Indiana (4-0) vs. Washington (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 21, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (18,200) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Indiana 4-0, Washington 2-1. Away Record: Indiana 0-0, Washington 0-0. Neutral Record: Indiana 0-0, Washington 0-0. Conference Record: Indiana 0-0, Washington 0-0. Series Record: Indiana leads, 2-1.
GAMES NOTES: Two of the better freshman in the country will square off on Thursday when Noah Vonleh and the Indiana Hoosiers battle Nigel Williams-Goss and the Washington Huskies at Madison Square Garden as part of the 2K Sports Classic.
Even though the Hoosiers lost a ton of talent in the offseason the holdovers from last year's No. 1 seeded squad have put the Hoosiers on a winning track this year. Indiana has four wins in as many contests and is out for a fifth on Thursday night. Most recently the Hoosiers, who have yet to play away from home this season, took out Stony Brook (90-74). Indiana was 5-3 on neutral courts last season.
The Huskies began the season with a three-game homestand and the results were mostly good. Washington took out Eastern Washington (92-80) on Sunday for their second win of the year. The other victory was an 88-78 triumph against Seattle. Sandwiched between the two wins was an 86-72 loss against UC Irvine. Washington, which is also traveling for the first time this season, split its four games in neutral sites last year.
The winner of this game will play either Connecticut or Boston College in Friday's final round. The losing teams will also square off on Friday.
The last time these teams met was in December of 1978 when Indiana took a 71-57 victory. The win was the second for the Hoosiers in just three all-time matchups between the two squads.
For the third time this season the Hoosiers were able to score 90 points as they rolled over Stony Brook. Indiana knocked down an even 50 percent of its shots from the field, while having 20 more attempts at the free-throw line than the Seawolves.
Vonleh has quietly been making fans in Indiana forget about departed forward Cody Zeller. The freshman is easily averaging a double-double (14.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg) this season after he posted his fourth against Stony Brook with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Vonleh has been difficult to stop down low, which has helped the ascension of Yogi Ferrell. The 6-foot guard leads the team in scoring (19.5 ppg), while also showing skill as a passer. Against Stony Brook Ferrell dropped in 24 points and also added six assists and five rebounds. Will Sheehey (11.0 ppg) and Troy Williams (10.0 ppg) fit in as strong complementary scorers, while Evan Gordon (7.5 ppg) has contributed well off the bench after transferring from Arizona State. The Hoosiers have been lighting it up at an impressive rate early on, netting 92 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting.
Williams-Goss scored 22 points and the Huskies rallied in the second half to overcome Eastern Washington. The Huskies entered halftime trailing but they erupted for 53 points in the second half thanks to a 21-of-23 effort from the free-throw line. Points at the charity stripe were critical for Washington, which had a 31-11 edge on foul shots.
Like Vonleh, Williams-Goss is putting together a strong start to his collegiate career without much publicity. Williams-Goss (13.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.3 apg, 3.0 spg) runs the point for the Huskies and has been doing so with great success as he has shown an ability to score and distribute. Williams- Goss is also a pest on defense with nine steals already. C.J. Wilcox (20.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 apg) is in part to blame for why Williams-Goss is overlooked, as he has been the centerpiece of the Huskies' offense. Wilcox had 15 points against EWU, which was a step back for the senior guard, who had scored 22 and 24 points in the previous two games, respectively. Andrew Andrews (13.7 ppg) and Darin Johnson (11.3 ppg) are also scoring in double figures for the Huskies, while Mike Anderson (9.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Perris Blackwell (12.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) have anchored the team in the paint.
The duel between Wilcox and Ferrell might be the main event in this contest but the contributions each get from their respective freshman phenoms will go a long way in determining a victory on Thursday. Vonleh has been the more consistent presence down low and will help the Hoosiers get to 5-0.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 82, Washington 73
11/21 10:35:51 ET