The Indiana Hoosiers are coming off of two straight wins and will welcome in the McNeese State Cowboys to Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Saturday night.
The start of the season hasn't necessarily gone the way that the Hoosiers expected, but they are showing flashes of starting to get things turned around.
Time To Turn Things Around
Indiana is coming off of a 25-point win over IPFW on Wednesday at home in a game that Yogi Ferrell scored 38 points and the Hoosiers hope to continue their winning ways.
Two of their next three games come against teams ranked in the 300's in KenPom rankings (McNeese and Kennesaw), but those are their last two games where is win is more than probable. In between those two games is a matchup in Indianapolis against Notre Dame, which is the last chance the Hoosiers have to add to their fairly weak non-conference resume.
With these games against lower level competition, it is unlikely that we will learn much about this Hoosiers team, but that doesn't mean these are just games to throw away. Following this game against McNeese State, the players have finals week before the aforementioned game against Notre Dame.
The opening few games of the Big Ten slate aren't particularly tough, which could be a chance to build some momentum that could get this season back on track for the Hoosiers.
What Does McNeese State Bring To The Table?
Honestly, it isn't much that this Cowboys team brings to the table as they come into this matchup in Assembly Hall ranked 313th in the latest KenPom rankings and hold a record of 1-6. Their only win was a one-point win against NAIA opponent, Dillard University.
Their leader and court general is Jamaya Burr who is a 6-foot junior guard that has averaged 13.9 points per game thus far this season. He is hitting just 35.9 percent of shots inside the arc against Division-1 opponents.
The Cowboys biggest issue in this game against Indiana is with size differential. Their tallest starters are Tevin Jackson and Craig McFerrin who both stand at 6-7 and that could be an issue with Indiana's depth on the front line with Thomas Bryant and Max Bielfeldt.
This team, however, is averaging 29.0 points per game off of the bench including 40 bench points in Wednesday’s loss to UL Lafayette.
What To Expect Saturday Night
This game doesn't pan out to be much of a ballgame as the Hoosiers have been playing their best basketball in front of their own fans at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are one of the best offensive teams in the country while the Cowboys average just 68.6 points per game. KenPom predicts the Hoosiers to win by 26 with a 96 percent win probability and it would surprise many if this was much of a game at all.
What To Watch For:
If there have been two things to watch for all season long it is the defense and the turnovers. The Hoosiers did win by 25 on Wednesday, but they still turned it over 17 times. With not many more games to sharpen up, these are two areas of focus.
Also, Harrison Niego made his first meaningful appearance on Wednesday and shined on the defensive end of the floor. It will be interesting to see if coach Tom Crean continues to keep Niego in the rotation.
"He's got a lot to give," Crean said after the IPFW game. "I'm not surprised that he played that way. He's a very confident young man. At his age, high school AAU, he was always a leader. I thought he came in and played to his personality. He really made our team better tonight."