What to Expect: Evansville

  • 11/25/2013 10:54 am in

Following a split of two games last week in New York City at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic, the 5-1 Hoosiers return to Assembly Hall on Tuesday evening for a meeting with Missouri Valley Conference foe Evansville.

The game will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network and also on the IU radio network (XM 192/Sirius 136):

Nearly 20 percent of Indiana’s regular season schedule is complete and the results thus far have landed just about on par with expectations. The Hoosiers have dominated lesser competition, squeaked out an early scare against a team with NCAA tournament experience and lost a tight game to a more experienced UConn club on a neutral court.

Seven non-conference games remain and on paper, Evansville is the third toughest of those contests behind Syracuse (Dec. 3) and Notre Dame (Dec. 14). Just how good the Purple Aces are, however, is up for debate.

Evansville is 5-0, is ranked No. 116 in the Pomeroy ratings, has the nation’s 22nd most efficient offense and the best 3-point shooting percentage in the land. However, the competition level hasn’t exactly been up to par. Two of the five wins have come against non-Division I teams and Evansville’s lone road test was an 84-78 win at IUPUI (No. 275 in Pomeroy).

With that said, Evansville can put up points and Indiana can’t afford to look ahead to next week’s showdown with Syracuse in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

PERSONNEL

Four Purple Aces enter Tuesday’s game with double figure scoring averages, but one stands alone: sophomore guard D.J. Balentine (pictured). Through Sunday’s games, Balentine is fourth in the country in scoring at 29.6 points per game.

A former standout at Kokomo and Indiana all-star, Balentine is shouldering the scoring load after Evansville lost Colt Ryan to graduation. The 6-foot-2 guard boasts an effective field goal percentage of 70.3 in 36 minutes per game and is getting to the line at a rapid rate with 54 free throws attempted thus far.

Sophomore guard Adam Wing joins Balentine in the Evansville backcourt and he’s also off to a hot shooting start. After a debut season as a role player, Wing is now getting 32 minutes a night, is averaging 13.6 points and has an effective field goal percentage of 77.4, which is good for 11th nationally.

A third guard, freshman Duane Gibson, also starts and has attempted more free throws (33) than field goals (25). Through five games, Gibson is averaging seven assists per game and has just 11 turnovers.

Freshman forward Blake Simmons, the son of Evansville coach Marty Simmons, starts in the frontcourt alongside sophomore Edidijus Mockevicius, who missed Saturday’s win over Anderson University with flu-like symptoms. An undersized four-man, Simmons can step out and shoot from the perimeter. Mockevicius is foul prone, but capable of blocking shots (11.1 block percentage as a freshman) and also grabbing offensive boards (12.7 OR% as a freshman).

Junior forward Ryan Sawvell, a 6-foot-8 forward, provides frontcourt depth off the bench, and freshman guard Jaylon Brown, a Fishers product, is a poor shooter (eFG% of 37), but can be disruptive defensively because of his quickness.

This won’t happen often this season, but Pomeroy actually ranks the Purple Aces (347th nationally) as less experienced than the Hoosiers (324th).

A TEMPO-FREE LOOK

These numbers won’t hold up for much longer, but Evansville is one of the nation’s best shooting teams so far. The Purple Aces are shooting 54.8 percent on 3s (1st nationally), 56.6 percent on 2s (24th) and 81.6 percent on free throws (6th). They’ve also posted a ridiculous free throw rate, defined as FTA/FGA, of 67.3, which ranks 7th nationally.

Combine those numbers with the fact that Evansville isn’t turning the ball over and you get an offensive than ranks 22nd nationally in efficiency.

The other side of the ball, however, has been a different story.

As good as Evansville has been offensively, they’ve been extremely soft defensively. Opponents are scoring nearly 1.08 points per possession. They’ve allowed an effective field goal percentage of 58.3 (336th nationally) and two opponents have been non-Division I. In the post, Evansville is putting up basically no resistance as the opposition is hitting 63.3 of their attempts at the rim.

Despite those woeful numbers, Indiana has already faced three teams (Chicago State, LIU Brooklyn and Samford) who have been even worse defensively. The Hoosiers shouldn’t have much of a problem putting up points, but the defense, which enters Tuesday’s game ranked 26th in the Pomeroy efficiency ratings, will be tested against an offense that’s been on fire thus far.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Regardless of the level of its competition thus far, there’s no disputing that Evansville can put the ball in the basket. They’ve got the nation’s fourth leading scorer and are averaging 90.6 points per game.

From a pace perspective, the Purple Aces have played three of five games with 70 or more possessions, but will likely try to slow the game down and force Indiana to play half court defense. The alternative is attempting to run against an IU team that clearly outclasses them from a talent perspective.

We’ll soon find out whether Evansville’s offense can perform against the length and athleticism of Indiana. If it can, the Hoosiers could be in for a high scoring, back-and-forth battle.

If not, it’ll be tough for Evansville’s defense to string enough stops together to keep this one close in one of the country’s toughest places to win. The Pomeroy prediction likes the Hoosiers, 89-76, with an 86 percent chance for win No. 6 of the young season.

QUICK FACTS ON EVANSVILLE

Established: 1854
Students: 3,050
Notable athletics alumni: Jerry Sloan

(Photo credit: Eric Francis, Getty Images)

All tempo-free stats from KenPom.com.

Filed to:

  • sarge

    Tough team to get a W against after the UCONN loss. If we win it will be expected and if we lose everyone will have bitterness in their commentary. I think we win because we are at home, but we cannot take this team lightly and need to get a good start. It will be a tough team to play if we are playing from behind, and expect them to slow the pace like other teams that have been successful at stopping our offensive cohesion and ability to run

  • MillaRed

    Rebound outlet, and run.

    Run some more.

    Substitute.

    Then run again.

    They don’t have the D or the depth.

    FEED NOAH.

    Hoosiers by 14.

  • 5_Banners

    I think it’s more that. But I agree with your prediction. Our depth and offensive rebounding will overwhelm them.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Sounds like a good test is in store for our shaky perimeter defense….

  • pga

    they don’t have the size or athleticism to play with IU…they did however beat witchita st twice last year and probably have better talent this year…IU fans get to watch some old school motion offense too!! should be fun…think we should schedule them and other in state schools more often instead of these other cupcakes

  • AUKevin

    Just fyi, it’s Anderson University, not College, I’m a current student 😉

  • Scooter

    I would expect to see less of Hollowell and more of Etherington, Davis, and Williams. Let’s count on these 3 guys because they act like they care. This love affair CTC has with Hollowell has to stop. Crean makes too many excuses for the kid. Poor effort + Poor defense+ Poor attitude + Lethargy = Bench time for most coaches.
    I do not think it will rest well with this team if CTC continues to play Hollowell more minutes than the effort kids like HMP, AE, SR, DD, TW, etc. Hell, Hollowell gets more time than Sheehey and takes as many shots. Hollowell hasn’t earned that.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Wow! Did we give that Ballentine a look? Man he can score. We will need to man up and take the 3 away. I think our offensive rebounding and anger over the UCONN loss will overwhelm Evansville though.

  • MisterSlippery

    IU turns these jokers into pudding. 108-46, IU victory.

  • SCHoosier

    Can E-ville play D..if so some Hoosier TO’s may be there for the taking. If IU continues on its improvement path..should be a decent win for IU. I don’t think E-ville plays a zone..but they might against IU..or at least pack it in and make the Hoosiers shoot from the outside.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Sheehey is averaging 27 minutes a game, Hollowell is averaging 24.5. Sheehey has taken 52 shots and Hollowell has taken 45. We should try to be accurate if something is being presented as a fact.

    You are certainly entitled to think Hollowell gets too many minutes. You are also entitled to think Crean makes too many excuses for him or that Hollowell doesn’t act like he cares. I don’t agree with everything you wrote but that’s fine. Let’s be accurate though.

  • CreamandCrimson

    According to their games thus far, no, they can’t really defend well at all. I hope they do throw some zone at us, Lord knows we can use the all the work against it that we can get before heading off to the Carrier Dome.

  • ForeverIU

    How many steals, blocks and threes for Hollowell?

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    They love shooting from outside? That’s fine; Noah Vonleh loves rebounding. 😀

  • Hoosier73

    Hollowell catches a lot of flack here, some of it deserved because he has made some very poor decisions, but the guy has enormous upside. A guy with his height and length who can handle the ball, pass, drive and shoot the three is a rare commodity. I understand why CTC is giving him minutes–he may not look so good right now, but he needs time to develop so he can step it up in February and March–and for the next two years.

  • TomJameson

    IU will win I’m sure, don’t think anybody would want to play them after that loss, but don’t overlook UE. I’m at every home game and I tell you they are pretty solid this year. They beat Mercer and Valpo in tough back-to-back games. Not the best in CBB, but pretty solid teams themselves (big and athletic, ring a bell? 🙂 UE has this little knack of beating good teams on the road. Butler, Wichita State, Creighton.
    * Ballentine is not just a 3-point shooter. He can drive and attack the basket as well as anybody. But there are a few shooters on the team.
    * Egidijus (e-gid-e-us) isn’t in the same class as Noah, but he is under rated. He moves his feet well and is a good defensive presence. Since I said that he’ll probably foul out in 2 minutes. 🙂
    * They are young like IU, they start 2 or 3 freshmen, but they play pretty well together. Many scoring options, just depends on who gets hot.
    * IU will beat them because of their athleticism and bench, but UE has a decent bench too.
    * UE has a team that might actually make it to the big dance this year. Next year I think for sure.

  • ForeverIU

    I love how you jinxed Egidijus 🙂

  • Deaner

    Rebounding? Did you see their shooting percentages?

  • kyle jenkins

    Sounds like the similar thing people were saying about Christian Watford his 1st 2 years. You will eat your words soon enough. Hollowell has made some bonehead plays no doubt about it but he will continue to get better. Remember he is only a sophomore and this is his 1st time in the big stage. I thought he played well this weekend in both games. He let the game come to him and tried not to force anything. Also he is playing defense at a very high level. That’s definitely being overlooked and that’s why i think he is getting the minutes.

  • TomJameson

    You are calling a good INDIANA team a bunch of jokers. These boys may not be on a team that’s in the same class as IU, but they can play ball, and they don’t give up. I think the only joker here would be any insensitive jerk calling names on a team they know nothing about.
    UE is a hustle team, they play decent defense, and they all dive for loose balls. It’s how they play ball in the state of Indiana. This is not the first time they’ve played together. IU has won every game, but a few have been fairly close.

  • Fixed.

  • MillaRed

    The problem with Jeremy is his turnovers are just so ugly and seem to result in an easy score. Other than that I don’t have a major problem other than a better FG%.

    I don’t see the lack of effort and “careless” attitude. He’s just not a rah rah guy.

    JH needs to be more efficient. Every year we beat down someone and he is the poster boy. I have criticized him too. Only to the extent I’m not sure he should be starting. But I definitely think he should be playing. He has very good moments.

  • MillaRed

    Insensitive jerk? For calling someone jokers? Really? Wow.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    We will kill them.

    Unrelated, but I’d like to vent about the idiocy of the AP rankings:

    So last week, we were 27 in the AP poll (second in others receiving votes). Uconn was #18. We lost to them by one point on a neutral floor (that was about a 2.5 hour drive from their campus).

    So they rise 5 spots to #13, and we fall 3 to #30 (5th in others receiving votes).

    Thank god these polls are meaningless.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I agree JH has looked bad at times, never more so than Friday night.

    But I’m inclined to keep playing a guy like that, at least for now. He has so many tools. He seem like the kind of kid where if it all just “clicks”, he might turn into a beast.

    And, even at his current level, he’s more effective than Etherington. Not sure how that kid is being coached, but if I was him, I’d be bombing every three I could. There’s a spot on this team for a shooter…

  • ForeverIU

    Kenpom ranks Evansville at 116, and LIU Brooklyn at 274, for whatever it’s worth. Evansville offense is ranked 22, and ours 60. Our defense 26, and theirs 270.

  • MisterSlippery

    I was just kidding around, Milla’s right, but I like the response! I’m a fan of piss and vinegar on web boards, so I like the strong feedback.

  • Scooter

    Cwat avg 12 ppg and 15 ppg as a FR and SO. Cwat was always a willing rebounder. Hollowell is not at Cwat level, probably never will be.

  • Scooter

    He is also a poor passer. He is a me first guy when he gets the ball.

  • kyle jenkins

    You’re just comparing offensive points. Basketball is more than about offensive points but if you insist. Frosh Watford also shot the 2nd most times on the team and only averaged 37%. He shot a total of 320 shots over 31 games. that’s an average of almost 10 shots a game. Im pretty sure if Jeremy was shooting at that rate he could have 12 points a game when you add free throws as well. Sophomore Watford shot the MOST shots on the team and averaged 42%. He shot a total of 339 shots over 28 games. You do the math on how many shots per game that is. Jeremy could average close to 16 points with that many shots per game.

    Dont get me wrong, Watford was a great player at IU. Just wanted to make a point that you cant rely solely on points scored to judge the effectiveness of a player. Not to mention Jeremy is not the 1st, 2nd, and maybe 3rd option for points this year. He has a different role.

  • TomJameson

    Okay, I may be a little too sensitive sometimes, and maybe I read too much “tone” in that text, but I’ve seen this team play their guts out for years and get little or no respect. Good Indiana boys who don’t have the elite D1 talent, but still play good, basic, decent basketball. If somebody checked out their resume they would see some pretty good upsets they’ve pulled off, away from home.
    So, thanks the understanding MS.
    Still, it’s a delima for my 2 favorite teams playing

  • TomJameson

    I know 🙁 I thought of that too. My bad!

  • Kenneth234

    Well it my opinion that you suck as a fan. Bought this is the first time that I have expressed that opinion of you. But you seem too willing to criticize a young man trying to find his way on the floor.

  • BMusic

    I am not a big Hollowell fan (was more so last year than this), but he did make a beautiful dish to Hanner for a jam a couple games ago. Maybe the prettiest assist on this young season so far.

  • drewheck

    i gto a feeling it will be an indiana block party

  • b_side

    Apples meet oranges. CWat was putting up those numbers on some historically bad Hoosier teams with no competition behind him for playing time. How many points did Wat score when the game actually mattered back when we were winning a measly 10-12 games a season?

    Switch places and you’d see the same issue.

  • Hoosierfanfromcali

    There are some things I want to see from certain key Indiana players improve on. 1. First player I want to see improve is Jeremy Hallowell’s court vision and actually show he is dribbling with a purpose and not lost he doesn’t need to be a double digit scorer per say but I at least want him to look confident today. 2. Second player will be watching for is Hanner Panrea he needs to fix his fouling problems to be precise I need to see him put effort on relying on his length,also in a proper defensive stance,and not always be looking to make a highlight block because he gets too many silly fouls from trying to block every person who comes to the paint. He needs to take notes from his buddy Luke Fisher if I were him on how sometimes he just needs to have his hands up and try to only alter/contest his shot instead of looking to wow people with his amazing hops which by all means if he is in a position to block the shot then do it, but if he isn’t please HMP rely on fundamental sound defense for once!!!! 3. This last thing I want to see is conditional depending if Tom Crean plays either Austin Etherington or Colin Hartsman in meaningful game time minutes and if he does play one of those two, then well please for the love of cheese and crackers just take advantage of your minutes and shoot the dang ball!!!! Just show us that you are actually useful and not liabilities on the court. Coach Crean is a person who likes players who take advantage of their opportunities. This rant is mostly directed on Austin because he is Junior this year as opposed to Colin who is just a freshman. Well anyways I just hope one of those two has a good game because this team really need a shooter desperately.

  • Hoosierfanfromcali

    For HMP I meant the opponent’s shot instead of “his shot”.

  • Scooter

    There are a lot of players on this team trying to find their way on the floor. Hollowell just needs to get in line behind the rest of them until he become more consistent, a team player, and develops a better attitude. I find it laughable that this kid actually thought he was good enough to have dealings with an agent.

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the cheerful response, Mrs. Ballentine!

  • Andrew

    How many turnovers and charging fouls?

  • ForeverIU

    Thanks! Your posts made me take a serious look at Evansville. They are also third in the nation in assists, which might explain in part why they are second in the nation in shooting percentage (good at finding the open man).

  • ForeverIU

    Thanks for your cheerful response, he he 🙂

  • Alford Bailey

    I dont think they can handle us on the break or down low but if they get hot from 3 could be a ballgame. Who remembers Marty Simmons as a Hoosier, ITHers?

  • Alford Bailey

    Agreed. Ive been on here for years and have always enjoyed stirring the pot. What fun is it to always pat each other on the back? I like to give a different perspective. Just remember we are all Hoosier fans and ITH is an awesome site!

  • tucker

    Marty left IU…couldn’t handle Knight!

  • IUMIKE1

    Yep, I’m not ready to banish him to a position of slightly above mop up minutes myself at this time. That being said he has made me put my wtf face on more than once or twice.

  • IUMIKE1

    You’ve backed up your point with, IMHO, very good facts. For what it’s worth I had the same take on CW and the averages that Scooter quoted. Was wondering if I should dig those numbers out and then seen that you already had. Thanks for saving me the time and effort.

  • Scooter

    I agree 100% with your #1 and #3. AE has played the 4 and 5 the past couple games. I say CTC uses him in this manner in both halfs to spell a big. Have AE and Yogi do a pick n pop on the wing. It could be gold CTC !

  • TJ21

    We have a team full of upside, lets play the upside guys that has some intensity and fire, TW, DD, SR……IMHO JH will still be working on his upside after these guys are off to professional careers…..I see the talent, but do not see the results that talent produces.