UMBC (1-9) at (17) Indiana (11-0)
Thursday, December 22nd, 6:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Assembly Hall (17,456) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: UMBC 0-4, IU 8-0. Away Record: UMBC 1-5, IU 2-0. Neutral Record: UMBC 0-0, IU 1-0. Conference Record: UMBC 0-0, IU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams at opposite ends of the spectrum meet in Bloomington this evening, as the UMBC Retrievers come calling on the 17th- ranked Indiana Hoosiers.
UMBC has had a dreadful first month and a half of the season, losing nine of its first 10 games, including the last two. Aside from a 62-58 win at Towson a couple of weeks ago, the Retrievers have only been competitive in a handful of games. Their most recent setback would certainly qualify as one, as it took overtime for the Rider Broncs to claim a 73-66 win last Saturday. UMBC will kick off America East Conference play on January 2 at New Hampshire.
Indiana is a perfect 11-0 to this point in the season, marking the team's best start since the 1975-76 squad went 32-0 on the way to winning the national title. The Hoosiers already have a win over then-No. 1 Kentucky on their resume' this season, and with the exception of the 73-72 victory over the Wildcats, IU has won every game by double digits. The team's most recent outing took place on Monday night, and resulted in a resounding 107-50 home win over Howard. The 107 points posted against the Bison marked the most for Indiana since dropping 108 on George Washington back in March of 1999. IU opens Big Ten Conference play at Michigan State next Wednesday.
This game marks the initial meeting between UMBC and Indiana on the hardwood.
With a scoring average of just 61.7 ppg, and a yield of 74.2 ppg, it's pretty easy to see that UMBC has had trouble at both ends of the court this season. The Terriers are hitting their field goals a shade over 37 percent of the time, and they have had a particularly rough go of it out on the perimeter, knocking down just 27.7 percent of their three-point tries. Conversely, foes are shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and taking advantage of 16.4 Retriever turnovers per outing. Chase Plummer is the team's leading scorer and rebounder after 10 games, producing 14.2 points and 8.9 caroms per contest. Brian Neller (12.5 ppg) and Ryan Cook (11.2 ppg) are both netting double digits as well, although the latter has appeared in just four games. UMBC went on a 22-8 run late in the second half of last Saturday game against Rider to send it to overtime, but the Retrievers missed all eight of their field goal attempts in the extra session and lost by seven. Plummer scored 22 points and pulled down 11 boards, while Neller contributed 19 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.
Indiana put six players in double figures earlier in the week, as Howard offered no resistance in what turned out to be a 57-point laugher at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Jordan Hulls led all scorers with 16 points, and a total of 13 IU players had at least two points in the game. The Hoosiers shot an eye-popping 67.3 percent from the field, draining 11 three-pointers along the way, all while holding the Bison to 30.6 percent field goal efficiency and taking advantage of 19 turnovers. For the season, Indiana owns a scoring margin of +23.5 ppg, averaging 84.5 ppg while allowing 60.9 ppg. The Hoosiers are hitting their field goals at a 51.7 percent clip, with the three-point shot falling 46.8 percent of the time. Opponents are guilty of more than 18 turnovers per tilt, and coach Tom Crean's team boasts five double-digit scorers, including four starters. Cody Zeller sits atop the scoring list with 15.3 ppg, and he is also the team's leading rebounder with 7.4 rpg. The Hoosiers' top three scorers (Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Hulls) are all shooting better than 52 percent from the floor, with Zeller coming in at 65.6 percent.
Indiana will roll UMBC for its second straight blowout victory. The Big Ten slate will present considerable challenges for the Hoosiers, and that will go a long way in determining just how good this team really is.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 99, UMBC 53
12/22 10:34:48 ET