Game Preview: Indiana

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

It doesn’t get any easier for Florida State.

Just a few days after playing back-to-back days against Tennessee and Purdue, the ‘Noles will now travel north to take on Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Florida State is one of two teams in college basketball, along with Michigan, with three top-40 KenPom wins: Purdue, Tennessee, and Florida.

FSU will have a chance at a 4th top-40 KenPom win in a showdown against 25th ranked Indiana, Tuesday night at 9 pm on ESPN2.

Indiana Breakdown

Indiana enters the game 7-0, but have played nobody. According to KenPom, Indiana has played the 13th easiest schedule in the country so far, with the best team the Hoosiers have played being 84th ranked Louisiana Tech, while also having played four teams ranked between 252nd and 307th.

I encourage everyone that is really invested in this game to check out the rest of the videos from the guy who uploaded the embedded videos below, Tony Adragna, who goes through Indiana games and explains their goods and bads.

For those that don’t want to sit through those videos, I’ll explain in a way most ACC fans can explain.

When watching these clips, the first thing that came to mind was a faster-paced, but not as good defensively Virginia. They run the same pack-line defense (big man heavy hedges, defense dares teams to shoot over top and won’t close out past the 3-point line) and run a lot of similar offensive sets, including mover-blocker motion sets that rely on Indiana’s main scorers to read screens which determines whether they flare or curl off of the screen.

Because Archie Miller is only in his second season as coach, things won’t be perfect for them for a few years. It took Tony Bennett years to get it down perfectly at Virginia, and it also took him getting the right players in to have success.

The main difference between Virginia and Indiana is pace. Indiana is 85th-fastest in adjusted tempo, averaging 71.7 possessions per 40 minutes (UVA is slowest with 58.4, FSU is 98th at 71.3).

A faster pace means more scoring, which explains their 86.4 PPG, placing them 6th in the country. They’re also a really efficient offense, shooting 51.4% from the floor, placing them 7th nationally. Indiana is also getting to the free-throw line a ton, averaging 29 attempts per game. Almost 1/4th of all their points scored have come from the free-throw line.

When it comes to 3-point shooting, they’re just above average at 34.7% from distance. Inside the arc is where they do their most damage, shooting 58.2%, an incredible percentage and one that will really be challenged by Florida State.

When they get beat defensively, a lot of times it’s coming from players closing out too hard and the ball-handler is able to squeeze by them. Florida State will be looking to attack them more vertically with the bigs rolling hard to the rim looking for lobs.

The balance throughout the roster is incredible, with four players scoring in double figures, and two more above 8.0 PPG. Indiana is also playing ten players over ten minutes per game, so they have the depth to match FSU’s.

Leading them is Trayce Jackson-Davis, averaging 15.6 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 2.3 BPG, shooting 66.1% from the floor (sheeeesh) and 76.1% from the FT line. He’s pulling in 3.1 rebounds on the offensive glass per game, so keeping him off the glass is going to have to be a priority.

Justin Smith is next in the scoring list, scoring 14.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 2.0 SPG on a 57.4/36.4/66.7 shooting split. Smith isn’t taking a ton of 3s but has shown to be a threat from outside. He’s also pulling down almost 3 offensive rebounds per game, so again, boxing out is going to be really important this game.

Aljami Durham is up next, putting up 13.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.9 APG on a 56.9/42.3/90.5 shooting split. He’s shooting 68.8% inside the arc, which is just as impressive as the rest of his numbers. Durham is 2nd on the team in 3pt attempts and percentage, so be wary of him when he’s coming around screens.

Devonte Green is the last player in double figures with 12.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 2.5 TPG on a 48.6/45.0/60.0 shooting split. About 55% of his attempts are from behind the arc, so be more worried about his shooting than his driving. The fact he’s averaging almost double the turnovers to his assists tells me he panics when he has to put the ball on the floor.

Watch out for Damezi Anderson to come in and also put up a ton of shots from deep, as 62.5% of his attempts are from downtown, and he’s making them at a 40.0% rate.

Rob Phinsee and Joey Brunk are the other two scorers above 8.0 PPG. Phinsee can attack from anywhere, while Brunk is a big man and does all of his work on the glass.

Florida State Breakdown

The ‘Noles have won games with defense this year, holding opponents to just 59.9 PPG, 35.8% from the floor, 27.7% from deep, and forcing 18.4 turnovers per game. Indiana has yet to play anything near what they’ll see defensively out of Florida State. The best defensive team Indiana has played was Louisiana Tech, ranked 94th in defense according to KenPom, and the teams they’ve played average out to 251st.

Florida State, on the other hand, is coming in battle-tested having already four power conference teams. They keep games ugly and pull away late. That’s going to be the theme this season, and I don’t expect that to change soon.

Devin Vassell is just beating Trent Forrest for the team’s scoring title (12.5 to 12.4), but while Vassell is the more consistent threat, Forrest is scoring more when it’s necessary for him to score.

As you would expect from Florida State, the depth is crazy. Nine players are averaging more than 10 minutes played (ten players if you include Natahanael Jack, but he’s only appeared in 4 games), and 2 more are sitting at 9.8 and 9.9 minutes per game.

Injury Report

Florida State

MJ Walker played with a big brace on his left knee this past weekend, but it didn’t seem to hinder his play.


Rob Phinisee is likely not playing. He has missed the last two games.

Projected Starting Lineups

Florida State

G: Trent Forrest

G: MJ Walker

G: Devin Vassell

F: Malik Osborne

C: Dominik Olejniczak


G: Armaan Franklin

G: Aljami Durham

F: Justin Smith

F: Trayce Jackson-Davis

F: Joey Brunk

3 Keys to the Game


Florida State is going to have to limit the offensive rebounds for Indiana. They’re currently averaging 12 offensive rebounds per game, and FSU is going to have to keep that below 10 to give them their best chance at winning. We saw against Purdue how susceptible FSU can be to offensive rebounds and how it can almost cost a game. Indiana has yet to play anyone that can match them up physically, though. Still, everybody will have to box out and fight for rebounds in this game.

Win the Free Throw Battle

Indiana has dominated opponents from the free-throw line, and that’s going to have to change for Florida State to emerge victorious. When the ‘Noles are getting and making a lot of free throws, they become incredibly tough to beat. Indiana has yet to play a game where they’ve really been limited in getting to the free-throw line; they have 4 games with more than 30 attempts and just 2 under 20 (17 and 18 attempts). If they aren’t constantly getting to the line, I think they might start to panic and throw up bad shots.

Make it Ugly

Florida State has found an impressive ability to make games ugly to win them. Whether it be forcing a lot of turnovers or contesting every shot, FSU finds ways to make games ugly. They’re going to have to get in Indiana’s head and start forcing bad shots and turnovers. I like FSU more in a low scoring, tightly contested affair than I do a high-scoring shootout.


Indiana has yet to be tested, let alone play away from home this season. This is their first true test. How will they respond to a team that challenges every pass, is always playing tough 1-on-1 defense, can match the length and height at every position, and fights for every loose ball?

I don’t think they’ll fold, but I do think Florida State will come out on top. It’s going to be in the high 60s or low 70s more than likely, and I don’t see a blowout happening, but I do really like FSU’s chances in this game.

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