Indiana vs. Bryant Gameday

After a disappointing loss to Loyola last week Indiana needs a win heading into Thursday's Big Ten opener against Michigan, and it's found the right foe to get that done tonight. Bryant heads into the game has one of the last remaining winless D-I programs at 0-12 and has lost 14 straight dating back to last season…

Game Particulars: Indiana (5-6) vs. Bryant (0-12)
Bryant might represent the final tune-up of the non-conference season, but Coach Tim O'Shea's team isn't expected to give the Hoosiers much of a challenge. The Bulldogs enter the contest as one of only a handful of winless teams remaining at the Division I level, starting the season 0-12. That comes on the heels of an 8-21 record a year ago when Bryant played a full D-I slate for the first time as it made the move to the level. The slow start comes as no surprise for the Northeast Conference School, which was picked to finish 11th out of 12 teams in its preseason conference poll, and has played a schedule that has included the likes of Providence (L 96-53), Boston College (L 72-46) and St. John's (L 80-44).

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 201-127 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Bryant, meanwhile, is coached by Tim O'Shea, who is in his second season at the helm of the program and 10th year overall. O'Shea owns an 8-33 record at Bryant, and a 128-128 mark overall.

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

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Bryant 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (5-6)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 7.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.0 apg, 41.2% FG shooting
SG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 11.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 39.3% FG shooting
WG – Maurice Creek (6-5, 200, Fr.) – 17.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.6 spg, 45.3% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 37.7% FG shooting
PF – Derek Elston (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 6.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 spg, 48.4% FG shooting

Bryant (0-12)
PG – Chris Birrell (6-2, 185, Sr..) – 5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2. Apg, 32.6% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Cecil Gresham (6-5, 205, Sr.) – 14.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 37.1% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Adam Parzych (6-3, 205, Sr.) – 5.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 27.5% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Michael Chroney (6-2, 190, Jr.) – 3.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, 48.3% FG shooting
PF- Papa Lo (6-9, 215, So.) – 1.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg 50% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Loyola (Md.) 2009-10 Statistics

Can Indiana get the sort of feel-good performance that it needs heading into the Big Ten? – One thing fans should know about Indiana's foe Monday night is that there won't be a Lipscomb or Loyola moment against Bryant. The final non-conference foe of the season enters the game not only winless, but also one of the lowest scoring (53.1/game) teams in the nation. But Indiana needs to get more than simply a sixth win out of tonight's contest – it needs to enjoy the sort of confidence boosting performance that will come in handy as the Big Ten season opens later this week. For that to happen, Indiana can't afford to come out flat – it needs to be sharp on both ends of the floor from the early tip and dominate from the outset. Bryant has played three major conference schools thus far – Providence, Boston College and St. John's – and lost those three games by an average of 35 points. That's the sort of result Indiana needs as well to get something out of this contest. If Indiana struggles to a 10-15 point victory tonight, IU Coach Tom Crean won't be happy with his team's effort.

Can Indiana enjoy a dominating effort on the glass? - There are a lot of things that Bryant doesn't do very well, particularly on the offensive end of the court. But one of O'Shea's team's biggest issues has been rebounding the basketball. Bryant is at a -9.0/game on the glass, ranking it among the 10 worst in Division I. The Bulldogs have been out-rebounded in 10 out of 12 games, including -17 differentials in its two most recent outings against Boston College and St. John's. That's the kind of effort Indiana would like to have as well against a Bryant team that starts only one player taller than 6'5". Whether it's Derek Elston or Tom Pritchard or Christian Watford, the Hoosiers' frontcourt needs to re-establish itself as a physical presence on the glass, something that was a little bit lacking in last week's loss to Loyola. That trio helped IU out-rebound North Carolina Central by a season-high 18 a week and a half ago, and a similar effort would be a positive sign tonight.

Can Christian Watford use this game to get back on track? - There were a lot of things that didn't go well early against Loyola, and Watford's play was among the things that landed IU in an early hole. Watford missed eight or nine shots early as IU wound up in a 20-point hole. Watford ended up with 10 points for his sixth double-digit scoring effort in his last seven games, but Watford hasn't been playing up to the level he was at offensively early in the season. In his last four games he's averaging a respectable 11.5 points/game, but he's made just 12-of-42 shots from the field. He did have a 12-of-15 effort at the free-throw line against Pitt, but he's attempted only nine free throws in his last three games (all makes). On top of that, Watford hasn't had more than five rebounds in a game in his last six outings, dating back to an eight-rebound performance against George Mason. Watford is a supremely talented player who will have to be a primary scorer for Indiana to enjoy some success in Big Ten play. He could use a confidence-boosting effort tonight against Bucknell.

"When you're coming off a three-day break, you're still working to get that energy back, you're still working to get that understanding and that rhythm back. That's where we're at." – Tom Crean

"I feel (Maurice Creek's) growth is really coming. We have to get him the ball more. He's got the be a participant in this in a couple of ways. He has to keep defending. The two second halves he had against North Carolina Central and Loyola were his best defensively. We need that from him…on a very consistent level. The other thing he needs to do is offensive rebound the basketball. That will get him to the foul line, he's a tremendous foul shooter. That will get us easy baskets, and we need that from him." – Crean

"The number one mistake we made offensively (against Loyola) was we didn't hit the next man, the next pass. We didn't hit the man off a ball reversal. That's something we have to do. We're not having a problem getting the ball in the lane. We're having trouble making the next pass and making the right decisions." – Crean

"Verdell Jones is a part of a building of a program. He's improving. He has to continue to become a better decision maker. When is the right time to pull up? When's it time to get all the way to the rim, when's it time to make the next pass? We're going to constantly challenge him to get better defensively. We also need him to rebound the basketball." – Crean

"We need (Watford) to average more than the 5.7 rebounds that he is. He's under two offensive rebounds per game, and for us to really improve, for Christian to really improve, that offensive rebound number has got to go up." – Crean

"Floor leadership right now is not our strong suit. Our decision making at the point guard position is not our strong suit, and it has to become that in a hurry." – Crean

"One thing we've done over this break is really look at, what can we do to help Tom (Pritchard) even more? When you look at it, Tom's fouls are up, Tom's rebounds are down. Obviously the points are down. Minutes are down some because of the fouls…we want to facilitate more things through Tom – there's no doubt about that." – Crean

"Bobby Capobianco has to decide once and for all that he's going to be a physical presence for us. That he's going to screen people, block out, be aggressive. We know he can shoot, though his numbers don't indicate it. We know he can make free throws, though his numbers don't indicate it. What he needs to do is be that aggressive soul that we need from him that we recruited." – Crean Top Stories