The Hoosiers (3-0) come into today’s Legends Classic matchup vs Georgia (1-2) with the #1 ranking and 3 lopsided victory’s in tow. The only apparent ding in the Hoosiers armour which might be exploited is depleted front line depth. Two Freshman bigs (Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin) have been deemed ineligible by the NCAA for the first 9 games of the season, and 6’9 senior Derek Elston continues rehab after knee surgery. Exploiting that weakness may prove easier said than done however, because All-American Cody Zeller has an extremely high basketball IQ and can be expected to be particularly aware of the opposition strategy of putting his keester on the pine during these first 9 games. Even if the big man does find foul trouble, the Hoosiers just might have a go-small lineup as offensively dangerous as Missouri’s of a season ago.
Last year Indiana was vulnerable defensively and particularly so against a sharp 3 point shooting team as IU ranked 193rd in 3 point% defense. This was due in large part to an inability to stop the drive. The addition of Freshmen PG Yogi Ferrell should go a long way towards shoring up this weakness. Regardless, Georgia doesn’t fit the bill of a team capable of capitalizing on this weakness (if it still exists) as the Bulldogs ranked 288th in 3 point% last year and have connected on only 19 of 65 this season for a 29% mark.
Offensively, Georgia’s best player, Kantavious Caldwell-Pope figures to be smothered all night by IU defensive lockdown man Victor Oladipo. If Pope is mostly unable to escape the clutches of one of the nations most relentless defenders, Georgia will be unable to hang around in this contest for very long. Defensively, Georgia is ill equipped to contain a quality post player as they were frequently abused in the paint a year ago. Zeller’s dominant presence will sooner or later open up the floodgates for the array of Offensive weapons at Tom Crean’s disposal. To make matters worse for the Bulldogs, Indiana ranked among the nations elite at getting to the charity stripe a year ago while UGA had a strong penchant for placing the opposition at the line.
Lastly, Indiana is blessed with uncommon depth which makes the likelihood of squandering away a huge lead during mop up minutes very small. I don’t like giving 20.5 to a Big 6 Conference school away from home, but in this case I’ll make an exception.