Preview: Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) vs. Fort Wayne Mastodons (2-2)

Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) vs. Fort Wayne Mastodons (2-2)
November 22, 2016 @ 9 PM
Big Ten Network

Indiana has become one of the top teams to beat thus far into the year, even though it is just three games into the season. With the big statement win against Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic and two blowout wins to follow, the Hoosiers are firing on all cylinders and haven’t even had their toughest matchup yet. The Mastodons are not a household name in the basketball world but look to make their mark on IU’s season by ending the win streak early. One thing that will help Fort Wayne’s chances is their ability to score which we will get to in a minute. Here is a look at the things to watch for in this game.
Match-Up to Watch
Both of these teams can flat out score no matter who they play, so the key matchup in this game are the two guards James Blackmon Jr. and Mo Evans. James Blackmon leads the Hoosiers in points per game (23.0), total points (69), and 3-point field goal percentage (51.8%). On the other end of the floor the Mastodon’s guard, Mo Evans, is averaging 23.3 points per game while also leading his team in three-point efficiency at 57.1%. Expect both of these guards to try and outperform one another, especially in the off chance that it is a tight game down the stretch.
X-Factor for IU: Turnovers & Defense
While IU has a fun up tempo offense to watch, they shoot themselves in the foot many times with turnovers leading to points and empty possessions. Specifically, the Hoosiers are averaging 20 turnovers a game. The second thing that is keeping this extremely talented team from setting themselves apart from the rest of college basketball is their defense. At times, they look very sloppy and lack communication leading to easy buckets that should not have been. A major question is will the Hoosiers be able to bait the Mastodons, specifically Mo Evans, away from the three-point line and into the paint where Thomas Bryant would be glad to meet them.
X-Factor for IPFW: Scoring & Guard Play
As mentioned earlier, IPFW is able to score at ease and has already put up triple digits this season. Along with scoring 117 points they have managed to score 97 and 94 and both of the other games they have won. If IPFW can share the ball and find their open shots amongst the Indiana defense then this will be a very interesting and high scoring game. Guard play will be a key role in how close IPFW can keep this game because along with Mo Evans the Mastodons also possess Purdue transfer Bryson Scott who can just as easily score the ball even though he is not a shoot first type of player. The two guards’ performances will determine whether or not the Hoosiers will get out of Fort Wayne unblemished.
Key Stat & Wrap Up
THREE POINT SHOOTING! Is this a shocker? No. Both of these teams will live or die by the three-point line if they have to. Almost everyone on the Hoosiers is capable of knocking down a long range shot when we least, or most, expect it while the Mastodons have 3 players who are above 40% on the year from behind the line. With all of this being said it is still rather easy to see the Hoosiers having a fairly easy time being able to shut down the Mastodons, who just cannot compete with the athleticism, physicality, and depth that these Hoosiers bring to the table. Final score: Hoosiers 92, Mastodons 76

Jacob Lautenschlager
Indiana University | 2020

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