Three things to watch out for: Indiana at Xavier – Inside the Hall

We’ll have our traditional preview of what to expect later in the week, but here are three things to keep in mind as Indiana heads to Xavier on Friday:

The health of Colby Jones

The Musketeers were without Jones in Tuesday’s win against Fairfield and his status is in the stars for Friday’s matchup. According to Sean Miller, Jones was injured in practice on Monday.

The preseason first-team All-Big East pick has a sprained ankle while sitting on the bench in a hiking boot at the Cintas Center on Tuesday.

In two games, the 6-foot-5 Jones averages 13.5 points, seven assists and four rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent from the field.

“The good news is that the X-rays were negative,” Miller said Tuesday night. “And he has made progress from yesterday to today. I know Colby hopes he can play. We are all like that. We certainly won’t endanger him. It will be his decision and it will also ensure he can play. I think we’ll know more when we get to the previous day.

“I think the situation is … he would have to be able to show us that he can go through a shootaround, he can go through a drill, the swelling, the mobility, all the things you’re looking for have to be there be. And if it does, then we’ll play it. Of course we would like to have him.”

Freemantle/Nunge vs. Jackson-Davis/Thompson/Reneau

Friday night brings together two diverse and talented frontcourts on the national stage.

Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and Malik Reneau are one of the Big Ten’s best frontcourt units. But Xavier’s Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge are a formidable duo capable of causing matchup trouble.

Freemantle hit a triple-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in Tuesday’s 78-65 win over Fairfield. The 6-foot-9 senior has made 49 3-pointers in his career and can pull defenders away from the basket.

Nunge, who is in his second season with Xavier after joining from Iowa, scored 23 points on Tuesday despite missing six free throws. At 7ft, Nunge is a perimeter threat. In Tuesday’s win, he made all three attempts from distance and also had three blocks.

Indiana’s Bigs need to have a lot of awareness defensively Friday, especially on the rim when they keep an eye on Freemantle and Nunge.

How will Indiana fare along the way?

If Indiana is to live up to expectations this season, it needs to win more outside of Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers went 3-8 in real road games last season, with their only wins coming against teams ranked 83rd or lower in the KenPom rankings.

Friday’s game is Indiana’s first shot at a win that will remain in the NCAA tournament recap.

“I tell our players the path is different,” Mike Woodson said on his radio show on Monday. “You have to have a mentality on the street that you can’t turn the ball around, you get good shots and you really have to defend and bounce the ball.”

While Xavier sits 39th in the KenPom ratings as of Wednesday morning, the computer numbers are predicting a close game. Pomeroy only likes Indiana by three and the Sagarin ratings favor the Musketeers by four.

Filed by: Gavitt Tipoff Games, Xavier Musketeers

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