What to expect: Tennessee Tech

  • 12/21/2017 9:21 am in

Following Monday’s blowout loss to Fort Wayne, Indiana is back at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall tonight to host Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles are 8-4 and are coming off of an 82-76 win over Chattanooga. 

The game will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on BTN with Cory Provus and Andy Katz on the call:

Through 12 games, one thing is clear with this Indiana team: No one knows what to expect.

The Hoosiers have shown themselves capable of competing with Notre Dame, Duke and Louisville and also own a pair of 20-point losses at home to Indiana State and Fort Wayne.

With just two non-conference games remaining, Indiana doesn’t have much time to fix its issues. Saturday’s emotional overtime win over Notre Dame was viewed by some as a potential turning point for the Hoosiers, but that narrative quickly dissipated with Monday’s performance.

MEET THE GOLDEN EAGLES

There are plenty of similarities between Fort Wayne and Tennessee Tech’s offensive profiles. Both teams play fast and both can knock down the 3-pointer, which is IU’s Achilles Heel through 12 games.

The Golden Eagles are led by 6-foot-3 Aleksa Jugovic, a senior from Leskovac, Serbia. Jugovic is averaging a team-high 14.6 points per game and is shooting 46.4 percent on 3s. He’s also an excellent free throw shooter (82.1 percent), but only has 22 attempts in 10 games.

Kajon Mack, another 6-foot-3 senior, joins Jugovic in the backcourt. Mack is the team’s third leading scorer (12.8 ppg), its second leading rebounder (5.5 rpg) and leading distributor (4.3 apg). Mack is also capable of knocking down 3s (38.6 percent) and does a solid job of getting to the foul line. Mack owns a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 41.6 percent and is knocking down 66.7 percent of his attempts.

Curtis Phillips, a 6-foot-5 senior, is the third backcourt starter. The team’s second leading scorer at 13.8 points per game, Phillips is shooting 37.5 percent on 3s and also does a nice job of getting to the line. His free throw rate is 41.1 percent and he’s shooting 79.5 percent from the line.

Two others to watch in the backcourt rotation are Shaq Calhoun, a 6-foot-4 senior, and Stephaun Adams, a 6-foot-2 junior. Calhoun comes off the bench and averages 9.3 points in 16.3 minutes per game.

Tennessee Tech’s strength is in its backcourt and its frontcourt doesn’t produce much offensively. As is typically the case with mid-major programs, the Golden Eagles start two undersized players up front. Mason Ramsey, a 6-foot-6 senior and Courtney Alexander, a 6-foot-7 junior are both good rebounders for their size.

Alexander is 28th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage and averages a team-high 9.1 rebounds. Ramsey is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game and is shooting 53.5 percent on 2s.

Micaiah Henry, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, will provide backup minutes at the five and is shooting 61.9 percent on 2s.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

The Golden Eagles are a poor defensive team, but have the ability to make this game very interesting because they are capable of pushing the pace and knocking down 3s.

Tennessee Tech starts four seniors and a junior and it’s top three scorers are all legitimate threats from beyond the 3-point line.

The keys for Indiana are straight forward. Take care of the ball, guard the 3-point line better and dominate in the paint. The Golden Eagles don’t have an answer inside for De’Ron Davis or Juwan Morgan, but Indiana has to force the issue rather than setting for contested jump shots.

Archie Miller has said repeatedly that he’d like the Hoosiers to finish games with 12 or fewer turnovers and in the Fort Wayne loss, Indiana’s 18 turnovers turned into 29 points by the Mastodons.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The KenPom line is Indiana by 10, the Vegas line is IU by 11.5 and the Sagarin ratings favor Indiana by 10.

Indiana has had several clunker performances this season – Indiana State, Michigan and Fort Wayne – but it has also had its share of moments that show this group is capable of playing well. The inconsistent performances on a game-to-game basis, particularly by the upperclassmen, is the most glaring problem.

It’s one thing to have an off shooting night, but it’s another when your lead senior guard has 12 turnovers in a two-game span or you lack the mental toughness to figure out a way to slow down a 3-point barrage by a mid-major opponent on your home floor.

The most troubling part of the Fort Wayne loss came in the aftermath when three upperclassmen sat on the podium and admitted they didn’t come out ready to play.

“We didn’t come out ready to play mentally,” Collin Hartman said. “We didn’t do what we needed to do offensively or defensively. Give them credit, they shot tremendously and played great defense. We just didn’t come out ready to play.”

Until that changes, you can expect Indiana’s wildly inconsistent play to continue.

Filed to:

  • HoosierOne

    You sound like an idiot with your kook aid comment. It doesn’t even make sense. Typical troll who’s trying to turn a basketball thread into a political conversation.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Typically IU hedges and traps the pick and roll. That is consistent with pack line. Hedge, trap, jump back – don’t switch. You have to remember CTC switched 100% of the time. So when you literally practiced switching 100% of the time, you don’t have the instinct to hedge and trap. IU has done well with it in stretches. Monday IU simply wasn’t ready to play. And not being ready to play translated into falling back into prior instincts. It sucks to watch. Trust me, I wanted to throw things. Also, this back court consists of soft soft soft mental players. So they essentially mentally shut down. Ugly – bad instincts and poor mental game.

    Give it Time, Archie has recruited some kids that seem tough mentally. He will teach them good habits. In time, you will see a defense that makes RMK proud (even if he won’t ever admit it).

  • VAHoosier

    I suppose its fair to assume that you do not agree with the views on Fox News. It seems also fair to assume that you do not watch Fox News. Now, who was it again that doesn’t want to hear opposing views?

  • marcusgresham

    Alex, I think you should rename this feature because there’s no way in hell anyone knows “what to expect” from this team

  • Arch Puddington

    I think next year will see some improvement, at least in as much as having personnel better suited for the system. Of course, more than half the team will be freshmen and sophomores, and we still won’t have a great or deep back court, so I’m not looking for anything other than improvement. Hopefully year three is when it starts to really produce more and better victories. I am prepared to wait that long before forming any hard conclusions, and even then it might be five years or more before the whole system is consistently good.

  • What I don’t understand is #1 why CAM wouldn’t be using back-door cuts against these teams that gamble on defense until they play honest defense and #2 why you wouldn’t get as much length as possible on the three point shooters (i.e AD,JS ZM at the point, JM and CH or DD front court), maybe a 1-3-1 zone.? I know CAM wants to play pack line but you can’t be a one trick pony when it is not working and just hand the game to these mid-majors. IMO CAM is going to be a great coach but in big 10 you need to adjust, have a fall back position, to the hand you were dealt.

  • MK

    Lol.

  • HoosierHopeful

    I half expected to just see a big question mark when clicking on this article. “one thing is clear with this Indiana team: No one knows what to expect.” That sums it up.
    The team either bounces back and has a solid win, or they play to the level of their opponent. Tenn Tech should have a pretty clear game plan going into this one.

  • Lance76

    IMHO if I see a shift in playing time to underclassmen, then to me it indicates a move to the future. Perhaps Archie keeps playing the seniors hoping that we can pick up more wins that way, while bringing the new comers along slowly. I have to remind myself to be patient They have the. Would like to see this team definitively step on someone.

  • Kwang

    Haw!

  • dennis powell

    Assume all you want. In actually like to know what my enemies are saying

  • dennis powell

    Identified another true believer

  • sarge

    Did you hiss when someone opened the door? Haha, I picture Jimmy Chitwood from Hoosiers doing this because of your profile pic.

  • sarge

    Personally, I would love to see that. I bet Archie could show some fire on the floor!

  • CAK76

    What to Expect:
    1. No clue which IU team will show
    2. I will be sipping on a Manhattan (maybe several depending upon our performance) wearing my Hoosier Santa Hat watching the game by the fire
    3. I am thankful for IUBB
    4. Merry Christmas and happy holiday to all!

  • I have followed IU since the Bellamy days. I was not a Crean hater but felt like he took us as far as he could, appreciate what he did. This is a new coac, I doubt he recruited any of these players. It will take time. The most disappointing aspect to me is the play of our senior backcourt, maybe we should give more time to our young guys.

  • Koko

    Go ahead and have as many Manhattans as you like win or lose.
    Enjoy the fire and above all have a Merry Christmas and happy Holiday.

  • Koko

    To another.

  • Koko

    You are correct in saying Sandra does need you to defend her.

  • Mark Bando

    I’m not advocating playing the young guys more. I’m saying I will be paying more attention to how the young guys are doing and not stressing so much about the guys who wont be here next year.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    NCrock, thanks for that. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • bball at nick’s

    Before I got to the end of your post I knew you were going the Trump way. You’re so one-dimensional in your thinking that you can’t see life outside of the garbage that’s Fox news (and CNN is worse, so please don’t pigeon hole me next). Mainstream news in America is all about selling viewers like you to corporations, so go on being the sheep that you are.

  • bball at nick’s

    You know what they say, “You sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas,” LOL.

  • bball at nick’s

    You’re as foolish as the Fox news garbage consumers.

  • bball at nick’s

    It’s not even political conversation. Political conversation is smart conversation.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    You too Sarge. Love the moniker. I retired from the AF as an E-7.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Thanks for the insight Foy.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Something about IU BBall runs deep when you grow up with it…