(Photo Credit: UCDavisAggies.com)

As the Hoosiers improved to 4-1, we get another tune-up prior to next week’s showdown at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

We have now seen the two faces of the current Hoosier basketball team. The home team that overpowers teams with its defense forcing poor shooting choices in their opponents. And the away team, where the lack of depth and accumulation of injuries show that we are vulnerable to teams thought to be lesser than ourselves. We should see the former this week. Let’s hope that the team that traveled to Fayetteville stays home and never shows its face the rest of the season.

Romeo Langford has been making incredible strides in his game as of late. Remember the player we all criticized for missing his free throws? Well, he has been working extra and against Arkansas hit 8-9 while leading the team with 22 points, and 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. He even led the team in blocks. It was 1 block, but still no one else acquired any. It’s tough for any player to play 38 of 40 minutes, but he has the ability to change the course of the Hoosiers for the entire season. Fortunately Juwan MorganAljami Durham, and Rob Phinisee have all been stepping their games up during the stretch while we try to get healthy again.

We anticipate that this week would not be a problem as we face a struggling UC Davis team in Bloomington. They have a record of 1-5 going in to the game and a Kenpom ranking of 253 as of November 22nd. Their sole victory came against a Texas A&M- Corpus Christi team that needed overtime. In fact, UC Davis has already lost to UT-Arlington 68-59, whom we just beat 78-64. Additionally, they lost to Arkansas by 23 this season in Fayetteville.

Let’s take a closer look at the Aggies.

Meet the Aggies

Departing Players

  • Chima Moneke – 6’6” / 215 lbs / Forward / Senior – Canberra, Australia. Led the team with 18.4 ppg, 9.6 rebounds. He was suspended indefinitely from the team in February 2018 for a violation of team rules. No additional information was disclosed and he remained off the team and signed with Rouen Métropole Basket in France.
  • Michael Onyebalu – 6’3” / 190 lbs / Guard / Senior – Inglewood, CA.
  • Arell Hennings – 5’8” / 150 lbs / Guard / Senior – Seattle, WA.
  • Delveion Jackson – 6’6” / 210 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Boise, ID.

Returning Players

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  • T.J. Shorts – 5’9” / 160 lbs / Guard / Senior – Tustin, CA. The 2017-2018 Big West Player of the Year. Averaged 14.8 ppg last season, 10.8 ppg this season thus far. Averages about 33 minutes per game as well. Expect heavy play time and reliance on his experience this game.
  • Joe Mooney – 6’3” / 175 lbs / Guard / Junior – Wauconda, IL. Averaging 8.3 ppg which is second highest on the team. Has only started 2 games in his college career thus far.
  • Siler Schneider – 6’3” / 185 lbs / Guard / Senior – Lansing, KS. Regular starter for the Aggies. Has been a starter for all besides one game over the last 38 games. FG% has taken a downturn from nearly 45% to below 30% this season.
  • Garrison Goode – 6’7” / 220 lbs / Forward / Senior – River Hills, WI. Starter for the last two seasons. Has been playing much better than prior seasons and has a FG% of 58%, but only averaging 5.5 ppg.
  • A.J. John – 6’8” / 215 lbs / Forward / Senior – Santa Rosa, CA. Played his first two seasons at Pepperdine University. Regular starter this season and started about half the games last year. As of 11/18, he has not hit a 2PT this year. He averages about 6.5 3PT attempts/game.
  • Rogers Printup – 6’4” / 205 lbs / Guard / Junior – Orange, CA. Interesting fact about him: he is deaf and has learned to read lips and sign language. He has partial hearing with aids.
  • Colin Russell – 6’8” / 220 lbs / Forward / Junior – Folsom, CA. Played his freshman year for Portland. Averaging just 4.7 mpg currently.
  • Jonah Underwood – 6’8” / 220 lbs / Forward / Junior – San Jose, CA. Yet to play for the Aggies.

Incoming Players

  • Caleb Fuller – 6’5” / 210 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Ipswich, England. Started half of the season thus far, only averaging 1.5 ppg and 15% shooting.
  • Matt Neufeld – 6’11” / 220 lbs / Center / Junior – Victoria, Canada. Transfer from St. Louis University this year. Has been averaging a respectable 7.5 ppg thus far.
  • Stefan Gonzalez – 6’2” / 195 lbs / Guard / Junior – Pocatello, ID. Transfer from Saint Mary’s last year (remind you of a current Hoosier that also transferred from Saint Mary’s?)
  • Damion Squire – 6’0” / 175 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Montreal, Canada. Previously represented Team Quebec in the Canada Games and lead the team to the national finals.
  • Gio Nelson – 6’4” / 185 lbs / Guard / RS Freshman – Corona, CA. Played at Centennial HS, one of the top 20 high schools in the country.
  • Cameron Ba – 6’3” / 175 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Alameda, CA. Yet to play this season.
  • B.J. Shaw – 6’6” / 180 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Oakland, CA. Yet to play this season.

Expectations for the Aggies

The Aggies have made it to the NIT or NCAA Tournament three of the last four seasons, won the regular season conference title and made it to the semifinals of their conference tournament last year. Expectations continued to be high this year for the Aggies. They have one of the toughest starts to the season and their record has shown thus far.

Their team leader ever since the departure of Moneke has been TJ Shorts II. He has developed from a junior college level athlete into the conference’s best player in just a season. It is likely he will compete for the title of Player of the Year award again for the conference. Siler Schneider has also proven to be a key player in all around performance for the team while averaging nearly 10 points per game thus far.

UC Davis has the ability to shoot the ball and well. Against UT-Arlington, they connected on 44.4% of their shots and held UTA to 38.3%. Despite this advantage, they still fell due to getting in foul trouble and the Mavericks scoring 11 more from the charity stripe.

UC Davis should be another tune up prior to Duke, but the Hoosiers looked like they were thinking of that primetime matchup while playing UT-Arlington on Tuesday. They will need to continue to focus on the moment and not let the future distract them.

What to Watch For

  1. ButterBall? We continue to struggle handling the ball throughout the first 5 games this season. Against UT-Arlington, it was no different. We gave up 18 turnovers each of the last two games, but fortunately UTA did too resulting in a null margin. As of 11/20, we are in 214th place in number of turnovers with 14.5 per game and we turn over the ball 16.9% of possessions. For reference, UC Davis is 322nd, Duke is 30th and Kentucky is tied with us. Obviously it is not the most important stat in the game, but we also have not played a team like Duke yet. Giving up 18 against UT-Arlington was not acceptable, we need to clean this up prior to the rest of the season.
  2. Well at least we can score up close…as long as they are defending us We got no productivity from deep this last game, going 2-12 the entire game. To make matters worse, our defense against the three wasn’t great last game in the second half either as UTA converted 7 of 17 shot attempts. Our free throw % has still been abysmal as well. Converting 62.2% of shots will bite us in the end this season when we are up against stiffer competition.
  3. Let’s be thankful for some more rest before Duke… We need all the rest we can get and if it means we face a lower ranked opponent, we will gladly take it. Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts, Race Thompson, Jerome Hunter, De’Ron Davis, Romeo Langford and Al Durham are all in various levels of discussion on their injuries. Now hopefully, the latter three will play and be well but still scary when you see someone like Romeo take a hit to his face like he did against UT-Arlington. Archie has not made an official statement yet as to their statuses, but we will all be keeping a close eye on updates. It shows a lot when we only played 7 players against UTA and had to have Phinisee play 39 minutes, Morgan 36 and Langford at 34. We need to figure out more depth and have players get healthy ASAP.
  4. …and maybe turn it down half a notch? We have one of the best defenses in the country. Defending opponents to only 40.1% of FGs and allowing only 59 ppg. We also create a foul in 24.0% of plays. Debatable skill to improve upon, but being smarter with our defense will go a long way as well.

Injury Watch

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  1. Zach McRoberts (back)
  2. Devonte Green (thigh)
  3. Race Thompson (concussion)
  4. Jerome Hunter (leg)
  5. Romeo Langford (questionable, nose)
  6. Al Durham (questionable, leg)

How to Watch

DateFriday, November 23th
Time7:00 PM EST
RadioHoosiersTV Audio

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