Indiana vs. Tennessee State Gameday

The No. 15 (AP)/15 (ESPN/USA Today) Indiana Hoosiers (6-1) returns home to take on Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee State (2-3) tonight at 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers will be playing their last game without guards A.J. Ratliff and Jordan Crawford, both of whom are expected back for Saturday's match-up with Kentucky…

Game Particulars: Indiana (6-1) vs. Tennessee State (2-3)
Two days after an impressive road victory in Carbondale over No. 22 Southern Illinois, Indiana returns home for a match-up with Tennessee State tonight at 7 p.m. While the Hoosiers are facing a quick turnaround, Tennessee State has been off for 15 days since returning home from the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, where it lost to both Akron and Colorado State. Tonight's two foes share one common opponent, as Indiana topped Georgia Tech by five last week while Tennessee State lost to the ACC foe 99-85 on Nov. 11.

IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 27-12 record in Bloomington and a 482-269 career mark. Tennessee State, meanwhile, is coached by Cy Alexander, who in his fifth year with the Tigers, owns an 48-75 record with the Ohio Valley Conference school. Alexander, who also spent 16 seasons at South Carolina State and guided that program to four NCAA tourney berths, owns a 325-276 career mark.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Matt Devlin (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2007-08 Schedule

Tennessee State 2007-08 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (6-1)
PG- Armon Bassett (6-1, 176, So.) – 11.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.6 apg, 50% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Eric Gordon (6-4, 205, Fr.) – 26.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 52.4% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Jamarcus Ellis (6-5, 210, Jr.) 8.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 41.3% FG shooting
F – Lance Stemler (6-8, 210, Sr.) 5.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 35.3% 3 pt. shooting
F – D.J. White (6-9, 230, Sr.) – 12.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 61.8% FG shooting

Tennessee State (2-3)
PG- Bruce Price (6-1, 185, Jr.) – 16.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 6.2 apg, 32.2% FG shooting
SG – Gerald Robinson (6-0, 165, Fr.) – 15.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.6 apg, 48.5% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Dontrell Taylor (6-8, 200, Fr.) – 8.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 64.7% FG shooting
PF – Jerrell Houston (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 apg, 52.1% FG shooting
C- Stephen Evans (6-9, 230, Fr.) 3.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 60% FG shooting

Indiana 2007-08 Statistics

Tennessee State 2007-08 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How big of a letdown will Indiana have against Tennessee State? – It's hard not to imagine the Hoosiers being a bit flat tonight against its Ohio Valley Conference foe. After all, this game is sandwiched between the Hoosiers' only non-conference road game (Southern Illinois) and their biggest rivalry game (Kentucky), so expecting Coach Kelvin Sampson's squad to be on top of its game is probably a bit of a stretch. The Hoosiers will also be playing short-handed once again, with A.J. Ratliff (ineligible) and Jordan Crawford (three-game suspension) still unavailable off the bench. Both are expected to be ready for Saturday's match-up against Kentucky, but their absence has forced Eric Gordon, Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis to play 35+ minutes during the last couple of ball games. That will likely be the case again tonight against a Tennessee State team that likes to push the pace (they averaged 78.6 points/game).

The return of Bruce Price to the basketball floor - While Hoosier fans will certainly be pulling for their team to come away with a win Monday night, it's hard not to cheer for Tennessee State point guard Bruce Price, who is back on the floor after a near two-year absence due to a torn ACL. Price was averaging 19.3 points/game in the first six games of the 2005-06 season before he originally injured the knee against Ohio State, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season. He was set to return a year ago, but re-injured the knee before the start of the 2006-07campaign and is just now getting back on the floor. His first game back was a bit of a struggle as he was just 1-of-13 from the field against Cumberland, but he's now the team's leader in scoring (16.8), assists (6.2) and minutes (31.2). While IU doesn't have to concern itself a great deal with his 3-point shooting – he's only 5-of-25 from behind the arc – he does look to attack off the dribble and is adept at getting to the free-throw line. He's attempted 59 free throws in TSU's first five games, including a 17-of-22 effort in the opener against Cumberland.

Will there be fast break opportunities galore? - One of the Tennessee State's weaknesses has been its propensity to turn the ball over. Coach Cy Alexander's team is averaging 16.4 turnovers/contest, including nearly five per game from Price. If the Tigers don't take care of the basketball against Indiana it could open up plenty of opportunities for Eric Gordon, Jamarcus Ellis and others to scores points in bunches in transition. The Hoosiers looked to push the pace whenever the opportunity presented itself on Saturday against Southern Illinois, a team that doesn't give up much in transition. This time around, IU won't have to look nearly as hard for fastbreak opportunities. They should come in bunches, and there should be a handful of highlight reel finishes from Gordon and others. After having to play extremely well offensively to score 64 points on Saturday in Carbondale, the Hoosiers should be able to challenge the 100-point mark tonight against Tennessee State without much problem.

Will there be plenty of minutes for the Hoosier bench? - After having to lean heavily on the starting five in each of the last two games, there's nothing Kelvin Sampson would like more than to get out to a comfortable lead against Tennessee State and get a chance to rest Gordon, Ellis and D.J. White in particular. In the backcourt, it's unclear whether or not McGee will available. The freshman has missed the last two games due to an abscess on his tonsils, and there have been no updates on his status for tonight's match-up. If he's ready to go, he can count on double-digit minutes so long as IU gets out to a comfortable lead. Up front, DeAndre Thomas and Eli Holman will likely get some minutes after spot duty as of late. Thomas has played a combined 10 minutes in the last two games, while Holman hasn't made it off the bench. Tonight's foe should give both an opportunity to see extended action, and it should give Sampson a closer look at each to see just how much they'll be able to help as the season goes along.

DID YOU KNOW…
While most IU fans probably haven't heard much about the Tennessee State program, it was in the news five years ago, but for the wrong reasons. This is the program that used to be coached by Nolan Richardson III, who was fired in the middle of the 2002-03 season after bringing a gun into the Gentry Center following a scuffle with assistant coach Hosea Lewis. Alexander took over the program the following year, but was immediately saddled with three years of probation for a variety of transgressions during Richardson's stint...Tennessee State returns four of its top five scorers from a year ago, but two of those players – LaDarious Weaver and Andrae Belton – haven't been starting this season. Weaver is averaging 9.2 points and 19.8 minutes off the bench and ranks second on the team with 14 3-pointers. Belton has started twice and is averaging 7.2 points and is 7-of-13 from behind the 3-point arc…Tennessee State starts its month with this trip to Bloomington and then concludes it with a trip to Champaign, Ill., to play the Illini before the start of Ohio Valley Conference play.

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