Indiana and No. 5 Louisville meet on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Jimmy V Classic. As we look ahead, he's a breakdown of the individual matchups in that game.
PG: Yogi Ferrell (Indiana) vs. Chris Jones (Louisville): Ferrell is Indiana's unquestioned leader as a junior, and he's been productive through eight games. Ferrell is averaging 17.3 points, 5.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from beyond the arc. Ferrell has done a good job lately of getting others involved early while picking his spots for his own offense. He will have to take care of the ball against Louisville's pressure on Tuesday night.
Jones, meanwhile, is averaging 11.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists through Louisville's first seven games. Surprisingly, he's the team's assist leader. Louisville gets much of its offense in transition, off of offensive rebounds, and through 1-on-1 plays, thus the assist numbers aren't eye popping. Jones has struggled from the field, shooting just 30.1 percent and 32.4 percent from deep.
SG: James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana) vs. Terry Rozier (Louisville): Blackmon is averaging a team-best 19.5 points per game and has been efficient in doing so. Blackmon is shooting 51 percent from the field and an impressive 54.2 percent from beyond the arc. The freshman is also pulling down 5.1 rebounds per game.
Rozier is Louisville's top guard as a sophomore, but his offensive game isn't nearly as well-rounded as Blackmon's. Rozier is averaging 13 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, but he's also turning it over 2.3 times per contest. Rozier is not much of a threat from beyond the arc, though he will take the occasional 3. He's 5-of-20 from there in seven games. Rozier, 6-foot-1, is three inches shorter than Blackmon, but he's a good defender and will challenge Blackmon with his quickness, if the two do matchup.
SF: Robert Johnson (Indiana) vs. Wayne Blackshear (Louisville): Blackshear is one of Louisville's most battle-tested players. The senior played 20 minutes per game each of the previous two seasons, and he's off to another solid start. Blackshear is averaging 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds, while shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 30.2 percent from deep.
Blackshear attempts better than 10 shots per game, six of them being 3-pointers. He's attempting nearly twice as many 3s per game than he did a year ago.
Johnson, one of Indiana's two standout freshmen, is one of Indiana's better defenders, and he can also run the point when Ferrell is out of the game. He's averaging 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assist per contest. Johnson will have to be a big factor on the glass for Indiana to stay in the game and have a chance to win.
Because of Blackshear's experience, I'm going to give him the advantage in this one.
My guess is the Hoosiers will play a lot of zone to try to keep Harrell out of the paint.
Now, on the other end, it will be difficult for Harrell to defend Williams if the two are matched up with each other, but there's no doubt this matchup favors Harrell, and by a long shot.
C: Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Indiana) vs. Chinanu Onuaku (Louisville): Onuaku is only a freshman, but he's been a load on the boards through his first seven collegiate games. He's averaging 6.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and has made 18 of his 23 shot attempts from the field (78 percent). Onuaku is also blocking 2.7 shots per game.
Mosquera-Perea has had another inconsistent season for the Hoosiers, but he must work to keep Onuaku off the offensive glass. If he doesn't, it won't be long before Tom Crean goes to Emmitt Holt inside.
Indiana's bench has improved over the last few games with the production of Holt. The Hoosiers have gotten 15 points and 10 rebounds out of the freshman in the last two games on 7-of-8 shooting. Holt will have to be a big factor for IU on Tuesday.
Crean has also gotten consistent shooting out of Nick Zeisloft (50 percent from 3) and great hustle from Collin Hartman (5 points, 4 rebounds per game). Stanford Robinson has struggled this season, but he had his best game on Saturday night against Savannah State.
Louisville's bench is fairly short, but Anton Gill and Mangok Mathiang have been very good for Rick Pitino. Gill, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, is averaging five points and two rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game, and he's coming off a 15-point effort against Florida International. Mathiang, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, is pulling down 6.8 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game to go along with 3.6 points.