The start of the college basketball season is finally here.
And for both Indiana and its first opponent, today marks the start of new eras.
Former IU basketball great Mike Woodson begins his run as the head coach of his alma mater after a lengthy NBA career. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan welcomes back its own alumnus in new head coach Stan Heath.
The game also marks the return of fans to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the first game since March 7, 2020. The energy in the building should be high as the fans welcome back Woodson, and everyone welcomes a return to normalcy in college basketball.
Game Day Essentials
Eastern Michigan (0-0, 0-0) at Indiana (0-0, 0-0)
- Tip time: 6:00 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana (17,222)
- Television: Big Ten Network (Brandon Gaudin and Shon Morris)
- Stream: Fox Sports Live
- Radio: IU radio network information
- Point Spread: Indiana is a 24-point favorite
- KenPom Projected Score: Indiana, 81-58
- Series: Indiana leads the all-time series 4-0.
Meet EMU’s Stan Heath
A three-year letter winner at EMU from 1985 to 1987 and 17-year head coaching veteran, Stan Heath begins his first season coaching for the Eagles’ men’s basketball team in 2021-2022. He previously was a head coach at the University of South Florida, the University of Arkansas and Kent State University. He has a career record of 209-206.
Heath was the head coach of Kent State in 2002 when they met Indiana in the Elite Eight.
Eastern Michigan Projected Starters
#1 Colin Golson Jr.: Forward, 6-6, Freshman
#4 Bryce McBride: Guard, 6-2, Junior
#5 Noah Farrakhan: Guard, 6-2, Freshman
#10 Darion Spottsville: Guard, 6-4, Senior
#25 Nate Scott: Forward/Guard, 6-8, Senior
Other Notable Players:
#2 Monty Scott: Guard, 6-5, Senior
#3 Luka Savicevic: Guard, 6-3, Freshman
#15 Axel Okongo: Center, 7-0, Senior
#23 Thomas Binelli: Forward, 6-10, Senior
#33 Derek Ballard Jr.: Forward, 6-8, R-Junior
A Closer Look at EMU
Eastern Michigan finished the 2020-21 season with a 6-12 record. Entering this season they are ranked No. 297 according to KenPom.com.
The last time the Eagles met the Hoosiers was a 87-67 loss in Bloomington on Nov. 24 in 2017. EMU is 12-72 against Big Ten Conference opponents all-time, and their last win over a Big Ten program came against Michigan, 45-42 in December of 2014.
Eastern has six returning players for the 2021-2022 season. Junior Bryce McBride started 15 out of 18 games and is the team’s leading returning scorer, averaging 13.7 points last season. Another returner, senior Darion Spottsville, dished out 23 assists and grabbed 20 steals in the 17 games he played. Both McBride and Spottsville are the Eagles’ team captains this year.
Also coming back this season is some size off the bench including senior Axel Okongo and redshirt junior Derek Ballard Jr. Okongo played in 10 games last year, and finished second on the team with seven blocks. Participating in 15 games, averaging 11.6 minutes per game, Ballard Jr. finished the season with 42 rebounds, 2.8 per game.
The Eagles have 10 new players for the 2021-22 season, five transfers, three true freshmen, and two walk-ons.
The newcomers include projected starter Nate Scott, a senior transfer from Northern Illinois. Scott made 10 starts for the Huskies a season ago, averaging 5.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 17.8 minutes per game. The Eagles also added senior Monty Scott by way of Portland State where he led the Vikings in scoring with 13.7 points per game.
Freshmen Colin Golson Jr and Noah Farrkhan are new to the squad this year and both players scored double-digits in their charity exhibition at Oakland. Farrakhan had 27 points at Oakland, Oct. 28, to lead all scorers in a 74-69 win over the Grizzlies. The freshman then tied for a game high 18 points against Goshen, Nov. 5, shooting a combined 60 percent (21-of-35) from the floor in the two contests.
Another big man to watch is senior Thomas Binelli. After coming back from an injury last season he had 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from three, and grabbed eight rebounds in the Goshen exhibition.
EMU has landed in the No. 11 spot on the Mid-American Conference preseason coaches’ poll for their 48th season in the MAC.
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