What to Expect: Kennesaw State

  • 12/22/2015 7:18 am in

Indiana wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall with Kennesaw State. The Owls, a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, are 3-10 overall and 0-8 on the road.

The game will tip at 6 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network with Cory Provus and Jon Crispin on the call:

Indiana is two games deep in a 10-game stretch of contests in which it should be favored every time out. So far, the Hoosiers are 2-0 with wins over McNeese State and Notre Dame.

That record should extend to 3-0 on Tuesday night as IU welcomes Al Skinner and Kennesaw State to Assembly Hall. It’s the final guarantee game of the season as the Big Ten schedule tips off in just eight days in Piscataway.

MEET THE OWLS (All tempo-free stats are for D1 opponents only)

Kennesaw State has played just seven guys in its last two games as Skinner, who previously spent time as a head coach at Rhode Island and Boston College, preps his team for conference play.

The two names at the top of the scouting report are Yonel Brown, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, and Kendrick Ray, a 6-foot-1 junior guard.

Brown is using a team-high 28.5 percent of the team’s possessions while on the floor and is averaging a team-high 16.8 points. But his efficiency isn’t great as he’s shooting just 41.1 percent on 2s and is a respectable, but not great, 35 percent on 3s.

Ray is second on the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game and uses 27.2 percent of possessions. His efficiency is slightly worse than Brown’s, but he does do a decent job of getting to the foul like (40.5 free throw rate).

A third guard, 6-foot-5 sophomore Nick Masterson, joins Ray and Brown in the backcourt. Masterson is hitting just 26.8 percent from distance and only 30 percent on 2s.

Freshman guard Kyle Clarke, who is 6-foot-5, sees rotation minutes as a backup and is strictly a threat inside the arc. Of his 21 field goal attempts against Division I opponents, 20 have been 2s.

Bernard Morena, a 6-foot-8 junior, is Kennesaw’s biggest player and best shot blocker (4.4 block percentage). Morena is finishing 43.5 percent of his 2s.

Sophomore forward Jordan Jones, who is also 6-foot-8, is a low usage offensive player (12.4 Poss%) who does a poor job finishing the opportunities he does get (36.6 percent on 2s).

The final Owl worth mentioning, 6-foot-6 junior Aubrey Williams, is the team’s best rebounder. He leads the program in both offensive (11.7 OR%) and defensive rebounding (20.7). Williams is the best finisher among Skinner’s frontcourt options as he’s making 47.1 percent of his 2s.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

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There’s not much to say about this matchup. Kennesaw is a terrible defensive team and an even less competent offensive team. The Owls turn it over at a high rate, shoot it poorly, don’t get to the line or hit the offensive boards.

Meanwhile, IU still has one of the nation’s best offenses and an overmatched opponent like this should help its overall defensive numbers improve as well.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Simply stated: This is a game Indiana should win comfortably with little resistance and move onto the start of the Big Ten schedule next week.

The Pomeroy prediction likes the Hoosiers by 27 and Sagarin likes IU by 30. A win moves the Hoosiers to 3-0 in a critical 10-game stretch that is going to tell us plenty about the direction of IU’s 2015-2016 season that started with great promise.

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  • Lobills

    What do I expect from playing against the 324th ranked team in the country? Not a whole lot. Hoping for no injuries…other than that games like these are truly pointless. Often times they’re detrimental in that bad habits can creep in due to talent disparity.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I don’t believe I have ever seen a team like us. How are we a top 10 offensive rebounding team while ranking 265 in defensive rebounding?? Also, we are nearly a top 50 team in forcing turnovers but are the 278th ranked team in taking care of our own possessions….. WTF IS THAT???

  • Brandon Carlson

    I transferred to IU from KSU. Nothing to be worried about. Coaching changes every year since they moved from D2, where they won a national championship and we’re very competitive. They have not done well since. Should be an easy W for the Hoosiers. My wife and I will be on the first row behind thenbasket, a house divided as she graduated from KSU. Go hoosiers!

  • Lance76

    I can appreciate your concerns for bad habits to resurface. Maybe we can use this game to get valuable playing time for developing players and rest a few players who are “banged up”. I would like to see coach challenge team to defensive end, keeping Kennesaw State under 40 for the game?

  • Hoosierkamp

    I would like to see them hold a team under 50 points. Build on that last performance

  • TomJameson

    I’m not worried about winning the game, but I’d like to beat the projection of “by 30” and win by 40 or more.

    My biggest want is for the Hoosiers to be focused on playing serious basketball. No fooling around for a highlight reel, no playground-pickup basketball, just focused on defense and play hard. Yes, the Owls are very bottom dwellers, but take it like a practice squad other than themselves and just … well … practice LOL

    24-2 run to start the game. Keep the Owls under 40 or 50. Have a goal!!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you celebrate something else) fellow ITHers. I hope your holiday season is a good one filled with some good time with family.

    I concur with others, the outcome won’t be in doubt but it’d be nice to see a defensive performance that builds on what we saw in the final segment of the ND game. Hopefully we can comfortably win, suffer no injuries, get some additional court time for Anunoby and Morgan and then spend the next week getting better as we enter the B1G season. The first 8-10 games in the conference offer us the opportunity to accumulate some wins (both at home and on the road) and momentum and position ourselves well for a difficult stretch run. As we know, opportunity guarantees nothing except for a chance so the Hoosiers will have to earn it by playing well.

  • Koko

    Did you just throw a chair?

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’d like to!

  • just tossing it out there so one of the players can practice his defense

  • SCHoosier

    Isn’t bad defensive rebounding a product of the bad defense in general?

  • yes