Indiana vs. Pitt Gameday

Indiana gets a tough task while helping out a good cause Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Hoosiers square off with Big East power Pitt in the second half of a double header that also features Butler and Georgetown…

Game Particulars: Indiana (3-4) vs. Pittsburgh (7-1)
Indiana gets a high honor – and a tough assignment - Tuesday night when it faces Big East power Pitt in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The 15th annual event is named after former N.C. State Coach Jim Valvano and benefits V Foundation for Cancer research. This is one of college basketball's marquee preseason events that attracts many of the nation's top basketball programs, and it will mark the second appearance for both Indiana and Pitt. The Hoosiers beat North Carolina 82-73 in 1999, while Pitt beat Memphis 70-51 in 2004. The Indiana-Pitt game is the nightcap of the two-game event and will follow the Butler-Georgetown game, which tips off at 7 p.m.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 199-125 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Pitt, meanwhile, is coached by Jamie Dixon, who is in his seventh season at the helm of the Panther program. Dixon owns a 170-46 career mark, and has won at least 25 games in five of his first six seasons. He's third among active D-I coaches with a .787 winning percentage, trailing only North Carolina's Roy Williams (.808) and Gonzaga's Mark Few (.801).

The game will be televised by ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (color commentary) and Doris Burke (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Pitt 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (3-4)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 7.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 448 apg, 37.8% FG shooting
SG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 11.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, 36.9% FG shooting
WG – Maurice Creek (6-5, 200, Fr.) – 16.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 43.6% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 43.8% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 4.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 61.9% FG shooting

Pitt (7-1)
PG – Travon Woodall (5-11, 190, Fr.) – 7.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.9 apg, 28% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Ashton Gibbs (6-2, 190, So.) – 16.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 31.4% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Brad Wanamaker (6-4, 210, Jr.) – 12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 44.4% FG shooting
SF – Nasir Robinson (6-5, 220, So.) – 8.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 51.9% FG shooting
C- Gary McGhee (6-10, 250, Jr.) – 8.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 75.8% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Pitt 2009-10 Statistics

Will IU settle into a zone and see if Pitt can knock down shots from behind the 3-point arc? – One thing that Pitt hasn't done very well during its 7-1 start is shoot the ball from behind the 3-point arc. The Panthers are averaging a little more than five 3-pointers per game and have been successful on just 31.1 percent of their 3-point attempts (42.of-135). Ashton Gibbs leads Jamie Dixon's team with 16 3s, but he's making on 31.4 percent of his attempts. That's actually the best success rate of anyone in the starting lineup, as reserves Chase Adams (6-of-16) and Lamar Patterson (5-of-11) have actually been the best on the team when it comes to accuracy. With that in mind, don't be surprised if the Hoosiers settle into a zone and try to force Pitt to beat them from deep. Indiana's chances of keeping the game close go up dramatically if Tom Crean's team can force Pitt to do that as opposed to getting the ball inside and getting to the free-throw line, where Pitt averages 10 more attempts per game than its opponents.

If Indiana does play a lot of zone, can it still hold its own on the glass? - If you're Indiana, one of the drawbacks of playing a lot of zone is that it makes it more difficult to keep pace on the glass. Instead of boxing out your man the Hoosiers would instead have to look for a man to get a body on, which can lead to unaccounted for players and some offensive rebounding opportunities for opponents. That's not a good idea against a Pitt team that averages 11.5 offensive rebounds/game and out-rebounds its opponents by nearly eight per game. Coach Jamie Dixon's squad also rebound with reckless abandon. Three starters average at least 5.9 rebounds/game (Wanamaker, Robinson and McGee), while reserve Dante Taylor is averaging 6.1 rebounds in just 16.4 minutes/game. The Hoosiers' ability to play zone will probably hinge on how effective they are early on at keeping Pitt off the offensive glass.

Will Pitt get someone back…and will Indiana be at full strength? - Pitt is still without Gilbert Brown, who is sidelined until Dec. 20 due to an academic suspension. But Coach Jamie Dixon is hopeful that senior Jermaine Dixon will make his first appearance of the season as he battles back from a foot injury. Dixon started 36 games a season ago and averaged 8.4 points/game overall and 10.1 in Big East play, and he'd give Pitt's struggling offense another scorer on the perimeter. Dixon returned to practice two days ago and is considered a game-time decision. Indiana, meanwhile, isn't at full strength either according to Crean. When asked if his team team was relatively healthy, the Hoosier coach said "No" on Sunday, adding that it's "all part of the process, and we deal with it as we go." Crean didn't go into specifics about any particular players, so it's unclear whether it's your typical in-season ailments or something significant that could limit the availability of a player(s) tonight.

"It really will seem like a road game. There are probably two programs outside of New York that can turn the Garden into a home game, and that's Pitt and Duke." – Tom Crean

"(Pitt) is one of the premier programs in the country. In the four years of the new Big East – my three years there and the new coaching staff's year last year – there's been two programs that have won 10 or more games in that league in each of those four years – Marquette and Pittsburgh. We had great battles with them. When you're playing against a Pittsburgh team, your measure of discipline, your measure of toughness, your measure of what it takes to win, your measure of playing as mistake-free as possible gets brought to light in a hurry." – Crean

"It's one of the best venues around. Growing up and watching players like (Patrick) Ewing, (Michael) Jordan, all the greats have been there. Just to go out there and step on that floor will be a great honor." – Jordan Hulls

"I've never played there, I've never been to New York. I've seen a lot of teams playing there, I've seen my Cavs and Lebron (James) killing there, so hopefully I can put a little Lebron in there and come out with a win." – Tom Pritchard

"One of my main focuses is staying on the court and staying out of foul trouble. I know they'll try to get me in foul trouble being the physical team that they are. But I've been working on moving my feet the last practices and staying down in a stance and not fouling. Hopefully that will carry over to the game." – Pritchard

"It's going to be a very physical game. That's one of the things we've been working on, just going out and being tough and not taking anything for granted." – Christian Watford

"I think this will be a good test for us to see how we face adversity, going to New York, a hostile environment. It's a different kind of fan out there than around here. They're not always the nicest when they don't like you." – Jeremiah Rivers

Pitt is 23-9 at Madison Square Garden (the site of the Big East postseason tournament) dating back to the 2000-01 season. Pitt has won Big East Tournament titles there in 2003 and 2008, and it has advanced to seven of the last nine Big East Tournament finals…Barring a start from Panther guard Jermaine Dixon, Pitt will start a lineup that entered the season with one career start between them. Pitt lost 2008-09 starters DeJuan Blair, Sam Young, Levance Fields and Tyrell Biggs to either graduation or the NBA, while the fifth starter, Dixon, has been sidelined with the foot injury…Pitt was tabbed to finish ninth in the 16-team Big East in the league's preseason poll…in the last 10 seasons, Pitt has lost a total of seven non-conference games heading into league play. Pitt is 101-7 during that timespan…after going 1-of-9 from 3-point range in the season's first five games, small forward Brad Wanamaker is 5-of-12 during the last three contests…in Friday's 47-32 win over New Hampshire Ashton Gibbs (23 points) and Wanamaker (19) both established career-highs. The rest of the team combined to go 1-of-15 from the field and scored five points…in that game, Pitt led 15-7 at half, establishing a new NCAA record for the fewest points scored in a half during the shot clock era…Pitt averaged 77.8 points/game a season ago, but has failed to score more than 72 in any game this season. Top Stories