What to Expect: Nicholls State

  • 12/20/2013 11:15 am in

After a loss to Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic six days ago, Indiana returns to action with a pair of games this weekend at Assembly Hall. First up is Nicholls State (3-5) on Friday night.

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on BTN with Dave Revsine and Stephen Bardo on the call and on the IU radio network (Sirius 85, XM 85):

Indiana opens the Big Ten season in 11 days at Illinois and that might be the next time we learn anything of significance about the Hoosiers. That’s because the Hoosiers have two of the nation’s worst teams coming to Assembly Hall this weekend in Nicholls State and Kennesaw State.

Nicholls State, which makes its second trip to Assembly Hall (2005 was the first), hasn’t had a winning season since 2009, but guarantee games like tonight’s and one last month against Memphis go a long way in keeping the school’s athletic department viable financially.

For the Hoosiers, it’s a chance to stay engaged and focused on improvement before taking some time off for the holidays, but to expect a challenge in either game might be asking too much considering the competition.


The Colonels are led by 6-foot-2 senior guard Dantrell Thomas (pictured), who is the program’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg) and second leading rebounder (4.9 rpg), but is just an average player from an efficiency standpoint. Thomas is making 54.2 percent of his 2s and gets to the line at a decent rate (48.1 percent free throw rate). However, he was just 10-of-60 last season on 3-pointers and is off to another shaky start at 2-of-9 in his senior season.

The only other Nicholls State averaging double figures in scoring is 6-foot-3 senior guard Jeremy Smith, who has the team’s best effective field goal percentage at 53.9. A third guard, Shane Rillieux, also starts and plays a team-high 30.4 minutes per game but isn’t much of a scoring threat (5.6 ppg). T.J. Carpenter, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard who comes off the bench, is the team’s best 3-point shooter at 43.8 percent.

The frontcourt is essentially a by-committee approach as JaMarkus Horace (4.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and Liam Thomas (2.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg) typically start, but two reserves, Sam McBeath (4.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Ja’Dante’ Frye (2.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg) also play regularly.



Rather than going too in-depth on what is a lopsided matchup, here are a couple of things that stand out when examining the Nicholls State profile:

· A fouling epidemic: This is not an exaggeration. Nicholls State is fouling its opponents at a rate that suggests the new rules instituted this season are of no consequence to the Colonels. When your opponents have taken 289 free throws in eight games for a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 80.7, well, that’s just unthinkable and a recipe for losing.

· Rebounding is going to be extremely one sided: Not only is Nicholls State missing a lot of shots (45.2 eFG%), the Colonels aren’t rebounding many of their misses (just 29.5 percent). The Hoosiers have dominated small conference teams on the glass and tonight should be no different.


Indiana should have no problem pulling away from Nicholls State and winning comfortably. Vegas likes the Hoosiers by 27.5 and the KenPom projection likes IU to win by 25.

The problem with playing lesser competition, at times, is having a letdown or a lapse in the midst of a blowout. It’s happened several times early this season, but it’s worth keeping an eye on how engaged the Hoosiers stay throughout the game.

Looking at the bigger picture, this weekend’s games should move Indiana to 10-3 heading into Big Ten play but without a win to hang its hat on. The unforgiving grind of the Big Ten awaits soon enough, and we’re close to figuring out how well the Hoosiers are prepared to meet the challenge.

(Photo Credit: Nicholls Athletics)

All tempo-free stats via KenPom.com.

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  • doodle777

    Tomorrow CC will go on about how much better we executed and done the things we needed to do. How we got the ball inside, How hard everyone worked in practice to make it possible. Jeremy Hollowell will look good and be NBA potential etc. etc. etc. Blah Blah Blah!!! Pretty sad we have 2 top 5 recruiting classes and can only compete against the cupcakes.

  • GaHoosier

    Other than the second half of the CUSE game, when has IU not competed?

    We lost to UCONN by 1 point, but remember Noah Vonleh played very little due to foul trouble.

    We lost to ND by 7 points, but 5 times in the second half IU had the game tied or within one point (remember IU was down 13 points in the first half).

    I’m not justifying the losing, but just trying to emphasize that they are competitive!

  • nwin iu fan

    You said it brother why does everyone else seem to buy into his b.s. because I don’t, I love Indiana. Are scheduling has been an absolute joke for 6 yrs, its going to catch up to us this yr. Crean is nothing bit a car salesman. Hes scared to death to play the big boys.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    What to expect: another meaningless 20 point win.

  • Alford Bailey

    Hmmm…. maybe this is why tickets were so cheap for both of this weekends games.

  • creanfan1

    I have never in my life seen such inexcusable criticism in my life! This man has brought this program from deaths door to a contender. Day after day I see critical posts about another human being that make me sick and ashamed. Give him time! I said at the very beginning IU would win a national championship with him there within ten years! He has outstanding morals and work ethic, and really knows the game, it will be ok, I promise. He has a family too, give him a break and some over due thanks!

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    “car salesman”? C’mon, that’s way over the top.

    Also, “our”.

  • doodle777

    I actually think he is a class act and loved it when they hired him ,BUT He has TWO top five recruiting classes under him right now and probably will NOT make the tournament, We NOW have the players but his in game coaching is pathetic, This team is NOT to young to win, KY won it all with Freshman (I hate to mention that) HOPE I AM WRONG because Crean is a class act

  • doodle777

    Should have beat ND by 20, This team has two top 5 recruiting classes and will not make the tournament.

  • Bricklayer

    Your over simplification is hilarious. What empirical data leads you to believe we should have beat ND by 20?

  • Bricklayer

    Thank you for your post. A lot of people on this forum must be from Kentucky, all they care about is winning at all cost. Forget about education, integrity, high moral standards…. Just win Crean or you’re a bum, you know what, cry me a river and start following pUKe, we don’t need your sort. People have short memories of what it was like before coach Crean!

  • doodle777

    North Dakota State beat them I would start with that. Cody Zeller is shooting outside shots in the NBA but very very seldom if ever stepped out at Indiana, How valuable would that have been against Syracuse? Orlando is going to make Oladipo a point guard but we had a 5′ 10 point guard beating the air out of the ball. Creans in game coaching is awful, we have the players there are no more excuses, age does not matter Kentucky proved that.

  • Gregory Spera

    Hopefully there won’t be anything of consequence to discuss in these next two games, just routine cupcake butt kickings with nothing to put a damper on the holidays. See you guys on New Years Eve for some real fun. Merry Christmas to all. Go Hoosiers!

  • BS1

    KY won it with a bunch of one and dones who never planned on going to school. If you want that kind of program switch teams please – do not wish that on IU. These two classes are missing a shooter – they are coming. They are also maximing out in the classrooms. Let us not forget UCONN and the mess that happened there. We are not going to win a title every year. If you knew anything about IU basketball you would know that IU holds the record for worst season record while winning a title – yes they had a tough schedule that year but the key is they improved. Also one of the reasons our schedule is light is KY didn’t want to play us again. And finally go look at the other schedules out there – everyone is playing the same teams we are. Yes some team are playing in tough tourneys right now – these are by invitation only. I think we have one coming up in the next few years.
    Coach Crean has returned Indiana Basketball to what it was – a class act that can and will compete. I think there was a year where Bobby Knight had a great recruiting class that I beleive was pretty average as freshman that turned out pretty good.
    I would also ask if you have ever coached a game?? Maybe something a little more competitive than a YMCA preschool game. I am pretty sure that Coach Crean has a litlle bit better idea of what went wrong on a game than anyone one posting on this forum. I am also sure that he watches 1000’s of hours of tape on the games he has coached and evaluated himself.

  • SCHoosier

    Too bad N-St doesn’t run the same offense ILL does..might be a more meaningful game. Then again..after finals the kids need to re-focus on what they are suppose to do even if the team scheduled can’t keep them from doing it very well.

  • mk

    Every time Cody stood open on the elbow vs Cuse and elected not to take the shot that was Crean’s fault? Just sayin…

  • nwin iu fan

    COACH KNIGHT coach crean , clappy no comparison. We have had a weak non conference schedule since Tommy has been here. Is this Iu basketball or are we all of sudden just happy to beat up on division 2 school’s. Educate me on this because who we played was apart of who we were, a basketball school who played the right way, not a clown on the sidelines clapping all the time because we beat Mary and Christopher University by 25 @ Assembly Hall. Come on Nichols st !

  • doodle777

    I have watched more Indiana basketball than just about anyone on the planet, The sad thing about it is CC couldn’t win it with a bunch of one and done’rs, just like he won’t make the tournament with two top five recruiting classes playing for him at the same time. I hope I am wrong because he is a class act and a great guy, But so far it don’t look good. There is a movie called hoosiers about basket ball there is NOT one called wild cats or bluedevils, indiana is the basketball capital we should be in contention to hang a banner every single year and we will not even make tournament this year, How can anyone in their right mind justify that

  • ervin

    Not sure why people are so critical this early. CC is trying to bond a group of underclassmen. And what is all this talk about the recruiting class? Kentucky had the number class last year and lost in the first round of the NIT

  • Alford Bailey

    It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside knowing we are keeping Nicholl St. athletic department viable so we have cupcakes to beat for years to come.

  • Gregory Spera

    This drives me crazy. Every time someone says if the player does this, instead of this, is it Crean’s fault? YES IT IS. If a player is repeatedly not doing what he is supposed to be doing on the court, especially a player as skilled and experienced as Zeller was, then that IS a coaching failure.

  • David Macer

    Doodle, man get back on the meds !!! The sky is NOT falling and the Hoosiers will have a good (not great) B1G season.

  • David Macer

    Was it Crean or Caliperi that didn’t want home and home series ?? Coach Cal only wanted big arena games made for TV.

  • David Macer

    Doodle, once you take your meds, jump back on the bandwagon and stay. Praise them when they win and praise them when they lose. IT’S INDIANA !!!!!

  • David Macer

    Really ??? You fail to remember that Indiana hosted not one, but two Holiday tourney’s for 20+ years. Do you know how many games IU lost in these tournament over their existence ????? ONE GAME.
    None of the teams we are playing are D2 teams…not one.

  • David Macer

    11/01/13vs. Transylvania # Lexington, Ky.W, 76-4211/04/13vs. Montevallo # Lexington, Ky.W, 95-7211/08/13vs. UNC Asheville Lexington, Ky.W, 89-5711/10/13vs. Northern Kentucky Lexington, Ky.W, 93-63State Farm Champions Classic11/12/13vs. Michigan State Chicago, Ill. (United Center)L, 78-74Keightley Classic11/17/13vs. Robert Morris Lexington, Ky.W, 87-4911/19/13vs. Texas-Arlington Lexington, Ky.W, 105-7611/25/13vs. Cleveland State Lexington, Ky.W, 68-6111/27/13vs. Eastern Michigan Lexington, Ky.W, 81-6312/01/13vs. Providence Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)W, 79-6512/06/13vs. Baylor Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)L, 67-6212/10/13vs. Boise State Lexington, Ky.W, 70-5512/14/13at North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C.L, 82-7712/21/13vs. Belmont Lexington, Ky.12:00 p.m. ET12/28/13vs. Louisville Lexington, Ky.4:00

    Here is UK’s schedule for this year. FILLED WITH CUPCAKES !!! Only two big name programs – MSU and UNC, plus a ranked Baylor team. No different than IU. Except for one thing IU plays in the tough B1G and UK plays in the SEC. Nuff said.

  • Ole Man

    I’ll take that over a 20 pt loss! LOL!

  • Bricklayer

    You’re all over the place with this dialog and lacks logic. Please return to the hills of Kentucky and support Cheatapari.

  • Bricklayer

    I’m not sure if you agree with my comments or not. My point is the critical comments directed at Coach Crean. Do I think IU should play some better teams, yes.

    Do I think Coach Crean has ethics and runs a clean program, yes.

    Do I want another championship banner, yes, but only if I can say we did it the right way, not the Kentucky way.

  • hoosier1158

    You don’t approve of winning a NCAA championship with kids set on going to the NBA and not graduating??

  • Bricklayer

    Troll comments only, please go away.

  • IUED

    Poor Tommy. He might have good morals, work ethic, but is a very average coach. 10 years and he will be gone. We all have families, but if heat gets too hot, get out of fire. No better coach than Mike Davis, but good recruiter. Up 12 on Nichols State with 12 minutes to go. Big 10 record will be 8 W – 10 L if we are lucky Poor prep, poor subbing. TERRIBLE

  • Esquire

    A-frickin-men brother. Coach is moving this program forward. Yes, it’s not all at once. It took a couple of years to move out of the basement, and another after we started to look up after the Kentucky win. Last year was a #1 team with a disappointing ending. This year he’s wrangling a bunch of young players and we’re not going to win it all. But we ARE going to get some great entertainment. And, at times, some great ball. Lose the microscope, people! IU is back and we have a great coach to thank for that!

  • doodle777

    Beat one of the worse teams in the nation by 13 and not 35 REALLY. Oh yea Coach Crean lets not try to settle in on a good 8 or 9 player rotation for the big ten lets throw Marlin and Howard into the mix and get a 13 or 14 man rotation going. This team looked very very bad against a very very bad team last night you have to admit

  • doodle777

    Praise them even though they are really bad??? Would love to. David you just can’t handle the truth.

  • David Macer

    They played very sloppy with 20 TO’s. Won’t be able to do that in the B1G. Still we had good stretches when we went on a 17-0 run. They are still very young and have not learned to step on their opponents neck when they have them down !!!

  • William Hagenmaier

    I am beginning to question t c’s coaching his subsitutions make no sense he needs to pair it down some

  • William Hagenmaier

    I agree totally

  • William Hagenmaier


  • William Hagenmaier

    Kansas is playing a tough schudule

  • William Hagenmaier

    I been watching since 63

  • BS1

    Yep attended numerous games from these tournaments – The teams in them for 1993-1994 season(records included) were Tennessee Tech (10-21) , Washington State (20-11), Texas Christian (7-20) and W. Kentucky(20-11 – they won their conference evidently Lamar was not that good then either). I have been a IU fan for 40 years – followed it religiously – see when you go back and look there was not that much difference in the schedule – yes they played KY and ND that year – yep we played ND this year and still trying to replace the KY game they shafted us on and now Big10/ACC challenge every year Syracuse I think?? Go back and look at the schedules year in and year out – Cupcakes and a couple of tough games – though out the history of IU basketball. And those were the days when the talent was centralized with on the power houses – no mediocrity back then. Bobby Knight was one one the greatest – if not the greatest coach in the history of the game. BUt contrary to popular beleive we did not play 30 games against power house school every season. You need a couple of games to gage where you are and 8-10 to work on things and get ready for Big10.

  • William Hagenmaier

    Luke fischer leaves iu cant understand tom creans coaching