The calendar turns to November and exhibition play is over, that can only mean that the college basketball season is back. The Indiana Hoosiers are set for their season opener with a matchup against the Western Illinois Leathernecks inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Indiana is looking to bounce back after last season’s 19-16 record and defeat in the NIT Quarterfinals. This is the fourth meeting between the two teams and the first since 2006 with Indiana winning all of the prior contests.
How to Watch: Indiana Hoosiers versus Western Illinois Leathernecks
|Who||Indiana Hoosiers vs. Western Illinois Leathernecks|
|When||Tuesday November 5, 2019 / 7 p.m.|
|Where||Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall – Bloomington, Ind.|
|Tickets||Find the Lowest Ticket Prices on SeatGeek|
|Watch||BTN Plus (Subscription Required)|
|Listen||IU Radio Network|
|Spread||IU -21, O/U 143|
Getting to know the Leathernecks
Western Illinois finished last season 10-21 overall with a 4-12 mark in Summit League play. The Leathernecks finished one spot above last place in their conference and lost to North Dakota State in the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament after upsetting number one seed South Dakota State.
Coach Billy Wright is in his sixth season as a collegiate head coach, spending all six with the Leathernecks and posting a record of 48-94. Wright has ties to the state of Indiana as he spent years coaching high school basketball at Ben Davis and Pike High Schools in Indianapolis, Ind. and then coaching collegiately at Ball State.
The Leathernecks return seven players from last season’s roster with their leading scorer returning in Kobe Webster. The junior guard from Indianapolis, Ind. averaged 17.0 points and 34.0 minutes per game while shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc. Webster statistics earned him a spot on the 2019 All-Summit League Second Team.
Guard C.J. Duff returns as the second leading scorer from last season with an average of 10.8 points per game. In 2018-2019, Duff connected on 42.2 percent of his three-point attempts and made a career high eight triples against Purdue Fort Wayne.
Sophomore Ben Pyle is third in returning players in scoring, averaging 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 36.7 percent from the three-point line.
Expectations for Western Illinois
The Leathernecks are picked to finish seventh in the Summit League and Webster was named to the Preseason All-Summit League team.
Potential Starting Lineups
|G: #10 Kobe Webster||G: #2 Armaan Franklin|
|G: #40 C.J. Duff||G: #23 Damezi Anderson|
|G: #1 Zion Young||F: #3 Justin Smith|
|F: #15 Ben Pyle||F: #4 Trayce Jackson-Davis|
|C: #42 Kyle Arrington||C: #50 Joey Brunk|
What to Watch For
1. Who actually plays for Indiana
In their exhibition contest against against Gannon, Indiana used many different lineups due to players being inactive. Devonte Green and Al Durham sat out of the exhibition match while Rob Phinisee played in limited minutes. Armaan Franklin started at the point with Damezi Anderson and Joey Brunk receiving the starting job as well last week. Look for head coach Archie Miller to mix up the lineups again in this game as the Hoosiers try to get everyone back to full strength.
2. The Leathernecks’ three-point shooting
Western Illinois shot 38.5 percent from the three-point line last season with four players shooting over 36 percent. Indiana’s defense will have to be able to guard the perimeter and close out on shooters to keep the Leathernecks from doing damage. The Hoosiers have size to pack the paint, but their front court players will be tested on their perimeter defense if Western Illinois cannot score on the inside.
3. Indiana’s Freshmen starting strong
Trayce Jackson-Davis and Franklin combined for 24 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists in the exhibition game against Gannon. Both freshmen are likely to start again for the season opener as the health of Green, Durham and Phinisee are still a concern. Miller can take this opportunity to get his young freshmen some quality minutes during the early part of the season.
Featured Photo: Western Illinois University Athletics