INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana begins the first of three Hoosier Classic games on Sunday against the Miami of Ohio Redhawks.
Coach Mike Woodson and the No. 12 Hoosiers are coming off a crucial win at Xavier on Friday night – Indiana’s first non-conference road win since 2011 against NC State – behind 30 points from Trayce Jackson-Davis and a 23-point effort from Xavier Johnson.
Indiana withstood a 9-3 run from Xavier in the final two minutes to secure its first résumé-boosting victory of the season.
“I think it’s just how we’re different from the past,” Jackson-Davis said. “A lot of other teams that I’ve been a part of, we would have folded in situations and games like that. That’s just the narrative that we’re trying to change, that we finish games kind of the way we did last year, so that’s what we’ve really been focusing on.”
*** 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 Indiana Hoosiers vs. Miami of Ohio Redhawks
Who: No. 12Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) vs. Miami of Ohio Redhawks (1-3)
What: Hoosier Classic
When: 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 20
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
TV: Big Ten Network
Announcers: Matt Schumacker (play-by-play), Stephen Bardo (analyst)
Radio Announcers: Don Fischer (play-by-play), Errek Suhr (color), John Herrick (pregame, halftime, postgame)
Point spread: Will update when available
AP poll: Indiana is No. 12 in the AP poll, the highest ranking of any Big Ten team.
KenPom rankings: Indiana is ranked No. 8 overall in the KenPom rankings following Friday’s win at Xavier. The Hoosiers are No. 9 in adjusted defensive efficiency and No. 13 in adjusted offensive efficiency. Miami of Ohio is ranked No. 287 overall, No. 321 in adjusted defensive efficiency and the No. 235 in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Season projections: As of Saturday afternoon, 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-3000 to win the National Championship.
Leading scorers: Indiana returns a trio of double-digit scorers from the 2021-22 season, led by Trayce Jackson-Davis with 18.3, Xavier Johnson with 12.1 and Race Thompson with 11.1. Jackson-Davis is coming off a dominant performance against Xavier, scoring 30 points on 13-for-16 shooting with six rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Johnson had an impressive night of his own, making 7-of-8 shots and 2-of-2 3-pointers for 23 points and seven rebounds and two assists. Miami of Ohio is led by 5-foot-8, fifth-year guard Mekhi Lairy at 19.3 points per game, followed by 6-foot-8 Cleveland State transfer Anderson Mirambeaux with 14.2, Wofford transfer guard Morgan Safford with 12 and Julian Lewis and Billy Smith at 10 points apiece.
Notable games: After blowout wins over Morehead State and Bethune-Cookman, Indiana proved its No. 12 ranking with an 81-79 win at Xavier, who was picked to finished second in the preseason Big East coaches poll. Miami of Ohio claimed its only win of the season on Nov. 12 against Goshen College, an NAIA school. The Redhawks won this game 87-44 behind 17 points and 10 rebounds from Julian Lewis.
Last season’s records: Indiana went 21-14 overall, 9-11 in Big Ten play, 14-4 at home, 3-8 on the road and 4-1 at neutral sides 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. Miami of Ohio went 14-18 overall, 8-12 in Mid-American Conference play, 9-8 at home, 5-9 on the road and 0-1 at neutral sites last year.
Series history: Indiana leads the all-time series 21-3, but the teams have not played since Dec. 10, 1994. Indiana defeated Miami of Ohio 92-77 at Assembly Hall thanks to 32 points, nine rebounds and seven assists from Alan Henderson. Brian Evans and Andrae Patterson added 16 points each, and Steven Hart scored 14. This is the first matchup between Indiana and Miami of Ohio that has not been played in Bloomington, Ind. or Oxford, Ohio since March 15, 1958 when Indiana won 98-91 in the Mideast Region third place game of the 1958 NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky.
Meet the coaches
Travis Steele, Miami of Ohio: Travis Steele is in his first year at Miami of Ohio after spending the previous four years as head coach at Xavier. Steele, a native of Danville, Ind., was an assistant coach at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis from 2001-04 while completing his undergraduate degree at Butler. He began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ohio State for one season before becoming an assistant coach at Wabash Valley, a community college in Mount Carmel, Ill. Steele was a video coordinator at Indiana University during the 2006-07 season under coach Kelvin Sampson, and he was promoted to assistant coach under interim coach Dan Dakich when Sampson resigned due to recruiting violations. Steele was an assistant coach and associate head coach at Xavier from 2009-18 before becoming head coach.
Mike Woodson, Indiana: 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 things to watch in Indiana vs. Miami of Ohio
1. Injured Redhawks leaning on Mekhi Lairy
Miami of Ohio coach Travis Steele said in a phone interview with HoosiersNow.com that his team will be without Morgan Safford (12 ppg) and Eli Yofan (6.3 ppg), as well as Kamari Williams, Javin Etzler and Curtis Harrison IV, who have not played this season.
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Steele expected a rebuilding year in his first season as coach, and he’s relying on Mekhi Lairy to carry the load, offensively. In his fifth year at Miami, Lairy, an Evansville, Ind. native, is listed at 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds. He scored 34 points in Miami’s 77-70 loss at Georgia on Monday and averaged 13.6 points last year.
“[Lairy] quick on quick, and he can really shoot the ball,” Steele said. “He can score and he’s the one guard that we have right now that has any college basketball experience, which is unbelievable, but it is what it is right now. We’re going to put the ball in his hands a lot. We’re going to ask him to do a lot, whether that’s play make for others, score the ball. He’s the definite focal point for us on the offensive end of the ball.”
2. Bench production
Indiana will take 30 points from Trayce Jackson-Davis and 23 from Xavier Johnson every night if it had the choice. The two veterans put the Hoosiers on their backs in Friday’s road win at Xavier, and Indiana will undoubtedly lean on this duo for big wins throughout the season. But it’s unrealistic to expect over 65 percent of a team’s total points to come from two players night in and night out.
Miller Kopp drilled a crucial 3-pointer late in the second half against Xavier, but he was just 2 for 8 from the field and 1 for 4 from 3. Race Thompson grabbed eight rebounds and played strong defense despite a 2-for-7 shooting night, and Jalen Hood-Schifino went 1 for 9 from the field. In 39 total minutes, Jordan Geromino, Tamar Bates and Trey Galloway combined for one point.
Against a lower-caliber opponent like Miami of Ohio, look for Indiana’s role players to get more involved on the offensive end.
3. Indiana returns to Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indiana’s 2021-22 season would have ended with a sixth-straight missed NCAA Tournament if it wasn’t for a run in the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
Indiana trailed Michigan by 17 points with 12:54 left in its first game of the conference tournament, but stormed back for 74-69 win behind 24 points from Trayce Jackson-Davis and 17 from Xavier Johnson. The Hoosiers punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament the following day with a 65-63 win over Illinois thanks to 21 points from Jackson-Davis, but this run came to an end when Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon splashed a deep three before the buzzer.
This loss to Iowa snapped Indiana’s eight-game winning streak at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Related stories on Indiana basketball:
GAME STORY: Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 30 points and Indiana held off a late Xavier rally to win 81-79 on Friday night. It was a huge non-conference road win for Indiana, its first since 2011, and it’s the first of many difficult tests away from home in the next month. CLICK HERE
WATCH XAVIER JOHNSON HIT HUGE 3: Xavier went into a 2-3 zone late in the second half, and Indiana point guard Xavier Johnson responded with a key 3-pointer. Watch the highlight here. CLICK HERE
WATCH JACKSON-DAVIS’ BLOCKED SHOT: Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis refused to allow an easy layup from Xavier’s Souley Boum in the first half. Watch the highlight here. CLICK HERE
WATCH JACKSON-DAVIS SCORES FIRST BASKET: Indiana forward Race Thompson connected with Trayce Jackson-Davis down low for the first points of Friday night’s matchup with Xavier. CLICK HERE