What to expect: Indiana State

  • 11/09/2017 10:44 am in

The Archie Miller era officially gets underway in Bloomington on Friday night as Indiana hosts Indiana State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Sycamores, who finished 11-20 last season, were picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The game will be broadcast on BTN Plus ($) at 7 p.m. ET with David Sugarman, Max Bielfeldt and Courtney Robb on the call:

Nearly 33 weeks after being officially introduced as the 29th men’s basketball coach in Indiana University history, Archie Miller will coach his first game that matters in Bloomington.

The Hoosiers are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory that ended with an NIT loss at Georgia Tech. And as this new season tips off, there are plenty of question marks.

Among them: Can the defense show significant improvement? Can Indiana take care of the ball and make better decisions? And does this group have enough firepower offensively to succeed?

It won’t take long to get an idea of where this Indiana team stands, however, because of a non-conference schedule that is packed with high-caliber opponents. Indiana State isn’t a headliner on the schedule, but the Sycamores are a significant step up from many of the non-conference foes who have come to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in season’s past.

Friday’s contest is one of seven in 20 days for the Hoosiers, a stretch that includes a trip to Seton Hall and a home game to close the month against Duke. After months of prognostications, the wait is over: Indiana basketball is back.

MEET THE SYCAMORES

Indiana State was a disappointment a season ago and won just six games after beating then No. 15 Butler on Dec. 7.

Coach Greg Lansing is optimistic that the results will be far more positive in 2017-18 as a retooled roster appears to possess more depth than last season’s group that went just 5-13 in the MVC.

The headlining returnee is senior guard Brenton Scott, who averaged 15.9 points last season and was the team’s only double figure scorer. The 6-foot-3 Scott is high volume, low efficiency as he used 28 percent of the team’s possessions last year and shot just 37.4 percent from the field.

Offensively, Scott is best as the ball handler in pick-and-roll situations, according to Synergy Sports. In 111 such possessions last season, he scored 95 points, which ranks in the 74th percentile nationally. Scott was also a respectable 3-point shooter at 35.1 percent on a high number of attempts (202). His turnover rate (11.9) was also more than respectable for a player with the ball in his hands so much.

The Sycamores hope that sophomore Jordan Barnes and graduate transfer Qiydar Davis can take some of the pressure off of Scott, who was the focus of opposing defenses all of last season.

Barnes, a 5-foot-11 guard, reportedly went for 26 points and 10 assists in a secret scrimmage win over Illinois last month. He followed that up with 15 points in an exhibition loss at Purdue on Oct. 28. Barnes was an excellent free throw shooter last season (90.5 percent), but shot under 40 percent on 2s and just 33.3 percent on 3s.

Davis, who arrives from Louisiana Tech, is just 4-of-20 from the field through two exhibition games. The 6-foot-5 wing is coming off of two knee injuries and played in just 11 games over his final two seasons at Louisiana Tech.

Freshman Tyreke Key, the class A Mr. Basketball in Tennessee last year, is coming off a 14-point performance in Indiana State’s exhibition win over Marian. Freshman Clayton Hughes and senior Demonte Ojinnaka could also figure into the backcourt rotation.

In the frontcourt, junior college transfer Devin Thomas should make an immediate impact. He blocked 100 shots last year at Mineral Area College (Mo.). The Richmond native was ranked as one of the top 30 junior college players in the country last season.

Senior Brandon Murphy, who is 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds, was third in the MVC last year in blocked starts and started in both of the exhibition games.

Sophomore Bronson Kessinger, junior Emondre Rickman and freshman Daniel Huenerman should round out the frontcourt. Kessinger, a Corydon product, played sparingly last season as he continued to recover from a horrific leg injury suffered in his final year of high school. He played in 27 games last season.

TEMPO-FREE GLANCE

The Sycamores were a respectable defensive team last season (118th nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating), but offense was a major problem.

Indiana State was 300th nationally last season in 2-point field goal percentage and 221st in 3-point field goal percentage. To add to the struggles, Indiana State was awful in getting to the foul line (289th nationally) and also doesn’t emphasize offensive rebounding, which made for an ugly offensive profile overall.

The Hoosiers, meanwhile, are adapting to a new system that is a significant departure from the last nine years under Tom Crean. Indiana will certainly be more deliberate offensively with a new emphasis on taking care of the ball. IU’s turnover percentage in both exhibition games were lower than in any game last season.

Ultimately, though, defense is likely to determine the ceiling for Miller’s first IU team. The Hoosiers were just 104th a season ago in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to Pomeroy, and had the Big Ten’s worst defense in league play.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The Pomeroy projection is Indiana by 14, Bart Torvik’s T-Rank likes the Hoosiers by 16 and Jeff Sagarin’s numbers also favor Indiana by 16.

Indiana State’s secret scrimmage win over Illinois suggests those numbers could be a bit high, but it’s also difficult to get a read on what to expect in the first game in any season. Indiana State had a high amount of offseason roster turnover and Indiana is playing its first meaningful game under a new head coach who is implementing a new system.

The Sycamores should be well prepared with two “games” against Big Ten opponents already under their belt and you can be sure the energy in the building will be high as Indiana fans welcome a new era of basketball to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

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  • SCHoosier

    Wouldn’t shock me if IU went into half time behind. It will really shock me if the Hoosiers didn’t really for the win. Don’t think those two exhibitions against Big ten teams didn’t help IN St.

  • TomEke

    Really excited that the season is starting, and since it is against an in-state opponent, I’ll talk about the schedule.

    Call it wishful thinking. . . As a fan, I really like this game against Indiana State and wish IU could replace a couple other non-conference games against less marquee opponents (Howard, Arkansas State, Eastern Michigan, Tennessee Tech, or Youngstown State) with in-state opponents IU doesn’t regularly play (Ball State, Evansville, Valparaiso, IUPUI, and Butler/ND {depending who IU isn’t playing in the Crossroads Classic} come to mind). It gives both Alumni Bases, whether family, friends, or coworkers, something to talk about or an added reason to go to the game.

    As a player, playing against these teams can give you a more competitive test early in the season by putting you against players with a chip on their shoulder (“IU didn’t give me a look” or whatever) just like IPFW did last year.

    If these are road games, it gives some IU fans a chance to see the Hoosiers closer to home or a chance to visit an arena they have never been to, while it gives players a chance to play in a hostile environment early in the season. Since recruiting the state is a goal, it may even help to broaden the audience of the program and expose players from other parts of the state to IU Basketball.

  • VOXAC30

    Cannot wait to officially kick off the season.

  • SilentBob

    Anyone in the Terre Haute area know if their will be a local broadcast of the game? Don’t want to miss Archie’s first regular season game but also don’t want to fork out $15 for a crappy stream. Especially since it’s just one game

  • The game is only available live via BTN Plus. So if someone is showing the game, it will be via the BTN Plus stream.

  • VanPastorMan

    Alex, this upsets old guys like me (50) who remember being able to see every game including Midnight Madness on regular tv.

  • pcantidote

    Oh great another Scott brother to deal with. Bad memories.

  • marcusgresham

    Hopefully for Kessinger’s sake someone in Terre Haute worked on his shooting form. For what reason I’ll never know, the people at Corydon continued to let him shoot like he was playing in a gym with an 11′ ceiling. He is a talented kid, but he’d put the ball behind his ear and shoot line drives. Why no one ever addressed that I’ll never understand.

  • Outoftheloop

    What about delayed broadcasts, Student broadcasts on BTN, etc.?

  • Outoftheloop

    Good post.

  • Creek0512

    Why does the Big Ten hate its fans so much?

  • Tony Neel

    Not sure about terra haute but I know downtown you can watch it at kilroy’s. Might try calling local bars and see if they are playing it.

  • Cehlerding

    You should have seen them play together in high school, took us to regionals every year

  • unclekerfuffle

    Watching a snowy channel 4 here in southern Indiana as Laz and Diamond Chuck called the game on a cold winter night brings back some great family memories.

  • bleeding crimson

    Yeah and they put up 74 points on a loss to PooDoo. Not bad, what’s that about a “Secret” win over Illinois? Another win over a common opponent Marian U 84 – 64 to IU’s win of 93 – 62 if that means anything. I think we’ll be a little more focused and better on Off. this game.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Huh?

  • IU Marine

    I came across a rebroadcast of tonight’s game on BTN around 8 or 9 am tomorrow. Can remember other than i set my DVR to record it. Hope I don’t get another Minnesota game like on Monday.

    Go IU

  • SilentBob

    Thanks for the response. Do ya know if the video quality of the live stream has improved any in the last 3 or so years?

  • SilentBob

    I may. Only problem with that is I’ll probably end up spending that 15 dollars I meant to save (and then some) on beer and wings lol

  • Tenacious Newt

    you best straighten up and fly right!