Indiana vs. San Diego State Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the NCAA first-round game pitting sixth-seeded Indiana (18-11) and 11th-seeded San Diego State (24-8), which tips off Thursday at approximately 9:40 p.m. EST at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. San Diego State
For the first time in three years, Indiana is in the NCAA's field of 65. The sixth-seeded Hoosiers (18-11) will face the 11th-seeded Aztecs from San Diego State Thursday night at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The winner of the game will face the winner of the Gonzaga (27-3) and Xavier (21-10) match-up, which tips off at 7:20 p.m. EST. Indiana and San Diego State will tip off 30 minutes after that game's conclusion.

Indiana owns a 58-27 record all-time in NCAA play, including five national championships (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987) and two other Final Four berths (1992, 2002). San Diego State is making its fifth NCAA tourney appearance and is 0-4 in its previous four trips.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth and final year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 114-78 career mark. Indiana has been to the postseason in five of Davis' six seasons (four NCAA invitations), and owns a 6-3 record in NCAA play. San Diego State, meanwhile, is coached by Steve Fisher, who is in his seventh year as San Diego State's head coach and 15th season overall. Fisher owns 105-105 record at San Diego State and a 289-187 record overall. The former Michigan head coach has been to the NCAA Tournament eight other times as a head coach, six of which were as the coach in Ann Arbor. He owns a 20-7 mark all-time in NCAA games, including winning a national title in 1989 and finishing second in both 1992 and 1993.

The game will be televised by CBS.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

San Diego State 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (18-11)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 162, Jr.) – 4.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 41.2% FG shooting
SG- Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 47.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG – A.J. Ratliff (6-2, 183, So.) – 3.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 30.6% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) – 13.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 40.9% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 17.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.7 bpg, 54.3% FG shooting

San Diego State (24-8)
PG- Richie Williams (5-9, 158, Fr.) – 6.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.7 spg, 30.4% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Brandon Heath (6-4, 198, Jr.) – 18.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 41.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Kyle Spain (6-5, 218, Fr.) – 9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 spg, 51.7% 3 pt. shooting
PF- Mohamed Abukar (6-10, 216, Jr.) – 13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.0 apg, 48.0% FG shooting
C – Marcus Slaughter (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 16.6 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 48.7% FG shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

San Diego State 2005-06 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Will the altitude and tempo have an impact on Marco Killingsworth?– One of the week's hot topics has been what sort of impact Salt Lake City's altitude will have on the players. Rod Wilmont said Wednesday he didn't notice anything different, but A.J. Ratliff said he did notice a difference in his ability to get up and down the floor. The player who it could impact the most, though, is IU big man Marco Killingsworth. The Hoosier coaching staff has been making more of an effort to get some rest for the 6-8, 265-pound center, and that will likely be a key again Thursday. When he gets tired he not only isn't as dangerous offensively, but he also tends to commit foolish fouls. That would be a disaster for IU, which needs his presence to combat Marcus Slaughter and Mohamed Abukar.

This also has a chance to be an up-and-down game on occasion as well, which could also have an impact on Killingsworth. San Diego State likes to push the tempo, and IU will likely want to do the same to try to take advantage of its smaller lineup. That could lead to some easy opportunities for IU, but it could also leave Killingsworth a bit gassed. With that in mind, expect to see more minutes from IU's frontline reserves Thursday. Sean Kline has played a combined 15 minutes in IU's last nine games, but he'll likely see more action tonight. Ben Allen will also likely play more of a role against the bigger Aztecs.

Can Indiana match-up with Mohamed Abukar? - Defensively, the player who might be keeping the IU staff up at night is 6-10, 216-pound Mohamed Abukar. While guard Brandon Heath and forward Marcus Slaughter are the team's top two scorers, IU must also find a way to match-up with the long, athletic Abukar.

Compounding IU's problems are the questions about Robert Vaden's availability. Vaden remains a gametime decision due to a sprained ankle, and if he can't go it will likely fall to 6-4 Roderick Wilmont to match up with Abukar. Not only would Wilmont would be giving up six inches, but he doesn't have the experience defending the post that Vaden does. The IU staff has been working this week with Wilmont to prepare him for the possibility of defending the power forward spot, but it will be a tough assignment for Wilmont.

If Vaden is able to go, don't be surprised to see San Diego State try to go to Abukar and test Vaden early. The Hoosiers' 6-5, 224-pound forward is arguably the team's best defender, but his mobility remains a question mark. Abukar is someone who can post up or attack off the dribble, so even a fully-healthy Vaden would have his hands full with this assignment.

Who hits a couple of 3-pointers early? - These are a pair of very good 3-point shooting teams. Indiana shoots 39.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc, while San Diego State knocks its down at a 39.0 percent clip. But both have struggled a bit as of late. During its march through the Mountain West Tournament, San Diego State was just 12-of-53 from 3-point range, including a 6-of-23 effort from Brandon Heath. Indiana, meanwhile, was just 11-of-41 from 3-point range during its two games in the Big Ten Tournament.

If one of the teams knocks down a couple of shots early, it will have an impact not only on the team's confidence, but also potentially on how the teams match-up. If IU is hot, it could keep Steve Fisher from doubling Killingsworth in the post and potentially force the Aztecs to go with a smaller lineup. If San Diego State knocks down some shots early, it will free up Abukar and Marcus Slaughter in the paint.

QUOTABLES
Two years ago you were filling out brackets, and now you're here. It's kind of overwhelming, the hype around it." – A.J. Ratliff.

"(on the impact of SDSU's size advantage) We played against UConn and those guys and we were up 13 or 14 points. Size doesn't make that big of a difference. It can be to our advantage. We have some things that we can do against guys that are taller than us, and that's what we have to do, to use our advantage against them." – Rod Wilmont.

"They have a nice team. Heath can score, Slaughter can score on the block, they hit the offensive boards. We were talking about that today, concentrating on keeping them off the boards."– Robert Vaden.

"I think we've grown up as a team, we've been through a lot. We've been through a lot of high pressure situations, and I think that's made us stronger and more confident." – Marshall Strickland.

"We want to win a lot for coach. But it's not just that. We're going out and playing as hard as possible for the IU fans, for the players, for anyone that cares about the program." – Errek Suhr.

"I feel we match up well. We are a hard team to guard and we are a team that can physically match up pretty well with them." – SDSU forward Mohamed Abukar.

"I just want to play team basketball…when the shot is there, (I will) knock it down. I'm not going to go out there and hunt my shot. If the opportunity presents itself, then I will knock it down. But it's a team game, and we have more than me on the team. We have a lot of scoring options and I think they have to worry about more than just me." – SDSU guard Brandon Heath.

"(Killingsworth) is a different (kind of) player than we have seen this whole year. He is bigger than everyone we've faced. He's great at posting up and getting good position in the post. It's going to be a great test for us." – Marcus Slaughter.

DID YOU KNOW…
This marks the fourth time IU has been a No. 6 seed, and the results haven't been good. IU is 1-3 all-time as a No. 6 seed, with the only win coming in 1999 when IU knocked off George Washington 108-88 in the first round. Indiana was most recently a No. 6 seed in 2000, when it fell to 11th-seeded Pepperdine 77-57 in Buffalo…the Huntsman Center was the site of the 1979 NCAA Championship game, where the Magic Johnson-led Michigan State Spartans knocked off Larry Bird's Indiana State Sycamores…Indiana has three players that have scored in double figures in at least 20 games this year – Marco Killingsworth (27), Robert Vaden (21) and Marshall Strickland (20), The rest of the team has a combined 28 double-figure outings, led by Rod Wilmont's 12…John Sharper is a player to be aware of. A SDSU reserve, Sharper shoots 41 percent from behind the 3-point arc and knocked down 8-of-12 3-pointers in SDSU's regular season finale against South Dakota State…the last time San Diego State played in a postseason game was in 2003, when they lost to Bob Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders 57-48 in the NIT's second round in Lubbock, Texas…SDSU's last NCAA tourney appearance was in 2002, when it lost to Illinois 93-64 in Chicago.

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