BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – After cruising to a pair of exhibition wins over NAIA opponents Marian and Saint Francis, Monday is the real deal for Indiana.
The Hoosiers welcome Morehead State, the preseason favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference, to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the 2022-23 regular season opener. In one of the most highly-anticipated seasons in the last decade, Indiana is tabbed as the Big Ten favorite in coach Mike Woodson’s second year.
Trayce Jackson-Davis returned for his senior year to preseason All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year honors, leading a roster filled with experience and a top-10 freshman class.
“I just think we’ve got a good team,” Woodson said after a 104-59 win over Saint Francis on Thursday. “Everybody is going to have to sacrifice and be willing to buy in to do what we need to do to get where we need to go.”
- *** LIVE BLOG: And once the game starts, follow all the action on our live blog from HoosiersNow.com publisher Tom Brew. To read that story, CLICK HERE.
How to watch Morehead State Eagles vs. Indiana Hoosiers
- Who: Morehead State Eagles (0-0) at Indiana Hoosiers (0-0)
- What: 2022-23 regular season opener
- When: 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 7
- Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
- TV: BTN-Plus. Watching Indiana’s regular season opener against Morehead State on Nov. 7 requires an additional subscription to the Big Ten Network’s BTN-Plus service. This is the final Indiana men’s basketball game aired on BTN-Plus for the 2022-23 season. For access to BTN-Plus, you can purchase a school-specific subscription at $9.95 per month or $79.95 per year, which features all BTN-Plus content for your chosen school across multiple sports. They also offer a basketball-specific subscription for $54.99 per year that grants access to all men’s and women’s basketball games on BTN-Plus. There is no monthly option for the basketball-specific pass. The third option is to purchase the conference pass, which allows you to watch all BTN-Plus content across the entire conference for a variety of sports for $14.95 per month or $119.95 per year. For full information on how to purchase B1G+, CLICK HERE.
- Announcers: Griffin Epstein (play-by-play), Jack Edwards (analyst), Audrey Hausberger (sideline)
- Radio: IU Radio Network
- Radio Announcers: Don Fischer (play-by-play), Errek Suhr (color), John Herrick (pregame, halftime, postgame)
- Point spread: Indiana is a 24.5-point favorite according to the Fanduel.com website. Here is the story, with point spread histories for both teams. CLICK HERE
- AP poll: Indiana is No. 13 in the preseason AP poll, the highest ranking of any Big Ten team.
- KenPom rankings: Indiana is No. 12 overall, with the No. 8 adjusted defensive efficiency and No. 22 adjusted offensive efficiency. Morehead State is No. 223 overall, with the No. 181 adjusted defensive efficiency and No. 248 adjusted offensive efficiency.
- Season projections: As of Sunday, Indiana is the betting favorite to win the Big Ten regular season title at plus-290 odds, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Hoosiers are plus-900 to reach the Final Four and plus-4000 to win the National Championship.
- Leading scorers: Indiana returns a trio of double-digit scorers in 2021-22, led by Trayce Jackson-Davis with 18.3, Xavier Johnson with 12.1 and Race Thompson with 11.1. Morehead State lost its top five scorers and four of its five starters from last year. Redshirt senior guard Jake Wolfe is the lone returning starter at 5.8 points per game. Illinois State transfer Mark Freeman was selected to the preseason All-OVC team and averaged 8.8 points last year.
- Last season’s records: Indiana went 21-14 overall and 9-11 in Big Ten play in 2021-22. The Hoosiers reached the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2016, defeating Wyoming in the First Four and losing to Saint Mary’s in the Round of 64. Morehead State went 23-11 overall and 13-5 in Ohio Valley Conference play. The Eagles lost to Murray State in the OVC Tournament Championship to end the season.
- Series history: Indiana leads the all-time series against Morehead State 5-0.
- Last meeting: En route to a 2015-16 Big Ten regular season title under former coach Tom Crean, Indiana defeated Morehead State 92-59 on Dec. 5, 2015 at Assembly Hall. Troy Williams led the Hoosiers with 16 points, and Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant and Max Bielfeldt each finished with double-digit points. The Hoosiers held the entire Morehead State starting lineup to single digits, and the Eagles shot 31.4 percent from the field.
- Coaches: Preston Spradlin is in his sixth season as head coach at Morehead State, and he became the first coach in program history to record back-to-back 20-win seasons. Winning the program’s first Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship in 10 years, Spradlin led Morehead State to a 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21, where the Eagles lost to West Virginia in the Round of 64. Before Morehead State, Spradlin spent five years on John Calipari’s coaching staff at the University of Kentucky as a graduate assistant and assistant director of operations. Mike Woodson is in his second season at Indiana after leading the Hoosiers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2016. Woodson has NBA head coaching experience with the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-10 and the New York Knicks from 2012-14. Dating back to 1996, Woodson has also been an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers. Woodson played at Indiana University from 1976-80, and was named the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player as a senior under coach Bob Knight. He was the 12th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft, and played for various teams from 1980-91, averaging 14 points over 786 games.
Three storylines to watch
1. Hoosiers return to full strength?
Senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (hand) and sophomore guard Tamar Bates (undisclosed injury) missed the first exhibition game, while sophomore center Logan Duncomb and freshman forward Kaleb Banks were out with illness in the second preseason game.
These absences didn’t stop the Hoosiers from picking up easy wins against Marian and Saint Francis, and it gave coach Mike Woodson a chance to experiment different rotations before the season.
The Hoosiers return more experience than any Big Ten team, headlined by starters Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, Xavier Johnson and Miller Kopp, as well as budding reserves Jordan Geronimo, Tamar Bates, Trey Galloway and Logan Duncomb. Add Big Ten-ready freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau, who shined in the exhibition games, plus four-star freshmen CJ Gunn and Kaleb Banks, and the Hoosiers have their deepest team in years.
2. Making offensive strides
Mike Woodson built a strong defensive foundation at Indiana last season, finishing first among Big Ten teams in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. He believes the Hoosiers can compete in every game if they defend and rebound at a high level, and that will continue to be a major focus in year two.
But in order for Indiana to fulfill its status as the preseason Big Ten favorite, Woodson has to take the Indiana offense to the next level. Indiana’s 70.8 points per game was good for 10th in the Big Ten last year, and KenPom ranked Indiana No. 98 in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2021-22.
The most glaring area of improvement is 3-point shooting after finishing 11th among Big Ten teams at 33.3 percent from 3 last year. In the first two exhibition games, the Hoosiers shot a combined 15-for-38, or 39.4 percent, from 3. Race Thompson and Trey Galloway appear to be improved shooters, Miller Kopp was 3 for 3 and freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino and CJ Gunn showed promise from beyond the arc.
3. Indiana native Alex Gross joins Morehead State
Morehead State star forward Johni Broome transferred to Auburn after winning OVC Freshman of the Year in 2020-21 and averaging 16.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in 2021-22.
The Eagles looked to the transfer portal after losing Broome and added 6-foot-10, 250-pound fifth-year senior Alex Gross. At Olivet Nazarene, an NAIA school in Bourbonnais, Ill., Gross averaged 23.8 points, 14.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.1 blocks per game in 2021-22. Gross was a two-time NAIA All-American, scoring 2,021 points, 1,226 rebounds, 426 assists and 363 blocks across four seasons, including three triple-doubles, 33 double-doubles and three games with at least 40 points.
Gross is from Hope, Ind., a town with 2,099 people roughly 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis. Morehead State only has three players at 6-foot-9 or taller, including Gross, senior LJ Bryan, who averaged 2.9 points last season, and true freshman Reis Jones.
Related stories on Indiana basketball:
- 2022-23 INDIANA BASKETBALL SCHEDULE: The 2022-2023 Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball scheduled is now finalized with game time and TV information for every matchup. Here is the full schedule, plus links to our stories for the game already played. CLICK HERE
- INDIANA DEFEATS SAINT FRANCIS: Indiana looked sharp in its second exhibition game on Thursday night, beating Saint Francis 104-59. Five Hoosiers were in double figures, led by senior star Trayce Jackson-Davis, who had 19 points and nine rebounds. The season starts for real on Monday night when the Hoosiers take on Morehead State. CLICK HERE
- BAILEY FAMILY HOMECOMING: Brayton Bailey, the son of Indiana legend Damon Bailey, started for Saint Francis and was shown lots of love from Hoosier Nation. Here’s the story on their night, with great video, too. CLICK HERE
- FRESHMEN SHINE IN FIRST EXHIBITION: Former high school teammates Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau had dazzling debuts in their first game at Indiana, leading the Hoosiers to a 78-42 exhibition game victory over Marian on Saturday at Assembly Hall. CLICK HERE