Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Indiana Hoosiers (Big Ten)
Record: 1-0; 29-7 (14-4 Big Ten) last season
Current KenPom Ranking: 22 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 243 – up from 251)
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN
TV/Web/Radio Coverage: T: Big Ten Network/R: IU Radio Network
Meeting History: First ever meeting between the two schools.
Indiana Players to Watch:
1. Yogi Ferrell #11 – 6’0″ Guard – Soph. – 11 pts vs Chicago State. Averaged 7.6 ppg and 4.0 apg last season.
2. Will Sheehey #0 – 6’7″ Forward – Sr. – 10 pts, 9 rebs vs Chicago State. Averaged 9.5 ppg last season.
3. Noah Vonleh #1 – 6’10” Forward – Fr. – 11 pts, 14 rebs in his college debut vs Chicago State.
The 1-0 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds head to historic Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana to face off against the 23rd-ranked (Coaches Poll) Indiana Hoosiers who are also 1-0. Thank goodness this is Indiana’s second game of the season because they now have won 16 straight season opening games and 29 straight home openers.
Last season, the Hoosiers won 29 games in route to a Big Ten regular season title and eventually an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Gone are NBA draftees Victor Oladipo (2nd pick overall – Orlando) and Cody Zeller (4th pick overall – Charlotte) from this Indiana squad but of you might expect they have retooled and reloaded for this season. Returning back for his sophomore year is point guard Yogi Ferrell who started in every game so far at Indiana. Ferrell played for Team USA this summer at the World University Games. Ferrell put in 11 points in Indiana’s season opening win vs Chicago State. Another player on that Team USA squad this summer was Will Sheehey who returns for his senior year. Sheehey was the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year last season for the Hoosiers. The 6’7″ forward dropped in 10 points vs Chicago State on Friday night. Of course what would the Hoosiers be without a big time freshman and they have one on 6’10” forward Noah Vonleh who was a McDonald’s High School All-American last season and has been picked by numerous publications as the Big Ten Newcomer of the Year. Vonleh put up a double-double in his first college game vs Chicago State with 11 points and 14 rebounds in just 22 minutes played.
In fact, Indiana had six players score in double figures on Friday against Chicago State including all five starters. The Hoosiers will likely go with the same starting five again against LIU which means they will start one guard (Ferrell) and four forwards, none of them shorter than 6’7″. That is going to present a major matchup nightmare for Jack Perri’s team.
The Hoosiers last season were the top scoring team out of the Big Ten at 78.6 ppg and they were the 4th-best in the Big Ten in points allowed at 62.1 ppg. They scored 1.15 points per possession (ppp), tops in the Big Ten and were 2nd-best in the conference in allowed points per possession at 0.89. They scored 100 on Chicago State on Friday night and did with a lighting-fast pace of 89 possessions. They only allowed Chicago State to score 72 points in 89 possessions. They out-rebounded Chicago State 62-36 and went to the free throw line 55 times in the game.
LIU Brooklyn is coming off the 87-80 win against Saint Peter’s on Saturday afternoon. They got a career-high 24 points from junior Gerrell Martin and got a double-double from senior point guard Jason Brickman who was named NEC Co-Player of the Week for his 13 points and 14 assists performance. His 14 assists was the second-most assists from opening weekend just behind the 15 assists put up by Morehead State’s Kareem Storey. Brickman is now 72 assists away from breaking the NEC all-time assist record and 267 assists away from the magical 1000 assist mark.
LIU’s starting five all scored in double figures against Saint Peter’s. They scored 1.11 ppp on offense in 79 possession and allowed 1.08 ppp on defense in 74 possessions. Their 87 points against Saint Peter’s was the highest scoring total among the NEC teams in their opening game.
E.J. Reed and Landon Atterberry had strong opening games for the Blackbirds in the front court with 17 and 11 points respectively. Gilbert Parga didn’t have his strongest shooting game in his LIU debut going for 4 for 10 but he did finish with 13 points. He will need to have a better shooting game if LIU has any shot of staying with the mighty Hoosiers.
Best case scenario for LIU to stay in this game for a least a half is for the Blackbirds to try and beat the Hoosiers on the boards. That is going to a very tall order since the Hoosiers have a major height advantage over LIU at nearly position expect point guard. The Blackbirds are going to need to make a ton of threes and a ton of foul shots if they want any chance to be in this game in the second half. Fouls and turnovers are going to have to be at a minimum and even that might not be enough in this one. LIU should learn from this game, enjoy the experience of playing in Bloomington and get guys playing time together for the long season ahead.
KenPom Score Projection: 90-69, Indiana (Win Probability: 4%)
Next up for the Blackbirds:
LIU Brooklyn will be off for the next ten days before they play three games in three days first starting against UC-Irvine Anteaters of the Big West Conference on Friday, November 22 at 10:00 pm.