What to Expect: North Florida

  • 12/06/2013 2:47 pm in

After three days off following a 69-52 loss to Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Indiana returns to Assembly Hall for a meeting with North Florida.

The Ospreys are 5-5 with two wins coming over non-Division I competition and losses to Florida, Ohio State and Alabama. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network at 7:30 and on the IU radio network (Sirius 112, XM 203):

Indiana’s loss to Syracuse in the 2013 NCAA tournament put an abrupt end to one of the best seasons in the recent history of the program.

An outright Big Ten championship, a No. 1 seed and three top 10 road wins were quickly forgotten as an opportunity to reach the Final Four for the first time in 11 years dominated the conversation.

Tuesday’s loss to Syracuse is obviously much different.

It’s early December and while the Hoosiers played poorly, the loss is relatively meaningless except for minor seeding implications come March. What is important is how Indiana responds to it, regardless of the level of competition that awaits in Assembly Hall.

As one of the youngest teams in the country that has a lot of room to grow, it’s important that Indiana learns from the experience and then quickly moves on.

With plenty of basketball left to play, including a Big Ten season that tips off in less than four weeks, the games that will determine the direction of the season are on the not-too-distant horizon.

PERSONNEL

Picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic Sun conference by the league’s coaches, North Florida again looks like a team that will fail to reach the postseason under fifth-year coach Matt Driscoll.

That’s not necessarily an indictment on the coaching ability of Driscoll as taking a low-major team beyond the conference tournament is difficult, especially at a program that was NAIA when it was founded in 1992.

Senior Travis Wallace (pictured), a preseason all-conference selection in the Atlantic Sun, is the primarily player to watch on Saturday. At 6-foot-6, he’s an undersized big man who produces. Wallace averages a team-high 12.4 points and has an effective field goal percentage of 58.2, which ranks 234th nationally through Thursday’s games. He’s also the team’s best rebounder (12.4 OR%, 20.5 DR%).

Only one other Osprey, 6-foot freshman guard Dallas Moore, is scoring in double figures. Moore is hitting 44.4 percent of his 3s and is a decent distributor (20.2 assist rate) with a turnover rate (25.2) that needs work.

Beau Beach, a 6-foot-8 forward, likes to step out and shoot from the perimeter as 51 of his 80 field goal attempts have been 3s. Freshman forward Chris Davenport is the team’s best defensive rebounder (25.7 DR%) and is hitting more than 60 percent of his 2s. Charles McRoy, a 6-foot-6 senior, has started 9 of 10 games and is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.5 points per game.

TEMPO-FREE GLANCE

Like many of the low major opponents that come for guarantee games in the pre-conference season, North Florida has a KenPom profile that suggests it may be in for a long evening on Saturday.

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There’s little here that suggests that Indiana is in for a significant test. North Florida is an average 3-point shooting team (34.5 percent), but awful inside the arc (44.6 percent on 2s). Given that IU currently ranks as the 17th best defense according to Pomeroy and North Florida is turning it over on 22.5 percent of its possessions, this looks like another game where the Hoosiers could shine defensively.

On the other side of the ball, North Florida is going to struggle to contain Indiana on the offensive glass and while the Hoosiers have been turnover prone thus far (315th nationally in turnover percentage), the Ospreys aren’t turning teams over enough to where it figures to be a significant factor.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

With just five games remaining before traveling to Illinois on New Year’s Eve for the start of Big Ten play, the Hoosiers only figure to get a major test once. That test will likely come against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 13.

The four other contests — North Florida, Oakland, Nicholls State and Kennesaw State — all have a predicted winning percentage for the Hoosiers of more than 92% according to KenPom.

For Indiana, this is an opportunity to get back on track following a disappointing performance and to also begin improving on areas that need work, like taking care of the ball and getting better shots, before the meat of the schedule arrives.

All tempo-free stats via KenPom.com.

(Photo credit: Associated Press)

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  • “WILL”take charge!

    Shouldn’t this be titled

    What to Expect : Indiana ?

  • slim

    no

  • No, every “what to expect” is titled for the opponent.

  • GaHoosier

    I assume this is in regards to, “which INDIANA TEAM do we expect to SHOW-UP?”

    I love this team. Yes they make me frustrated at times, but I can also see the potential.

    I truly believe that loss to the Cuse will wake this young team up.

    This year will be a bumpy ride, but just like life…the bumps in the road make it interesting and full of excitement.

    IU will win this game by 32 points, maybe more.

  • Gman

    HAHA!!! Not funny…

  • IULore

    I expect IU to take care of business. So far we have beaten everyone worse than us, and lost to those better than us. That’s not a bad trend if we can get better ourselves.

  • N71

    I want to start beating teams that out score us, that would be something…we could run the table. We’d conserve energy on both ends of the court.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea, no “bad” losses yet is a positive for this team.

  • Andrew

    The ND game is Dec. 14, not the 13th.

  • Steve Fischer

    Glad I didn’t have to read fluff and spin about how tough North Florida is. We win – and Syracuse fades just a tad bit from everyone’s memory. The players get a tad bit more confidence and we get a tad bit closer to the Notre Dame game which we need to win .

  • EE

    As long as the coaches improve as well. I.E.-how to attack a matchup zone (it’s not really a 2/3) and when to substitute. They should learn from watching video as well as the players.

  • Mk

    If u don’t think our coaches watch video then I have a watch id like to sell you also

  • Ole Man

    Cuse was a bad loss, but I get your drift.

  • Ole Man

    IMO, EE’s comment has merit. He’s not attacking anyone. He’s voicing what we all hope and want to believe is happening–that CTC grows as a coach. All of us believe in his potential. And all of us know he has to grow into it; just like his players.
    I don’t see that as a negative. I see that as a positive.

  • Gregory Spera

    Funny, I just talked to my parents back in Bloomington. They are both in their eighties and have been big Indiana fans forever. Dad taught at IU for twenty years. You should hear how THEY talk about Crean after the Syracuse game. Wow. They are pissed. At least I’m still hoping for the best.

  • Mk

    Losing to a top 5 team at home when you are unranked shouldn’t exactly be a shock. Yeah it was ugly, but I was surprised at how many expected a win.

  • IUED

    Keep drinking the cool-aid. They might watch them, but apparently do not learn from them. Same mistakes over and over.

  • TomJameson

    Semantics. IU lost bad but it wasn’t a bad loss.

  • nwin iu fan

    Yep same bs everytime turnovers,players leave their feet trying to make passes , groundhog day.

  • Ole Man

    I didn’t expect them to win. I also didn’t expect them to “quit” in the second half; which is why, in my opinion, it was a bad loss.

  • Mk

    I will. I’ll drink it until we have a new flavor because as fans we don’t have any say in personnel decisions anyway, so I’m just gonna hope for wins and see what happens.

  • Gosh, I have to agree. I did not expect them to quit either. Not sure everyone did, but certainly enough did, that it was impossible for the rest, i.e., Vonleh, and maybe Williams could be in that group… to make up the difference.