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Indiana Hoosiers will face their first road test against major program in Xavier.
Xavier looks to continue its hot 3-0 start behind senior forward Jack Nunge.
The Hoosiers are three-point road favorites against the Musketeers.
Although the Hoosiers have only played two games, they have impressed me a great deal, winning by 35 against Morehead State and 52 against Bethune-Cookman. All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis is going to be a handful to handle and his elite interior defense should slow down Xavier’s senior big man, Jack Nunge. Nunge has looked great through the Musketeers’ first three games, but TJD is a different kind of beast.
Meanwhile, two of Indiana’s five-star freshmen have provided impressive minutes and production through the Hoosiers’ first two games. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau went to school together and thus already have great chemistry. Reneau’s footwork in the paint and Jalen’s passing look far more advanced than first-year players at the college level.
The most impressive thing about Indiana is its depth; it could play 11 players and not lose a ton of production, outside of TJD and guard Xavier Johnson. Thus, the Hoosiers should find an opportunity to create a gap when both teams are playing their reserves. I like the Hoosiers in this spot; they have the experience and maturity to win important road games.
Indiana Hoosiers -3 (-105) DraftKings Sportsbook
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2-0 (T-1 in Big Ten)
3-0 (T-1 in Big East)
Last Five Games
111.7 (17th of 363)
Adj Off Eff
110.1 (27th of 363)
87.4 (8th of 363)
Adj Def Eff
93.7 (59th of 363)
+24.25 (10th of 363)
Adj Eff Margin
+16.35 (38th of 363)
Leaders (Per Game)
T. Jackson-Davis (18.0)
J. Nunge (18.0)
T. Jackson-Davis (6.5)
Z. Freemantle (7.7)
J. Hood-Schifino (6.0)
Z. Freemantle (5.7)
J. Geronimo (1.5)
S. Boum (1.7)
M. Reneau (1.5)
J. Nunge (2.0)
J. Geronimo (.750)
A. Kunkel (.650)
M. Kopp (.750)
J. Nunge (.625)
18 Nov 2022
Listed as questionable on Thursday, November 17, 2022
Indiana’s biggest weakness last season, outside of guard play and self-creating players, was undoubtedly its three-point shooting. The Hoosiers finished as the 197th-best three-point shooting team in the country, with a 33.3% team clip.
This season has looked much more promising, but it’s too early to get overly excited, especially considering the level of competition and both games being home games. Indiana currently shoots 40% from deep, but I’m expecting that to regress slightly throughout the course of the season. However, if Indiana can shoot as well as it has from behind the arc against Xavier, I like its chances.
On the other side of the ball, Indiana must continue to defend the three-point arc at an elite level. Coming into this game, the Hoosiers rank eighth in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency, an impressive mark for this super senior-heavy squad.
Indiana has also held its opponents to 26.7% from deep, which is good for 74th in the nation. The Hoosiers will need to defend the arc even better than they have as Xavier is an incredibly strong three-point shooting team!
Look no further for Indiana’s key player than All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis. TJD returned to Indiana for his senior year after forgoing the 2022 NBA Draft. For this matchup, Jackson-Davis will be relied on heavily on both ends of the floor; he needs to score 20+ points and help divert attention from other players offensively, and he has to also contain Jack Nunge on defense.
TJD will be up for the challenge, though, as he has anchored this Indiana defense for the past three seasons. He ranks seventh in Hoosier history for total blocks in his career and could possibly wind up in the top three with a great senior season. Nunge will have his work cut out for him in this one.
Xavier has returned its first, third, fourth, and sixth-leading scorers from last season’s 23-13 squad. The Musketeers have started their 2022-23 season with a 3-0 record, but the three wins have not been as convincing as Indiana’s. Still, there’s no denying the fact that they are shooting 45.5% from deep with an eFG% (effective field goal percentage) of 61.5%. The combination of shooting and scoring inside make Xavier quite dangerous.
Xavier is one of the few teams that has a frontcourt that can keep up with Indiana on some level, but only in its starting lineup. The combination of forwards Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle can compete with the likes of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson; however, depth could be an issue. The Hoosiers have five-star freshman Malik Reneau and uber-athletic forward Jordan Geronimo coming off the bench, while Xavier will have to rely on Jerome Hunter, who ironically used to play for Indiana, if its starting frontcourt gets into foul trouble.
Strong guard play and three-point shooting will ensure that Xavier does not need to worry too much about its lack of frontcourt depth. It will start with Nunge in pick-and-pop situations, but Souley Boum, Adam Kunkel, and KyKy Tandy will also contribute in three-point shooting.
Jack Nunge is the best returning player for the Xavier Musketeers and he has put that fact on full display through their first three games of the 2022-23 season. Nunge was the Musketeers’ leading scorer last season and has followed that up with averages of 18 points and 6.3 rebounds in just 25 minutes per game.
If Xavier wants to win, Nunge will have to outplay Trayce Jackson-Davis, a tough task to say the least. Nunge can maximize his impact on the floor by stretching the defense and drawing TJD out from the paint, where his presence is most felt.
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Who: Indiana Hoosiers vs. Xavier Musketeers
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH
When: 6:00 PM EST on Friday, November 18th, 2022
How to Watch: Fox Sports 1, fuboTV
Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
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