Teams: #22 Southern Methodist (1-1) at Indiana (2-0)
Time: 8 pm; Thursday, November 20
Venue: Assembly Hall (17,472); Bloomington, Indiana
TV Information: Big Ten Network
Series History: SMU leads 1-2 (Last Meeting IU won 56-51 in 1977)
Indiana Players to Watch
1. James Blackmon Jr, SG
The freshman from Fort Wayne, Indiana has been as good as advertised through the first two games. Blackmon leads the Hoosiers in scoring with 22 points per game and pulls down 4.5 boards. He is hitting 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts including 75 percent from three-point range. One knock of Blackmon’s game, and it could also be said as a knock on the Hoosiers as a team, is that he commits too many turnovers. He has five already through those first two games to go with only two assists.
2. Yogi Ferrell, PG
One of the few elder statesmen on this Hoosier squad has to be the leader he vowed to be right before the season started. Ferrell is a candidate for the Wooden and Cousy Awards as well as a preseason All-Big Ten player. The junior is averaging 17.5 points per game so far in 2014. The Hoosiers will need him to be more of a distributor than a primary scorer if they want to come up with some big wins. Ferrell is averaging six assists per game, however he is also turning the ball over four times per contest. In his third year it is time for Ferrell to be more responsible with the ball.
3. Hanner Mosquera-Perea, F
Mosquera-Perea is Indiana’s only real threat in the post position and in the rebounding game. Mosquera-Perea has been a liability the last two years for the Hoosiers, but has shown improvement in 2014-15 as he is averaging 10.5 points and pulling down 8.5 rebounds per contest. He also brings some rim protection with six blocks this season. Mosquera-Perea came in playing just 7.5 minutes per game in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but has tripled that number this year now averaging 23.5 minutes per game. Staying out of foul trouble and limiting turnovers are key for Mosquera-Perea to being successful against the size of SMU.
Southern Methodist Players to Watch
1. Ben Moore, F
The sophomore is averaging 16.5 points per game so far in 2014 including an 11 point eight rebound performance at Gonzaga earlier this week. At 6’8” he is a matchup problem for the undersized Hoosiers. Moore has had trouble with fouls early this season. He had four in the win over Lamar and he fouled out in a loss at Gonzaga. Look for the Mustangs to try and establish Moore early and often to try and exploit their size advantage. Moore was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll on November 17th.
2. Yankick Moreira, C
Moreira played for Angola in the FIBA World Cup in 2014 and brings a huge advantage for the Mustangs that the Hoosiers will be hard pressed to match. At 6’11”, he has two inches on IU’s biggest forward. His season has started with night and day performance. He opened the year shooting a perfect 9-9 from the field in a victory against Lamar. In the next game Moreira was ice cold from the field going 1-11 in a loss at Gonzaga. It will be interesting to see which Moreira shows up in Bloomington.
3. Cannen Cunningham, C
The 6’10” senior will be an X-factor off the bench for the Mustangs against the Hoosiers. Indiana has no one to guard him. He is averaging 11 points per game while shooting just 40 percent from the field. Cunningham can make a difference from the free throw line where he is shooting 88.9 percent in 2014.
Indiana Keys to Victory
1. Establish the 3-Point Shot
Shooting threes are what the Hoosiers do best as they shoot a scorching 55.3 percent from beyond the arc. Indiana has five players who are shooting above 42 percent from long range. If Indiana cannot knock down threes in this game they are going to get run out of the gym, but that is the danger of relying on long-range shooters, so it is good that the Hoosiers have great shooters.
2. Keep Hanner Mosquera-Perea on the Floor
The Mustangs bring plenty of size to the table and the Hoosiers are lacking in talented big men. Mosquera-Perea is still a work in progress, but he has improved since last season. The big question is can he play with the talented SMU big men without being a liability in the foul department. If Mosquera-Perea gets in foul trouble and has to go to the bench early things could get ugly for the Hoosiers. However with Emmitt Holt and Troy Williams returning from suspension on Thursday the Hoosiers do have some size off the bench. It will be interesting to see how head coach Tom Crean uses those two players in their first game of the year.
3. Limit the Turnovers
Turnovers plagued the Hoosiers last season and it looks like old habits die hard, as IU is averaging 16 giveaways per game. With a junior point guard in Yogi Ferrell, pressure is on him to provide better ball control. The Hoosiers only have a 1.2/1 assist to turnover ratio in 2014-15, which is underwhelming when you consider this is Ferrell’s third year running the show.
Southern Methodist Keys To Victory
1. Get the Ball Down Low
The Mustangs have one clear advantage over the Hoosiers and that is their size with Moore and Moreira. Feeding the ball into the post with these two players will slow the tempo of the game down and potentially draw fouls against the Hoosiers’ back line defenders. Forcing the Hoosiers to their bench early could be the boost the Mustangs will need if they want to escape Assembly Hall with a win.
2. Hand Down, Man Down
The Mustangs must get their hands up on defense when closing out on the Hoosier sharpshooters, because if there is one thing that Indiana can do it is space the floor with the three-ball. SMU must make it as difficult as possible for IU to launch from behind the arc. SMU does have the length to create all sorts of issues for the Indiana offense. Also, cooling off the Hoosiers three point shooters will quiet Assembly Hall. If the Hoosiers do start knocking down three’s, look out SMU because Assembly Hall will get loud and stay loud.
3. Control The Pace
SMU will want to keep Indiana out of transition. The Hoosiers have trouble running a half court offense and thrive off of running the floor and setting up their shooters. The Mustangs have the tools to grind the game to a halt and play the game at their pace. Having the size they do, the half court offense should be the way to go. If the Hoosiers getting running and gunning they are hard to stop.
Prediction: Southern Methodist 75 Indiana 62
The Hoosiers cannot match the size of the Mustangs, the shooters will cool down and turnovers will once again cost the Hoosiers a win at home against a quality team.
*Section Photo credit to Andy Lyons, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Pat Lovell, USA Today Sports