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Previewing MSU at Indiana

Andy Lyons
Your Michigan State Spartans vs. the Indiana Hoosiers
Assembly Hall - Bloomington, Ind.
Jan. 4, 2014, 2 p.m.

Online streaming:
RadioSpartan Sports Network
Opponent podcast:

As seems to be the case every year, MSU opens Big Ten play with two road games. They took care of business at Penn State after a slow start, and now they travel to Indiana to face the Hoosiers and former MSU assistant Tom Crean.

The Hoosiers come into this one at 10-4 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten, losing at Illinois in overtime. It's a team dealing with youth problems on offense, but it remains a very good defensive team. The Hoosiers have yet to beat anyone notable, posting an 0-4 record against KenPom top-100 teams and seven wins against 200+ teams, plus Oakland at 172 (whom MSU struggled against).

Indiana is No. 108 in adjO, shooting 52.2 percent on 2s (No. 63) and 32.9 percent on 3s (No. 201), but only 28 percent of shots come from behind the arc (No. 281). The Hoosiers turn the ball over at a very high rate (22.1 percent) and get 11.4 percent of shots blocked (No. 263). Partly because they shoot so many 2s, they're No. 10 nationally in FT rate (54.7 percent), and they make 72.7 percent of free throws.

This team has played very fast, No. 13 in adjusted tempo. This one's going to be a track meet.

Sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell leads the way with 17.7 points and 4.1 assists per game, with a usage rate of 24.7. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh averages 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds. He's No. 73 in OR% and No. 11 in DR%. He draws 7.9 fouls per 40 minutes, and it will be interesting to see if/how he matches up with Adreian Payne. Will Sheehey is now a starter, averaging 10.7 points and 4.1 rebounds.

The Hoosiers are No. 25 nationally in adjD, holding opponents to shoot 43.7 percent on 2s (No. 53) and just 26.8 percent on 3s (No. 7). They're average in forcing turnovers, but No. 62 in blocking shots.

Indiana is very good on the glass, grabbing 42.7 percent of misses (No. 4), while opponents just 27.2 percent (No. 33), but part of this can be attributed to having the No. 296-ranked schedule. Still, MSU has fixed its rebounding problems, and that will need to continue in this one.

KenPom predicts a 75-73 MSU win, giving the Spartans a 58 percent chance.