is better than IU’s last opponent, Stony Brook, but the challenge is likely to be greater given that it is the first game outside of Assembly Hall this season. Playing on the road and neutral courts wasn’t particularly difficult for a team that spent a good portion of last season at No. 1 in the polls, but for a team with plenty of young players who haven’t had the experience, it could be a different story.

Nonetheless, the experience will ultimately be a valuable one as Indiana will step away from one of the greatest homecourt advantages in college basketball in Assembly Hall to the bright lights of New York City and Madison Square Garden.

Indiana’s first opponent, Washington, is 2-1 with wins over Seattle and Eastern Washington and a loss to UC Irvine. All three games were at home. The Huskies are in a bit of flux as they finished last season a disappointing 18-16 and most projections for this season have Lorenzo Romar’s club finishing eighth or lower in the Pac-12 and safely outside of the NCAA tournament.

PERSONNEL

Just one game after the season even got underway, Romar had lost two rotation players in Jernard Jarreau and Desmond Simmons, which has significantly hampered Washington’s frontcourt depth.

The 6-foot-10 Jarreau, who scored 17 points in one of the team’s exhibition games, will miss the season with an ACL tear. The 6-foot-7 Simmons, who averaged 4.9 points and 6.5 rebounds last season, is out for four to six more weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

Fortunately, Washington’s strengths lie in its backcourt where it has senior C.J. Wilcox, one of the best shooters in the Pac-12, and freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, a McDonald’s All-American. Wilcox hit close to 37 percent of his 3-pointers a season ago and is averaging a team-high 20.3 points through three games.

Williams-Goss, a teammate of IU freshman Stanford Robinson last season at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, was a major recruiting win for Romar and has posted an assist rate of 37.3 percent while averaging 5.3 assists in his first three games. Sophomore guard Andrew Andrews starts as a third guard and is tied with Williams-Goss for second in scoring at 13.7 points per game.

With limited depth, Washington is only going seven players deep early. Freshman guard Darin Johnson is averaging 11.3 points in 27 minutes per game off the bench, but he is a woeful shooter thus far (36.3 eFG%). Junior guard Mike Anderson is the team’s best defensive rebounder (23.7 DR%) and is second on the team in rebounds with 7.3 per game in 24 minutes a night off the bench.

The frontcourt situation is extremely limited due to the Jarreau and Simmons injuries with junior Shawn Kemp Jr. and Perris Blackwell, a graduate senior transfer from San Francisco, as the only two players to log significant minutes to-date. Blackwell has been very good on the offensive glass with an offensive rebound percentage of 14.4 through three games. Anderson and Kemp Jr. are both foul prone, which could be problematic against Indiana.

A TEMPO-FREE LOOK

For the first time this season, Indiana will meet an opponent who likes to play just as fast as the Hoosiers.

Romar’s teams typically like to get up and down, but that wasn’t the case last season as the Huskies ranked 183rd nationally in adjusted possessions per game. So far this season, it’s been back to the norm as Washington is 40th nationally in adjusted possessions per game (73.8), which is just a bit slower than Indiana (6th nationally, 76.8).

The impressive thing about Washington’s pace is how well it has been able to take care of the ball. The Huskies are turning it over on just 11.5 percent of their possessions. For comparison’s sake, Indiana is coughing it up on 19.8 percent of its possessions.

Where the Hoosiers appear to have a decided advantage is on the offensive glass, shooting the basketball and erasing shots around the basket. Washington is shooting just 24.5 percent on 3-pointers (313th nationally) and just 46.9 percent on 2-pointers (212th nationally). They get to the line at a fairly healthy clip, but Indiana is getting there more frequently and if the game is called tightly, it should favor the depth of the Hoosiers despite Washington being the better shooting team from the line.

Washington is getting more than 13 percent of its shot attempts blocked (284th nationally) and Indiana is currently the seventh-best shot blocking team in the country, so that’s another area that could favor the Hoosiers.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

It’s impossible to predict how a young team will play in its first trip away from home (or subsequent trips, for that matter), so cautious optimism is probably a fair way to describe Indiana’s chances going into this game. The Huskies have a very good backcourt with Wilcox and Williams-Goss, but Yogi Ferrell is playing just as well as either of those guys thus far.

Turnovers are certainly a concern, especially with Washington’s willingness to push the pace and its ability to take care of the ball better than Indiana so far. That, however, can easily be negated if Washington fails to shoot it better and also defend better than it has so far, as opponents have posted an effective field goal percentage of 54.5 percent, ranking 285th nationally.

The Ferrell and Williams-Goss matchup is pivotal for Indiana as is Will Sheehey keeping Wilcox, who is on NBA draft boards as a potential second round pick, in check on the perimeter. Look for Indiana to again establish Noah Vonleh early in the post and play inside-out with Vonleh attacking a frontcourt that cannot afford early foul trouble.

The Pomeroy prediction favors Indiana by eight, 88-80, and the Vegas line is currently Indiana by 7.5.

QUICK FACTS ON WASHINGTON

Established: 1861
Students: 42,970
Notable athletics alumni: Hope Solo, Tim Lincecum, Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Warren Moon

All tempo-free stats from KenPom.com.

(Photo credit: University of Washington Athletics)

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  • CreamandCrimson

    An uptempo track meet that will probably be a foul fest? Hope the Hoosiers are hitting their free throws at a decent rate and I hope the depth we think will be a strength can show up tonight.

    What I’ll be looking for (besides the win):
    -How do the young Hoosiers respond in their first game on the road and in their first game against another major conference team?
    -Yogi Ferrell versus the highly touted freshman, Nigel Williams-Goss.
    -With no Victor Oladipo, how does IU contain a high-volume scoring shooting guard?
    -Does Noah Vonleh continue to control the interior?

    This tournament is a big opportunity for our Hoosiers and I’m very excited to see how we respond. Just remember, this season is a major learning process and the team we are tonight and Friday is not the team we will become in March. Let’s hope the Hoosiers can keep on improving each and every night (as they have so far in this season, in my opinion). Go Hoosiers, let’s get a W over UW.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I think Vonleh should have no problem dominating the interior but the guard play could get interesting. I wonder who will try to contain Wilcox? On a side note, I noticed the name Shawn Kemp Jr… He doesn’t appear to be much of a threat I just thought that was noteworthy.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    There are about 50+ shawn kemp jrs running around given the track record of his dad.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    I don’t want us to get in the downward spiral of missing quick shots and giving up turnaround fast break points. Our transition defense and shot selections will be key in games like this.

  • Gman

    o you actually know his dad?

  • Kyl470

    You are aware Shawn Kemp was at one point the father of 9 kids with 8 different woman. Not sure if that has changed since he retired from the NBA.

  • Kyl470

    The keys to IU’s success against quality teams all year is going to be limiting turnovers and hitting their free throws. It’s pretty clear at this point that the team is going to struggle shooting the 3, but they make up for it by attacking to offensive glass. If they can shoot around 70% on free throws and only turn the ball over on less than 15% of their possessions then they will be a tough team to beat.

  • Steve Fischer

    Well Sean Kemp Sr was such a big basketball fan., he simply decided to father his own team.

  • CheesyHoosier

    I think the Hoosiers win by 11, and someone has a big game that hasn’t so far. My pick is Jeremy.

  • Fulton

    I agree with thinking we may see someone else step it up tonight. However, I’m wavering towards gordon. I think he’s started to come alive a little more these last 2 games and am looking for that to continue with some leadership as well. Very excited bout tonight. Lay it all on the floor boys!!!

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree that someone has a big game, possibly Jeremy – possibly Devin/Luke??? I think it will be a Big with the big game – (even though Devin has had a good season)

  • MisterSlippery

    With Jeremy, I’m glad to see his improvement. One thing I’ve noticed is that he has a tendency to let his man get past him and then try to block his shot from the side. I’m worried this could be a bad habit against better players. That said, it would be great to get him to become consistent.

  • doodle777

    I must have missed Jeremy’s improvement, so far all I see him do is breakdown on D and dribble the ball off his feet, Really don’t know how the guy makes the court. Think you will see less and less of JH as the year goes on and he will transfer due to lack of PT, because he thinks he is the next M. Jordan.

  • kyle jenkins

    Wow that’s a poor assessment of JH… I think you are forgetting he’s just a sophomore and is having to play out of his comfort zone on a inexperienced team. Crean is having him play the 1-4 which is hard for any player, let alone a 2nd year player who got very little PT last year. I think Jeremy is doing great! Its only 4 games in. Give the kid some time to develop. He has all the tools to be a great 4 year player for us. Have some faith in Crean and the coaching staff.

  • BlakeD1223

    Well played, well played.

  • BlakeD1223

    I agree that he has all the ability to be good. I think what he lacks is that killer instinct. I keep thinking he’s Christian Watfords brother. His mannerism’s are a lot like CW. Sometimes I just want to shake him and tell him to wake up and get excited. Everyone is different though.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    If we have less than 15 TOs we win.

  • Rie

    Jeremy is who he is, and is not going to pretend to be animated and emotional on the court, which I am fine with. I am not totally sure this has to do with a lack of aggression. Noah seems to act the same way, the only difference being that he is more dominant on the court; however, his expression and emotion are stagnant. Tim Duncan has a killer instinct and is the best power forward of all time, you think he needs to pretend to be more animated? No, because his production dictates that this doesn’t matter.

    The point I am making is that people tend to relate emotions to production too often, which I personally do not believe is the problem. As long as the player exceeds expectations, then people ignore what their demeanor is, whereas if they come up short, it is all of a sudden the problem.

  • sarge

    His free throw shooting has improved by 19% which is huge for us, especially given the rule changes. He is also improved his 3pfg% by almost 27% thus far, which is very important considering the shooters we lost. He has also doubled his rebounds per game, is getting a half assist more per game, and over 1.5 more blocks per game. It is easy to expect the improvement with the increase in minutes, but the shooting percentages are harder to maintain with more minutes. He has worked very hard and at least some people notice it. I think your comments about him are insulting, and it shows how much you know about the game (little or nothing).

  • Rie

    I think it was a blatant troll post, but regardless, thanks for posting those numbers. I have always been a huge fan of Jeremy and think he will be an amazing player for IU. If his footwork gets refined, he has the potential to be a very scary player in the future.

  • sarge

    You’re welcome, and I agree with JH’s upside and his silent killer demeanor.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    OK,I copied and pasted my last comment on the other post but we are moving too fast from topics. So…
    Seems like some of us are worried and some are not so I gathered so info on our next oppt:
    Final 4’s: 1 Appearances: 16 TEAM: FG%.41 FT% .78 3Pt%.245 Play’s 7 guys.
    Name Cls Ht Wt Min’s
    Wilcox Sr 6’5 195 35 20 Pts
    Andrews So 6’2 195 28 13 Pts
    -Goss Fr 6’3 185 30 5.3 Ast
    Blackwell Sr 6’9 275 30 8 Reb
    Anderson Jr 6’4 195 24 7.3 Reb
    Johnson Fr 6’5 200 27
    Kemp Jr 6’9 250 22

    Just thought I would pass this on…..I hope it displays accordingly since it’s not a spreadsheet.
    What stands out is that they can hit their FT’s and have to Bigs with some WT.
    I think we are longer and more athletic but we are not going to shove our way unless we get the calls. I’m curious as to who the ref’s are?
    But I think if we get them in Foul Trouble early and they only rotate 7 guys we can wear them down the second half. But if it comes down to a FT contest we could lose because they are shooting nearly 80% to our 70% and as low as 54% in one game.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    And you have to add to the fact that he is learning a new position…guard and back to forward. This is a learning curve which has affected his game and slowed his progress.

  • TomJameson

    I agree with you Kyl, except saying “struggling” to shoot the 3. I would call it “limited” just because there aren’t a lot of people shooting them, but Yogi sure isn’t struggling. And I bet Sheehey gets it together also. Another player or two to hit around 35 to 38 % and maybe the lanes will open up a bit for Noah.
    Great point about the turnovers and free throws. Especially the turnovers. Think that is really critical.

  • TomJameson

    Well said!

  • HoosierDaddy

    Since the game is on ESPN, I expect it to start 40 minutes late.

  • mla10493

    Anyone know of any live streams that I could listen to since I am here in South America? Only thing on ESPN here is SOCCER

  • Guy

    atdhe dot eu