In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• Indiana hosts Illinois tonight at SSAH.
• What Illinois does well … and not so well.
• Two things Indiana needs to do to secure a win.
• Archie Miller updated the status of Rob and Zach.
• Happy birthday to one of the smoothest scorers in IU history.
Subscribe for free to The Assembly Call
Welcome to another edition of Banner Morning. Big Ten play resumes tonight at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
In gameday news …
Indiana hosts the scuffling Illinois Fighting Illini this evening. The game tips at 7:00 Eastern and will be televised on FS1. Dave O’Brien and Bill Raftery will be on the call.
As soon as the game ends, join us at assemblycall.com for the postgame show.
Illinois is just 4-9 this season and is currently ranked 113th in KenPom — the lowest rating for any Big Ten team. KenPom gives Indiana an 88% chance of victory, and the Illini have not won in Bloomington since 2010.
In terms of what to watch for …
Offensively, Illinois does little well except for shoot the 3 at a decent clip.
Defensively, Illinois plays a high-pressure system that has them 6th nationally in forcing turnovers. So Indiana will need to protect the basketball.
However, when Illinois doesn’t create turnovers, their defense falls apart. They are in the bottom 250 in the country in putting opposing teams on the line and in defending 2-point field goals, two areas of strength for Indiana. If Indiana can make free throws at a decent clip, it will be difficult for Illinois to keep it close.
In player news …
Archie Miller addressed the media on Wednesday and updated the status of IU’s injured players.
- Jerome Hunter and Race Thompson remain out, with no return timetable.
- Zach McRoberts, who has been dealing with a back issue, is on track to play tonight.
- Rob Phinisee, however, still has not practiced since suffering a concussion. He is unlikely to play tonight or Sunday at Michigan. Archie said, “We’ll plan to move forward without him here for the foreseeable future.”
In Rob’s absence, Devonte Green will continue to assume a heavy workload. Both Illinois and Michigan can make life difficult on opposing ball-handlers, so Devonte’s improved decision-making will need to continue for Indiana to get off to a good start in January.
And we have a birthday today …
Happy birthday to Jay Edwards, who turns 50.
Jay is one of the best shooters and smoothest scorers to ever lace ‘em up in Bloomington. He delivered instant impact at IU — scoring 15.6 per game as a freshman and then 20 per game as a sophomore. In 1989, Jay made a number of huge clutch shots down the stretch to help Indiana secure an unexpected Big Ten title. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year.
For his career, Jay shot 48.1% from 3 and 84.7% from the line. He turned pro after his sophomore season — a decision he has since admitted was a mistake. Had he stayed in Bloomington for his junior season, Big Ten teams would have had to figure out how to stop Jay and Calbert Cheaney, who arrived as a freshman in 1990.
Oh what might have been …
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
We’ll be back on Monday with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in and your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.