What to expect: Youngstown State

  • 12/28/2017 10:23 am in

Indiana concludes its non-conference schedule on Friday night as the Hoosiers host Youngstown State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Penguins are 2-10 this season and have lost eight straight games.

The game will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on BTN with Brandon Gaudin and Bob Wenzel on the call:

Indiana’s final tuneup before Big Ten play resumes will be against the worst opponent on the 2017-18 schedule: Youngstown State. The Penguins, led by first year coach Jerrod Calhoun, have yet to beat a Division I team this season.

The Hoosiers, meanwhile, have shown growth at times but have also produced some head scratching moments. After beating Notre Dame in overtime in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 16, Indiana lost by 20 at home to Fort Wayne just two days later. That was followed up by a 28-point beatdown of Tennessee Tech last Thursday.

Figuring out this Indiana team on a game-to-game basis has been no easy task, but Friday should net the Hoosiers their seventh and final non-conference win this season.

MEET THE PENGUINS

Calhoun, who took over last spring after spending five seasons at DII Fairmont State, has a tall task ahead of him in Youngstown. The Penguins haven’t finished with a winning record since the 2012-13 season and Ken Pomeroy projects a 6-25 mark this season.

Braun Hartfield, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, is the team’s leading scorer through 12 games. Hartfield is averaging 14.7 points per game and also averages a team best 1.6 steals per game. Hartfield is shooting 44.7 percent on 3s against Division I competition.

The other Penguin averaging in double figures is 6-foot-2 senior guard Cameron Morse. Morse is a high usage, low efficiency shooter. He’s shooting just 34.5 percent this season and averages 13.9 points per game. He also leads the Penguins in assists at 3.6 per game.

Garrett Covington, a 6-foot-5 freshman, starts in the backcourt with Hartfield and Morse. Covington is shooting just 29.4 percent on 3s against Division I teams and also has a turnover percentage of 22.

Jaylen Benton, a 6-foot-2 senior, and Jeremiah Ferguson, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, will play the majority of the backcourt minutes off of the bench. Benton has a solid assist rate against Division I teams (30.2), but has been very turnover prone (25.2 TO%). Ferguson averages close to six points in 19.7 minutes per game.

The undersized Penguins started 6-foot-7 Devin Haygood and 6-foot-5 Tyree Robinson in the frontcourt in their last game, a 91-74 loss at Utah State. Haygood, a junior, is fifth on the team in scoring at 6.5 points per game. Robinson is making 59.2 percent of his 2s against Division I competition and has scored in double figures five times.

Two Penguins who should also see minutes up front are Naz Bohannon, a 6-foot-6 freshman and 6-foot-8 junior Noe Anabir. Bohannon is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.6 per game and is third in minutes at 24.8 per game.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

Youngstown State plays the nation’s 10th fastest tempo according to KenPom (75.9 possessions per game), but it hasn’t yielded much success. The Penguins are struggling across the board and are currently a bottom 15 team defensively in Division I.

For Indiana, this should be a game where the Hoosiers use their size to get into the paint and get to the foul line. Youngstown State is 307th nationally in opponent free throw rate and simply doesn’t have the personnel to match up with De’Ron Davis or Juwan Morgan.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The Vegas line won’t be out until later on Thursday, but Pomeroy likes Indiana by 21 and Sagarin likes the Hoosiers by 22.

This is a game Indiana should win comfortably, but the Hoosiers need to play well considering the tests that await next. Indiana is 0-3 in true road games this season and will resume Big Ten play with games at Wisconsin and Minnesota next week.

(Photo credit: Youngstown State athletics)

Filed to:

  • PBzeer

    Hoping to see improved execution, on both ends of the floor.

  • Sandra Wilson

    Outside of keeping us in shape, I’m not sure an opponent this weak will help at all. It’s too bad we couldn’t have scheduled someone better from Indiana. Oh, well, maybe not. This might be an excellent time to work on getting the ball inside, eliminating turnovers, and ball defense. It’s the perfect game to use the bench to make a point. I really feel that we could stay close to Wisc. and Minn. up there with a shot to win at the end, but I also know there’s a better chance we won’t. Neither the Badgers nor the Gophers are playing particularly well right now. It would be nice to take advantage of that.

  • Lance76

    I am not looking past Youngstown State, but since you mentioned Wisconsin I will say this is a great time to start beating them. They have owned us for better than a decade now and it is time it stops.

  • JethroTroll

    Gophers will most likely destroy us in the Barn. Could very possibly be on of our worst games in the B1G this year. Especially considering its on the back half of consecutive road games

  • PBzeer

    With the first prolonged practice time since the season started, I like having a Youngstown St type of club up next. The game can be used to solidify what they’ve learned, and highlight what needs the most work before we go to Madison on Tuesday. Also, a good game to remind them not to play down to the competition, as well as being game reps that further the goal of execution of the system.

  • Colt

    IU better not take any opponent lightly. This is Youngstown State’s national title game. I have a good feeling that the Hoosiers will play well.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    With the way this team has played this year they should not look past anyone. Over/Under for wins in the BIG. 5

  • HoosierOne

    You are the opposite of believe it to achieve it!

  • dwdkc

    How much can we wager if I take the over?

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Hoping we avoid a holiday hangover and come ready to play. No reason we shouldn’t beat the Penguins by 20+. Let’s end the year with a W!

  • IU_Nation

    This needs to be a ‘get right game’ for Al in my opinion. He hasn’t been playing well and hopefully the holiday break gave him a chance to rejuvenate a little. Hopefully he plays real well, we need him to be playing well (8-10 pts with good defense and trust that he won’t turn the ball over) to have any sort of sustained success in the B1G this year.

    Also, has anyone else seen the numbers Phinisee has been putting up? I have no idea what type of competition he has been playing, but man he looks like an absolute STUD!