After a disappointing 12-20 season, the Indiana Hoosiers are ready to take the court again for the 2011-12 season.Â The first opponent of the season is the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds, a Division II school out of central Indianapolis.Â Although the game is just an exhibition, it will be the first time the fans will have an opportunity to see the Hoosiers face off against somebody other than themselves.
The Opponent:Â University of Indianapolis (0-0, 0-0)
The Greyhounds are a solid Division II team, and are coming off of an NCAA Tournament appearance last season.Â UIndy lost some scoring to graduation, but they hope to pick up right where they left off last season.
They certainly will not be intimidated by playing a high-caliber school.Â They are going to try and force Indiana into playing their style of game.Â Their main goal on defense is to try and speed up their opponentâ€™s offense.Â The Greyhounds are able to do that with various forms of full-court pressure, hoping for turnovers leading to easy buckets.
The offensive attack for UIndy is also very strong.Â As it was mentioned above, their main goal is to force turnovers from their opponents, resulting in easy baskets.Â They are a very up-tempo team, and they are looking to get out and run at any opportunity they can.Â However, if the Greyhounds have to slow it down and set up an offense, they are certainly capable of doing so.Â UIndy is a very disciplined team that takes care of the basketball.Â Last season, they had a +3 margin in terms of turnovers in relation to their opponents.
Donâ€™t believe all of the information above?Â Look no farther than the contest University of Indianapolis played last season AT Tennessee.Â They were going in to a hostile environment against a nationally-ranked team.Â UIndy and Tennessee play similar styles, but the Greyhounds were far more successful in executing their game plan.Â UIndy forced Tennessee into 25 turnovers, while only turning the ball over 10 times themselves.Â That resulted in a 25 to 8 margin in favor of the Greyhounds for points off turnovers.Â Although they were heavy underdogs, UIndy ran away with a 79-64 victory.
Focus: Adrian Moss
Adrian Moss is a former Division I basketball player at IUPUI.Â He gives the Hoosiers an opportunity early on against a scoring point guard; a position Indiana has struggled to guard in past seasons.Â Moss will be the focal point of the Greyoundâ€™s offense after losing their leading scorer from last season, Darius Adams.Â If Moss can get hot from behind the arc, he can open UIndyâ€™s offense up and cause some problems for IUâ€™s defense.
UIndy Statistics (Last Season)
|Points Per Game||83.9||75.4|
|Field Goal Percentage||48.1%||46.4%|
|Rebounds Per Game||35.2||32.4|
|Assists Per Game||16.1||13.1|
|Turnovers Per Game||13.1||16.2|
Indiana (0-0, 0-0)
This will be the first time the Hoosiers take the floor against an opponent in the 2011-12 season.Â With the combination of UIndyâ€™s capabilities against Division I teams, and IUâ€™s struggles in exhibition games in recent memory (see Ferris State), this will be no cake-walk for IU.
The Indiana fans are most excited to see the emergence of Cody Zeller, Indianaâ€™s Mr. Basketball in 2010-11.Â No matter how good Zeller looks, I think fans have to realize they need to take this game with a grain of salt, especially with Cody.Â UIndy will just not be able to match-up with Zellerâ€™s size.Â By all means, Cody should have no problem scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 boards, but that is no reason to deem him National Player of the Year.Â Division II schools struggle recruiting size more than anything else, because that is something that you cannot teach.Â For that reason, expect a stellar performance for Zeller.
The most important part of the game will be to see how the Hoosiers have progressed individually.Â The team aspect will start coming together closer to the end of November, but the entire off-season is devoted to individual progression.Â It will be easy to tell who has been at Cook Hall working on their game, and who has been at Kilroyâ€™s working on their â€œgame.â€Â Will Sheehey and Oladipo be able to translate their improved play in practice into the game?Â Has Hullsâ€™ defense improved how he hoped it would?Â Has Verdellâ€™s shot-selection improved?Â Although Saturday night will not give us anywhere near a full answer into those questions, it will certainly scratch the surface.
The most important part for Indiana in a game like this is to come out in the first five minutes and trounce UIndy.Â If Indiana comes out flat and gives the Greyhounds a glimmer of hope in the first 5-10 minutes of the game, they will start to truly believe they can compete the entire game with IU.Â If the Hoosiers come out and get a quick, double-digit lead, UIndyâ€™s confidence in themselves will be severely deflated, and it can lead to an easy win for the Hoosiers.
Focus: Taking care of the basketball
As it has been mentioned, the Greyhounds focus on making their opponent turn the ball over.Â Turnovers lead to easy points for the opposition, and if IU cannot take care of the basketball, it can keep UIndy in a game they should be otherwise out-matched.Â As long as the Hoosiers can take care of the basketball and execute, they will be able to take the Greyhounds out of their game.
Indiana Statistics (Last Season)
|Points Per Game||69.6||68.2|
|Field Goal Percentage||46.1%||43.3%|
|Rebounds Per Game||32.8||31.8|
|Assists Per Game||12.3||11.8|
|Turnovers Per Game||13.0||12.9|
Â Final Outlook:
This game may not be as easy as some Indiana fans may think it should be.Â Uindy is a very good Division II team.Â On top of that, they are playing the most popular Division I opponent in their state.Â They have every reason to be excited and have their adrenaline pumping for the game.
While one would hope the Hoosiers wonâ€™t come out flat, it may be tough to get â€œupâ€ for a Division II opponent.Â With it being opening night in Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers should come out energized and ready to show fans they are ready to makes strides after three abysmal seasons.
Final Score Prediction: Indiana 84, UIndy 66