Indiana vs. Charlotte Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the matchup pitting Indiana (5-2) and Charlotte (5-4), which tips off Monday at 9 p.m. at Halton Arena in Charlotte

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Charlotte
No. 18/18 Indiana (5-2) squares off with Charlotte (5-4) at 9 p.m. Monday at Halton Arena in Charlotte. Indiana owns 3-1 edge in the all-time series against the 49ers, who left Conference USA in the off-season and joined the Atlantic 10 Conference. Charlotte's lone win in the series came a year ago, when Brendan Plavich scored on a halfcourt bomb at the buzzer to give the 49ers a 74-73 win in Bloomington.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 101-69 career mark. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Charlotte, meanwhile, is coached by Bobby Lutz, who owns a 140-87 record in eight-plus seasons at Charlotte. Lutz has guided the 49ers to the postseason six times, including five trips to the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Lutz owns a 321-178 record in 18-plus seasons as a head coach, which includes a 10-year run at NAIA Pfieffer University from 1985-95.

The game will be televised by ESPN2, with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Jay Bilas (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Charlotte 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
#18/18 Indiana (5-2)
PG- Lewis Monroe (6-5, 192, Sr.) – 4.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.9 apg
SG-Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 14.1 ppg, 2.4 apg, 51.7% 3 pt. %
SF – A.J. Ratliff (6-2, 183, So.) – 5.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.5 apg
PF - Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) 13.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.7 spg
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 20.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.1 apg, 66.3% FG%

Charlotte (5-4)
PG- Mitchell Baldwin (6-2, 186, Sr.) – 6.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.8 apg
SG- Leemire Goldwire (5-11, 190, So.) – 11.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
SF- DeAngelo Alexander (6-5, 227, Jr.) – 17.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.9 apg
PF- Curtis Withers (6-8, 246, Sr.) 15.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.1 apg
C – Chris Nance (6-8, 250, Sr..) – 5.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Charlotte 2005-06 Statistics

INJURY UPDATE
Indiana – After missing the first seven games with a broken bone in his foot, D.J. White (13.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.2 bpg in '04), is questionable for the Charlotte contest. He was expected to be back at practice on Friday or Saturday of last week, with his return likely to come against either Charlotte or on Friday against Butler. If he is able to play, though, he isn't expected to play more than 15-20 minutes. James Hardy, meanwhile, has rejoined the basketball team and began practicing last week, but isn't expected to be available until January.

Charlotte-Senior E.J. Drayton has missed the last three games with tendonitis in his knee, and he is questionable for the Indiana contest.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will Indiana go big against Charlotte? – With the injury to D.J. White and the limited availability of Sean Kline, Indiana has been generally playing with a smaller line-up, playing 6-5 Robert Vaden at powers forward and going with three guards. It's a good bet Indiana will start that way again, but it might wind up going big against the 49ers. First of all, White might be available, and IU Coach Mike Davis has been waiting to put White and Marco Killingsworth on the floor together. Even if White isn't available, don't be surprised to see Ben Allen and Killingsworth on the floor together so that Vaden can slide over to the small forward position and match up with 6-5, 227-pound DeAngelo Alexander, Charlotte's leading scorer. Alexander, who also averages more than seven rebounds per game, would have three inches and 20-30 pounds on either A.J. Ratliff or Rod Wilmont, making it a very difficult match-up for either guard. Alexander is coming off a 32-point outing against Valparaiso Dec. 10, so slowing him down will be a key. Charlotte also out-rebounds its foes by 7.7 rebounds/game, and Indiana can't afford to be dominated on the glass.

Who defends the perimeter better? On paper, the Hoosiers would appear to have a noticeable edge from behind the 3-point arc. Indiana is among the nation's leaders in long-range shooting at 45.6%, while Charlotte is knocking down its 3-pointers at just a 32.9% clip. That might be, but Charlotte has been shooting 50 percent from 3-point range during its last three contests (2-1 in those games) and is averaging 12.7 made 3-pointers per game during that stretch. Alexander is 14-of-25 from 3-point range during that run, while Leemire Goldwire is 12-of-26. The Hoosiers forced Kentucky into a 2-of-27 afternoon from behind the 3-point arc in their last outing, and they'll need to limit the open looks the 49ers get Monday night. Charlotte isn't a particularly good shooting team if they have to deal with a hand in their face (they shot 23.1 percent from 3-point range during their first six games), but the 49ers can knock down open shots if they're available.

Can Indiana limit Charlotte's second-chance opportunities? - Charlotte has been dominant on the glass this season, particularly on the offensive end. Charlotte is averaging nearly 18 offensive rebounds/game, and it has pulled down at least 20 offensive rebounds in each of its last four games. How does Charlotte do it? First of all, they create plenty of offensive rebound opportunities by shooting just 38 percent from the floor. But they also do it with plenty of athleticism on the front line. Indiana will have to make a point of finding Curtis Withers (4.2 offensive rebounds/game) and DeAngelo Alexander (4.0 offensive rebounds/game) when the ball goes up and block them out. A year ago, Charlotte pulled down 17 offensive rebounds in its 74-73 win over Indiana in Bloomington, including eight from Withers.

What sort of impact will the nine-game break have on each team? - It's been a long time since either team played, as both Charlotte and Indiana have both been off since last playing Dec. 10. Indiana came away with its biggest victory of the year with a 79-53 whipping of Kentucky last Saturday, while Charlotte has had to stew for nine days since falling to Valparaiso that same day. That's a long layoff for a team during the season, and it's a possibility that the layoff could have an impact on one or both of the teams in the early going.

QUOTABLES
"They are struggling now, I'm not sure why. But they are an excellent team when you look on paper. They have Curtis Withers who I think is one of the top 10 players in the country. DeAngelo Alexander, a transfer from Oklahoma, leads them in scoring. They have a veteran basketball team, (PG Mitchell) Baldwin is a fifth year senior. They are fast and athletic. They haven't shot the basketball game and I think lost the game because of that but they are a very good team. This game is going to be a lot tougher than the Indiana State game was for us."– IU Coach Mike Davis.

DID YOU KNOW…
Monday night's game will be the 500th career game for Bobby Lutz as a head coach…Charlotte has struggled to a 5-4 start, but it was picked second in the preseason Atlantic 10 poll, behind just 15th-ranked George Washington…Charlotte has three starters who shoot less than 60 percent from the free-throw line – Curtis Withers (56.1%), Mitchell Baldwin (55.6%) and Chris Nance (47.4%)…Marco Killingsworth has three double-doubles in IU's first seven games, which has already eclipsed IU's team total of two a season ago…Marshall Strickland needs 27 points to catch Dean Garrett for 51st place on IU's all-time scoring list. Strickland has 827 career points…Speaking of Strickland, the senior guard is averaging 16.6 points/game in IU's five wins and just 8.0 points in the two losses…Indiana ranks eighth nationally scoring (84.6 points/game), first in assists/game (21.4), third in field goal shooting (.538) and third in 3-point shooting (.456)…the Hoosiers have shot 50.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc in their five wins and just 29.4 percent in the two losses…in last year's Charlotte contest, D.J. White had 18 points and nine rebounds; Robert Vaden and 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals; and Sean Kline had eight points in just 13 minutes.

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