What to Expect: Indiana vs. Harvard

  • 11/25/2023 8:11 am in

Indiana returns to action Sunday afternoon after a five-day break. The Hoosiers will face Harvard at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 4:30 p.m. ET in Indianapolis.

The Crimson are 5-1 with wins against UMass Boston, Rice, Northeastern, UMass and Colgate. The only loss for Harvard came at Boston College on Nov. 18.

Indiana left New York with a split and a 4-1 record, but the schedule doesn’t let up for the Hoosiers. Up next is a tricky Indianapolis game against a Harvard program that has already been tested this season.

The Crimson, led by coach Tommy Amaker, has already won road games against Rice, UMass, and Colgate this season. Picked to finish just sixth in the eight-team Ivy League, Harvard looks like a threat to outperform preseason expectations through six games.


The Crimson are led by a freshman point guard who is off to a terrific start. Oxon Hill, Maryland native Malik Mack has been dominant so far for Amaker. Mack is averaging a team-high 20.2 points to go along with a team-high 5.5 assists per game.

The 6-foot-1 Mack is shooting an efficient 45.5 percent on 3s and has made as many 3-pointers (15) as the entire Indiana roster. Mack gets into the lane and to the foul line at a solid clip. He’s taken 33 free throws this season and is shooting 84.8 percent.

He’s joined in the backcourt by Louis Lesmond, a 6-foot-6 junior. He leads the team with 17 made 3-pointers and connects at a 40.5 percent clip. Lesmond’s 10.2 points per game are tied with 6-foot-5 sophomore Chandler Pigge, who starts at the three.

Pigge is second on the team in rebounding at 7.2 per game and is 14-for-14 from the free throw line.

Harvard starts Chisom Okpara at the four and Justice Ajogbar at the five. Okpara, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound sophomore, can stretch the floor and finish plays at the rim. Okpara’s 16 points per game are second on the team and he’s 6-for-16 on 3s in five games after missing the season opener.

Ajogbar leads the Crimson with 8.2 rebounds per game and a team-high 19 blocks. The 6-foot-10, 255-pound senior has the strength and length to bother Kel’el Ware in the paint.

The key reserves to know for Harvard are freshman forward Thomas Batties II, junior guard Denham Wojcik and freshman big man Luca Ace-Nasteki.

Batties II is a 6-foot-7 wing shooting 53.3 percent from the field and averaging 6.2 points per game. Wojcik will back up Mack and averages just under two assists in 14.7 minutes per contest. Ace-Nasteki is 6-foot-10 and provides frontcourt depth behind Okpara and Ajogbar.


All stats below via KenPom.com and are updated through Thursday’s games.

Indiana’s rebounding remains a major concern through five games. The Hoosiers rank just 333rd in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and 244th in defensive rebounding percentage. The performance was better against Louisville, but the Hoosiers have a lot of work to do to fix the problem.

Harvard ranks 12th in the country in 3-point shooting percentage (41.3) and has been one of the better shooting teams in the country early this season. The Crimson are making 8.7 3s per game compared to just three makes per game for the Hoosiers.

Harvard has struggled on the defensive glass as opponents have rebounded 35.1 percent of their missed shots through six games. The Crimson aren’t a team that puts a lot of pressure on defensively as they rank just 308th in defensive turnover percentage.

Indiana’s primary offensive strength through five games has been its ability to get to the line. The Hoosiers rank first nationally in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) at 59.1 percent.


With Big Ten play beginning on Friday against Maryland in Bloomington, this is a matchup Indiana can’t afford to look past.

Mack has been incredible through six games and presents a significant challenge for Xavier Johnson, who played better in the second half against Louisville but has been otherwise inconsistent. Keeping Mack and Lesmond from going off from the perimeter looms large for Indiana.

The KenPom projection is Indiana by six with a 70 percent chance for victory.

Given how poorly the Hoosiers have played this season and the fact that Harvard is already battle-tested, this will be a good litmus test on how much this group has progressed since the Louisville win.

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