Entering its 120th season of college basketball, the Indiana Hoosiers will take the Assembly Hall floor for the first time in the 2019-2020 basketball campaign on Tuesday night against the Gannon Golden Knights. This matchup marks the only exhibition game for IU this season. Located in Erie, PA, Gannon is a private Catholic university, with an enrollment of 4,444, and whose colors are maroon and gold. They play in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in Division II, and will begin their 75th season as a basketball program.
How to Watch: Indiana Hoosiers versus Gannon Golden Knights
|Who||Exhibition Game: Indiana vs. Gannon|
|When||7:00 PM ET / Tuesday, October 29, 2019|
|Where||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN|
|Tickets||Find the Lowest Ticket Prices on SeatGeek|
|Watch||BTN Plus (Subscription Required)|
|Listen||IU Radio Network|
You can find the latest 2019 Indiana Basketball schedule (printable) here. Also, you can find the current basketball roster here and a scholarship breakdown here.
Getting to Know the Gannon Golden Knights
Last season, the Golden Knights had a record of 11-18, going 9-12 in the PSAC. After the season concluded, Gannon dismissed the longest-tenured coach in their program’s history, 14-year veteran John Reilly, and hired Old Dominion assistant Kelvin Jefferson to lead their program.
Jefferson has 12 years of Division I assistant experience and also spent eight years as head coach of South Kent Prep in Connecticut. There, he helped develop future NBA players Mo Harkless and Russ Smith.
Gannon returns four players who started at least 13 games last season. Of those, sophomore shooting guard Victor Olawoye will likely serve as the toughest matchup for Indiana. Olawoye scored 10.4 PPG, grabbed 3.4 RPG, and attempted over 5 threes a game last season.
Outside of Olawoye, PG Matt Johnson and C Kevin Dodds will play an integral role for Gannon. The 6’0″ Johnson, a senior, averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.0 APG last season, and he also led the team with a 80.5% FT percentage. Interestingly, Johnson played alongside IU F Justin Smith and Dallas Mavericks PG Jalen Brunson at Adlai Stevenson High School in Chicago. Perhaps Johnson and Smith will find themselves going one-on-one at some point during the game.
The 6’8″ Dodds, also a senior, played 27 MPG last season, tallying 6.2 PPG and 5.7 RPG.
Expectations for Gannon
“Indiana University is one of the most storied programs in college basketball, and Coach [Archie] Miller is one of the hottest coaches in the country. The chance to play such an elite program is a great honor for the Golden Knights, and we’re looking forward to the competitive environment.”Gannon head coach Kelvin Jefferson
In the preseason PSAC poll, the league’s head coaches selected Gannon to finish sixth in the eight-team West division. Indiana University (PA) was tabbed to win the division. The last time Gannon played an exhibition game against a Division I team came on consecutive days back in 2015, when they faced Pitt and George Washington. They lost both games by a combined 75 points. The Golden Knights will head to St. Bonaventure for a regular season game on November 14.
Potential Starting Lineups
|PG: #21 Matt Johnson||PG: #1 Al Durham|
|SG: #3 Victor Olawoye||SG: #23 Damezi Anderson|
|SG: #4 Frank Webb, Jr.||F: #3 Justin Smith|
|PF: #33 DeAnte Cisero||F: #4 Trayce Jackson-Davis|
|C: #10 Kevin Dodds||C: #50 Joey Brunk|
What to Watch For
1. Indiana’s guard depth without Green and Phinisee
Earlier Monday, Indiana head coach Archie Miller announced that the Hoosier guards DeVonte Green and Rob Phinisee would miss the exhibition game.
Seemingly, three players will play the majority of the minutes at guard against Gannon: Al Durham, Armaan Franklin, and Damezi Anderson. In the exhibition game against Marquette, which Green and Phinisee also missed, Durham and Anderson started. Franklin, a freshman from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, came off the bench and played a team-high 29 minutes.
The exhibition game and the first six non-conference games present valuable chances for Miller to give some players developmental opportunities before the difficulty ramps up another level.
2. It’s Hunter Season
Tuesday night’s exhibition game gives Hoosier Nation its first chance to see highly-regarded redshirt freshman Jerome Hunter against another school. Hunter, who missed last season with a lower leg injury, finished ranked #59 in 247 Sports’ final 2018 recruiting rankings.
A 6’7″ forward, Hunter adds to a versatile Indiana frontline that includes Smith, Race Thompson, De’Ron Davis, freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Butler transfer Joey Brunk.
3. Mike Roberts’ Influence
Hired by Indiana in late August, assistant Mike Roberts replaced former Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling on Archie Miller’s staff. Roberts came over from UNC Greensboro, where he helped the Spartans win at least 20 games in each of the last three seasons, including 29 last year.
In an exhibition environment, where experimentation can happen with fewer consequences, will Roberts urge Indiana to play faster or shoot more three-point attempts? For fans attending the game or watching on BTN Plus, keep an eye out for Roberts on the bench, talking to the players and giving the pointers as the game progresses.
4. Free Throw Shooting (and Free Throw Making)
During Indiana’s “secret” scrimmage against Marquette, the Hoosiers got to the line an eye-popping 43 times against a solid Big East opponent. However, Indiana knocked down just 24 of those, resulting in a disappointing 55.8% clip.
Jackson-Davis made 5-of-9, Brunk 5-of-8, and Anderson missed all four attempts. With the home crowd supporting them, IU will not just try to get back to the 65.5% they shot last season, but exceed that mark significantly against Gannon. With some weaker opponents on the schedule to start the season, beginning with the season opener against Western Illinois on Tuesday, Miller will want to see his team knock down free throw attempts, especially if they get to the line frequently.
Featured Photo: Gannon University