Indiana will play its third game in six days when it hosts Jackson State on Friday afternoon. The Tigers are 0-4 and lost 78-68 at Michigan on Wednesday night.
Friday’s game is scheduled for 12:30 pm ET on BTN.:
Indiana was challenged by Little Rock at Assembly Hall, but the Hoosiers used a run in the second half to recapture the Trojans for a fifth straight win to start the season.
The focus is now shifting to rival Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in Jackson State, the third and final game of the 2022 Hoosier Classic. The Tigers are ranked 303rd by KenPom.
Jackson State played an eight-man rotation on Wednesday and Ann Arbor and scored 0.94 for a ride on the Wolverines. Four players have lost 30 or more minutes.
The Tigers are coached by Mo Williams, who played in the NBA from 2003 to 2017. Williams began his coaching career as an assistant at California State Northridge before taking up a post at Alabama State in 2020. He landed a job at Jackson State last offseason. In college, Williams was part of the Alabama team that lost to Indiana in the 2003 NCAA tournament as runners-up.
In four games, Jackson State leads the 6-foot-5 sophomore in scoring. Ken Evans Jr.. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Evans averages 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. He throws 35.3% in 3 seconds out of 17 attempts.
The other two Tigers average double digits: 6ft 8in, eldest Trace Young and senior 6’2″ Gabe Watson.
Young of Owensboro, Kentucky and Jackson State is his third school. He started his career in Wyoming and played for the Williams in Alabama last season, where he was the team’s leading scorer. Young followed Williams to Jackson State, where he has the highest usage rate on the list. He is averaging 14.5 points on 25.5 points per game. Young has already made 23 three-pointers in four games and is second on the team in rebounding at 7.3 per game.
Watson posted a team-record 37 minutes in the Michigan loss. Jackson State is also his third high school, having previously played Southern Miss and Tulane. Watson made 29 three-pointers but only made 24.1% of his attempts.
Chase Adams, a 5’8″ junior, is the point guard. The Chicago native moved from Portland and immediately became Williams’ starting role. He averages 5.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game.
Romel Mansel, a 6’9″ junior, will be tasked with dealing with IU’s post players. He played the previous three seasons at Long Beach State before moving to Jackson State. Mansel is averaging 7.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and shooting 50% from the field.
The other three Tigers who scored fewer minutes in Michigan were 6-foot-3 sophomores. Colty Young6 ft 5 in senior Jamarcus Jones and a 6 foot sophomore Zeke Cook.
Young hit four three-pointers in 13 tries. Jones is averaging 6.3 points on 75 percent shooting from the field. And Cook scored just nine points in four games.
THOUGHTS ABOUT MATCHAP
Jackson State is ranked just 327th in adjusted offensive efficiency by KenPom as of Thursday morning. The Tigers play at a fast pace with the 45th fastest pace in the country, similar to Little Rock. Wednesday’s game in Michigan ended with 73 possessions, second most for a Wolverine game this season.
The main strength of the Tigers is their rebounds from both sides. Jackson State ranks 98th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and 56th in defensive rebounding percentage.
As with most smaller conference rivals, Indiana will have a size advantage in almost every position. Adams is only 5ft 8in and Hoosier’s frontcourt should have no problem with a clean ring look. Contenders from Jackson State are shooting 53.4% of the 2s, and the Tigers are only 334th in the nation in block percentage.
WHAT DOES IT DO
Health is paramount for Indiana. The Hoosiers are down three scholarship holders for Wednesday’s win over Little Rock. Trace Jackson-Davies has a back pain, Trey Galloway has a knee injury and Anthony Leal has an ankle injury. With the North Carolina game next week, there’s no reason to take a risk on Friday.
Ken Pom’s prediction is Indiana at 28 with a 99 percent chance of the Hoosiers winning. Sagarin’s rating is equal to Indiana by 26 points.
Indiana didn’t play all the way on Wednesday and Jackson State should come in with some confidence after playing Michigan in Ann Arbor. Still, it’s a game the Hoosiers should win confidently, and a victory could mean jumping into the top 10 of the AP poll for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Filed Under: Jackson State Tigers