Indiana looks to finish up a perfect run through the Hoosier Tip-Off Classic when it hosts unbeaten Eastern Michigan in a non-conference contest Friday. The Hoosiers have won two straight coming into the contest while the Eagles have won their first four, including their first two Hoosier Classic games.
Eastern Michigan has been hot offensively early in the season, averaging 85.3 points and shooting 50 percent from the field, with four double-figure scorers led by Elijah Minnie’s 18 points per contest. Junior forward Juwan Morgan has been hot for the Hoosiers lately, shooting 55.9 percent from the field, and is coming off a career-best 28 points in the team’s win over Arkansas State on Wednesday. Morgan and Robert Johnson lead Indiana with identical 12.8 ppg averages, while De’Ron Davis is contributing 11.4 points. What coach Archie Miller would like to see improve is his team’s defense, which is allowing 74.8 points per game, including 45.1 percent shooting from 3-point range.
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT EASTERN MICHIGAN (4-0): The Eagles have been able to take advantage of a long, lengthy front line early this season, with 6-10 forward/center James Thompson averaging 16.3 points and 13 rebounds and the 6-9 Minnie playing next to him. While the duo are the top two scorers for Eastern Michigan, they also help anchor a solid 2-3 zone that has befuddled opponents this season. Coach Rob Murphy picked up the zone after spending seven seasons under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse and it’s become a staple for the Eagles, who are having great success with it again this season, holding opponents to 39.1 percent shooting and forcing 18.5 turnovers per game.
ABOUT INDIANA (3-2): Turnovers are always a big part of the game, and for the Hoosiers, turnovers have been a problem this season, as the team had turned the ball over on 22 percent of its possessions going into Wednesday’s game with Arkansas State. Against the Red Wolves, though, Indiana was able to commit only eight turnovers, and Arkansas State didn’t have any points off turnovers, so the miscues the Hoosiers committed didn’t turn into easy buckets. Miller’s squad has also been opportunistic on the defensive end, forcing a turnover on 22.7 percent of opponents’ possessions, something the Hoosiers will need to keep up as they face even better teams going forward.
1. Indiana has shot over 50 percent from the floor in six of 10 halves this season and finished at exactly 50 percent by making 33-of-66 in the win over Arkansas State.
2. Morgan didn’t just set a career high in scoring against Arkansas State but also tied or established career bests in minutes played, field goals made, offensive rebounds and blocked shots.
3. Indiana senior F Collin Hartman is still considered day-to-day with a groin injury which has kept him sidelined the entire season.
PREDICTION: Indiana 75, Eastern Michigan 73