Indiana will face its first main take a look at of the season on Friday. The No. 12 Hoosiers are set to battle Xavier within the Gavitt Tipoff Video games on the Cintas Heart.
Friday’s sport is ready for a 6 p.m. ET tip on FS1:
The primary of Indiana’s 4 marquee non-conference matchups is right here.
Large East foe Xavier, which is 3-0 and coached by Sean Miller, presents a big problem for Indiana. The Musketeers are a projected NCAA match crew and return many key contributors from final 12 months’s group that gained the NIT championship.
Miller, the older brother of former IU coach Archie Miller, started his head teaching profession at Xavier. The 54-year-old coached at Xavier from 2004 via 2009 earlier than accepting the Arizona job. Miller loved high-level success in Tucson earlier than his dismissal in April of 2021 which was tied to the 2017 corruption scandal involving the FBI.
After sitting out final season and dealing on the Discipline of 68 podcast, Miller is again on the sidelines at a program he took to the Elite Eight in 2008.
MEET THE MUSKETEERS
In its most up-to-date win, a 78-65 victory over Fairfield, Xavier performed a good rotation with solely seven gamers logging double-figure minutes. The rotation was small, partially, because of the absence of junior guard Colby Jones. The 6-foot-6 guard sat out Tuesday with an ankle harm he suffered in Monday’s observe.
A preseason all-Large East first-team choice, Jones is averaging 13.5 factors via the primary two video games. He’s additionally averaging seven assists, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 27 minutes per sport. The provision of Jones is a serious storyline getting into the sport. If he’s unable to play or is restricted, that could be a main setback for the Xavier backcourt.
The remainder of the Xavier backcourt is comprised of three seniors in KyKy Tandy, Souley Boum and Adam Kunkel and freshmen Desmond Claude and Kam Craft.
The 6-foot-3 Boum, is in his fifth season of faculty basketball and commenced his profession at San Francisco earlier than spending three seasons at UTEP. He transferred to Xavier to make use of his ultimate 12 months of eligibility. Boum is a profession 35 % 3-point shooter and is off to a scorching begin from the perimeter this season. By three video games, the Oakland native is 5-of-9 on 3s. He’s additionally capturing it properly contained in the arc (8-of-13) and from the free-throw line (10-of-11). Boum’s 13.7 factors per sport rank third on the roster.
Tandy is a local of Hopkinsville, Kentucky who missed most of final season after requiring surgical procedure for a stress fracture in his leg. By three video games, the 6-foot-2 guard is averaging six factors, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in 22.3 minutes per sport.
Kunkel, one other Kentucky native, started his profession at Belmont earlier than arriving at Xavier earlier than the 2019-20 season. He missed time within the preseason with an ankle harm however has performed in all three regular-season video games. With Jones out on Tuesday, Kunkel began and scored 21 factors on 8-of-13 capturing from the sphere, together with a 4-of-8 efficiency from distance. He’s a profession 34.6 % 3-point shooter.
Claude is this system’s level guard of the longer term. The Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) product was the No. 90 participant within the ultimate RSCI rankings for the category of 2022. By three video games, Claude is logging 19.7 minutes off the bench and averaging 5 factors, two assists, 1.3 steals, and a rebound.
Craft, an Illinois native, was the No. 51 prospect within the 2022 class in keeping with the RSCI rankings. Often called a prolific scorer and shooter in highschool, Craft is averaging 3.3 factors in 13 minutes via three video games.
Within the frontcourt, Xavier’s energy lies with the duo of seniors Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge.
The 6-foot-9 Freemantle is coming off of a triple-double in Tuesday’s win over Fairfield. By three video games, he’s averaging 15.7 factors, 7.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals in 31.7 minutes per sport.
Nunge, an Indiana native who performed at Iowa earlier than arriving at Xavier previous to final season, has blossomed within the Large East. The 7-footer averaged 13.4 factors and seven.4 rebounds final season and has picked up the place he left off a season in the past via three video games. Nunge’s 18 factors per sport lead the crew and he’s additionally capturing 62.5 % on 3s.
Indiana switch Jerome Hunter averaged 15.3 minutes and began 17 of the crew’s 35 video games final season. His position has diminished this 12 months as he’s logging solely 11 minutes per contest. Hunter is averaging 3.7 factors and 4 rebounds so far.
Junior Dieonte Miles may see spot minutes on the 5 if the Xavier frontcourt encounters foul bother. The 7-footer offers Miller an enormous physique to deploy within the publish for depth.
THOUGHTS ON XAVIER AND THE MATCHUP
It’s solely been three video games in opposition to sub-200 KenPom competitors, however Xavier has a top-30 offense nationally.
The Muskeeteers aren’t taking a variety of 3s however are connecting at a forty five.5 % clip. Xavier’s level distribution from 3s ranks simply 336th nationally as of Thursday, per KenPom.
What’s fueling Xavier’s offense proper now’s offensive rebounding and attending to the foul line. The Musketeers are nineteenth within the nation in offensive rebounding share and thirty sixth in free throw price (FTA/FGA), per KenPom.
Turnovers have been a difficulty as Xavier has a turnover share of 20.9 via three video games. That, nonetheless, has been negated by the truth that Xavier has turned over its opponents on 21.9 % of their possessions thus far.
It gained’t be stunning to see Xavier attempt to pack it in and drive Indiana to make some perimeter pictures to win the sport. The Hoosiers have knocked down pictures at residence via two video games however must capitalize some from the perimeter on Friday night. Provided that Jalen Hood-Schifino hasn’t made a 3-pointer this season and Xavier Johnson could be streaky from distance, it gained’t be stunning to see both participant with some clear appears to be like.
Nearly as good as Xavier’s frontcourt is, Indiana’s is healthier. The Hoosiers have extra depth and one of the best participant on the ground in Trayce Jackson-Davis. They will even be capable of defend extra aggressively with Jordan Geronimo, Malik Reneau and Logan Duncomb all out there off the bench.
WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO
The KenPom projection is Indiana by two with a 59 % likelihood of victory for the Hoosiers. The Sagarin scores like Indiana by near 4.
On the numerous sportsbooks, Indiana is a 2.5-point favourite at FanDuel, 3-point favourite at Caesars, 3.5-point favourite at BetMGM and a 3-point favourite at DraftKings.
That is the primary of 4 tough non-conference checks for the Hoosiers. The slate additionally features a residence sport in opposition to North Carolina, a matchup in opposition to Arizona in Las Vegas, and a street sport in opposition to Kansas. Of the 4 video games, Friday is the second-best likelihood for an IU victory, per KenPom.
For Indiana, it is a chance to point out that final season’s street woes are a factor of the previous. And as Zach Osterman of The Indy Star identified, it will be a uncommon non-conference street win for this system. The final time Indiana gained a non-conference street sport in opposition to a prime 40 KenPom crew? The 2002-03 season.
(Photograph credit score: Xavier Athletics)
Filed to: Gavitt Tipoff Video games, Xavier Musketeers