Game Preview: Indiana

We already went through what we think will happen tonight in Bloomington on Episode 4 of the podcast but figured we should still throw something out there.

Looking at the programs it’s amazing how many similarities there are.

  • 5 NCAA championships a piece.
  • Both sides saw lean years under former coaches (Kelvin Sampson & Matt Doherty) and have prospered under the current regimes.
  • Both also have coaching legends in their history with Bob Knight and Dean Smith.
  • Each currently has or has seen a member of the freakishly good Zeller clan.

We could keep going but that will do. Tonight’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge has the potential to show us what to rationally expect from the Heels the rest of the season. Games don’t come much harder than this.

  • Indiana is led by sophomore stud, preseason All-American, preseason POY, Cody “The Big Handsome” Zeller. If you haven’t watched Zeller play, he’s a more skilled version of older brother Tyler. What did you say? Tyler Zeller was good? You’re damn right he was good, and we were lucky to have him for four years. But Cody plays on another level. He’s currently averaging over 15 ppg, 7 rpg and 1 bpg.
  • Before we move onto other IU players to watch out for, we have one big question around The Rafters: who is going to guard Zeller? McAdoo is the only person who could truly matchup with the big man, but it seems silly to waste fouls he’d surely rack up. Roy already said he didn’t plan on quadruple-teaming him, and even double teaming him would leave IU’s cast of very good players open. Does Desmond Hubert come back into the starting lineup to provide the body and fouls? Brice Johnson is far too small and Joell James far less skilled for such a task. Playing Zeller is already a problem. UNC’s problem is much worse.
  • Indiana as a team is pretty big. Their go-to guy besides Zeller is 6’9″ senior Christian Watford. You may remember him as the guy who beat Kentucky last year. Well he does more than that to the tune of 13 points and 8 rebounds a game. Another senior, guard Jordan Hulls, adds 13 ppg. He may not be very tall but his almost 5:1 assist to turnover margin is crazy.
  • Of IU’s five players averaging double figures, all have more than one year of experience. That’s a bad way of saying that IU has very talented freshmen in 6’8″ Jeremy Holloway and starting PG Yogi Ferrell yet they’re only  the 7th and 8th top scorers on this team. Marcus Paige has a chance to show his mettle against another highly-touted frosh point.
  • If you haven’t heard, PJ Hairston will not be playing tonight. UNC will miss those points, especially in the form of 3s. IU allows teams to shoot 35% from behind the arc and the Heels are going to need to hit every bit of that number to compete.

A lot has been said about UNC’s need to gets stops on D. Tonight will not be the night that UNC gets those. Expect a lot of points to be scored.

Prediction: Indiana 84, UNC 77