Howard (3-8) at (17) Indiana (10-0)
Monday, December 19th, 6:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Assembly Hall (17,456) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Howard 2-1, Indiana 7-0. Away Record: Howard 1-7, Indiana 2-0. Neutral Record: Howard 0-0, Indiana 1-0. Conference Record: Howard 0-0, Indiana 0-0. Series Record: Indiana leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana Hoosiers have an outstanding opportunity to add another victory to their non-conference record when the Howard Bison come to town this evening.
Howard, a member of the MEAC, is just 3-8 overall this season and has lost it last three games. Last Thursday, the squad dropped a 93-72 decision to Oregon State. Having already faced Georgetown and with both Kansas and Kansas State remaining on the non-conference docket, Howard does deserve some credit for agreeing to square off against such formidable foes.
Tom Crean has led the Hoosiers to wins in each of the first 10 games, and all but one of the victories have come by double digits. On Saturday, Indiana defeated Notre Dame by a 69-58 final on a neutral court, and the club now returns home where it is 7-0 to date. The most notable victory thus far came over No. 1 Kentucky by one point.
The Hoosiers won their only previous series meeting with Howard by 23 points in 2009.
Taking a look at Howard's 21-point loss to Oregon State last time out, the Bison shot 39.3 percent from the field and had 19 turnovers in the affair. Defensively, the club permitted the Beavers to make good on their 51.7 percent of their shots from the floor. Brandon Ford and Prince Okoroh both registered 13 points in the setback, and Glen Andrews finished with 11 points. Howard is both shooting and surrendering the exact same field goal percentage to date (.410), but the team's output of 63.2 ppg is obviously below that of the opposition (68.4 ppg). The fact that the team has lost five of its last six games is concerning, and no player has proven capable of taking over a contest at the offensive end, thus providing little reason for optimism moving forward. Andrews' 11-point performance against Oregon State marked his season debut and places him atop the team's scoring list.
Freshman Cody Zeller has been an obvious key to Indiana's success so far this season, and he netted 21 points to go along with eight rebounds in the victory over Notre Dame last time out. Victor Oladipo checked in with 16 points, and Jordan Hulls registered 12 points. Rounding out a foursome of double-digit scorers was Christian Watford with 10 points. The Hoosiers played strong defense in that affair, holding Notre Dame to 38.1 percent field goal efficiency while also posting a 40-28 rebounding advantage. Overall this season, Zeller is netting 15.6 ppg on 64.4 percent field goal efficiency, and he is ripping down 7.5 rpg as well. The fact that he has blocked 16 shots and recorded 23 steals is proof of the rookie's prowess at the defensive end. Olapido is second on the team with 12.7 ppg, while Hulls and Watford bring 11.3 ppg apiece to the floor. Indiana is scoring 82.2 ppg on 50.3 percent field goal efficiency while limiting teams to 62.0 ppg on 39.8 percent shooting.
Indiana will win this game rather easily, as it is far superior to the lowly Bison. The Hoosiers will be dangerous come March if they continue to lock it down defensively and share the ball at the offensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 80, Howard 54
12/19 13:07:23 ET