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Men’s Basketball: Indiana Preview and Gamethread

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NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info:

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI

When: 6:00pm (ET), February 2, 2019

TV/Radio: ESPN/Spartan Sports Network radio

Indiana 12-9 (3-7): #47 (Kenpom)

Depth Chart:

1 - Phinisee (6’1” fr), Green (6’3” jr)
2 - Durham (6’4” so), McRoberts (6’6” so)
3 - Langford (6’6” fr), Anderson (6’7” fr)
4 - Smith (6’7” so)
5 - Morgan (6’8” sr), Fitzner (6’10” sr), Moore (6’10” so)

Scout:

Indiana is not good, and they are not playing well. They don’t have perimeter shooting to speak of (~32% from 3, and #319 in the nation in 3pt attempt rate), Langford has struggled in B1G play because he can’t shoot (and the rest of the team can’t shoot), which lets defenses shade over to him to deny open driving lanes. He’s not dissimilar to Bridges’ freshman season (in fact Miles Bridges is one of the top comps for him on KP), and, like Miles Bridges, he won’t play his best ball until he gets to the NBA (although his lack of 3pt shooting acumen is seriously distressing for his draft-prospects).

They run most of their offense through Morgan and Langford, which makes sense, unfortunately, neither of them are good enough to overcome defenses stacking against them (in part because Indiana can’t shoot from the perimeter... did I mention that already?).

Defensively, IU is solid if unspectacular. They don’t foul a ton, are generally solid on the boards, and don’t let teams shoot great numbers against them.

Key-players:

Langford: 106 Ortg, 81% of mins played, ~28% usg, 28% shots, 52% ft rate (#137 in nation per KP), 56% from 2pt range, 23% from 3pt range. Raw numbers: 17 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg, 2 TOpg

Morgan: 117 Ortg, 75% of mins played, 25% usg, ~27% shots, 5.7% blk rate (#145 in nation per KP), 67% from 2pt range, 36% from 3pt range. Raw numbers: 16 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 apg, 1spg, 1 bpg, 2 TOpg

Game-plan:

Pack the paint, on defense. Don’t give Langford easy lanes to drive and force him into contested jumpers (the farther out the better), and don’t let Morgan get deep post position or face-up without a help defender ready to slide over (he is solid off the bounce along the baseline). Play both guys “straight-up” and be ready to help. Force other guys to beat us with their shooting and passing. Durham and Phinisee are their best 3pt shooters (both ~38%), so force them off the 3pt line and make them drive into traffic (both guys have ~20% TO rate).

Indiana will try to scrap up the game and win with hustle. We need to lock down the boards (they aren’t a great offensive rebounding team, so there are no excuses for giving up any sort of decent percentage of offensive rebounds to them), get out and run, and be patient on offense. Indiana tends to break down in their second and third rotation on help, so keep running our sets and we will generate good shots. If we don’t get early looks in transition or in the secondary break don’t settle for early jump-shots.

Barring anything absurd (including multiple IU guys hitting 3pt shots well above their season averages) this should be straight-forward.

Prediction:

MSU 82 Indiana 65

Make Gamethread go now!!!

GO GREEN!!!