The Indiana Hoosiers got a big bounce back win in their second game of the Maui Invitational against St. John's and now will take on the UNLV Rebels in a battle for fifth place.
It may not be the place that the Hoosiers want to be, but when you play in these types of preseason tournaments at this high of level, you learn a lot about your team, and the Hoosiers are definitely learning a lot.
"I think you get times in your life, but you certainly get times in your season, and this is one of them, where you can really look at it as a measuring stick," Indiana coach Tom Crean said following Indiana's win over St. John's. "The measuring stick for us is are we going to turn back around and play, because I didn't like what I saw on the court yesterday, and I liked it even less after I watched the film."
Both UNLV and Indiana have won one and lost one thus far in Maui, and both are looking to end their Maui trip with two wins total. The Rebels lost their opening game to UCLA in a tightly contested battle, but followed that with a win over Chaminade. The Hoosiers lost their first game versus Wake Forest, but got a win over St. John's.
“They’re fantastic," UNLV coach Dave Rice said following their win over Chaminade. "Yogi Ferrell is a tremendously difficult matchup for anybody."
If the Hoosiers are looking to get out of Maui with two wins, they will have to look to shut down Derrick Jones Jr. and Patrick McCaw who combined to score 51 in their win versus Chaminade. If the Rebels get Stephen Zimmerman Jr. back from the flu for Wednesday's game, then the Hoosiers will have a big man to deal with as well.
The Rebels like to get up and down the floor, as was evident when watching their matchup with Chaminade. Their size and speed were just too much for Chaminade and they were able to break the game wide open. They also can defend well along with being able to jump out of the gym with their high-flying dunks.
With the Hoosiers also liking to score and get up and down the floor, this matchup will be an interesting one to watch. If Zimmerman Jr. does come back, Indiana big man Thomas Bryant will have his hands full on the post.
The Hoosiers will have another tough matchup that will challenge their weakness which is their defense. Toning down on turnovers will also be a key if they want to be successful against this UNLV team.
The winner of this game will leave the Maui Invitational as the fifth place team in the tournament. Tipoff is set for about 5:00 p.m. EST from the Lahaina Civic Center on Maui.