Indiana has dropped two of its past three games to Arizona and Rutgers.
Kansas looks to win its third game over a Top 25 team.
Jalen Wilson and Trayce Jackson-Davis, two Wooden Award favorites, go head-to-head.
Hoosier hype has slowed down quite a bit after they dropped two of their past three games to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Arizona Wildcats. Arizona simply overpowered them, while Rutgers won a huge Big Ten home game at the RAC, where they’ve beaten 13 ranked opponents since 2015. While neither loss is necessarily a “bad” loss, it still grounds the Hoosiers and their fans.
Kansas has lived up to the hype through its first ten games of the 2022-23 campaign. The Jayhawks’ only loss came to the now-ranked No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers. Per KenPom, the Volunteers boast the best adjusted defensive efficiency rating in the nation, and it’s not all that close. Tennesse held Kansas to 50 points, which was the Jayhawks’ season low.
Indiana will be fighting an uphill battle against Kansas on Saturday. Since Kansas opened Allen Fieldhouse in 1955, the Jayhawks have won just shy of 90% of their games. That impressive winning percentage should increase even more on Saturday; see why below.
8-2 (T-3 in Big Ten)
9-1 (T-1 in Big 12)
Last Five Games
112.7 (23rd of 363)
Adj Off Eff
114.1 (14th of 363)
91.1 (22nd of 363)
Adj Def Eff
89.4 (10th of 363)
+21.64 (16th of 363)
Adj Eff Margin
+24.62 (8th of 363)
Leaders (Per Game)
T. Jackson-Davis (16.8)
J. Wilson (22.1)
T. Jackson-Davis (8.4)
J. Wilson (9.4)
X. Johnson (5.2)
D. Harris Jr. (6.5)
X. Johnson (1.2)
K. McCullar Jr (2.4)
T. Jackson-Davis (2.0)
K. Adams Jr (0.9)
T. Jackson-Davis (.645)
K. Adams Jr (.685)
M. Kopp (.489)
G. Dick (.466)
16 Dec 2022
Listed as questionable on Saturday, December 17, 2022
16 Dec 2022
Listed as questionable on Saturday, December 17, 2022
16 Dec 2022
Listed as out on Saturday, December 17, 2022
If Indiana wants to go into Allen Fieldhouse and steal a road win against the No. 8 team in the nation, it will have to ramp up its defensive intensity a significant amount and shoot lights-out from behind the arc. In the game against Arizona, the Hoosiers may have been outmatched, but there were also times when the defense didn’t play up to its potential. Indiana’s adjusted defensive efficiency was as high as eighth in the nation a few weeks ago but has dropped to 22nd after a few rough outings.
Additionally, Indiana ranks 25th in opponent eFG% (effective field goal percentage) and 58th in opponent 3P% (three-point percentage.) The Hoosiers have yet to quite reach their potential on the defensive end. They can “shut down” when opposing teams go on big runs. That could pose a problem in one of the nation’s most challenging places to play.
In addition to playing elite defense, the Hoosiers will have to shoot it exceptionally well from behind the arc. Indiana ranks 83rd in the nation in three-point percentage, shooting 36.4% as a team through ten games. Miller Kopp and Tamar Bates are the only genuine shooting threats on Indiana’s team. Xavier Johnson can get hot but is often a streaky shooter. It will take a 40-50% shooting day from deep if Indiana wants to knock off Kansas on the road.
All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis is the key player for the Indiana Hoosiers. He sets the tone on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. “TJD,” as he is often known, leads the Hoosiers in points, rebounds, and blocks per game and is in the running for the Wooden Award.
Trayce has a massive responsibility in this game; he has to guard Jalen Wilson, an elite collegiate forward averaging 22 points and ten rebounds. He also will be heavily relied upon on offense to produce points for himself and create opportunities out of the post for others. If TJD puts together as impressive of a game as he had against Xavier, then IU has an outside shot at winning.
Jalen Wilson has taken a massive step forward in his junior season at Kansas; he waited in line last season behind Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun, who both went in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Wilson is posting close to 22 points and ten rebounds per game for the Jayhawks. If Wilson produces the same output as he usually does and is efficient from the field, Kansas likely wins this game.
The other major factor for Kansas is its interior defense. The Indiana Hoosiers score most of their points inside the arc, ranking 13th in eFG% and 14th in 2P% (two-point percentage.) Meanwhile, Kansas isn’t an incredibly efficient interior defensive team, as it ranks 57th in opponent 2P%. The lack of a true center that towers over, or can overpower defenders has affected the Jayhawks a bit; it makes them more versatile offensively, but could pose problems against teams like Indiana.
As listed in the table above, Kansas boasts a Top 15 offense and Top 10 defense in the nation, per KenPom. That makes Kansas a difficult team to play anywhere, let alone at Allen Fieldhouse. If the Jayhawks play hard, contain Trayce Jackson-Davis, and get a hand up on Miller Kopp on the perimeter, they should come away with a win.
It goes without saying that Jalen Wilson has to play well for the Jayhawks to come away with a victory, but Gradey Dick will be the key player for Kansas. Gradey is a 6-foot-8 freshman forward who can shoot the ball anywhere on the floor; his elite combination of size, length, athleticism, and shooting has him slotted to be a first-round pick in June of 2023.
Gradey is the second-leading scorer for Kansas, averaging 15.4 points per game on a 49/47/77 shooting split. If he shoots the ball well and gives Jalen Wilson a player to pass out to from the post, Kansas will be virtually impossible to defeat, especially at home.
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