Kennesaw State (3-9) at Indiana (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 22, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Assembly Hall (17,472) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: BTN. Home Record: KSU 2-4, IU 8-0. Away Record: KSU 1-5, IU 0-1. Neutral Record: KSU 0-0, IU 1-2. Conference Record: KSU 0-0, IU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana Hoosiers will attempt to stay undefeated at Assembly Hall this season, as they play host to the Kennesaw State Owls on Sunday afternoon in a non-conference matchup.
The good news for Kennesaw State is that it has already matched its win total from all of last season (3-27), but that's hardly an indication of success, as it sports just a 3-9 record. The Owls are losers of four in a row, all on the road, with their most recent setback coming at Georgia Southern on Wednesday night, 73-55.
Indiana has been vulnerable against top-tier teams, as it has already lost to UConn (59-58), Syracuse (69-52) and Notre Dame (79-72), but it has taken care of business against the teams it is supposed to beat on its way to a 9-3 ledger. The Hoosiers hosted Nicholls on Friday night and came away with a 79-66 triumph to improve to 8-0 at Assembly Hall.
The Owls and the Hoosiers have never before squared off against one another on the hardwood.
Kennesaw State hung around in the first half against Georgia Southern, heading into intermission with just a four-point deficit, but it lost control of the game in the second half on its way to the 18-point setback. The team shot a meager 33.9 percent from the field on the night and were plagued by a game- high 18 turnovers. Delbert Love, Nate Rucker and Orlando Coleman each scored 10 points in the losing effort, with Coleman also adding eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Unsurprisingly, the Owls have struggled mightily on the offensive end of the court this season, making just 40.4 percent of their field-goal tries for 63.7 points per game while living in the red with their rebounding (-3.6) and turnover (-2.4) margins. Love (10.4 ppg) and Coleman (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are the only two players to score in double figures on a nightly basis, although Coleman does so on a much higher field-goal efficiency (.538) than does Love (.350).
Although Indiana defeated Nicholls by a 13-point margin, the game was never close down the stretch, as it led by double-digits throughout the second half while its lead swelled to as many as 22. It overcome an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers (20) by shooting 54.5 percent from the field to go with a busy, effective night from the free-throw line (26-of-35). Kevin Ferrell not only led the team with 16 points but he got his teammates involved with eight assists. Will Sheehey and Jeremy Hollowell netted 14 points apiece, while Noah Vonleh grabbed nine rebounds.
The Hoosiers have displayed prowess on both ends of the floor this season, as they outshoot their opponents from the floor, 46.1 percent to 37.8 percent, while sporting excessive scoring (+14.7) and rebounding (+14.2) margins. Ferrell (16.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) has done a large chunk of his damage from 3-point range (32-of-76), although the rest of the team has combined for only 29 long- range buckets. Vonleh (11.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg) is an impressive freshmen power forward, Sheehey scores 10.5 points per game, and Hollowell, Evan Gordon and Troy Williams all put up between 8.0 and 9.2 points per tilt.
Simply put, Indiana has been dominant this season at home against inferior competition, and its unblemished record at Assembly Hall is highly unlikely to be put in jeopardy by a floundering Kennesaw State squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 92, Kennesaw State 60
12/22 10:42:52 ET