Game Particulars: Indiana (0-0) vs. St. Joseph's (Ind.) College (0-0)
Tom Crean's new-look 2009-10 basketball team has its final tune-up tonight when it hosts St. Joseph's College at 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall. While five members of Indiana's freshman class had their debuts last Wednesday against Grace College, this will mark the first opportunity for freshman Bawa Muniru to be on the court for a game after he was officially cleared for competition by the NCAA's Eligibility Center late last week. St. Joseph's College, meanwhile, is a Division II school from Rensselaer, Ind., that went 15-13 a season ago.
IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 196-121 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. St. Joseph's, meanwhile, is coached by Richard Davis, who in his fourth year at the school and owns a 49-36 career mark.
The game will be televised by BTN.com with Dave Leno (play-by-play) and Errek Suhr (color commentary) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2009-10 Schedule
St. Joseph's College 2009-10 Schedule
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – Redshirted in 2008-09
SG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 11.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.5 apg in 2008-09
WG – Maurice Creek (6-5, 200, Fr.) – High School
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – High School
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 9.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 0.8 bpg in 2008-09
St. Joseph's College (0-0)
PG- Michael Horton (5-10, 185, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.6 apg in 2008-09
SG – Austin Peebles (6-3, 190, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 apg in 2008-09
SG – Phillip Collins (6-3, 195, So.) – 10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.2 apg in 2008-09
SF – Andrew Helmer (6-4, 215, Sr.) – 8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.8 apg in 2008-09
C- Jacob Hassler (6-9, 245, So.) 2.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg in 2008-09
Indiana 2008-09 Final Statistics
St. Joseph's College 2008-09 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How much does Bawa Muniru play, and can he make an impact this season? – Last Wednesday, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston, Maurice Creek and Bobby Capobianco made their debuts and all showed that they'll be contributors as true freshman. The quintet combined for 52 of IU's 96 points and made 18-of-37 shots. Muniru, meanwhile, watched from the sidelines dressed in a suit as he waited to on a ruling from the Eligibility Center on his status for the season. That answer came on Friday as he was officially cleared to play this season. Beginning tonight he'll need to show that he's capable of being part of the Hoosiers' plans this season. A year ago Indiana took an all-hands-on-deck approach because of the complete roster turnover. But the arrival of the five other freshmen and the availability of Jeremiah Rivers gives Crean the option to redshirt a player if he so chooses. Muniru would seem to be a player where that might be a possibility. With Tom Pritchard, Tijan Jobe, Derek Elston, Christian Watford and Bobby Capobianco, Indiana has five players to rotate through the frontcourt positions. Muniru has a chance to be a part of the mix as well, but he'll have to show he's ready. Playing time on the frontline won't be handed out this season by default – it will have to be earned.
How will Jordan Hulls match up defensively against St. Joseph's? - The freshman from Bloomington was our game MVP for his performance against Grace, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and handing out three assists and no turnovers in 21 minutes. He'll be a big part of IU's plans again tonight against a St. Joseph's team that has some guards that could create some challenges for Hulls on the defensive end. In 5'10" point guard Michael Horton St. Joseph's has a fleet-footed player who can create some problems due to his quickness. If Indiana opts to go with someone else on Horton, then Hulls will probably have to match-up with a player in the 6'3" range like Austin Peebles or Phillip Collins. It's already becoming apparent that offensively Indiana does a lot of good things offensively when Hulls is on the floor due to his ball handling, shooting and decision-making. His biggest challenge this season is going to be on the defensive end against bigger and/or quicker players, and he'll get a little taste of that tonight.
How does Indiana's transition game look – on both ends? - Pushing the pace is once again going to be an emphasis for an Indiana team that wants to play very differently than it did a season ago. The Hoosiers had 24 fastbreak points against Grace last Wednesday, and Crean would probably like to see that number go up even a little more against a St. Joseph's team that was beaten by 26 by IUPUI Saturday night. But he also wants to see some significant improvement with his team's transition defense as well. Grace had 14 fastbreak points against Indiana last week, often catching IU's players being slow at getting back after either made shots or defensive rebounds. There were a lot of positives to take from Indiana's 23-point win over Grace, but the transition defense was probably the one thing that stood out the most as being in need of correction. Crean's team will have an opportunity to show what kind of strides they've made there tonight.
"(St. Joseph's) has experienced guys coming back. They'll have a game under their belt. I think they're well coached…they've got the ability to shoot the ball deep, I think they want to get ball out and run, and those things are all positives for us right now." – IU Coach Tom Crean
"There are going to be three parts to Bawa right now. It's his practice time and what he does there; it's what he does outside of practice, whether it's our individual workouts, before practice, after practice things, which is where we can really isolate his game for him. And (third) it's game experience. We'll see. Granted you get six freshmen you think I'd like to redshirt somebody. But we're not good enough at any one position right now or we can look at it and say we're really set here. These two or three guys are really going to man this spot for us. We had a situation the other night (against Grace) where Bobby (Capobianco) and Tom (Pritchard) both playing the 5 spot, had four fouls on them with time in the game ." – Crean
"We can't be passive inside. We have to have a presence inside. The one thing that Bawa brings is legitimate shot blocking presence, and he's learning more and more. We have as many defensive drills for him right now as anything else." – Crean
"Could we redshirt somebody? I guess we could. But I don't know if we're deep enough to take that shot right now..I don't know if at Indiana this present day we're at the point we can redshirt people because we can count on X number of guys to carry the torch for us." – Crean
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