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Nicholls (3-5) at Indiana (8-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 20, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Assembly Hall (17,472) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: BTN. Home Record: Nicholls 2-0, IU 7-0. Away Record: Nicholls 1-5, IU 0-1. Neutral Record: Nicholls 0-0, IU 1-2. Conference Record: Nicholls 0-0, IU 0-0. Series Record: Indiana leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana Hoosiers will attempt to remain perfect at Assembly Hall this season, as they square off with the Nicholls Colonels on Friday night in non-conference action.
Nicholls had lost its first five road games of the season prior to Wednesday's triumph at IUPUI, 62-56, to improve to 3-5 overall. The Colonels have challenged themselves against major-conference programs early in the season, losing to Auburn (76-54) and Memphis (98-59).
The good news for Indiana is that is has won all of the games that it was expected to win, as it has gone 7-0 at Assembly Hall. However, the Hoosiers have failed to break into the nation's elite after losing road and neutral- court matchups against top-tier squads UConn (59-58), Syracuse (79-72) and most recently, Notre Dame (79-72) in last Saturday's Crossroads Classic.
In the only previous meeting between these two teams, Indiana downed Nicholls at home in December of 2005, 99-65.
The Colonels' bout with IUPUI earlier in the week featured 11 ties and eight lead changes before they grabbed control of the contest in the final minutes with a 10-1 run. They shot a modest 40 percent from the field in the victory, but held IUPUI to just 38.5 percent, including 0-of-12 from 3-point range. T.J. Carpenter led the charge with 14 points off the bench, while Dantrell Thomas and Jeremy Smith netted 13 and 12 points, respectively. Unfortunately for Nicholls, it has made a habit of posting poor offensive numbers, as it shoots 41.7 percent from the field for 66.1 points per game, and to make matters worse it allows 76.4 points per contest at the other end of the floor. Thomas (14.1 ppg, 4.9 ppg) and Jeremy Smith (12.8 ppg) are the top performers, and despite the team's struggles overall, both shoot better than 50 percent from the field. Carpenter (9.3 ppg) has drained 21-of-48 from 3-point range, but as a team the Colonels make just 28.9 percent of their long-range tries.
Indiana never led in its latest contest versus Notre Dame, even though it brought its deficit to just one on several occasions in the second half. The team shot just 41.3 percent from the field on the afternoon and was outscored at the foul line, 23-13. Will Sheehey was impressive with 22 points on 9-of-15 from the field, although he hurt his squad by committing five turnovers. Kevin Ferrell tallied 13 points and five steals in the setback, while Evan Gordon came off the bench to score 11 points, albeit on just 3-of-11 from the field. The Hoosiers are typically a much more impressive shooting squad, as they make good on 45.6 percent of their field goal tries for 81.7 points per game, and they boast eye-popping margins in terms of scoring (+14.8) and rebounding (+14.7). Ferrell leads the team in both scoring (16.1 ppg) and assists (3.7 apg). Noah Vonleh has been impressive in the paint with 12.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and more than a block and steal per game. Sheehey, Gordon, Jeremy Hollowell and Troy Williams all net between 8.3 and 10.2 points per game to round out the deep squad.
The Hoosiers have been a resilient team in recent years, as they have won 15 straight games following a loss dating back to the 2011-12 season, and at home against a lackluster Nicholls squad, Indiana will keep that trend alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 86, Nicholls 62
12/20 10:31:31 ET