What to Expect: Mississippi Valley State

  • 11/13/2014 8:27 am in

Indiana opens the 2014-2015 season on Friday night at Assembly Hall with Mississippi Valley State, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. ET with Tom Hamilton and Shon Morris on the call.

Two of Indiana’s non-conference opponents this season begin ranked in the bottom five of the KenPom ratings. Lamar, which comes to Assembly Hall on Nov. 22 and Friday’s opponent, Mississippi Valley State.

This isn’t the first trip to Bloomington for the Delta Devils. Back in Tom Crean’s third season in Bloomington, Mississippi Valley State came to Assembly Hall for a mid-November contest that the Hoosiers won, 71-54. The program has changed coaches twice since that game in 2010 and the outlook for this year’s MVSU team is, quite frankly, bleak.

PERSONNEL

A quick glance at Mississippi Valley State’s stats from last season shows that 17 (!) different players scored in a game. Three of those players were seniors and of the 14 others, only five returned to Itta Bena to play for new coach Andre Payne.

Fortunately for Payne, three of the returnees have significant experience. Sophomore 5-foot-10 guard Jordan Washington (pictured) is the only returning player who posted an offensive rating of over 100 and was the team’s second leading scorer in its exhibition win over Stillman College earlier this month with 19 points.

Also returning for the Delta Devils is Jeffrey Simmons, a 6-foot-1 senior and DeAngelo Priar, a 6-foot-4 senior. Simmons was second on last season’s team in scoring at 10.6 points per game and used more possessions than anyone else on the roster (26.4 percent), but had a woeful turnover rate (29 percent) and rarely got to the foul line. Priar, who had 18 points and seven rebounds in the team’s exhibition tune-up, had the team’s lowest effective field goal percentage among regulars a season ago at 42.4 percent.

One newcomer to keep an eye on is Barton Community College transfer and Lawrence Central product Tyler Corley. The 5-foot-10 guard, a high school teammate of former IU forward Jeremy Hollowell, had a team-high 21 points in his first game with the program and also added seven steals and four assists.

A QUICK TEMPO-FREE GLANCE

When you finish 14-46 over the previous two seasons, there’s really not much to write home about from an efficiency standpoint. The Delta Devils ranked 332nd nationally last season in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

While the roster has experienced quite a bit of turnover, Mississippi Valley State scored just .94 points per possession and were one of the worst shooting teams in the country with an effective field goal percentage of 45.3. The Delta Devils also allowed opponents to shoot nearly 55 percent on 2s, which means that IU will likely be looking to drive to the basket at every opportunity.

Mississippi Valley State did manage to post a steal rate that ranked among the top 80 in the country, but it was negated by constant fouling as their opponent free throw rate ranked 316th nationally.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

It’s very possible (and very likely) that Indiana’s test on Monday night against the University of Indianapolis will be tougher than the one it will meet from Mississippi Valley State.

The SWAC was the nation’s worst conference last season and is expected to be right back in the same position this year. Simply put, Indiana will outclass the Delta Devils from a talent perspective and the KenPom prediction is a 28-point IU victory. A lopsided number like that, along with a one percent chance of an IU loss, is indicative of a matchup that, even if MVSU plays its best game, might not be enough to keep things competitive.

For the Hoosiers, it’s a game in which progress will be measured in areas like defensive rebounding percentage and turnover percentage rather than the final score or margin of victory. And while it is the first game of the season in Assembly Hall that counts, it’s probably not one that we’ll learn much about this team that we don’t already know.

QUICK FACTS ON MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE

Location: Itta Bena, Mississippi
Enrollment: 2,500
Established: 1950

(Photo credit: AP/Elaine Thompson)

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  • Hoosiersteve

    I certainly get that this IU team needs some easy games early to build confidence, and MVSU undoubtedly needs the check that it will be collecting. But in my opinion, Indiana has no business playing a team like this, let alone charging admission to watch it.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Yes, but…. Look at IU’s non-conference schedule as a whole. SMU, Pittsburgh, Louisville, & Butler are a respectable non-conference slate. I wish our cupcakes were more along the lines of teams that would provided some sort of test or were in state/region teams. I’d love to see IU play Evansville, Cincinnati, Ohio, Bowling Green, Toledo, Ball State & ND annually. If the non-conference schedule were all the teams listed above, IU fans & commentators would not question the schedule. Also, they need to get KU back on the schedule.

  • ForeverIU

    Lol, now I’m more excited about what CTC is going to say about MVS than actually watching the game. I guess the only stat that will have any relevance is FT%! Headlines tomorrow: “MVS up there with the very best in defending the Free Throw!”

  • CreamandCrimson

    I assume you mean “UK” not “KU” (KU is Kansas)…as much as I would like to play Kentucky annually, I don’t think either school is the least bit interested in getting it going again and I’m glad we aren’t taking them on this season. Their size against us would be rather ugly.

    Anyway, I completely agree with your in-state or Midwest opponents thing. I really would love to see us swap schools like Lamar (although that game was scheduled while Pat Knight was coach so I get that), Miss. Valley State, New Orleans, Savannah State and UNC Greensboro with schools from the MAC or the Summit League or the Horizon League or do a home and home with St. Louis or Xavier.

    That being said, the schedule is what it is and I think it’s a big improvement on last season…no games can be taken for granted when we figure to be on the bubble and avoiding any “bad losses” is huge. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night, let’s go Hoosiers!

  • MK

    who are we supposed to play in the first game of the season?

  • ForeverIU

    Erased the comment, because I thought it was a serious question, lol!

  • ForeverIU

    In other news, Memphis lost an exhibition game to Christian Brothers University in overtime! Let’s not get too cocky.

  • Hoosier Pride

    100% agree, with the midwest/surrounding states teams I think it would be a good move, especially from a business side. A lot more fans would come (especially opposing) if we played the likes of the teams you mentioned. I would bet MVSU fans don’t travel too well…

  • Brad

    I’m assuming he’s gonna say they are a well coached team that plays hard. How they are gonna be a big challenge for us since we are a young team.

  • Oldguyy

    For the historians, does Barton Community College ring a bell? It’s where Knight dipped into the JUCO ranks for the first time, and got Todd Jadlow and Andre Harris in ’85.

  • ForeverIU

    I have great respect for historians! Bob Knight majored in history in college! Surely that taught him something about critical engagement with the amorphous historical record.

  • Gregory Spera

    Hell, just recently I took another look at the schedule this season, and saw that we are playing a national park.

  • Gregory Spera

    Hell, just recently I took another look at the schedule this season, and saw that we are playing a national park.

  • MillaRed

    Soooooooo, you’re saying there’s a chance?

  • INUnivHoosier

    I think it would be a good challenge to have <12 turnovers for the game.

  • TomJameson

    MVS does have a good steal rate. That may be the test of the night.

  • marcusgresham

    Having spent 5 years at USI (and 8 total in Evansville,) I am 100% confident that upper-echelon D-II schools (GLVC schools, in particular,) are superior in talent & coaching to lower D-I teams.

  • Hoosiersteve

    My point is a more global one. Heck, this IU team really could lose to MVSU or to any other opponent – at least it should not be taken for granted as a win. But that does not mean that a program like Indiana should be playing these kinds of opponents. Do the other big programs also schedule cupcakes in the non-conference season? Sure they do. Is that a good thing for college basketball? I say no. Scheduling the schools mentioned in your post (I would add Xavier, Miami OH, and NKU to the mix) would make a whole lot more sense, even though Indiana could lose to a lot of them in any given year. Come March, wouldn’t the committee rather see that than a 40-point win over a doormat?

  • SCHoosier

    Coach says they like to press a lot full and half court. If nothing else might be a good test of how Hoosiers will start the season on the turnover challenge.

  • oldiugymnast

    Scheduling those cupcakes allows those cupcake schools to have programs. That is good for college basketball programs. The separation between the best kid and the 100th best kid is a hair’s width.

  • Kyl470

    With all the players missing due to suspension I’m glad they are playing an easy game.

  • Ole Man

    Grand Canyon, Northern Ky, Presbyterian, N.C. Central–teams that are playing the top six ranked teams on Friday night.

  • SilentBob

    For moral reasons, I will never allow myself to say IU would probably lose to UK. I’m the kind of idiot that if IU was slated to face UK in the brackets this year would pick IU just because. That’s why in the 2012 tournament I picked VCU to beat us so I wouldn’t put myself in that position lol.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Yes I meant UK….

  • ForeverIU

    Exactly! You look at a school like Grand Canyon. In it’s first year in D1 it is ranked #241 by kenpom, already ahead of 100 D1 schools.

  • b_side

    Oh the irony given the sequel is premiering the same night.

  • MillaRed

    The wife and I dialed up the original tonight on NetFlix. It never get old.

    20 years ago already!

  • Lance76

    Controlling turn overs is the key. Shooters/ drivers will spread the floor and take some pressure off Hanner both offensively and for rebounds. Offensive rebounds are not as present if you make a lot of shots. Defensive rebounds are another animal, especially if zone is played and block outs are not handled well. We will see how things go starting tonight!

  • E Foy McNaughton

    So many more beneficial results of playing local / regional teams. I remember how much fun we used to have poking fun at Ball State alumni…. and such….

  • Jon

    Now why on earth are we playing this team? If we are going to schedule a bottom-tier team, at least let there be something unique or significant about their style of play or personnel so we can learn something. I don’t see any value to this. I know every school plays this type of team, but come on.

  • Snookafly

    Has USI ever beaten UE?