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HomeSportIndiana vs. Arizona: What to watch for in early-season showdown

Indiana vs. Arizona: What to watch for in early-season showdown

Two of the nice manufacturers in college basketball. A pair of top-15 groups. Las Vegas. Gus Johnson and Invoice Raftery on the decision.

What extra might you ask for in a regular-season school hoops showdown? 

That’s the stage for a much-anticipated matchup between No. 10 Arizona and No. 14 Indiana, which is able to happen at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday inside MGM Grand Backyard Enviornment. It’s a big-time sport for the debut of FOX Primetime Hoops, a brand new package deal of extremely anticipated Saturday night time matchups featured on FOX.

The Hoosiers had been projected to complete first within the Big Ten preseason ballot and have lived as much as hype throughout the first month of the season. Mike Woodson’s staff is off to a strong 8-1 begin with victories over North Carolina and Xavier. A matchup in opposition to a top-10 Arizona staff offers Indiana an opportunity to indicate the nation they’re the category of the Huge Ten.

In the meantime, Tommy Lloyd’s Arizona staff is off to a powerful begin as effectively, incomes wins over Cincinnati, San Diego State and Creighton to convey residence the Maui Invitational championship. The Wildcats suffered a loss of their convention opener final week to Utah, which was a stunning end result. Will they reply, or did the Utes expose one thing out of the Cats that Indiana can expose on this sport? 

Listed here are three issues to look at on this matchup. 

Elite frontcourt play 

In case you like massive males battling within the paint, this matchup is for you. 

Arizona’s duo of 6-foot-11 Ąžuolas Tubelis and 7-footer Oumar Ballo are averaging a mixed 39.2 factors and 17.6 rebounds per sport. Lloyd performs them collectively, and that mixture has been troublesome for opposing groups to defend. 

In the meantime, Indiana has an All-American candidate in Trayce Jackson-Davis (17.5 factors, 8.9 rebounds per sport) and fifth-year senior Race Thompson (6.7 factors, 5.0 rebounds per sport). Jackson-Davis got here again to Indiana after deciding between a return to highschool and the NBA Draft, and the explanation for his return is a sport like this, and a possibility to win a nationwide title.  Will probably be fascinating to see what the Wildcats’ defensive sport plan is for TJD, who mixed for 51 factors and 16 rebounds in wins over Xavier and North Carolina.

Can Arizona’s backcourt deal with the ball in opposition to a tricky Indiana protection?

This was the important thing query for the Wildcats final 12 months, and it’s nonetheless one to look at this season. 

Kerr Kriisa is the chief of this backcourt, however he has a brand new forged of playmakers round him with Bennedict Mathurin and Dalen Terry each being chosen within the first spherical of the NBA Draft final June. Kriisa, a 6-foot-3 junior guard from Estonia, has gotten off to an awesome begin to the marketing campaign, averaging 7.8 assists to simply 2.5 turnovers per sport.

The Wildcats hit the switch portal this offseason, including Texas guard Courtney Ramey, who has scored in double-figures in all 5 video games he’s performed on this season. Pelle Larsson, a 6-foot-5 junior from Sweden and the reigning Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Yr, has been tasked with taking up an elevated function this 12 months for the Wildcats. Within the staff’s lone loss this season to Utah, the trio obtained shut down, combining to go 5-for-27 from the sphere. 

Arizona’s means to deal with the ball and restrict turnovers will get examined on Saturday night time as Indiana fifth-year senior Xavier Johnson will look to make issues troublesome for the Wildcats’ backcourt. Since taking up the top teaching job at Indiana in 2021, Mike Woodson has made protection a facial level for this program. The Hoosiers at the moment rank eleventh within the nation in KenPom adjusted defensive effectivity.

What’s the standing of Jalen Hood-Schifino

The five-star freshman has missed Indiana’s final two video games with a decrease again harm, and Woodson has mentioned the 6-foot-6 guard is day-to-day. The perfect efficiency of his younger profession got here final week within the win over North Carolina when he had 14 factors and 6 rebounds, making a pair of triples within the course of. He’s averaged over 28 minutes per sport in seven contests, showcasing his athleticism and skill to make performs for others.

With out Hood-Schifino on Wednesday night time in opposition to Nebraska, junior guard Trey Galloway obtained the beginning and went off for 20 factors, hitting 4 triples within the course of. Tamar Bates, a key reserve off the bench, hit 5 triples and put up 19 factors within the win.

If Hood-Schifino is again, that’s a welcome sight for the Hoosiers. Regardless, the flexibility of Galloway and Bates to knock down threes is large for an IU staff that may undergo chilly spells from past the arc.

Learn extra:

Prime tales from FOX Sports activities:

John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in a wide range of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Area of 68 Media Community. Comply with him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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