Indiana vs. North Carolina Central Gameday

A difficult three-game stretch of Maryland, Pitt and Kentucky gives way to a trio of games that should give the Hoosiers some momentum heading into the Big Ten. That swing gets underway Saturday against a North Carolina Central team that is just 2-8 on the season…

Game Particulars: Indiana (4-5) vs. North Carolina Central (2-8)
After playing three big names in the college basketball world over the last two weeks, Indiana will play three relative no names in its final three games heading into Big Ten Conference play. The Hoosiers kick things off with a match-up against a North Carolina Central team that boasts only two wins in 10 games – and those victories have come against North Carolina Wesleyan and Carver Bible College. Among the losses are to North Carolina (by 47), Miami, Fla. (by 30), Murray State (by 23) and Iowa (by 10). This is the first of a two-game swing in the Hoosier state for the Eagles, who play at Ball State on Monday night in Muncie.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 200-126 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. North Carolina Central, meanwhile, is coached by LeVelle Moton, who is in his first season at the helm of the Eagle program. Before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2007, Moton spent four years as the head coach at Sanderson H.S. in Raleigh, N.C.

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Ari Wolfe (play-by-play), and John Laskowski (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

North Carolina Central 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (4-5)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 7.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.5 apg, 38.2% FG shooting
SG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 11.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 39.4% FG shooting
WG – Maurice Creek (6-5, 200, Fr.) – 17.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 43.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 40.5% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 4.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 63.0% FG shooting

North Carolina Central (2-8)
PG – Michael Glasker (5-7, 155, Jr.) – 9.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 45.5% 3 pt. shooting
SG – C.J. Wilkerson (6-3, 200, Jr.) – 15.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg, 35.5% FG shooting
WG – Dwayne Sims (6-6, 180, Jr.) – 3.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.7 apg, 28.6% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Nick Chasten (6-7, 216, So.) – 9.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 spg, 42.7% FG shooting
PF- T.J.Granger (6-8, 270, So.) – 9.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 48.8% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

North Carolina Central 2009-10 Statistics

How is Indiana's concentration and focus? – If you want to be looking for the same thing the Indiana staff is looking for, then keep an eye out for individual players' level of concentration and focus. There are a couple of reasons to think those areas could be lacking Saturday night. First of all, Indiana's players have just completed a busy week of final exams, with many of them doing that for the first time at the college level. On top of that, after playing high-profile teams in its last three games in Maryland, Pitt and Kentucky, the Hoosiers now play three relative no-names as they gear up for the Dec. 31 Big Ten opener against Michigan. That's often a recipe for a letdown, particularly when you're talking about a young team that doesn't have many players who have been through similar situations. Expect Crean and the IU staff to keep an eye on these areas early, and substitute accordingly if they see it lacking in particular players. v

Can Indiana "make this game go?" - On Friday, that's what IU Coach Tom Crean said he wanted to see his team do against North Carolina Central. Whether it's getting to ball up the court quickly after defensive rebounds or creating turnovers and subsequent fastbreak opportunities, the Hoosier coach would like to see his team in transition whenever the opportunity presents itself. "I don't think it's in our best interest to let this thing become a halfcourt affair," Crean said. "That's not how we want to play." Of course, Crean doesn't think that's how North Carolina Central wants to play, either. Crean said the visitors will likely look to attack in transition as well and that they can create turnovers with their baseline and corner traps. But there's certainly a chance that the Durham., N.C., based program could look to slow things down a bit as well in an effort to stay in the contest. If that happens, it will be up to Indiana to create the tempo with its defense and its commitment to getting the ball up the court in a hurry. If Crean has his way, Indiana will get this game up into the 80s.

Will North Carolina Central once again be without Vincent Davis? - Coach LeVelle Moton's team will need all of its weapons if it's going to have any hopes of keeping this one close, but it's unclear whether or not he'll have second-leading scorer Vincent Davis available Saturday night. One of two double figure scorers on the team at 12.1 per game, Davis missed Wednesday's 76-67 loss to Florida Gulf Coast for personal reasons. His absence clearly hurt – Davis is the team's best 3-point shooter at 40.4 percent (19-of-47), and without him the team made only 8-of-25 attempts from deep against a beatable Florida Gulf Coast team. He's also the team's leader with 23 career double-digit scoring efforts, and he gives Moton's team another ball handler as well. Without him on Wednesday, NCCU turned the ball over a season-high 29 times, which helped produce 26 fastbreak points for FGC and 29 points off turnovers. If Davis is once again out of the line-up, it makes things that much more difficult for Moton's squad.

"Exam week is always one where it's very easy to let them get off track of concentration and focus because they're so locked into their academics. I think practice really helps them in the sense of keeping that concentration, focus, continuing to have to lock into something. And then maybe it makes it that much more of a fresh perspective when they get back to their studies." – Tom Crean

"This is a team that will run a very disciplined flex offense. It's a team that takes good shots, is defending the 3-point line very well, gets to the free-throw line and takes good shots." – Crean

"That's the maturity part of it (getting ready for teams that aren't big-name programs). The best teams, the mature teams, they know the difference. Some teams are household names, some aren't. but it's more of a matter when you're in a situation like ours, when you have the youth that we have that they understand every game has to be the game of the year. It might not get the build up from (the media), it might not get the build up from their families, it might not get the build up from the fans. But it has to be a mentality that if Indiana is playing, it's a big deal." – Crean

"We've had really good practices. We haven't had, ‘ok, we don't have practice for a week, so let me back off for a couple of days" mentality. We haven't had that." – Crean

"This time of year, especially with a team this young, the number one thing you're trying to reach is any level of consistency that you can hang your hat on from a day to day basis. Right now for us, it's that we play very hard, we work very hard, and we don't have a lot of weak links in practice." – Crean Top Stories