Hoosiers preparing for a tough test at Seton Hall

Archie Miller’s colleagues in the Big East tell him the same thing.

To hang with No. 22 Seton Hall, toughness is required.

Right now, that’s a problem for Miller’s Hoosiers. For a team the first-year Indiana coach has already declared soft, Wednesday’s Gavitt Games matchup could be one of IU’s most challenging matchups of the season.

“This is going to be a game, so to speak, for the men,” Miller said. “There’s no boys sort of allowed when you’re playing against Seton Hall.”

So the Hoosiers head East attempting to punch above their weight. Last weekend’s two-game homestand to open the regular season shed light on Indiana’s numerous flaws — communication, resolve, veteran production and defensive connectivity.

Now, the Hoosiers are attempting to address those shortcomings against one of the nation’s most physical teams.

“When you play really good teams, the first thing that stands out the is the collectiveness that they have,” Miller said. “Right now (for IU), it’s individuals searching for how this is going to work. First couple games, what is it going to look like? Until we get a group that’s committed and really understands sort of how we’re going to have to do it together, we’re going to have some ups and downs.

“I think this is a huge test for us going in on Wednesday night to play against a terrific team. They’re experienced, veteran-led. This is going to be one of those come-together type of opportunities for us.”

Adding to the challenge of the evening is Indiana’s injury report.

Miller is unsure if junior forward Juwan Morgan will be able to play after suffering a sprained ankle early in Sunday’s win against Howard. Later in that same game, sophomore guard Devonte Green suffered a thigh bruise that makes him questionable to play at Seton Hall.

Morgan’s and Green’s ailments are in addition to the groin injury suffered late last week by senior forward Collin Hartman, who could miss at least two weeks while he recovers.

Without Morgan and Hartman, IU’s frontcourt is short on bigger bodies. That’s a problem against Seton Hall’s size, power and experience.

The Pirates, led by senior center Angel Delgado, return 90 percent of their scoring and rebounding from last year’s 21-win team.

Delgado is a double-double machine, who led the nation with 13.1 rebounds per contest a year ago. He’s the nation’s active career leader in rebounds (1,074) and double-doubles (52), and is already averaging 13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest.

“It’s an awareness thing going in,” Miller said. “The attention to detail on weak side block outs, our guards getting in there and helping out, keeping your body on him early, when the shot goes up staying attached. There’s going to be a lot of little details.

“Make no mistake, he’s doing that pretty much against everybody, but rebounding was a big emphasis coming out of this weekend. We didn’t do a good job on the glass. Blocking out is going to be one of the most important things happening on Wednesday night.”

While the paint will be a focus on Wednesday, Miller also wants to start seeing development from IU’s perimeter defense.

Indiana State and Howard combined to make 30 3-pointers last weekend against IU, which ranks No. 336 in Division I with a 3-point percentage defense of 50 percent.

After reviewing the film from those two games, Miller determined 10 to 15 of those open 3-pointers were preventable.

“Getting beat off the dribble in penetration really hurts,” Miller said. “Right now being able to guard the ball, keep things in front of us has been challenging. So penetration has broken us down. I also think we played some terrific shooters.

“… But I think just doing our job, proper technique, communication, we can be better. I think that will help us.”

Beyond Delgado, Seton Hall presents matchup issues in the backcourt and on the wings.

Desi Rodriguez, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound wing, is the Pirates’ most versatile player. Last season, he averaged 5.1 rebounds and made a 3-pointer in each of Seton Hall’s 18 conference games.

At guard, Myles Powell is Seton Hall’s top perimeter threat and Khadeen Carrington is a senior slasher who has scored 20 or more points on 18 occasions in his career.

“We’re going to have to be scrappy, have all hands on deck,” Miller said. “Carrington is physical guard. Powell, physical. You’re playing probably one of the toughest teams toughness-wise. This is a tough team.”

5 comments

  1. I want to just say thank you to the three UCLA players….”You wrecked the
    sorghum!” “You wrecked the sorghum!”

    Things in college basketball less “criminal” than a failing grade or skipping classes:
    a. shoplifting while traveling with your team
    b. dorm room parties with hookers
    c. creating fraudulent transcripts (a.k.a. “ghost classes” never attended)

  2. Do we honestly think Trump got Alford’s players off the hook….?
    BREAKING NEWS: “The General” negotiates release of Alford troops…Agrees to skype coach China’s 2020 Olympic basketball team.

    In other news…..How much celebrity status has the Ball family attained at UCLA? Currently being reported that a rather “highly” regarded center who once played for John Wooden has decided to change his name. He will now be known as…..Will Ballton.

  3. More Breaking NEWS!
    LiAngelo Ball and two teammates receive punishments….Each to have 3 steals added to their season stat totals.

    LiAngelo giving serious consideration to transferring amidst negative publicity storm…..Frontrunner.

  4. Does Miller even do any research….? The biggest storyline for tonight’s game is the ‘Exhibit G’ evidence supporting Crean’s failure to recruit the state of Indiana.
    Is it just me…or does this Hoosier look a lot older than twenty?

    1. From my takeaways follow up on the Howard game that ran in Tuesday’s paper:

      What’s next?
      at Seton Hall, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
      The first road test of the season is a difficult one for Indiana, which faces and up and coming Pirates team which has been bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament each of the past two years. This Seton Hall team has bigger goals, almost literally, thanks to 6-foot-10 forward/center Angel Delgado, who returned after testing the NBA waters last spring. Senior guard Khadeen Carrington also tested the water and returned. The Pirates also have a familiar face in sophomore guard Eron Gordon, the younger brother of former Hoosiers Eric and Evan.

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