Indiana vs. Connecticut Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the match-up pitting No. 22/21 Indiana (13-5/5-3) and No. 1/1 Connecticut (19-1/8-1 Big East), which tips off Saturday at 1 p.m. at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Connecticut
No. 22/21 (AP/Coaches) Indiana (13-5/5-3) steps out of conference play for a match-up with No. 1/1 UConn (19-1/8-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Assembly Hall. UConn leads the all-time series 3-2, which includes a 74-69 victory last season in Hartford, Conn. Indiana led by 13 in the second half of last year's contest with the then-seventh-ranked Huskies, but a 17-1 UConn run erased that deficit. The two teams have met once in the NCAA Tournament, as the second-seeded Huskies handed the seventh-seeded Hoosiers a 78-68 setback in 1998 on their way to an Elite Eight appearance.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 109-72 career mark, including an 0-1 mark against UConn. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Connecticut, meanwhile, is coached by Jim Calhoun, who is in his 20th year as UConn's head coach and 34th season overall. A 2005 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Calhoun has compiled a 474-174 record in Storrs, Ct., and a 722-311 mark overall, which includes 14 years at Northeastern. Calhoun, who has guided UConn to a pair of national titles (1999, 2004), is one of only 19 coaches to win 700 career games.

The game will be televised by CBS, with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Billy Packer (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Connecticut 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
#22/21 Indiana (13-5/5-3)
PG- Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 11.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 46.6% 3 pt. shooting, 92.3% FT shooting
SG- Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) 14.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.2 apg, 50.5% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Rod Wilmont (6-4, 200, Jr.) 9,4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 39.7% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Sean Kline (6-8, 233, Sr.) 1.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.4 apg, 8.8 minutes/game
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 18.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 58.9% FG shooting

Connecticut (19-1/8-1)
PG- Marcus Williams (6-3, 205, Jr.) – 9.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 7.7 apg, 36.7% FG shooting
SG- Craig Austrie (6-6, 225, Fr.) – 4.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 39.4% FG shooting
SF – Rudy Gay (6-9, 220, So.) – 15.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.3apg,1.8 bpg, 44.6% FG shooting
PF- Josh Boone (6-10, 237, Jr.) – 10.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 0.9 apg, 2.4 bpg, 56.0% FG shooting
C – Hilton Armstrong (6-11, 235, Sr.) – 9.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.1 bpg, 60.9% FG shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Connecticut 2005-06 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How will UConn choose to defend Killingsworth?– Marco Killingsworth has been struggling as of late, and the UConn Huskies aren't exactly a good remedy for what ails an opposing big man. Not only is UConn's frontline big, it's also extremely athletic. UConn has led the nation in blocked shots four years in a row, and it's on pace to do so again this year with 9.5 blocks/game. Center Hilton Armstrong (3.1 bpg) and power forward Josh Boone (2.4 bpg) are the primary interior defenders that will try to keep Killingsworth in check, although Rudy Gay (1.8 bpg) can rotate over as well and provide support. What Killingsworth is going to have to do is exactly what he did against Duke – create his opportunities by muscling UConn's defenders under the basket. If UConn opts to defend Killingsworth one-on-one like Duke's Shelden Williams did, expect the Hoosiers' center to have another big game. While he has been struggling in recent weeks, no team has yet shown the ability to stop him one-on-one.

Can Indiana avoid getting beat over the top? - Connecticut has a point guard in Marcus Williams who can put the ball where he wants, when he wants. The Huskies combine that with three tremendous frontcourt athletes who can elevate and finish with authority if they can slip behind a defender and get to the rim. Those are the sort of easy baskets Indiana can't afford to give up. Expect the Hoosiers to take their chances with UConn leading scorer Rudy Gay catching the ball on the perimeter and doing what he can either off the dribble or from behind the arc, where he's just a 25.5 percent shooter. What they don't want to do is try to deny that pass and then get beat with a backcut and dunk. When the ball gets inside the arc, Indiana's interior defenders need to keep a body on Boone and Armstrong, who will look for the over the top pass as well.

How many offensive rebounds and second-chance points will UConn end up with? - Speaking of putting a body on somebody, Indiana has to do just that when Huskies' shots go up. Why? Because there might not be a better offensive rebounding team in the country. UConn averages 16 offensive rebounds per game, compared to less than 10/contest for the Hoosiers. The best of the bunch is Boone, who averages more than three offensive rebounds per game, while Gay, Armstrong, guard Jeff Adrien and reserve Ed Nelson will also hit the boards hard. After giving up 16.5 offensive rebounds/game in the first two Big Ten games of the season, IU has been much better as of late in that category. Indiana has surrendered only 8.0 offensive rebounds/game in the last six games, with Minnesota being the only foe to reach double figures (13). If Indiana can keep UConn in single digits as well, that would be huge for the Hoosiers' chances.

QUOTABLES
"They may double team (Killingsworth), but they're just going to be concerned with blocking his shot. So a lot of his moves are going to work. I don't think they'll be as disciplined as what other teams have been on him." – IU senior Sean Kline.

"You watch these guys play and definitely see why they are one of the best teams in the country. They have six, seven, eight guys you really need to focus on. If one guy isn't playing well, they can go to someone else for a big play. They play hard, hit the offensive glass, block a lot of shots and play well in transition. They are a scary team to watch on tape. We are going to have to play really well to stay in the game against these guys." – IU Coach Mike Davis.

"(on what needs to happen if UConn opts to double team Killingsworth) Just pass out of it, and hope our 3s are on. If we hit a couple of 3s…they'll stop (doubling) sooner or later, or they're going to take a big loss." – IU senior Marco Killingsworth.

"That's our game – making 3-pointers with our spacing and with Marco inside. We have to make 3s tomorrow to be in this game. It has to be a defensive lockdown, make your outside shots, and Marco has to make plays for us." – Sean Kline.

"I just hope my team looks for me, that's all. In the Duke game, that's all they did, and I was making some shots. That's all that really happened. In the Duke game, they were like, ‘we're going to see if Killingsworth can beat us by himself,' they shut our 3s down. – Marco Killingsworth.

"The way we started that (Duke) game – we were really tentative, and we were almost in awe of the crowd. Hopefully, it's the same atmosphere, but that we're able to start off better." – Sean Kline.

DID YOU KNOW…
UConn senior center Hilton Armstrong has 32 blocks in his last seven games. Indiana has just 21 blocked shots as a team in its last seven games…UConn is 32-5 all-time in games played while ranked No. 1…Jim Calhoun is 9-8 against Big Ten teams during his 20 seasons at UConn…UConn ranks first nationally in blocked shots (9.5/game), third in scoring margin (+18.6), fourth in rebounding margin (+9.7), and fourth in field goal percentage defense(.371)…Josh Boone, a high school teammate of Marshall Strickland at Maryland's South Carroll H.S., is the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks last season…UConn has made 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last 16 years under Calhoun and is 23-3 in first and second-round games…after scoring a combined nine points in the first two games of the season, sixth-man Rashad Anderson has scored in double figures in 17 of UConn's last 18 games. The one exception was a five-point, 2-of-14 shooting effort against Cincinnati…Indiana is 5-15 all-time against top-ranked teams, including 1-4 in Bloomington…Indiana has drawn 38 charges this season as a team, with Lewis Monroe (9) and Errek Suhr (7) leading the way…Robert Vaden's 49% 3-point shooting leads the nation.

Peegs.com Top Stories