What to Expect: Eastern Illinois

  • 11/13/2015 10:25 am in

Indiana opens the 2015-2016 season on Friday night at Assembly Hall with Eastern Illinois, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).

The game will be broadcast live on BTN Plus (online, subscription only) at 7 p.m. ET with (Scott Stewart, Sam Rumpza and Olivia DeWeese) on the call.

Basketball is back tonight in Assembly Hall, which is under construction but ready to go for the 116th season of Indiana basketball. The Hoosiers enter the season with plenty of expectations, but plenty of questions linger as well.

Those expectations – Indiana is ranked in the top 15 and picked by many to finish in the first couple of spots in the Big Ten – are nothing new for the program. But to meet them or even exceed them, Indiana must prove that it can raise its level of play defensively.

The first test that actually means something is tonight as IU welcomes Eastern Illinois, a team that won 18 games last season, to Bloomington.

PERSONNEL

Jay Spoonhour, the son of the late Charlie Spoonhour, enters his fourth season at Eastern Illinois with an interesting mix of players.

On the experience side, Spoonhour welcomes back a pair of key contributors in forward Trae Anderson and guard Cornell Johnston. The 6-foot-4 Anderson earned second team All-OVC honors last season. At 235 pounds, he’s a physical presence who can rebound, but can also step out and shoot the 3 (40 percent last season).

Johnston, who is just 5-foot-7, was the OVC freshman of the year last season and led the team in assist rate (27.2 percent) and 3-point shooting at better than 50 percent.

6-foot-11 senior Luke Piotrowski returns inside after averaging 3.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and a block per game last season.

Eastern Illinois will also rely heavily on newcomers as Spoonhour attempts to integrate seven new players into the mix. The headliner appears to be JUCO guard Demetrius McReynolds, a Louisville native who averaged 15.6 points for Eastern Florida State College last season.

Another JUCO addition is 6-foot-4 A.J. Riley, a Peoria, Illinois native who averaged 9.5 points, four rebounds and 2.8 assists last season at John A. Logan College.

Freshman forward Patrick Muldoon also figures to play a role early after earning all-state honors in Kansas in his final prep season.

A TEMPO-FREE REVIEW FROM LAST SEASON

Eastern Illinois actually finished 216th in last season’s KenPom ratings, which is higher than six of the teams that came to Assembly Hall last winter for non-conference guarantee games.

The Panthers finished last season 85th nationally in effective field goal percentage and 52nd in 3-point shooting percentage. They also finished with a better overall defense than Indiana with a defensive efficiency rating of 175th in the country.

Given the amount of newcomers they’re working in, the computers are less bullish on this year’s group as Pomeroy predicts an offense and defense both ranked outside of the top 250 nationally.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

After opening last season with one of the 10 worst teams in the country in Mississippi Valley State, Indiana will be a little more challenged with Eastern Illinois, which is picked to finish as high as second in the west division of the OVC.

Still, this is a game that IU should win and do so comfortably as the Pomeroy prediction is IU by 22 with a 97 percent chance of a win. The Vegas line, which opened with IU favored by 16, quickly went all the way up to 23.5, where it currently sits.

This is the first of three games at Assembly Hall for Indiana before it departs for Maui, a trip where the Hoosiers are sure to be tested on the second and third day of games. We probably won’t fully know where this team is at in terms of the nation’s elite until then, but the season is finally here and so is the excitement about what it could potentially become.

QUICK FACTS ON EASTERN ILLINOIS

Location: Charleston, Illinois
Enrollment: 8,913
Established: 1895

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  • Gregory Spera

    What to Expect: Should be the kind of game where we get a Thriller sighting in the second half. Thank God, basketball is back. I think this is going to be a fun season.

  • Trevor Howenstine

    I think IU scores 100+ tonight.

  • TomJameson

    While I would absolutely love to see IU with 100+, I would more like to see them shut Eastern Illinois down to the tune of less than 50.

  • Trevor Howenstine

    IU – 101
    E.Illinois-48

  • CP

    Anyone know how to listen to the game online? I in wisconsin so I have to listen to a live stream. Thanks!

  • straight no chaser

    Hey, don’t bring God into it. My guess is He’s more a fan of the underdog!

  • straight no chaser

    When I go to iuhoosiers dot com for live stats I usually see a link to audio, but I’m not sure if you have to pay for it.

  • Zeke11

    Please read this in your best Eminem singing voice – “It feels so good to be back!!”

  • DA

    I too would like to know. I live in Louisville and the only radio channel that carries IU has literally no reception at night.

  • Corey Schroyer

    Some of my coworkers have to be a little annoyed at how many times I’ve mentioned that IU ball opens its season Friday, but since it’s here I went ahead and reminded them again today.

  • marcusgresham

    He speaks the truth! Not only no reception at night, but not much outside of a small radius from the tower.

  • DA

    At least for the exhibition games – you had to pay for a subscription

  • Minglewoodslim

    I use tunin radio they have an iu sports channel

  • Tyler T

    Gameday, let’s do it!!

    Predictions:
    Top Scorer – JBJ
    Top Rebounder – Thomas
    Assist leader – Yogi
    Final score – 92 – 62 (IU)

  • Google ‘Indiana Hoosiers Sports Network’.. It’ll give you a free radio broadcast by Don Fischer crystal clear reception. You won’t get a video broadcast any way other than BTN Plus or BTN to go.. whatever.. I tried that once and was really disappointed in the whole experience. So now every time there is a situation like this where regular TV isn’t available, I just listen to the Fischer broadcast on that Indiana Hoosiers Sports network.

  • Wow you’re really going out on a limb huh? JBJ = Top scorer… Thomas = Top rebounder.. I think you’re right though…lol..

  • sarge

    gotta love fisch!

  • DA

    Thanks! I tried Tunin Radio via Indiana Hoosier Sports Network for Bellarmine and it wasn’t listed there. Hopefully tonights game will be. Listening to Fischer will be enough since I can’t make it to the game. Go Hoosiers!

  • Tyler T

    lol…Top scorer could go several ways on this team. And who knows about the final score…I just like to see how close I can get.

  • I listened to the Bellarmine game there. I got the URL from the Assembly Call. It was in an e-mail they sent to me and the game was on. It was clear as a bell. I’m sure tonight’s game will be also.

  • Yeah you’re right.. IT could go several ways.. I really hope it is JBJ.. I also hope he plays some good ‘D’…

  • Tcuomo

    It wasn’t officially listed, but if you play the station anyways on Tunein you will get the game broadcast. That’s how I have been listening through preseason and tonight as well

  • millzy32

    Vegas says 23.5 point favorite. You have us covering by 6.5 points. Lets hope it is a blow out.

  • DA

    Awesome – thanks everyone!

  • There is something special about listening to Fischer calling IU games.

  • O.G.Ehman

    Hoosiers – 94
    Bad Guys – 66

  • Speed

    Ahhh the sweet smell of Hoosier basketball. Wait, what’s that funky smell? Oh yeah, that’s UK basketball. I live to close to the Ohio River and it drifts over when the wind is wrong.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Marcus: I agree with the quality of the Tune In but WSLM come clear in this area also.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    My BTN rant. So, when I was a kid, every single game was broadcasted on our local NBC channel. Yes, the play by play was less than great, the picture quality was so so, etc. but it was free and always on the same channel. Fast forward to today – I pay for the premium dish package $133 month, have to hunt for the channel the game is on, then realize it’s only available online (another $30 internet connection required) and I have to purchase BTN Plus online and watch it on my iPad (unless I want to wait until Sunday at 10:00pm).

    JOY

  • straight no chaser

    Not paying to watch the game. My small insignificant form of protest. I’ll watch it at a bar that’s streaming it and spend my money on a good scotch instead.

  • CP

    Great thanks for the info!

  • Yeah, I’m sitting here listening and I AM EXCITED.. can’t wait for the game to start. I hope we really win BIG.

  • IUMIKE1

    “JUST” in case they had forgotten. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Heard that ! Well maybe a premium tequila instead of a scotch, but you get the idea. Like that I’ve upvoted your comment with Tokesville. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Ahhhh, those were the days weren’t they. The Farm Bureau sponsored game on channel 4 with Martha the Mop Lady and then watch Bobby totally humiliate Chuck on The Bob Knight Show that weekend.

    ” Well Chuck, I’m pretty sure we could take every single thing you’ve ever known about basketball and put it in a shoe box and still have room for the shoes.” rotflmao, on of my all time favorite quotes by Bobby on his show.

  • Yeah, well, at least this should be the last funked up game. From here on out we should see them live. I’m following on Twitter for now (busy with a ton of other stuff so can’t listen on the radio). Looks like we’re playing well.

  • Dave Carnes

    Well played man Well played

  • E Foy McNaughton

    They played well. Thomas Bryant – wow, I mean just wow! He may have been playing inferior defenders. But he completely dominated. And, cross my fingers that it continues, IU played very well defensively. TB, MB, & CH playing in tandums really helps the defense and rebounding. RJ looked like a complete player. JBJ can still shoot.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I forgot about Chuck!