Indiana vs. Ole Miss Gameday

After a couple of relatively easy wins to open the season, Indiana's slate gets a lot more difficult as it opens play in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Shootout. The field includes three ranked teams – No. 5 Villanova, No. 18 Dayton and No. 21 Georgia Tech – and Indiana opens play against Coach Andy Kennedy's Ole Miss Rebels…

Game Particulars: Indiana (2-0) vs. Ole Miss (2-0)
After playing a couple of exhibition games and a couple of regular season tune-up contests at home, Indiana (2-0) travels nearly 2,000 miles to take on Ole Miss (2-0) in the opening round of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off today at 5 p.m. Indiana time. Indiana will then play either Kansas State or Boston University on Friday, depending on the outcome of each game. The other four teams in the field are No. 5 Villanova, No. 21 Georgia Tech, No. 18 Dayton and George Mason. This marks the first time that Indiana has ever played Ole Miss, a team that went 16-15 a year ago overall and 7-9 in the SEC.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 198-121 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Ole Miss, meanwhile, is coached by Andy Kennedy, who in his fourth year as the program's head coach and is in his sixth year as a head coach overall. He's compiled an 84-52 career record, including a 63-39 mark at Ole Miss.

The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and Hubert Davis (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Ole Miss 2009-10 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (2-0)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 16.7% FG shooting
SG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 11.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 38.5% FG shooting
WG – Maurice Creek (6-5, 200, Fr.) – 15.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 66.7% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 15.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.5 spg, 62.5% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 7.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 85.7% FG shooting

Ole Miss (2-0)
PG – Chris Warren (5-10, 168, Jr.) – 10.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.0 spg, 15.4% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Terrico White (6-5, 213, So.) – 17.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 spg, 25% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Eniel Polynice (6-5, 222, Jr.) – 13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 52.6% FG shooting
F – Murphy Holloway (6-7, 230, So.) – 12.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.5 spg, 52.6% FG shooting
F- DeAundre Cranston (6-9, 260, Sr.) – 13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 apg, 80% 3 pt. shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

USC-Upstate 2009-10 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How good does Ole Miss point guard Chris Warren look, and who draws the assignment of containing him? – The 5'10" Warren was one of three Ole Miss players to be lost for the season ago with knee injuries along with Polynice and top reserve Trevor Gaskins. Warren went down with a torn ACL 11 games into the season, and at the time was averaging 19.6 points per game. He's back on the court, although he's averaged just 10.5 points in the first two games while shooting 34.8 percent from the floor (8-of-23) and 15.4 percent from behind the arc (2-of-15). Indiana's chore will be to keep him from returning to form against them Friday night. Warren is lightning quick and unabashed about pulling the trigger (he averaged 16 field goal attempts and seven 3-point attempts per game a year ago before getting hurt). He'll push the ball at every opportunity and he'll truly test IU's transition defense, which has been suspect at times. Jeremiah Rivers will likely draw the assignment, although some zone could be an option as well to keep him from beating players off the dribble. This could also be a match-up where Devan Dumes could play a significant role – he's probably as well-equipped to stay in front of a quick ball handler as anyone on IU's roster.

Which sixth man makes a bigger difference – Derek Elston or Reginald Buckner? - Freshmen Christian Watford and Maurice Creek have already cracked the starting lineup in their rookie seasons, but fellow frosh Derek Elston has been every bit as good while coming off the bench. In addition to his 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 76.9 percent shooting (10-of-13) in the season's first two games, Elston has provides a great deal of energy and versatility whenever he enters the game. Ole Miss, meanwhile, counters with its own newcomer who comes off the bench and gives a big lift to the frontline – 6'9", 235-pound Reginald Buckner. The Rebels' top '09 recruit is averaging 3.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game in 16.0 minutes per contest. He's still serving as a back-up to DeAundre Cranston – who has made 10 of 11 shots this season and is averaging 13.5 points – but as the season goes along Rebel fans are expecting to see Buckner become more and more of a factor. On Monday night, he'll have a chance to do that in a reserve role.

How much trouble will Ole Miss' long, athletic backcourt give Indiana in terms of turnovers? - While it's admittedly come against a couple of sub-par programs in Arkansas Little-Rock and Alabama State, Ole Miss has come away with a staggering 31 steals in the season's first two games to go along with 44 turnovers forced. That's helped Ole Miss pile up 42 fast-break points in a pair of 25-plus point victories. The players most responsible for producing those steals and fast-break opportunities are Warren, White and Polynice. That trio has combined for 15 steals, and Indiana's guards will have to be prepared for a much more athletic, dangerous group of defenders than it's gone up against in the two opening wins. Warren creates problems with his quickness, while Polynice catches opposing players off guard with his long arms. Polynice missed all but one game last season following knee surgery, but he totaled 54 steals back in 2007-08 to rank among the SEC leaders. Indiana, meanwhile, hasn't been particularly great in taking care of the ball in the season's first two games, averaging 17.0 turnovers/game against Howard and USC-Upstate.

QUOTABLES
"I think we are ready (for the better teams on the schedule). A lot of guys are working hard. If we hadn't dropped down and let ourselves drop down we would have (beaten USC-Upstate by 20). I think we're ready to see. You can't tell now until we get there." – Derek Elston

"It will show our team where we're at. Now we're playing the big name teams that have done something. They're going to be bigger, faster, stronger. We're going to have to bring our all and hopefully we come out victorious." – Elston

"Right now, man on man, there's no way we're as physical or as strong as Ole Miss is. We could probably say that about all the teams. I haven't looked that far ahead yet. We're getting ready to play some high-level guys when we get to Puerto Rico. So it's going to be a really good test to see where we stand up." – Tom Crean

"If you're thinking that I'm thinking about who should be starting and who shouldn't be starting – that's not what I'm concerned about." –Crean

NOTABLE ABOUT THE OLE MISS GAME Ole Miss was picked by the media to finish second in the SEC West this season…Terrico White was a preseason first-team All-SEC choice, while Chris Warren was a second team pick…former Hoosier Nick Williams is a member of the Ole Miss basketball program, although he has to sit out this season as a redshirt…White was the SEC's Freshman of the Year last season and played on Team USA that won the FIBA U19 World Championships in New Zealand…Maurice Creek (13), Jeremiah Rivers (13) and Christian Watford (12) lead Indiana in deflections during the season's first two games. Indiana is averaging 41.5 deflections/game this season after averaging 28 per game in 2008-09.

Peegs.com Top Stories