If you like close games, Indiana is your team, and the Crossroads Classic, your event.
Over the last two weeks, this IU basketball team has shown that it knows how to make things entertaining, with three wins by a grand total of five points. On paper it looks like more of the same is on tap for Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis at the eighth annual Crossroads Classic.
For the fourth game in a row, Indiana is walking into what feels like a coin toss kind of game. And why not? That’s how just about every game that the Hoosiers have played at the Crossroads Classic has turned out.
With IU and Butler having similar resumes through the first third of the 2018-19 season, there is no reason to expect anything different when the programs meet for the 54th time.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Butler (7-2) vs. No. 25 Indiana (8-2)
- Tip time: 3:45 p.m. Eastern (approximate)
- Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (18,345), Indianapolis, Indiana
- Television: CBS (Brad Nessler and Bill Raftery)
- Series: Indiana leads 38-15
- Point spread: Indiana is a 1 point favorite.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate links)
Lavall Jordan is in his second season leading Butler. A former Bulldog player, Jordan led the program to a 21-14 season last year and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Jordan was a long time assistant at Michigan and Iowa and had a brief head coaching stint at Milwaukee before replacing Chris Holtmann last year.
Common Opponents: None.
- Archie Miller Needs to Show Butler Their Way.
- Miller, Phinisee and Durham Preview Butler.
- Indiana’s History at the Crossroads Classic.
Indiana (KenPom No. 25)
- Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, senior
- Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds, sophomore
- Al Durham, guard, 6-foot-4, 181 pounds, sophomore
- Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, freshman
- Rob Phinisee, guard, 6-foot-1, 182 pounds, freshman
Key reserves: Zach McRoberts (G), Devonte Green (G), De’Ron Davis (C), Evan Fitzner (F)
Butler (KenPom No. 26)
- Sean McDermott, forward, 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, junior
- Nate Fowler, forward, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, senior
- Kamar Baldwin, guard, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, junior
- Paul Jorgensen, guard, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, senior
- Aaron Thompson, guard, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, sophomore
Key reserves: Joey Brunk (F), Henry Baddley (F), Christian David (F), Jordan Tucker (F)
TALE OF THE TAPE
KEYS TO VICTORY
Meet Butler’s Jordan Tucker. It’s a name that may not need much introduction to Indiana fans. Tucker is a former five star IU recruiting target that ended up at Duke before transferring mid-season last year to Butler. The timing of his transfer permits him to play for Butler after the first semester. Accordingly, his first game is Saturday against Indiana.
While Tucker figures to be a major contributor down the road, the Bulldogs may ease him into the rotation. Nevertheless, it’s a difficult game planning variable for Indiana, and don’t be surprised if Tucker impacts the contest in some manner. The New York native scored just six points in 14 minutes for Duke last year.
Who Will Guard Romeo Langford. As you can see above, Butler starts three guards, all 6-foot-2 or shorter. At 6-foot-6, Romeo Langford would be a difficult cover for any of the Bulldog guards. With his quickness and defensive prowess, Kamar Baldwin is the most likely choice, although Butler will risk getting their second leading scorer and floor leader in foul trouble if they go that route. Langford is one of the top players in the country at drawing fouls. Look for a committee approach with a lot of help and double team concepts to not put the burden squarely on anyone. With his length and athleticism, Tucker could also be given a shot here too.
Dominate the Paint. Indiana is longer team and should have a big advantage scoring in the paint, rebounding, and blocking shots. The Hoosiers have done a good job of not settling for three-pointers, and as a result are 6th in the country in field goal percentage despite not being a great perimeter shooting team. Indiana needs to play through Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis in this one. Both shoot above 60% from the field, and both have proven to be willing passers when the opportunities present themselves.
Disruptive Defense. Butler is top 20 nationally taking care of the ball. Indiana forced just two turnovers in the first half against Louisville, although some of that was due to a focus on keeping the ball out of the paint. Butler is 22nd on KenPom in offensive efficiency in large part because they don’t turn it over. If IU is unable to be disruptive and generate turnovers, the Bulldogs will find ways to create points through their offense, especially from the perimeter where they present a big threat from long range.
- Indiana senior forward Juwan Morgan needs 15 points to eclipse the 1,000 point mark for his career. Yogi Ferrell broke the 1,000 point barrier in 2014 against Butler.
- Archie Miller is 0-2 all-time vs. Butler.
- Indiana played Butler in each of its first two games in program history in the 1900-01 season, losing both games.
- Indiana is 77-25 all-time in Indianapolis.
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