4 storylines for Indiana’s NIT game vs. St. Francis

1. Romeo Langford’s status
Indiana’s star freshman tweaked his back during the first eight minutes of Thursday’s Big Ten Tournament game vs. Ohio State, suffering a minor injury that at one point forced him to return to IU’s locker room. IU coach Archie Miller said Monday that Langford has undergone significant treatment during the past three days to treat the soreness, and is “day-to-day” as Indiana prepares to host St. Francis. “We’ll see,” Miller said, “but Romeo isn’t shutting anything down. I mean, Romeo has been basically practicing every single day all season long to this point. I think he’s hopeful he can get back onto the floor. If he can’t go or is not able to practice, we’ll take it day-by-day.”

2. Defensively challenged
St. Francis isn’t offering much resistance on the defensive end this season. Coach Rob Krimmel’s club ranks 330th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and eighth in the 10-team Northeast Conference, per KenPom.com. Opponents are shooting 54.6 percent inside the arc against the Red Flash, while making 35 percent of their 3-point attempts. St. Francis has allowed the opposition to score more than a point per possession in 62 percent of its games this season. Buffalo, UCLA, North Carolina and Virginia Tech combined to shoot 60 percent on 2-point shots and 34 percent on 3-pointers against St. Francis earlier this season. In the Northeast Conference Tournament championship last week, Fairleigh Dickinson shot 67 percent inside the arc and 53 percent along the perimeter in its 85-76 win over the Red Flash.

3. Veteran backcourt
Senior Jamaal King and junior Keith Braxton have given the Red Flash an experienced backcourt presence all season. King and Braxton are the only two players in program history to rank in the top 10 in career scoring and career assists. King is eighth in St. Francis history with 1,498 points and fifth with 381 assists. Braxton ranks ninth in scoring with 1,495 points, eighth in assists (329) and sixth in rebounds with 903 career boards. King and Braxton combined for 35 points at North Carolina on Nov. 19.

4. Making the most of it
St. Francis was the top team in the Northeast Conference during the regular season, and advanced as far as the league’s tournament championship game. Now the Red Flash will strive to play deeper into March. This week marks the program’s first NIT appearance since 1958, a drought that ended with the help of an eight-game winning streak during the middle of conference play. St. Francis posted the league’s most efficient offense, per KenPom.com, turning the ball over on only 17.1 percent of its possessions inside conference play, while shooting 37.9 percent from beyond the arc against Northeast Conference opponents.

10 comments

  1. Another key?St Francis made 3 of 14 free throws in their championship game which they lost by 9 thats terrible this game probably wont be close but im just saying

  2. St. Francis…? Sounds inspiring. Could get ugly due to lack of caring. Might consider watching this one like Arlene Francis…from ‘What’s My Line?’ Green will probably play like …’What’s My Stat Line?”

  3. I know this is a most disappointing outcome to the season, but I’m looking at the NIT as an opportunity. There are a couple of useful things which can happen in what hopefully will be a run to NY. First, with the wider nba lanes, it should help loosen up defenses a little bit allowing Juwan and Romeo room in the paint assuming both play.

    Secondly and most importantly, as it has been mentioned, this is an opportunity to work on next year’s team. The biggest beneficiary of this needs to be Race Thompson. This is an opportunity to get him significant game experience with the rest of what will be next year’s team team. Race was expected to be a major contributor to this year’s team but his injury significantly altered his impact on IU’s season.

  4. Saw a report that Arkansas’ big guy Daniel Gafford has decided to go pro and won’t be playing in the NIT for them. Whether or not Romeo plays could be telling as to his intentions.

    1. Coach Miller stated yesterday the team will play the game to win. Juwan will be play. Romeo tweaked his back early in the Buckeye game. He is considered day to day. AM did say other players earning playing time will see action. Many could see minutes if the game/score dictates. Think I’ll go down for a game or 2. Should be a good time to watch those young HOOSIERS compete.

  5. There could be some question about Romeo’s motive. If Romeo hurt his back early in last game why was he allowed back,, pardon my pun.

  6. He hurt his back. They didn’t need him.

    I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be 19 and have every frickin’ action in your life overanalyzed.

    Why would anyone want to be famous? F@#k that.

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