It is year three for Archie Miller at Indiana and the expectations continue to rise in his attempt to get Indiana back to its past glory. The first two seasons were middling disappointments, and while Hoosier fans will probably be okay with another missed tournament this season, there needs to be some tangible growth this season.
Last year on paper seemed like a return to the NCAA Tournament was on tap. But injuries, luck, poor chemistry, and questions around roster fit derailed a 12-2 start. This season the Hoosiers must figure out a way to replace their two best players, Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford, but do get some talent back from injuries and a clean slate to outperform expectations.
Let’s take a look at what Indiana will face this season.
Holiday Season Tournament
The Hoosiers do not have a holiday season tournament this season but will head to Madison Square Garden to play UConn in the Jimmy V Classic.
The Huskies are under former Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley. Hurley is in his second season at Connecticut. Like Indiana, UConn is right on the bubble for this season, so it should be a charged atmosphere in The Garden.
KenPom predicts Indiana has a 64 percent chance to take this one. T-Rank puts it at a 51/49 Indiana split. Expect a close and fun one in mid-December.
Indiana is not participating in the Gavitt Games this season and does not have a Big East opponent in non-conference play.
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
The Hoosiers will participate in another edition of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge by welcoming Florida State to Bloomington in a December 3rd matchup.
The Seminoles are coming off a 29-win, Sweet Sixteen season, and have been one of the ACC’s best programs over the last three seasons. This season might be a slight step back, but expect Florida State to be dancing in March.
This is an interesting bellwether game for Indiana. On a neutral site, this is probably a 4-5 point victory for Florida State, but with the Seminoles coming to Indiana it might slightly give the edge to the Hoosiers. If Archie Miller’s team can take care of business against Florida State it will likely be a tier 1 win to call back to all season long.
Like the UConn game, this one is massive and should be a close one.
Sneaky Game To Watch Out For
Louisiana Tech comes to town the week of Thanksgiving on November 25th. The Bulldogs are just outside a top-100 KenPom team and project to have a solid 18-10 type season.
Louisiana Tech returns everyone from last season and the Hoosiers will need to key in on senior DaQuan Bracey. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 15.5 points per game last season and has a nice first step. Check out his junior season highlights below.
Things working in Indiana’s favor include the fact that Louisiana Tech is not a team that will try to push the pace, so Indiana’s meat grinder approach will force Louisiana Tech to play the pace Indiana wants it to play. The Bulldogs are also not a good shooting team. They were 208th in the country last season at just under 34 percent.
Indiana should win this one comfortably, but it’s one it needs to tread carefully on.
- 1/23 - Michigan State
- 1/26 - Maryland
- 1/29 - at Penn State
- 2/1 - at Ohio State
- 2/8 - Purdue
Our fearless leader Thomas Beindit mentioned this stretch in the Indiana season preview, but it’s a massive stretch in the middle of the season. The Hoosiers play all four of the projected top teams in the conference and have a big road game in Happy Valley against a team that also projects to be on the bubble.
Fortunately for the Hoosiers, three out of the five are at home. A 3-2 stretch here would nice because it would mean at least one came against a top-25 opponent.
You can’t understate this enough, these five games could be the defining stretch for the Hoosiers this season.
Best Chance For An Upset
Let’s take Michigan State on January 23rd. The Hoosiers shocked the college basketball world last year with two victories over the Spartans last season. It has to be bulletin board material for Michigan State this season, but that doesn’t mean a trip to Assembly Hall gets any easier.
One part that makes Indiana a tough matchup for Michigan State is that they can match Michigan State’s physicality down low. While Juwan Morgan isn’t around this year, there is still some talent that can try to keep players like Xavier Tillman in check.
Expect an absolute rock fight in this one. Two Hoosier victories over the Spartans last season weren’t enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament last season. One victory over them this season might be enough.
It will be an interesting season for Indiana in 2019-’20. The Hoosiers have a lot of toss-up type games that could either spring them towards an NCAA Tournament berth or leave them still mired in the NIT.
With a roster full of questions after their top two players departed, I am inclined to say they might come up just a little short this season. However, their recruiting has been excellent and with some health, this could be a season where they put some momentum together.