What to Expect: Savannah State

  • 12/05/2014 12:32 pm in

Indiana will look to move to 7-1 on Saturday night as the Hoosiers welcome Savannah State to Assembly Hall. It’s the third all-time meeting between the two programs.

The game will tip at 7:30 on BTN with Chris Denari and Dan Bonner on the call:

There’s little intrigue as Indiana returns to action this weekend following Tuesday’s win over Pittsburgh and that’s because Savannah State is another overmatched opponent in a guarantee game with the Hoosiers. The Tigers last came to Bloomington in November of 2011, Cody Zeller’s freshman season, and left with a 29-point loss.

This year’s Savannah State club actually has wins over Winthrop and Cleveland State (both at home) to its name to go along with a complete drubbing at Louisville and lopsided losses at Eastern Kentucky, Marshall and Winthrop. Yes, it’s already played Winthrop twice. IU fans have circled games with Louisville, Butler and Georgetown on this month’s schedule, but the Hoosiers first must get past this contest before the schedule ramps up on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic.


The Tigers come to Bloomington with just one player, senior guard Terel Hall (pictured), averaging in double figures. Hall’s 10.6 points per game lead the program as does his effective field goal percentage (59.1). Against Division I opponents, the 6-foot-1 guard is making 59 percent of his 2s and is doing a solid job of getting to the foul line (68.2 free throw rate).

After Hall, the efficiency on this team takes a major nosedive. Alante Fenner, who is using 28.6 percent of possessions when on the floor, is second in scoring (9.1 ppg) in a reserve role. But that high usage rate isn’t a positive as he’s shooting just 36 percent from the field.

Savannah State’s two best rebounders are 6-foot-7 Saadiq Muhammad and 6-foot-5 Javaris Jenkins. Muhammad averages 8.9 points while Jenkins isn’t far behind at 8.8 per game. Both players are solid on the defensive glass with percentages above 17 on that end of the floor.

Freshman guard Khaleen Pinkett has taken as many free throws as he has 2s against Division I opponents, but is converting at just a 50 percent rate from the line. Brian Pearson, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, has a team-high nine blocks and also leads with 15 offensive rebounds.



There are 351 Division I teams and only seven rank below Savannah State in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. Only one team turns it over more frequently than the Tigers and less than 40 shoot it worse. Simply put, this is an inept team offensively that is scoring .89 points per possession.

Savannah State is doing a decent job of forcing turnovers defensively and it’s defensive efficiency ranking is actually better than Indiana’s coming into this game. However, if the Hoosiers hold Savannah State close to just their season average on offense coming in, their defensive numbers should get a nice boost even though it won’t really mean much at all.


Like the Lamar and UNC Greensboro game, this is a game Indiana should win comfortably. However, neither of those wins came particularly easy, so it’s no sure thing to declare this contest a sure blowout without seeing how the Hoosiers respond to a lesser opponent coming off a nice win against Pittsburgh.

The Pomeroy projection is Indiana by 20 and Sagarin likes the Hoosiers by close to 23.

Things to watch for: Does Indiana come out and step on Savannah State early with a killer instinct that we haven’t always seen against overmatched opponents? Can the Hoosiers put the defensive clamps on the Tigers? And how do Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Emmitt Holt follow up strong performances against Pittsburgh?

(Photo credit: Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America)

Filed to:

  • SCHoosier

    This has the makings of a sloppy game for IU as the Hoosiers look ahead to Tuesday’s challenge. Maybe April and Priller will see some serious court time. Last thing I want to see is any the top 8 players on the floor of a blowout with 6 minutes left in the game.

  • INUnivHoosier

    This is a trap game. I would like to see Indiana keep Savannah State below 60 points, be ahead at least 15 at the half, and win the second half instead of regressing.

    I would also like to see Holt get a few minutes with Perea to see how that pair operates on the court.

  • SilentBob

    Solid stylistic match up to get us ready for Louisville. Their guards and wings both have shown a tendency to turn people over as Alex mentioned. Hall averages 2.1 spg and Fenner, Jenkins, and Pinkett all in the ballpark of a steal in a half per game. Should be good prep for Rozier, Blackshear, and Jones.

  • ‘Nuff_Said

    I want this team to go for the jugular quickly and then just keep pouring it on. Not to embarrass the opponent but to show us they have the killer instinct. They let up on the throttle against Pitt and Pitt quickly turned it back into a ballgame.

  • Oregoniu

    This could be a trap game from the standpoint that all of the usual suspects may forget this is a team sport and start hunting points, it’s happen before recently!

  • IUHoosier1976

    I predicted when I scrolled down to the comments that all I would see is “This is a trap game”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t agree more. Weak opponents always see to bring out a sloppy game with no flow. I see us winning but I don’t think it’s going to be a fun one to watch. Be prepared for the mood to completely change in the comment section with people in PANIC mode. Good luck Hoosiers! One game at a time!

  • Kyl470

    I’m going to go against the grain and say that this is NOT a trap game. I can’t imagine them taking anyone for granted after the lose to Eastern Washington.

  • OhioHoosier

    Well if you’re going to commit to an inferior Division 1 program, at least Savannah would be a cool place to live.

  • Zach

    IU seems to play up to the caliber of their opponents. I need to see a drubbing Saturday. Don’t let them hang around within ten points. Step on their throats!

  • INUnivHoosier

    I hope you are right!

  • Bill

    I would ask everyone who posts….
    Take a few minutes to post on Thon Makers ages what iu basketball means to you personally.

    Let’s get him here. Stop posting nonsense and be useful.

    Food hs Twitter, etc. With personal messages.

    Go get him

  • Bill

    Auto fill. Wow. You get my point.

  • And One

    I concur. Hoosiers by 30. Yes, 30.

  • Lance76

    This team can score. I was really impressed with how they handled the zone in the Pitt game. If I were Coach Crean, I would challenge team to holding Savannah to the least points possible and foot on the gas pedal through the entire game.

  • HoosierDawg

    Yup…very cool!

  • marcusgresham

    For those who don’t remember, this is the team Louisville was playing when Rick Pitino stated he played “four white guys and the Egyptian” to try to avoid running up the score. I think the final was something like 83-26.

  • FinEndNow

    I think we can put up 80+…. but I don’t think we can hold them to 26.. or 50..

  • ForeverIU

    I’m glad Pitino is getting cocky. He and his cardinals are in for a rude awakening, although he himself has stated that his players are turnover prone, and he was not talking about his freshmen. Let’s send those cardinals back from the Garden as chicken hawks.