The Breakdown – Indiana Edition
Getting to know the Hoosiers:
Head Coach: Archie Miller
Record: 5-4 (1-1)
National Rank: N/A
New Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller has gotten the Hoosiers off to a rocky start this season. IU opened 2017 with a home loss to Indiana State followed by a win over Howard and a loss to Seaton Hall. The Hoosiers then rattled off three wins in a row before losing a close one at home to Duke, 91-81. Indiana will travel to Louisville this weekend to play the Cardinals for the first time in the KFC Yum! Center and for the first time in Louisville since 2003.
The Front Court
Across the board, the Hoosiers are full of youth and inexperience this season. In the front court however, Indiana does return a few guys with significant playing time, starting with Forward Juwan Morgan. Morgan (6’8”, 230lbs) has started 8 of 9 games this season and is second on the team in field goal percentage (58%) and leads the team in rebounds (57) and points per game (13.8). Morgan has been rolling lately recording his second career double-double against Iowa posting 15 points and 10 rebounds. Against Michigan, Morgan matched his own career high of 9 field goals, totaling 24 points and 8 rebounds.
Joining Morgan in the front court this season has been Sophomore De’Ron Davis. Davis (6’10”, 249lbs) has started all 9 games this season for the Hoosiers and leads the team in field goal percentage (65%). One of the best shooters in the Big Ten, Davis totaled 13 points and 6 rebounds in IU’s last game against Iowa.
The Back Court
Senior Robert Johnson leads the Indiana back court. Johnson (6’3”, 195lbs) is a 4-year starter, starting 65 games in his IU Career. He currently leads the team in minutes played averaging 32.7 minutes per game. He is second on the team in total rebounds and points per game (12.7).
Joining Johnson in the back court is Red Shirt Senior, Josh Newkirk. Newkirk (6’1”, 195lbs) really came on late last season and has carried that momentum into 2017. He is currently shooting 43% from the floor, 42% from behind the arc and is tied for the team high in assists with 24.
Sophomore Devonte Green has seen significant playing time this season, averaging just over 24 minutes per game. Green is tied with Newkirk for the team lead in assists.
Freshman Aljami Durham has started the last three games for the Hoosiers and has played well. Durham has turned the ball over just 5 times in his 233 minutes of play this season and is averaging 8 points and 2.3 assists.
Louisville vs. Indiana
I think its safe to say that this matchup looks a lot different than many expected when these two teams agreed to play. Pitino and Crean are gone, David Padgett and Archie Miller have stepped in and both teams have plenty of question marks.
Indiana has struggled with finding replacements for James Blackmon Jr and OG Anunoby. Both of which were leading scorers when the Cards and Hoosiers faced off at Bankerslife Fieldhouse last season. Louisville has yet to play a complete game and lacks consistency. They’ve shown flashes of greatness on both ends of the floor this season but the careless passes and lack luster effort at times have put the Cards in bad situations.
On Paper Louisville should beat Indiana. The Cardinals are the better team, their defense has been better, and they are playing at home. As we’ve seen already this season in college basketball, that doesn’t always matter. Indiana did play Duke tough earlier this season, so they’ve shown they can execute, whether they will or not remains to be seen. I think you could argue that Louisville needs this game more than IU. Expectations were low for Indiana to start the season and while the scandal and dismissal of Pitino may have tempered expectations, Louisville is still a very talented team that could make some noise in the ACC this season.
I would like to think this team is more like the team we saw in the second half against Siena and less like the team we saw against Seaton Hall.
Cards Win. 77-73.