Indiana now shifts its attention to the second game of three in the Hoosier Classic, taking on the Little Rock Trojans at Assembly Hall. Tip off will be at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
The Hoosiers have a great opportunity to pick up two more wins on their home floor come Wednesday and Friday night, as both Little Rock and Jackson State are below .500. IU has won the previous two meetings against Little Rock. Here’s a more in-depth look at Wednesday night’s opponent.
Taking a look at the Trojans
The Trojans aren’t off to the strongest start in their non-conference schedule, sitting at 2-3 and losing two of their past three games. Indiana is undoubtedly the most talented team they have played so far this season, so it will be quite the adjustment for head coach Darrell Walker and company to go from preparing to 0-3 Jackson State to No. 11 Indiana.
However Little Rock has shown flashes of being a team that can put up points on the scoreboard, as they scored 94 this past Sunday against Jackson State. The Trojans shot 11-for-21 (52.4%) from 3-point range that game, as well as going 56.7% from the field as well.
Five of those 3s came from senior forward Myron Gardner. Gardner is also the team’s leader in rebounding and assists, averaging 10 and 3.6 respectively per game. So there’s no doubt that the Hoosiers will have to keep an eye on him at all times defensively.
Deantoni Gordon is the Trojans’ leading scorer so far, averaging 13.4 points per game. Gordon is a 6-foot-8 forward who’s a great finisher around the rim and has a very good shot selection to him. He also knows where to go on the court to get open, so team defense will be key for the Hoosiers on Wednesday night. It will be up to Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, Malik Reneau or whoever else may be matched up to him to make sure he doesn’t get those easy looks under the basket.
Keys for the Hoosiers
The Hoosiers have no excuse but to put a lot of points on the board Wednesday night. Little Rock is letting up an average of 82 points on the season, and the Trojans have not seen a lineup like the Hoosiers this season. Especially being back on its home floor, I expect to see Indiana get a lot of open looks and see some shots go down.
Building off of the offense, I’d like to see Indiana’s backcourt continue to build confidence. Certainly we’ve seen what Xavier Johnson can do this season, but this game will be important for guys such as Jalen Hood-Schifino, Tamar Bates and even CJ Gunn who seems to be taking the minutes of the injured Trey Galloway. These guys will play a vital role when the competition steepens in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, even though Indiana is a smidge taller than the Trojans, rebounding will certainly be key in this one. Last Sunday against Miami (OH), IU didn’t particularly rebound that well in the first half, but did a much better job in the second half. I would love to see a great rebounding effort for all 40 minutes on Wednesday night.