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Welcome to the 2018-2019 Indiana University Basketball season.

Let the fun begin.

The start of Archie’s second season as the Hoosier’s 29th men’s basketball coach have expectations ranging widely for our team – everything from being a Top 75 Division I team to being a serious competitor for the sixth banner. November 6th marks the day where we start off at Assembly Hall with the next team in the progression to shake off that last bit of crimson-colored rust before the season competition heats up.

We will appreciate Archie spicing up the competition this year with early season non-conference play against Marquette and Arkansas and the ACC/Big Ten game against Duke in the first month alone. Testing the team early on against strong competition will absolutely push our team to its limits and allow for a stronger resume come tournament time.

Our first matchup should be the one of the last tune ups before the season progresses. We will start against a Chicago State University team that is projected to be near 344th out of 353 Division I programs per Ken Pomeroy’s preseason ratings.

Meet the Cougars

Departing Players

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  • Fred Sims Jr. – 6’4” / 193 lbs / Guard / Junior / Chicago, IL – Starter and previous leading scorer with 14.2 points per game and nearly 4 rebounds per game last year. Also attempted more than double the amount of field goals at 15.1 as their second leading scorer. Biggest loss for their team moving into this year.
  • Glen Burns – 6’3” / 205 lbs / Guard / Senior / West Memphis, AR – Starter and only player to start all 32 games.
  • Deionte Simmons – 6’8” / 230 lbs / Forward / Senior / Detroit, MI – Starter and sharpshooter with FG% nearly 60%. Led the team in rebounds with 5.9 a game.
  • Montana Byrd – 6’4” / 215 lbs / Guard / Senior / Chicago, IL – Starter
  • Jelani Pruitt – 6’5” / 185 lbs / Guard / Senior / Gary, IN
  • Alex Dubovitskiy – 6’6” / 200 lbs / Guard / Senior / Moscow, Russia

Returning Players

  • Travon Bell – 6’3” / 180 lbs / Guard / Sophomore – Chicago, IL
  • Cameron Bowles – 6’7” / 195 lbs / Forward / Sophomore – Chicago, IL – only returning starter from last year. Averaged 4.7 points per game.
  • Delundre Dixon – 6’4” / 220 lbs / Guard / Junior / Rockford, IL
  • Anthony Harris – 6’5” / 203 lbs / Guard / Senior / Gary, IN – Graduate from Griffith, IN high school
  • Ken Odiase – 6’7” / 205 lbs / Forward / Senior / Glenwood, IL
  • Rob Shaw – 6’0” / 180 lbs / Guard / Senior / Louisville, KY
  • Patrick Szpir – 6’9” / 230 lbs / Forward / Junior / Wheeling, IL

Incoming Players

  • Noah Bigirumwami – 6’10” / 210 lbs / Center / Sophomore – Santa Clarita, CA – Transfer from San Bernardino Valley College
  • Christian Jacob – 6’8” / 230 lbs / Forward / Junior / Gary, IN – Transfer from Kankakee CC
  • Michael Johnson – 6’1” / 180 lbs / Guard / Sophomore / Chicago, IL – Transfer from Dillard
  • Miles Oliver – 6’2” / 180 lbs / Guard / Freshman / Etiwanda, CA
  • Delshon Strickland – 6’4” / 185 lbs / Guard / Senior / Minneapolis, MN – Transfer from Odessa Junior College
  • Eugene Witherspoon – 6’8” / 200 lbs / Forward / Junior / Chicago, IL – Transfer from Malcolm X College

Expectations for the Cougars

Chicago State University (WAC) has been struggling the last several years. Last season they finished 3-29, 1-13 in the WAC and had significantly the worst average point margin in Division I at -18.3 points per game and the second to lowest point margin being -15.9. They struggled on both sides of the ball with an offensive efficiency rank of 347th and defensive efficiency rank of 350th.

Their last Division I win came on March 3, 2018 in the season finale against UMKC, but prior to this it was 40 games prior which is greater than a full season prior and a total of 415 days.

This led to the release of eight season coach Tracy Dildy and a 5 month search for the successor and the eventual hire of Lance Irvin, son of the late Mac Irvin aka the “Godfather” of Chicago basketball who is in charge of local AAU powerhouse Mac Irvin Fire. A team well known for top level players including Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, Nazr Mohammed, and Rashard Griffith.

This may lead to a promising future for a program that has been struggling to stay afloat amongst budget cuts and a loss of a third of its students just two years ago. Much like the uncertainty of Chicago State University, we are uncertain to what style of team Indiana will play on Tuesday as Irvin’s experience includes time at Southern Illinois University, Southern Methodist University, University of Missouri, Texas A&M University, Iowa State University, and Loyola University.

With a new coach, the Cougars bring back 7 of their players, and add 6 incoming players and 5 of them being transfers from mostly community college programs. Only one player is a freshman and with only one returning starter, we will see many faces that are new to college play.

It is anticipated that Cameron Bowles will return to start his sophomore season at forward. Cameron, Anthony Harris and Rob Shaw are the only three players on the current roster registering significant play time last year – greater than 15 minutes per game. We anticipate these three will all continue to clock significant time, but with half of the team being new and a new coach, it is unknown who else will represent the team when they take the court Tuesday. This is the first time IU has played Chicago State since 2013-2014 where we had now NBA teammates Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams.

What to Watch For

  1. Uncovering Our Identity. This will be the first true game of the season, but debatably a step up in strength from Division II University of Southern Indiana. We will learn more about how the team will work together and A true game that counts and learning more about what challenges our team will face in the future. We will (hopefully) see more of our weaknesses that surfaced during our first scrimmage and address them early on in a forgiving environment. One obvious task is to clean up our FT shooting – 62.5% is an area in need of improvement. Will Rob Phinisee continue to operate at the level of the USI scrimmage? Most projections did not have Damezi Anderson with a significant share of the minutes. Given the offensive sluggishness of the team, could that potentially be the wrong judgement? Anderson has an opportunity bring in immediate three point firepower and can play in the same kick-starter role that Evan Fitzner seems to have taken on.We need to treat this as an opportunity to let loose and test ourselves prior to the first heavy-weight challenge, Marquette, the following week.
  2. Romeo Langford. Last game Romeo scored a respectable 13 points with a team high 5 rebounds. This comes to no surprise and to some, maybe a slight under-performance to what we expect from one of the nation’s top freshman players. What raised concern was that he produced nearly half of the team’s turnovers in his 31 minutes on the court. Not terribly surprising for the young player, but will need to be addressed before the season progresses.
  3. Offense vs Defense. Over recent years, IU developed a system of suffocating offense to defeat opponents under prior coach Crean. Miller has voiced emphasis on defense, but also spreading the offense to allow the big men more opportunities to score down low with the presence of a deep threat. We will see more where this team lies on the defensive side of the ball.
  4. 1-0. One year ago, Indiana State came to Assembly Hall confident and hungry to win, leaving the flat-footed Hoosier team empty handed and starting the season 0-1. Chicago State is about as an inexperienced of a team as we could see, but we also thought that Indiana State was an afterthought prior to the game a year ago when they were ranked below the top 200 teams. We need to show up, step up, win, and focus on the moment.

How to Watch

DateTuesday, November 6th
Time6:30 PM EST
RadioHoosiersTV Audio

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