On Thursday at 7:00 ET, the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (2-0) will host the Sam Houston State Bearkats (1-1) on the Big Ten Network.
As always, Jerod, Ryan, Zach, and Andy will be here with another episode of The Assembly Call after the game.
IU-Sam Houston State Gameday Info
Date: Thursday, November 15th
Time: 7:00 ET, 6:00 CT
Announcers: Eric Collins and Jim Jackson
Point Spread: IU by 28.5
Over-Under: No line
KenPom Prediction: Indiana 81-53 with a 99% chance of winning
Peegs: IU Gameday
Inside the Hall
IU-Sam Houston State live tweet coverage: @AssemblyCall
Assembly Call IU Postgame Show: http://assemblycall.com/live
IU-Sam Houston State Preview
Sam Houston State: Three Things to Watch
1. Forcing Turnovers
So far the Bearkats have played Arkansas and Hardin-Simmons, so as you might imagine, their defensive results have fluctuated pretty dramatically.
Against the Razorbacks, SHSU forced just nine turnovers while committing 19 of its own. On the flip side, the Bearkats racked up 21 steals and forced 27 total turnovers against Hardin-Simmons.
Last season, they ranked in the Top 100 in turnover percentage, so their ability to generate IU miscues will be critical if they want to keep this one close. The Hoosiers have done a nice job of protecting the basketball so far, but this will be another test for freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell.
2. Defending Cody Zeller
Seriously, I’m leaving this one in here until further notice.
Like each of IU’s opponents so far, the Bearkats don’t have much height at all. Their roster shows just one player over 6-foot-7, which is 6-foot-11 sophomore Michael Holyfied who comes in averaging 5.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.
Zeller has been outstanding through two games and has been adept at getting his opponents into foul trouble. On paper, this looks like a huge mismatch.
3. Three-point Shooting
Through two games, the Bearkats are shooting 42.0 percent from beyond the arc, powered largely by a 13-of-27 performance from long range against Hardin-Simmons.
The Hoosiers will want to keep track of point guard Darius Gatson, who is averaging 14.5 points and has made 6-of-10 from downtown, as well as junior Will Bond, who hit four triples against Hardin-Simmons after being held scoreless versus the Razorbacks.
Indiana allowed North Dakota State to shoot 40 percent from long range on Monday, so this will surely be a point of emphasis for the Hoosiers defensively.
Indiana: Three Things to Watch
1. Remy Abell
I’m reasonably confident that Abell will eventually miss a shot from the field at some point this season, but so far he’s a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, including five three-pointers. The sophomore guard has parlayed a strong offseason into a fast start this year as one of the first players off the bench.
Abell is a strong defender and has the ability to play both guard spots, while his aggressive nature on the court has led to eight free throw attempts through two games.
As a unit, the IU bench has been fantastic thanks to the performances of Abell, Jeremy Hollowell, and Will Sheehey, and I would look for them to come up big against Sam Houston State.
2. Getting to the Free Throw Line
Last season the Hoosiers excelled at getting to the free throw line, ranking 15th nationally in free throw rate. That has continued this year, as IU has already made 64 trips to the stripe en route to a gaudy 57.1 FTR.
Part of that can be attributed to Zeller’s strong play inside and his ability to get his opponents in foul trouble, but as a team the Hoosiers have been very aggressive in attacking the basket, which has helped them get to the foul line early and often.
The Bearkats racked up 25 fouls against Arkansas and a repeat performance against IU would seal their fate.
3. Yogi Ferrell
IU’s freshman point guard had an outstanding debut against Bryant with 10 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, but he came back to earth a bit with just four points, three assists, and four turnovers versus North Dakota State.
He did earn praise for his solid defensive work against the Bison, but as we discussed on the postgame show, I’m interested to see how he bounces back on the offensive end.
Ferrell will also be matched up with another talented point guard in Gatson, who was one of the Southland Conference’s top assist men last season.
This game has all the makings of a mismatch as the Hoosiers play their last tuneup before heading to Brooklyn for the Legends Classic on Monday and Tuesday.
Sam Houston State ranked 332nd in adjusted offensive efficiency last season, and the Bearkats’ performance against Arkansas didn’t exhibit substantial improvement. With a strong reliance on outside shooting, SHSU made just six trips to the line in that game and did a poor job of taking care of the basketball, an issue that plagued them last season.
For the Hoosiers, the defense has shown improvement, but I’m not sure this game will be a true measuring stick of just how far they’ve come.
On the other end of the floor, IU has shown tremendous balance and depth through the first two games of the season. The Hoosiers are shooting over 60 percent from two-point range and getting to the line at a high rate.
With a large size advantage inside, I don’t see either of those trends changing. Look for another big game from Cody Zeller and another comfortable victory at Assembly Hall.
Listen to Andy Thursday on The Assembly Call. Follow him on Twitter at @AndyBottoms.