After a slow start, the Hoosiers were able to find their rhythm against Princeton on their way to a victory and IU’s first 5-0 start to the season since the 2013-2014 campaign. The game once again illustrated that Indiana is best when they can turn defense into offense and execute on the fast break.
While IU is ranked in the top 55 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, their quality of opponent is about to improve drastically over the next weeks, starting with their next opponent: Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are ranked 89th, according to the KenPom rankings, which is in stark contrast to their earlier adversaries. Indiana’s first five opponents were all ranked between No. 224 through No. 316. So, how will Indiana respond to a step up in competition?
How to Watch
|Who||Indiana Hoosiers vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs|
|When||Monday | November 25, 2019 | 8:30 p.m. ET|
|Where||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall — Bloomington, Ind.|
|Tickets||Find the Lowest Ticket Prices on SeatGeek|
|Listen||IU Radio Network|
|Spread||IU -11.0, Over/Under 140|
Getting to Know the Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech comes to Bloomington holding a 4-1 record on the season and are coming off back-to-back wins against Mississippi Valley State and North Alabama (who Indiana defeated 91-65 on Nov. 12). The Bulldogs came out victorious against the Lions by 21 points, just four shy of the Hoosiers’ margin of victory against them.
Head coach Eric Konkol is in his fifth season with the Lions and is sitting at an 87-50 record overall. Konkol’s team is currently tied for second place with Western Kentucky in the Conference USA standings.
Offensively through five games, the Bulldogs average 82.0 points while shooting 46.7 percent from the field per game. Free throws are a struggle for Louisiana Tech as they are just 63.4 percent from the charity stripe.
On the defensive side of the floor, the Bulldogs are holding opponents to scoring 55.4 points and forcing an average of 10.0 steals per game. Louisiana Tech makes it difficult for scorers to get the ball into the basket as they block 3.8 shots per game.
Guard Kalob Ledoux leads Louisiana Tech in per game scoring at 11.8 points and JaColby Pemberton is second at 11.5 points while shooting 60 percent from the field on the season. DaQuan Bracey and Amorie Archibald are double digit scorers as well combining for an average of 21.0 points per game. Bracey is aggressive on both sides of the ball as he leads the team with just over two steals per contest while Andrew Gordon averages one block per game.
The Hoosiers have to keep Mubarak Muhammed off the glass as the 6-foot-7 senior averages 9.2 rebounds per game and recorded a double-double against the Lions with 18 points and 12 boards. Louisiana Tech rank 15th in the nation at 44.5 rebounds per game and have recorded over 60 offensive rebounds this season.
Projected Starting Lineups
|G: #1 Derric Jean||G: #1 Al Durham|
|G: #25 Daquan Bracey||G: #2 Armaan Franklin|
|G: #11 JaColby Pemberton||F: #3 Justin Smith|
|G: #5 Kalob Ledoux||F: #4 Trayce Jackson-Davis|
|F: #23 Mubarak Muhammed||C: #50 Joey Brunk|
What to Watch For
1. Indiana to continue feeding the paint
After the Princeton game, head coach Archie Miller said it best: “We’re a team that plays inside out.” While Trayce Jackson-Davis has been impressive through the beginning of the year averaging 13.8 PPG, the last game was all about one of the other bigs: Joey Brunk. The Butler transfer netted 16 points and was excellent defensively. With Louisiana Tech’s smaller lineup, this is a perfect opportunity to once again dominate the post. Look for the Hoosiers to establish the paint early and often to try to take advantage of any size mismatches.
2. Quality of shots over quantity of shots
Louisiana Tech is stout defensively, particularly on the perimeter. The Bulldogs have held three of their opponents to 52 points or fewer. In particular, Louisiana Tech has done a great job forcing opponents into bad shots. They are top 20 in the nation in defensive two point field-goal percentage. Thus, it will be important for Indiana to take quality shots and not be rushed into poor field-goal selection. During the first half against Princeton, IU stalled offensively and forced several poor shots. Against the Bulldogs, patience and efficiency will be key.
3. Liberty to sag further from the three-point line
The Bulldogs are the best offensively inside the arc. Louisiana Tech scores 59.1 percent of their total points from inside the arc, which is the 37th highest percentage in the nation. As a team, they are only shooting 29.2 percent from three. Thus, Indiana will likely have a game plan to control everything inside the three-point line and force them to prove they can hit the long-distance shot.
4. Can Indiana protect the rock?
Louisiana Tech is ranked number one in steal percentage in the entire nation according to KenPom. As Archie Miller mentioned a number of times in his post game availabilities, he is focused on two important metrics this season: rebounds and turnovers.
With Indiana’s not-so-deep backcourt, the Hoosiers will be tested on their ability to handle the ball and ability to remain calm and collected under pressure. The Hoosiers are averaging just eleven turnovers per game. Can they stay below Miller’s target of twelve turnovers or less?
Featured Photo: latechsports.com