What to Expect: Oakland

  • 12/09/2013 8:35 pm in

Just four non-conference games remain for Indiana and the second toughest opponent remaining, Oakland, travels to Assembly Hall on Tuesday. The Golden Grizzlies are just 2-7, but have already played at North Carolina, UCLA, Gonzaga and California.

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and on the IU radio network (Sirius 85, XM 85):

Indiana enters Tuesday’s game with Oakland at Assembly Hall having played the 275th toughest non-conference schedule to date according to the Pomeroy ratings. The Hoosiers have played two teams in the top 12 of the latest polls released Monday, but beyond that, the next toughest opponent has been Stony Brook, which is just 6-4.

Non-conference scheduling has been a topic of debate for years among IU fans and this year is no different. There are some who believe the Hoosiers need a tougher slate to prepare for the rigors of the Big Ten. And there are some who believe that with a young team, a less ambitious schedule is the route to go to build confidence and collect wins.

Wherever your beliefs on scheduling fall, the third-best non-conference home game on IU’s schedule, according to the Pomeroy ratings, is Oakland. And the Grizzlies, a member of the Horizon League, are 2-7 with just one win over a Division I team. (It should be noted that their record may be deceiving because Oakland has already traveled to North Carolina, UCLA, Gonzaga and Cal.)

Given the non-conference schedule, we already know that IU’s NCAA tournament chances will hinge almost entirely on its performance in the Big Ten. But the Oakland game and Saturday’s neutral court game with Notre Dame in Indianapolis are the last two non-conference games that will hold any weight with the selection committee come March when you consider that Kennesaw State and Nicholls State appear well on their way to sub-300 RPI seasons. ¬†And while the Oakland game holds far less weight than the looming battle with the Fighting Irish, it’s still essential that IU avoids a slip-up and convincingly delivers its eighth win of the season.

PERSONNEL

Indiana will once again have the challenge of stopping a prolific scorer as Oakland senior Travis Bader brings a 21.1 points per game average to Assembly Hall. Bader has taken 68.5 percent of his field goal attempts from behind the 3-point arc where he’s hitting 40.8 percent of his attempts. He’s a guy that the Hoosiers may want to overplay because of his poor shooting percentage (37.8) inside the 3-point line. Bader is an excellent free throw shooter (94.7 percent), but doesn’t get to the line very often (26.6 percent free throw rate).

Joining Bader in the backcourt is Duke Mondy, who was reinstated from a two-game suspension back on Nov. 20 following a sexual assault arrest where charges were ultimately dropped. The 6-foot-4 guard is the team’s third leading scorer at 11.7 points per game and was the Horizon League newcomer of the year last season. Mondy is No. 1 nationally in steal rate and 58th in assist rate. A third guard, 5-foot-9 freshman Kahlil Felder, is averaging 8.1 points and close to five assists per game.

The best frontcourt player on the Grizzly roster is 6-foot-10 junior Corey Petros, who averages 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game. The most efficient scorer of the regulars in Oakland’s rotation, Petros is shooting 56.6 percent on 2s. Two others to watch are 6-foot-8 sophomore Tommie McCune, who averages 6.6 points and Dante Williams, who was arrested with Mondy, and has an effective field goal percentage of 55 in limited minutes.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

If Oakland is to keep things close in Assembly Hall, the Grizzlies are going to have to do a much better job on the defensive glass. Through Sunday’s games, the Hoosiers are the nation’s third best team in offensive rebounding percentage and Oakland ranks just 315th in defensive rebounding percentage. So even if Indiana isn’t shooting particularly well, the numbers don’t show Oakland having much of a chance to slow down second chance opportunities.

Oakland also struggles to convert inside the 3-point line (44.3 percent shooting on 2s), which could be further complicated by Indiana’s length and ability to challenge shots at the rim. The Grizzlies are also allowing opponents to get to the line at a frequent rate (52.4 opponent free throw rate), which plays into one of the major strengths of the IU offensive footprint.

It’s beginning to sound like a broken record, but turnovers are once again key for the Hoosiers. Oakland is forcing its opponents to turn it over on 20.9 percent of possessions and the Hoosiers, despite a season-low turnover percentage of 14 against North Florida, are still coughing it up on 20.6 of their possessions.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

With trips to some major venues already in the books, this Oakland team isn’t going to be awestruck by the atmosphere in Assembly Hall. The Grizzlies have hit a bit of a rough stretch after Greg Kampe won 20 or more games for four straight seasons from 2009-2012.

Bader obviously presents a unique challenge because of his ability to light it up from the perimeter, but Indiana has been exceptional defending the 3-point line so far this season. The Hoosiers already shut down a major scorer in Evansville’s D.J. Balentine and the importance of limiting Bader is similar. Oakland has been much better offensively than it has defensively to this point, so this shouldn’t be a game like Syracuse or Connecticut where the Hoosiers struggle to find points.

We’ve pretty much learned what to expect from Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh through the season’s first nine games, but with just four contests to go before Big Ten season tips, Indiana needs to figure out who else it can count on for consistent offensive production.

The KenPom prediction likes Indiana to win comfortably, 84-69, with a win probability of 90 percent.

All tempo-free stats via KenPom.com.

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  • John

    Put the pedal down and don’t let up.

  • Alford Bailey

    Kinda surprising ESPN2 picked up this cupcake game.

  • Gregory Spera

    Wow. Even “What to Expect” is starting to sound a little embarrassed about the Hoosiers non-conference schedule.

  • Alford Bailey

    LOL, I’m thinking the same but didnt want to stir up the hornets nest again. Good one,Gregory LMAO!

  • hardcore_hoosier

    Multiple player arrests. 2-7 record. Oakland is the Purdue of the Horizon League.

  • CreamandCrimson

    For anyone who is “really bored” or “tired” of watching IU play these non-conference games, I have a solution….don’t watch! The home non-conference schedule is not good, we know this and it’s not changing. That’s not to say you can’t come on here and express your opinion about the schedule but this game isn’t worthless. IU should win comfortably but there’s no reason we can’t take some things from tonight’s game and add them into the big picture that is our season.

    I thought it would be interesting, just for very loose comparisons sake, to look up what Oakland did against other notable teams thus far…
    -at UNC – 61-84
    -at UCLA – 61-90
    -at California – 60-64
    -at Gonzaga – 67-82
    -vs. Ohio (win) – 73-56

    Anyway, I’ll be looking to see if IU can continue to take care of the ball like they did in the final 25 minutes of the North Florida game. Also, can Evan Gordon keep his nice scoring run going? Can Stanford Robinson keep earning his additional minutes? Luke Fischer is getting healthy, is he ready to start getting more minutes? Can Will Sheehey break out of his funk?

    This is our final tune-up before a resume builder on Saturday against the Irish….let’s have a good performance and go Hoosiers.

  • sarge

    Thanks for the scores, I was going to look them up and didn’t have to. It would be nice to see some of the questions about this squad, like the ones you pointed out, get answered. I don’t think we will see too much tonight, but a convincing win will build more confidence for our next game. I hate all Indiana schools that play IU, and I don’t see us losing to Notre Dame. Take care of Oakland and then focus shifts to beating the snot out of the Irish.

  • Mk

    I don’t have a problem with you agreeing about the cupcakes but I have a really hard time believing that you found his comment so funny that you laughed your a** off?

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Please not Dakich…

  • Alford Bailey

    Chin on the rim, chin on the rim. My favorite Dakichism.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    What I want to see tonight:

    1. Plays designed for Sheehey to get his confidence back up. We will need him to be a consistent offensive threat if we want to do well in the Big Ten.

    2. Luke Fischer to play a lot more. I liked what Crean had to say about him recovering from his injuries the other day. We need his size and fundamentals.

    3. More of what we saw from Evan Gordon and Stanford Robinson.

    4. Hollowell to have another good game. Other than the syracuse game when everyone played pitiful, Hollowell has responded excellently from Crean’s message.

    5. I want to see Troy Williams take over a game offensively and defensively. I’m not sure it will happen this year, but he is the most athletic player in the conference right now. Once he learns how to harness his energy and settle down a bit, I think he can be an absolute monster.

  • SCHoosier

    Well looking at the glass half full..IU tonight will face some semblance of a zone..and has to defend a REALLY good three point shooter..both parts of the ‘ol b-ball game IU needs improvement on. So lets see what happens. Agree that the ND is our next really good measuring stick about the progress of this team.

  • Alford Bailey

    Looks like they were hanging in there. What were their players arrested for?

  • CreamandCrimson

    According to the “What to Expect” article, they had two players arrested for a sexual assault incident where charges were later dropped.

  • Alford Bailey

    Well, not literally. I am still in one piece.

  • Alford Bailey

    LOL, yea I read that last night. Thanks.

  • Kyl470

    I’d like to see Troy work better off the ball. He seems to always be just driving the baseline or running in for a put back dunk. I’d like to see him involved in more back cuts or pick and roll situations where he is the guy setting the pick.

  • cdog

    Riddle me this batman. Why can’t either Etherington or Hartman become a Bader type player? Both were considered very good shooters in HS and were probably ranked higher than Bader. Bader is doing it with everyone in the building knowing he is going to shoot 10-11 3 pointers per game and make a higher percentage than anyone on the IU team. Can you imagine what Jordan Hulls would have done last year if he was 6’5″ tall with his shooting accuracy. Hopefully Etherington’s last game is some indication that he is gaining confidence in his shot. Confidence is the only thing that seperates our boys from a guy like Bader. Next year we will have two great shooters to open up our offense and we will no longer have any excuses on beating a zone defense.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    hartman is only a freshman and has had to compete for minutes, etherington had a horrible injury and hulls was one of the best shooters in IU history. So it’s a tough comparison and I don’t think etherington or hartman are anywhere close to hulls.

  • Eastwood88_2

    I Am Surprised No One Is Worried About This Game. They HavE All The Pieces For An Upset. The Line Does Not Indicate The Challenge. Fischer Is Worried, Then So Am I

  • Hoosierfan2335

    I’m not worried. I am jealous of their non-conference schedule though.

  • nwin iu fan

    I like you betty

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    LOL? Maybe not the best response to accusations of sexual assault.

  • nwiniu fan

    last gm ; fisher didn’t have shoulder brace on, crean talked on his show last night about how fisher is finally getting healthier !

  • Bleeding Crimson

    You know I used to like Dakich but the last game he did was just pure misery. I can’t stand listening to him trying to coach a game when he couldn’t coach a team when “won’t mention the name” left. He sucked and had talent. From listening to his predictions, to from saying things like” I didn’t say that” when the other announcer makes a statement about him from his previous coaching years but will still take credit for it. Maybe it’s just me but I turned down the volume the last game just not to be able to listen to him. Sorry if I offended anyone but if he’s on tonight I’ll be watching and listen to Fish.
    So is he on the call tonight?

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Troy should be playing better D…period.

  • Sean G

    I’m not usually superstitious, but it seems like, in recent memory, every time I have watched a game when he’s on the call, IU has lost. Can anyone discredit this? Because I’m really starting to feel superstitious about it – and I don’t like this feeling…

  • Alford Bailey

    Easy Steve. Laughing at myself because I read the article last night. Its the old I’ve slept since then thing. Lets not try to fabricate something out of nothing here.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    We all talked about games that we should win that we shouldn’t and games we should lose that we shouldn’t….this could be one of those games…I think we will have the home court advantage depending on the Zebra’s…I’m going out on a tree branch and say we will win by 22 due to our front court, put backs, and FT’s.