“It’s here. We’re going to have to answer the bell.”
That’s how IU head coach Archie Miller welcomed the meat of his team’s 2019-20 schedule on his radio show on Monday night.
Beginning with Florida State on Tuesday night, Indiana faces 24 straight high major opponents to conclude the regular season.
Are the Hoosiers ready? Miller didn’t sound so sure after a less than convincing 64-50 win over South Dakota State on Saturday night.
“Without question, there’s just a little bit of that funny feeling that we’re not playing as well as we need to, we’re not as sharp as we need to and we got to take care of the ball a little bit better,” Miller said.
That funny feeling is no doubt exaggerated by the not so amusing thought of what is coming to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
A student of Bob Knight’s defensive scheme, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton’s defense has been a nightmare for its opposition thus far.
The Seminoles are forcing turnovers on 26 percent of possessions, good for 12th in the nation. Based on KenPom adjusted efficiency, Florida State has the No. 3 defense in the country.
Those figures haven’t been built on a foundation of cupcakes either.
Over its last two games, FSU forced Tennessee into 21 turnovers, and Purdue, 24, in a pair of impressive wins.
Indiana, on the other hand, has committed consecutive season-worst turnover totals of 19 and 18 in its last two games against South Dakota State, and Louisiana Tech, respectively.
According to Miller, the Seminoles use a rotation of 10 to 12 players and use that depth and an aggressive defensive style to exhaust their opponents.
“They pick you up 94 feet,” Miller said on Monday night. “They are going to try use their depth to not only turn you over or pressure you and take you out of your offense. But they are going to use their defense to create their offense.
“They’ve been able to wear teams down. … It’s hard to get a clean look. It’s hard to get a good shot against them.”
Miller knows that his team’s recent struggles with ball security will spell doom against a defense of FSU’s caliber if not corrected.
“In the last three halves we haven’t taken care of the ball,” he added. “That’s going to be a setup for disaster as you get ready to play Florida State or you get ready to go on the road. You have to take care of the ball.”
If the Hoosiers are unable to take care of the ball on Tuesday night, it is highly unlikely that they will answer the bell.
Instead, it will be for Indiana that the bell tolls.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
No. 17/19 Florida State (7-1) at Indiana (7-0)
- Tip time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
- Television: ESPN2 (stream on Watch ESPN)
- Series: Indiana leads 4-0
- Point Spread: Indiana is around a 3 point favorite in Vegas; KenPom has No. 25 Indiana by one point over No. 15 Florida State.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
PICKING UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF
Florida State is coming off a program record 29 win season that saw them go 16-3 down the stretch including wins over Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse. The Seminoles finished fourth in a stacked ACC with a 13-5 record and were ranked No. 10 in the final AP poll of the season.
The Seminoles only three losses in its final 19 games came at the hands of Duke, North Carolina and a Sweet 16 loss to No. 1 seeded Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament.
A RARE MEETING FOR FLORIDA STATE AND INDIANA
After meeting three times in less the two years in the early 1990’s, the teams have not played again over the last 27 years.
This year’s contest will be the first meeting between the programs since a pair of 1992 battles including a NCAA Tournament game in March of that year.
Here are the four previous meetings:
- Nov. 25 1992: Indiana 81-78 (at New York)
- Mar. 26 1992: Indiana 85-74 (at Albuquerque, NCAA Tournament)
- Mar. 16 1991: Indiana 82-60 (at Louisville, NCAA Tournament)
- Dec. 8 1975: Indiana 83-59 (at Indianapolis)
The 1991 NCAA Tournament meeting was particularly memorable as FSU ran out to a double digit first half lead before IU opened the second half on a 21-1 run.
Interestingly, this will be the first on campus game in the series.
HAMILTON EFFUSIVE IN PRAISE FOR BOB KNIGHT AND INDIANA TRADITION
FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton spoke to Tim Linafelt of the team’s website Seminoles.com, and he had plenty of things to say about former IU head coach Bob Knight and the program’s history, tradition and home court.
“Coach Knight, in my opinion was, gosh, he was the man in college basketball,” Hamilton said. “I had two books that I read a lot of. One was the Bible. The other was his defensive book.
“I can remember, as a grad student, just looking at that book and reading it and hanging all my defensive thoughts on everything that I read.”
“This is a unique and special opportunity for us to play against a real good team on the road early in the season,” he said. “And I think the fact that they have such a storied history and tradition, it puts an added flavor onto the game that I’m not even real sure our players will understand, be able to relate to the history of college basketball as it relates to Indiana University.”
BIG TEN / ACC CHALLENGE NOTES
IU is 7-11 all-time in Big Ten / ACC challenge games. FSU is 9-11 and has won three straight games in the event including a win over Purdue last year.
The ACC leads the all-time Challenge series by a 12-5-3 margin after the two leagues finished in a 7-7 tie in 2018.
The ACC has won two of the last three Challenges after winning each of the first 10 in the series that began in 1999.
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