What to Expect: Eastern Washington

  • 11/24/2014 10:49 am in

Indiana concludes the four-game “Hoosiers Showcase” tonight in Assembly Hall with a meeting with Eastern Washington, which was picked to finish second in the Big Sky conference by the league’s coaches.

The game tips at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNews with Mike Couzens and Mark Adams on the call:

If Indiana is going to move to 5-0 on the young season, the Hoosiers will need a much sharper effort than the one produced on Saturday night against Lamar. Eastern Washington, which is 3-1 and is coming off a nine-point loss at SMU, brings its 3-point shooting attack to Bloomington tonight.

It’s a game that didn’t jump out on the non-conference schedule when it was released, but the Eagles are just outside of the top 150 in the current KenPom ratings. After Saturday’s poor defensive performance against Lamar, Indiana will need to be much more engaged against a team that is fully capable of knocking down enough 3-pointers to walk out of Assembly Hall with a win.


Junior lefty guard Tyler Harvey (pictured) led the Big Sky in scoring last season at 21.3 points per game and hit 43.3 percent of his 3s and is off to another strong start. Of Harvey’s 55 field goal attempts in four games, 40 of them have been 3-pointers. He’s knocked down 19 of those shots. Harvey also has an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio (4.5 to 1) early in the season.

Joining Harvey in the backcourt are 6-foot-4 senior guards Parker Kelly and Drew Brandon. Kelly has taken 19 of his 22 shot attempts from behind the 3-point line, so he’s another guy that must be marked on the perimeter. Like Harvey, Kelly is hitting north of 47 percent on 3s so far this season. Brandon takes a fair amount of 3s, but is far less efficient than Harvey and Kelly as he hit just 32.6 percent from distance a season ago.

The EWU frontcourt isn’t imposing from a size perspective, but it does have a 6-foot-8 presence in Venky Jois who is capable of finishing his attempts around the rim and hitting the glass at both ends. Jois averaged 13.4 points and eight rebounds last season and is making 74 percent of his 2s through four games. Joining him at forward is 6-foot-7 sophomore Ognjen Miljkovic, who has taken 17 of his 22 field goal attempts from behind the 3-point line.

A trio of other forwards — Felix Von Hofe, Kyle Reid and Bogdan Bliznyuk — could see limited minutes. Reid is the best defensive rebounder of the group, but is basically invisible offensively. In Saturday’s loss at SMU, coach Jim Hayford played four different guys more than 30 minutes, so unless foul trouble becomes an issue, look for EWU to stick with its starters for the majority of the night.


Tom Crean mentioned EWU’s ability to knock down 3s in his postgame comments following the win over Lamar and he wasn’t exaggerating. Through four games, Eastern Washington has taken 230 field goal attempts and 114 of them have come from behind the 3-point line. They’re making a healthy percentage as well (41.4), so this isn’t a gimmick team that is chucking 3s without regard. The Eagles can really shoot.

As solid as the offense has been, however, the defense is just 231st nationally in the KenPom ratings. After turning it over 19 times in Assembly Hall, SMU only had 10 turnovers against Eastern Washington on Saturday and also hit close to 50 percent of its field goal attempts.

The sample sizes aren’t really enough yet to draw many conclusions, but here’s a KenPom comparison of the two teams:



The line on this game is a bit spread out as Sagarin likes IU by just seven, Pomeroy likes the Hoosiers by 12 and the Vegas number is currently IU by 12.5. This figures to be a game with a lot of 3-point shooting, but Indiana needs to make getting to the foul line a priority in this one as Eastern Washington is truly a team that lives and dies by the 3 and rarely gets to the line.

Indiana was actually a very strong team a season ago at defending the 3 and guys like Yogi Ferrell and Stanford Robinson have shown capable of getting into shooters on the perimeter and forcing them into uncomfortable attempts. But this matchup isn’t about one or two guys as EWU is going to fill the floor with three or four guys who can hit attempts from deep, so IU’s newcomers are also going to have to show themselves capable of leaving shooters unattended.

The Hoosiers should also be able to find some second chance opportunities in this game as EWU has never been particularly strong on the defensive glass under Hayford. This is a game that Indiana simply can’t afford to overlook and after Saturday’s defensive performance against Lamar, it’ll be interesting to see how this group responds to the challenge of stopping a potential 3-point barrage.


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  • marcusgresham

    It honestly sounds like a great match-up for IU. Similar make-ups in the way both teams are built and play. I like Hanner and Troy to be big contributors, and with EWU’s lack of interior strength the guards shouldn’t have to slack off to help as much, giving them a chance to stay with the perimeter guys.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    It would seem like man-to-man would be the obvious choice for this game, but I bet we’ll inexplicably play zone for about 20-30% of our defensive opportunities.

  • Brad

    I would really like to see us play pretty much no zone defense tonight, but I’m sure that isn’t going to happen. Our zone leaves way too many open three opportunities. Sounds like this team could make us pay for that.

  • John Temple

    I read on another site that E Washington also has a 7’2″ freshman center who they are trying to work in to their frontcourt. Just his size alone could make interior play more difficult for IU. Do you know anything about him?

  • SilentBob

    I know he got 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks in 26 minutes against a team I’ve never heard of (I’m assuming a division 2 school).

  • SilentBob

    To go along with him being 7’2 (7’1 according to espn) he is also 285 lbs

  • Hoosier Hall

    I don’t mean to sound overly simplistic but playing against each other in practice every day… our boys should have at least a vague idea of how to guard the 3 point line.

  • indigodoc

    He probably can’t run with us and he’s played very little against Div 1 opponents so I don’t expect to see him much.

  • SilentBob

    Great match-up all across the board. These tall 3 pt shooters will be a great test for our perimeter defense, and offense really. They’re 12th in the nation right now in steals and blocks (were 4th before SMU). Jois should be a great challenge for Hanner. If I was a betting man I’d put IU on upset alert tonight. Hopefully we’ve got our heads out of our rear after the Lamar game.

  • drunken_cardozo

    Going to my first game of the season tonight. Excited to see how Holt’s physique stacks up in person compared to on TV. Not sure how much PT he’ll get, but for me personally he’s the most intriguing question mark right now. Excited to see how the kid turns out after a promising performance Saturday.

  • ForeverIU

    Great point. Imagine how much better Yogi and James will become just scrimmaging against each other. Yogi even said something about that the other day.

  • Speed

    If we play zone defense we get beat because we do not shift well enough to defend the 3. Man to man D will lead to a true shootout at Assembly hall between two teams that live and die by the 3. We need this win to offset the losses we’ll surely receive against the larger more physical teams such as Wisconsin and Lville.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I would love to watch a game of 2 on 2 with Yogi and Rob vs. James and Stan.

  • ForeverIU

    This may be the perfect game for Stan to show his defensive prowess. I feel sorry for the kids he and Yogi are going to guard, if we go man-to-man that is.

  • KmanCRK

    I agree completely. We are either way too slow to react or we shift too far leaving us unable to get back to the open shooter. This problem seems to get much worse within the zone. Plus we are really bad at finding someone to block out from the zone. Sounds like this is a team that will live and die by the 3 so please CTC, leave the zone at home tonight…

  • KmanCRK

    I’d take James & Stan every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

  • KmanCRK

    Is he wearing a boot?

  • INUnivHoosier

    Gotta play defense tonight, because we won’t be trading three pointers for two pointers.

  • ForeverIU

    And makes it harder to rebound their misses, perhaps.

  • ForeverIU

    6 votes in the new AP poll and 5 votes in the USA Today poll for IU. Let’s keep it boys! Upward-bound!

  • Ole Man

    Our man to man stinks, so since most of you don’t want to play zone, why don’t we just take turns shooting. Whoever hits the most shots wins.

  • ForeverIU

    Brilliant Ole Man, LOL!

  • Eastwood88_2

    5th game in 10 days. 7 freshman, no seniors. This seems like a trap to me. I hope we continue our intensity and ball movement on offense. The passing has been top notch this year. Really fun to watch.
    As for the defense, the only thing I know is that it can be taught. How to score cannot. You either have it or you don’t. I watched the Lamar game on delay and came away not as bad as others. The interior defense by Troy and Hanner was bad, no doubt. But they did get some crazy bounces and made some contested shots. The penetration is way too easy and I believe this will improve. Stan, Yogi and Rob did an excellent job IMO. I look for improvement thru out the year.
    Holt, small sample size, but whoever answered my question was correct. Kid looks like he can rebound and defend. Looking forwarded to seeing more of him on the court. No I do not want to see him and HMP together.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    …i’m still laughing.

  • David Macer

    This could be a trap game unless IU plays defense and shoots better than Saturday against Lamar. I would like to see the defensive intensity right out of the box.

  • MillaRed

    Holt’s ability to defend and rebound may be the difference between the dance and the N.I.T.

    We need more bodies down there. Call me Captain Obvious.

  • MillaRed

    Your positive attitude is excruciating!

  • MillaRed

    I fully expect a combination of Yogi, RJ and Stan defending Tyler Harvey at different times tonight. Wear the kid down. Yogi will be guarding him in the last 4 minutes.

  • ForeverIU

    You might have said something earlier Milla, and I would have toned it down, just for you, LOL! Go to see you man.

  • ForeverIU

    I agree with you, especially in the absence of Devin.

  • KmanCRK

    Here you go Milla. I thought I’d throw out the definition of “Fan” per Merriam-Webster: an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator

  • SCHoosier

    If this is a good 3 pt shooting team..seems to me we need to find out who can play man and who can’t. Why give them open looks in a zone since they have a lot of kids who can allegedly shoot.

  • MillaRed

    I need a translation here. Way over my head I’m thinking.

  • Kyl470

    Just because you play zone doesn’t mean you give up open three pointers.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    This team needs a senior walk on player.

  • Gecko

    When you live by the 3, you die with the 3, especially when you cannot play defense.

  • Jonny McClain

    I was thinking the same thing – we need a big body to lean on somebody. too late to get a juco transfer for 2nd semester? lol

  • Oregoniu

    In retrospect we should have expected them to out coach us, that IU wouldn’t take care of the ball, that Troy “showboat” Williams would continue to pass it to the other team off the dribble, that CTC would bank 1 timeout, that IU would have no interior presence, and that EWU would whip us on our own floor!! Good Night Martha!!

  • eville87

    Please Cuban give us 12 million so we can move on.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    Usually an Indiana native focused on academics with basketball skills. Coach check the HPER

  • John Temple

    Well, I guess we’re not laughing and joking today. Their big man had no impact but neither did ours. Interior defense was non existent. Back to the drawing board.