What to Expect: Austin Peay

  • 12/21/2016 4:21 pm in

Indiana wraps up the home portion of its non-conference schedule on Thursday night with Austin Peay, an Ohio Valley Conference opponent.

The Governors, who made the NCAA tournament last season, are 4-8 overall and have lost six straight games. The game will be broadcast on BTN Plus at 7 p.m. ET with Lisa Byington and Gary Close on the call:

Indiana’s guarantee games are just about over. After Thursday’s tilt with Austin Peay and a five-day break for Christmas, the Hoosiers will tip off Big Ten play at home against Nebraska.

But first things first. Austin Peay, which made an improbable run to the 2016 NCAA tournament, travels to Bloomington on Thursday night in the midst of a major funk. The Governors just lost by 16 at home on Tuesday night to Lipscomb and two of their wins are against non-Division I teams.

Still, it’s an important game for Indiana to stay sharp with the start of Big Ten play looming and upcoming games against Louisvillle (in Indianapolis) and Wisconsin at home. Ready or not, after Thursday all of the cupcake games are over and Indiana will begin its quest to defend the 2016 Big Ten regular season championship.

MEET THE GOVERNORS

Austin Peay is led by junior guard Josh Robinson (pictured), who is averaging 20.8 points in 34.5 minutes per game. The 6-foot-2 guard is shooting 33 percent on 3s and has taken a team-high 68 free throws. He’s hitting 81 percent from the foul line. Robinson also leads the team in assists at four per game.

Two other Governors are averaging in double figures: 6-foot-7 senior forward Kenny Jones and 6-foot-4 senior wing John Murry, an Indianapolis native.

Jones is shooting 60.7 percent from the field and is second on the team in scoring at 13.8 points per game. He also leads Austin Peay in rebounding at 6.8 per game.

Murry, who averages 12.7 points per game, is an excellent free throw shooter (85.7 percent) and is shooting 47.6 percent from the field.

Jared Savage, a 6-foot-5 sophomore wing, is a low efficiency player. Against Division I opponents, he’s making 55.6 percent of his 2s but is just 27.3 percent on 3s and has a turnover rate of 16.6 percent compared to an assist rate of just 6.7.

One other Governor to be aware of is 6-foot-5 sophomore Chris Porter-Bunton, who is 9-of-14 on 3s. Bunton is shooting a solid 50.9 percent from the field and is fifth on the team in scoring at 6.4 points per game.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

This one is likely to get ugly fast. Austin Peay is 347th nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency ranking. Indiana is currently 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Another 100+ point performance could be in the cards.

The Hoosiers have slowly been improving their turnover percentage, but of note on the profile is IU’s inability to force turnovers. Opponents are turning it over on just 15.6 percent of their possessions so far against Indiana, which isn’t great. Indiana’s 2014-15 team that lost to Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA tournament didn’t turn teams over, either (15.9 percent turnover percentage).

The major difference between this team and that one defensively is that IU has legitimate rim protection and is guarding the 2-point shot much more effectively. That season, Indiana was 283rd nationally in 2-point field goal percentage at 50.9. So far this season, Indiana is 46th in the country in terms of defending the 2 at 43.3 percent.

Ultimately, the number that Indiana needs to keep improving is its own turnover percentage. The Hoosiers don’t have a defense that stylistically causes a ton of turnovers, so the defensive turnover percentage number isn’t likely to move significantly. And if IU continues to take care of the ball better as the season moves along, how many turnovers IU forces is unlikely to matter much, either.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The Vegas line opened at 28.5, Pomeroy has it at 28 points and the Sagarin prediction is Indiana by 29. This should be a comfortable win for the Hoosiers.

This is Indiana’s final chance to be generous with rotation minutes for some of its newcomers and the final tune up before league play begins next week. The Hoosiers have been much better recently in terms of taking care of the ball and against a putrid defensive team, the number should continue to fall.

(Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

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  • TomJameson

    BTN2go … May be a cupcake, but it’s just one more game I won’t watch unless the Student-U gets their film to BTN. Most likely a day or two delay for the replay, if it happens.

  • Yep, same here this time around. Don’t even have time to watch it live tomorrow night. Glad that’s the last BTN+ game this season.

  • weitrhino

    BTN replay is at 9AM ET on Saturday

  • vicbert caladipo

    BTN plus bites

  • I am Baby Cakes

    SHOULD be another 40+ point win.

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I went and checked again this morning, and you are correct. Really, if a person can live with the 1-2 day delay, I don’t think a single game was missed.

    but vicbert is right also … BTN2go still bites.

  • Bill Graham

    Get McRoberts, Grant, Devonte, Curtis, Davis, and McFly plenty of minutes. We might get in a “Ryan Burton” type situation and need one them to step up in conference play.

  • kennygeorge

    Sorry to get OT, but on Alex’s twitter I saw where Grayson Allen was suspended indefinitely Only hope this is for at least 5 games. That young man needs to learn that intentionally tripping someone could result in a head injury and very serious complications for that basketball player. Once again, sorry to get OT.

  • Kyl470

    I personally don’t care as much about forcing turnovers as some teams do. I care more about the teams overall ability to stop the team from scoring. I know there are a lot of advanced statistics out there, but one that always jumps to mind was a year when Chris Paul led the NBA in steals. According to advance stats he was actually one of the worst defenders that same year. The problem was that he was so aggressive going for steals that he got burned a lot of times and gave up easy shots or put his team in a bad position when he didn’t get the steal.

    A lot can be said by simply forcing a team to hit a tough contested shot and then rebounding a miss. That is just as effective of a way to prevent scoring as forcing them team to make a mistake. However, I know one positive of a turnover vs. a missed shot is that a lot of times a turnover can lead to an easy fast break bucket.

  • iudawg

    Will be listening on TuneIn Radio.

  • I was really hoping something would be done about that. I hope to never see an IU player engaging in that kind of stuff–and I don’t expect to see it. If it happens, then I expect the iU player to face some serious consequences. And Allen’s reaction afterward was just as bad.

  • kennygeorge

    I agree Mark and seriously doubt Tom Crean would tolerate it either even once! Yes, as Jay stated, it was the sign of a petulant spoiled brat. My thoughts as well. I believe this started in high school where he attended Providence in Jacksonville,fl. Tho being a minor, I’m not sure they would be allowed to either investigate it or bring it up.

  • ForeverIU

    I have never felt so uninterested in watching IU basketball. I will only watch games against real competition.

  • Actually, it strikes me as a personality problem with the kid. It happens once, okay, no big deal. But over and over? Seriously?

  • Just checked the box score at halftime and got a bit nervous at OG’s almost empty stat line. Had to check in on the radio to make sure he wasn’t injured or something. Which he’s not.

    Whew.

  • ForeverIU

    Juwan is injured.

  • He is? Any specifics?

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Kyl470 you hit the nail on the head for this one. I remember last year they were playing so aggressive in the passing lanes that they (JBJ in particular) would get burned. Instead this year they are staying more in front of their opponents and forcing tougher shots. IMHO It is a lot more fun to watch the shot clock go down as well.

    Who was really good at passing lanes was Vic but he was really good at everything.