College basketball is back.
Indiana opens its 123rd season of competition in men’s basketball with a matchup against Morehead State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Monday evening.
Game Day Essentials:
Morehead State (0-0) at No. 13 Indiana (0-0)
- Tip Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (17,222), Bloomington, Indiana
- Television/Stream: BTN+ (Griffin Epstein, Jack Edwards, Audrey Hausberger)
- IU Radio Network: IU Radio Network
- Point Spread: Indiana is a 22-point favorite
- KenPom Projected Score: No. 12 Indiana 79 No. 223 Morehead State 57
- Series: Indiana leads 5-0. IU won last meeting 92-59 on Dec. 5, 2015
Morehead State’s Preston Spradlin:
Preston Spradlin is in his sixth season as full-time head coach at Morehead State. He was named the University’s 14th head men’s basketball coach on March 16, 2017.
Spradlin has guided the Eagles to new heights over recent years. The 2020-21 campaign saw the Eagles win the program’s first OVC Conference Tournament championship in 10 years and a berth in the NCAA Tournament with a record of 23-8.
The success continued in 2021-22, when Morehead State went 23-11 and advanced to the OVC Tournament Championship game.
Spradlin came to Morehead after five seasons at Kentucky. He was a graduate assistant for two seasons before three years as the assistant director of operations.
Morehead State Notes:
• Morehead State opens a season at a top-25 opponent for the third consecutive season. The Eagles opened 2020-21 at No. 10 Kentucky and played at No. 22 Auburn to open last season.
• Morehead State will be searching for its first-ever win over Indiana. The Hoosiers lead the series 5-0. The last time the teams met was in 2015-16.
• The Eagles return five players (four who saw action and one redshirt) from a 23-win campaign in 2021-22. MSU has added 11 newcomers, including four who have prior Division I experience.
• Among the 8 Division I men’s basketball programs in Kentucky, Morehead State ranks first in wins in the last two seasons – 46. Among all 27 college programs in the Bluegrass State, only one – Thomas More – had more wins (48) than the Eagles in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
• Morehead State was selected No. 1 in the preseason Ohio Valley Conference vote of coaches and media relations personnel. Senior guard Mark Freeman was selected to the Preseason All-OVC Team.
• Mark Freeman has two years prior experience in the OVC, having played at Tennessee State in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He was at Illinois State last season. He led the OVC in free throw percentage as a sophomore in 2020-21, hitting 81.7 percent. In fact, he is a career 81.7 percent free throw shooter, leading ISU at 87.5 percent last winter.
• Graduate transfer Alex Gross is from Hope, Ind. – just 50 miles from Bloomington. Gross comes to MSU with lofty career totals from his four years at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). He was a three-time NAIA All-American and finished there with 2,021 points, 1,226 rebounds, 426 assists and 363 blocked shots. He earned the NAIA men’s basketball CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year award in 2021-22. The Eagles also have another Indiana native in freshman Julian Norris, from Evansville.
• Returning forward LJ Bryan enters the season with a 60-percent career field goal accuracy. Last season, Bryan nailed 64 percent from the floor and would have led the OVC if he had enough attempts to qualify. Fellow returner Jake Wolfe hit 51 percent last season and would have been in the top 10 as well if enough attempts.
• MSU has ranked No. 1 or 2 in the OVC in rebound margin for the past two seasons. During their past 65 games, the Eagles were the top team in the league with a +5.0 rebound margin (36.9-31.9). In that span of 2020-21 and 2021-22, MSU was 38-9 when out-rebounding an opponent.
• Head coach Preston Spradlin needs eight wins to become the sixth head coach in program history to lead his teams to 100+ wins. Spradlin is just the second head coach in program history to lead his teams to back-to-back 20-win seasons.
• Assistant Coach Scott Combs is from Lebanon, Ind., and was a runner-up for Indiana Mr. Basketball in 1994 at Paoli High School. He is the dean of OVC assistant coaches and may very well own the league record for being involved in OVC Tournament victories. Combined with his time at MSU and 12 seasons at a successful Austin Peay program, Combs has coached in 29 tournament victories now and has helped teams win four OVC Tournament Championship games.
Morehead State 2021-22 KenPom Highlights
- Offense – No. 165
- Defense – No. 108
- Tempo – No. 301
(Note: The Eagles return just 23 percent of their minutes from a year ago)
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