Many college basketball coaches are fearful of scheduling exhibition opponents that could potentially beat them.
Tom Crean clearly is not.
No. 15 Indiana opens its exhibition schedule against the University of Ottawa on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers played Ottawa during their Canadian trip prior to last season, a game they lost 109-101.
Indiana's newcomers will learn very quickly just how different the college game is from the high school one.
"We knew coming out of last year, in the back of my mind, that we would love to play one of those teams," Crean said Monday. "I'd love to get Carleton here at some point down the road. We wanted to play one of those teams because they really, really test you. And they have so much that you're going to see in terms of skill.
"We put a lot of research into that. A couple of the guys on the team really, really do research the lineups, research the film, and then I'll start to look at it. It's really kind of based on what you're potentially going to see early in your season."
Ottawa has already played nine games since the start of October, so they won't have much rust to kick off. They're coming off their only loss of the season, 74-70 to McGill on Sunday. Ottawa attempted 40 3-pointers in that game.
Ottawa returns many of the same players from last year's team, including star guard Mike L'Africain. He's averaging 16.6 points and just over 4 assists per game through nine, and he's made 30 3-pointers on 60 attempts (50 percent). L'Africain had 27 points against Indiana last year and made 6-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc.
Ottawa will be without Vikas Gill on Tuesday night though due to schoolwork. Gill made 7-of-8 3s against the Hoosiers in Canada.
Caleb Agada is averaging 15.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game thorugh the first nine games for Ottawa.
When asked on Monday, Crean compared Ottawa to Notre Dame because of their court spacing and their forwards' ability to drive the ball.
"They're better than they were a year ago," Crean said. "They're even better than I thought."
Crean said Collin Hartman is questionable for Tuesday's game as he continues to recover from a rib injury he sustained when he took a charge on Troy Williams in practice. James Blackmon will likely be on a minutes limit as he continues to deal with soreness in his knee, and Indiana's three freshmen will also have their minutes closely monitored.
"I'm not sure if we'll have Collin Hartman tomorrow night or not. I know he'd like to be," Crean said. "When he comes back, he's going to be on limited minutes. James' knee, he's still dealing with the soreness of that from time to time. We're certainly going to manage the freshmen's minutes because it's a long season, and they've all dealt with various things throughout the preseason."
Crean said he has no idea who will start against Ottawa, and he will likely try out a number of different lineups throughout the game to see what works and what doesn't.
"It's more important to me right now that we are managing the minutes. But there's definitely a couple lineups, if it presents itself, I'd like to see how that is," Crean said. "We truly don't have a lineup right now. We just don't. It's really a matter of mixing and matching and getting guys comfortable. The whole being married to the three guards all year long, I'm not married to that at all. I'm married to Joani, not to that lineup."