Kennesaw State visits Bloomington in final non-conference game

  • 12/22/2015 8:59 am in

Kennesaw State comes to Bloomington today as Indiana’s final non-conference opponent before Big Ten play starts Dec. 30 at Rutgers.

The Owls (3-10) are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and are currently ranked No. 324 according to KenPom.

Kennesaw State has played five teams from power five conferences, losing all five to Alabama, LSU, Arizona State, West Virginia and Louisville. The Owls are coming off of a 78-66 loss to Chattanooga on Friday.

“They run the flex offense at a very high level,” Tom Crean said on Monday. “They’re very active, they’ve played a tough schedule. The flex offense provides enough to keep us busy. It’s a matter of us continuing to improve and build on what we want to get better at. That’s what we’ve really been focused on.”

The Owls are led on offense by Yonel Brown, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, who scores 16.8 points per game and junior guard Kendrick Ray who averages 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

The game marks the last chance for the Hoosiers get themselves where they want to be heading into conference play. IU plays its first two conference games on the road and won’t play at home again until Jan. 5 when the Wisconsin Badgers, who are no longer coached by Bo Ryan, arrive in Bloomington.

Unranked in both the coaches and AP poll, IU sits at No. 23 in the KenPom rankings.

The win in the Crossroads Classic has the chance to be a kick-starter for the Hoosiers, as they battled back from a 16-point deficit in the second half against Notre Dame.

“We played desperate,” Yogi Ferrell said. “We played like we didn’t want to lose that game. We just kept chipping away at the lead that they had.”

Kennesaw State is coached by Al Skinner, who was hired as head coach in April. Skinner previously was the coach at Boston College from 1997-2010. Before that, he was the coach at Rhode Island for nine seasons.

The Owls are a small team, with no player taller than 6-foot-8 on their roster. Aubrey Williams, a 6-foot-6 forward is the team’s leading rebounder at 7.2 a game.

Expect the Hoosiers to feed Thomas Bryant in the post, and get everyone on their roster on the court at one point or another.

Harrison Niego may see minutes at guard to keep the trio of Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson, who has dealt with some ankle soreness, fresh for Big Ten play. Ferrell says he thinks the team can continue playing the way they did in the second half against Notre Dame.

“It’s all about mindset really,” Ferrell said. “Most of that game we weren’t really there focused defensively. We want to carry that second half mindset into the next game.”

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  • TomJameson

    Sure, I want to see an offensive barrage that will make it “lights out” for the Owls, but I would rather concentrate on the defensive end and keep them under 50. They should only get like 10 boards for the whole game, so we should get a lot of second-chance points.

    If Harrison does play, I’d like it if he could/would shoot a little as well. In HS he used to be a very good shooter, breaking NZ’s 3-point shooting records.

    I know what level this team is, but that is one reason I hope IU comes out serious about their defense. Starting out at 24 to 2 would be great (as long as IU has 24).

  • GaHoosier

    I’m actually a Kennesaw State alum, but will always bleed Hoosier Red. But even I might not watch this whole game!!!

    “They run the flex offense at a very high level”, says CTC. I’m sorry, but the only thing KSU does at a very high level is get the crap kicked out of them. In 2003-2004, KSU won the Div II National Championship. They beat Southern Indiana by almost 30 points in the championship game. They were well coached and had great Div II players. Fast forward 10+ years. This is their third coach since joining Div I. They finished high in the Atlantic Sun in their first year as a Div I school, but that was in 2006. KSU brings nothing to the table. I love watching IU win and I understand the need to schedule cupcakes at home for “guaranteed games”, but this game serves no purpose.

    If IU wins by 35+ points, we will just assume that is what should happen. If we give up more than 60 points, then we will say our defense still struggles. If we player our starters too much, we will complain the backups need more experience (even though a game aganist KSU provides little experience that will help in the B10). If the subs play too much and we don’t blow KSU out of the water, then we will say our team underachieved again. If we have a major injury, then the whole season could be over. If we lose, then CTC probably won’t make it out of Assembly Hall. This game would help IU or the fan base know if we grew from the ND game.

    Best case scenario: NO injuries. Play the 8-starters no more than 22-25 minutes. Hit our shots and free throws. Play through the post. Dominate the glass (no more than 6 second-chance points for KSU). Don’t turn the ball over more than 15-17% of the time. Force KSU to make difficult shots. Move our feet and be active on the defensive side of the ball. Get the W. Get ready for Rutgers and Nebraska.

  • BL

    Going to keep ringing the same bell – get OG more playing time. He needs to build on the ND game experience. Love to see him get at least five continuous minutes. Also, TC should play him alongside TB.

  • Hoosier Pride

    OG had about the most impressive 2 pt, 4 rb game I can remember. Its not rocket science to see how much this team loves this kid and how they fed off his offensive rebound put back dunk. I’d like to see him play 15-20 minutes as well as getting JM some valuable minutes to get his confidence up. Keep ringing that bell BL and when you get tired, I’ll take over!

  • Bill Graham

    Not to nit pick at the schedule but ND and then a cupcake isnt exactly a great way to prepare for conference play. I’d like to see a tougher opponent. Two good non- conference wins would be an awesome way to enter conference.

  • Koko

    I’m ringing that bell with you BL.

  • SCHoosier

    Have seen this team play twice..only thing I could agree with is that they have played a tough schedule and have a good PG in Brown. IU would have 7 players academically ineligible to lose this game. Ga. Hoosier has the right story.

  • Trevor Howenstine

    The Owls (3-10) are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and are currently ranked No. 324 according to KenPom. “They run the flex offense at a very high level,” Tom Crean said on Monday. “They’re very active, The flex offense provides enough to keep us busy.” ~ Seriously? That’s the problem…it shouldnt, it really shouldnt Coach.

  • Ole Man

    But that is nit-picking. LOL!
    Just kiddin’.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’ve noticed that OG seems to be a very likable, hard working kid. He’s generally pretty quiet too. The team feeds off a guy like that having success.

  • IULore

    What is he supposed to say “Yeah they are trash. Utter garbage. We’ll beat em by 40.”

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    No, that would be boring. He should just say that they are a Holiday Cupcake and we will be having them for an early Christmas dessert.

  • PBzeer

    No, just something more connected to reality. Like leaving out the “at a very high level”.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    That’s the Crean Presser for you. Sometimes his delusions come in handy, as in when we beat the really good teams that we have no business beating. The Crean motto should be: we have no ceilings, but also no floors.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Play the bench including Tim Priller more than 3-4 minutes at very end of game; they work hard at practice and deserve the time against an obviously inferior opponent. 20 minutes shut down D by starters, 43-17 halftime, then give starters 5 minutes to get used to coming out after halftime and keeping the intensity, then play all the bench the rest of the way. No one is going to earn NBA props from this game anyway!

  • TomJameson

    I’ll nit-pick just a little … lol I am one of those, probably in the minority, that thinks this game does have a purpose. There is no need to beat the crap out of this team the last game prior to the B1G season, but there is another purpose as well … PRACTICE!!

    #1 – practice the defense. After that, practice playing under control, and that’s done by not playing like in a playground. Take this game seriously!!!

    Almost everything you said in your second paragraph is on the fans. I will say that if we win by more than the line, we’ve done okay (but I do expect much more). Especially if we play our bench for any extended amount of time. I fully expect IU to keep the Owls to 60 or under. That’s practicing the defense. I agree with that point.

    Your third paragraph is right on! Personally, I want to win by 50 and almost doubling the score of the Owls. That should be a goal for tonight … MAKE A STATEMENT BOYS!!
    Go IU!

  • mharv2631

    I’d like to see some good entry passes to TB as soon as he is open in the post, not after he’s been there for a while so he can turn and shoot quickly. Forty-five degree angle turn and off the glass. I would like to see them coming from Yogi.

  • SCHoosier

    Well there is a coach to coach courtesy that requires you to say something positive about your upcoming opponent. TC often overdoes it..especially with the cupcakes. In many cases..TC has some relationship with that coach or program etc. It gets old..but so does all “coach speak”. It would be funny to hear an opposing say’ We’re here for the check and fully expect to have our butts kicked.”

  • I did not know about Niego’s shooting or breaking of records. Very good to know. And better to have on the team.

  • Four most important things for this game:
    – Hold the other team below 45 points, total.
    – Yogi needs to dunk it.
    – Subs need to play a lot and get more experience.
    – And no injuries.

    I’d also like to see that mystery 1-3-1 that was supposed to be a 2-3 zone again, just for fun.

    That is all.

    Mary Crimbus!

  • Hoosier4life67

    IU held them to 38 points total. Oh wait, that was the half time score. Sorry, couldn’t resist, lol. Just another team coming to Bloomington to have career nights. Geez our defense is the worse. How does a team that returned all the same players actually get worse over a year? Great coaching I guess.

  • Hoosier4life67

    20 minutes of shut down D by starters? Wait! is this a football game or a basketball game prediction. The basketball team couldn’t hold a division III team to 17 points at the half.

  • Hoosier4life67

    With the score 42 to 48 and Kennesaw St. Closing the gap, Al Skinner realized the score was getting to close and got called for a technical. I think even he is feeling sorry for IU fans and the suffering we are going through.

  • MisterSlippery

    That would be pretty funny