Ready or not, the tune-up games are over. The 2018-19 schedule gets real for Indiana this week, and it starts on Wednesday night with a formidable opponent in the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Below we take a look at what you need to know for this prime time match up of Big Ten and Big East foes as part of the 2018 Gavitt Tipoff Games.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Marquette at Indiana
- Tip time: 8:30 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
- Television: FS1
- Series: Indiana leads 7-2
- Point Spread: Indiana is favored by 5.5
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
- Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds
- Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds
- Zach McRoberts, forward, 6-foot-6, 210 pounds
- Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds
- Rob Phinisee, guard, 6-foot-1, 182 pounds
- Markus Howard, guard, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds
- Sacar Anim, guard/forward, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds
- Brendan Bailey, forward, 6-foot-8, 190 pounds
- Sam Hauser, forward, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds
- Theo John, forward, 6-foot-9, 240 pounds
TALE OF THE TAPE
It is still early to be comparing statistics, but with each team having played two games against similarly ranked opponents according to KenPom — here you go:
KEYS TO VICTORY
Transition and Ball Screen Defense
These are two areas that have been challenging for IU at times last year and into this year. The Hoosiers showed improvement vs. Montana State, but Marquette is a much bigger, stronger and faster team. The Golden Eagles are a strong 3-point shooting team and they will shoot the lights out if IU can’t get back on defense and communicate on ball screens.
Free Throws and Three Point Shooting
You can skate by with poor shooting against lesser teams. But as Hoosier fans know all too well from last year — poor free throw shooting can cost you games. 55.8% as a team is simply ridiculous, especially when you consider that Archie Miller wants to emphasize driving the ball and getting to the line rather than settling for three-pointers. At only 31% from long range, we can see why he doesn’t want the team shooting a lot of 3-pointers, but something has to give here.
Health — McRoberts and Green
It feels too early in the season to be talking so much about health, but here we are. We know Jerome Hunter is out. Race Thompson is questionable.
The two key players to watch are Zach McRoberts and Devonte Green. Archie Miller labeled both of them as game-time decisions. The Hoosiers need all hands on deck for this one. Missing either player would be a big loss, and playing at less than 100 percent would be problematic as well.
You never want to play to the level of your opponent, but Indiana has looked at times like they are going through the motions during this young season. That won’t cut it against a team of this caliber. Can the Hoosiers bring it for 40 minutes? It is going to take an intense, grinding effort to win on the glass, create turnovers, and close out on shooters. We saw IU amp up the effort last year in games like Duke and Michigan State at home — and something similar will be needed once again.
Rob Judson, Marquette Special Assistant to the Head Coach, spent four seasons at Indiana under former Marquette and IU head coach Tom Crean. He was the Hoosiers’ director of basketball operations for two campaigns prior to moving into an assistant coaching position in 2015-16.
Additional game coverage:
- Looking back at Indiana vs. Marquette in 2001
- Markus Howard will be a tough cover
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier