Indiana will play its third game in six days when it hosts Jackson State on Friday afternoon. The Tigers are 4-0 down and lost 78-68 in Michigan on Wednesday night.
Friday’s game is scheduled for a tip at 12:30pm ET on BTN:
Indiana was challenged by Little Rock at Assembly Hall, but the Hoosiers used a second-half run to beat the Trojans for a fifth straight season-opener win.
The focus now shifts to Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opponents Jackson State, the third and final game of the 2022 Hoosier Classic. The Tigers are 303rd in the KenPom ratings.
Jackson State played an eight-man rotation on Wednesday and Ann Arbor, amassing 0.94 points per drive with the Wolverines. Four players 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 Cal State Northridge before taking over at Alabama State in 2020. He landed the job at Jackson State last offseason. In college, Williams was part of the Alabama team that lost to Indiana as the No. 2 seed in the 2003 NCAA tournament.
MEET THE TIGERS
In four games, Jackson State is led in scoring by 6-foot-5 as a sophomore 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 shoots 35.3 percent on 3s on 17 attempts.
Two other Tigers average double digits: 6-foot-8 senior Trace Young and 6-foot-2 senior gab watson.
Young is from Owensboro, Kentucky and Jackson State is his third school. He began his career in Wyoming and played for Williams at Alabama State last season, where he was the team’s top scorer. Young followed Williams to Jackson State, where he has the highest usage rate on the roster. He averages 14.5 points in 25.5 points per game. Young has already attempted 23 3-pointers in four games and is second on the team in rebounds at 7.3 per game.
Watson recorded a team-high 37 minutes in the Michigan loss. Jackson State is also his third school, having previously played at Southern Miss and Tulane. Watson has attempted a team-high of 29 3-pointers but only managed to connect on 24.1 percent of his attempts.
Hunt Adams, a 5-foot-8 junior, is the point guard. The Chicago native switched from Portland and slipped straight into a regular role for Williams. He averages 5.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game.
Romelle Mansel, a 6-foot-9 junior, is tasked with dealing with IU’s mail players. He played the last three seasons at Long Beach State before moving to Jackson State. Mansel averages 7.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and shoots 50 percent from the field.
The three other Tigers logging minutes in Michigan were 6-foot-3 sophomores Coltie Young6-foot-5 senior Jamarcus Jones and 6-foot-6 sophomore Zeke Cook.
Young has knocked down four 3-pointers in 13 attempts. Jones averages 6.3 points on 75 percent shooting from the field. And Cook has just nine points in four games.
Jackson State is only ranked 327th in adjusted offensive efficiency by KenPom as of Thursday morning. The Tigers are playing at a brisk pace at the 45th fastest pace in the country, similar to Little Rock. Wednesday’s game in Michigan ended with 73 possessions, the second-highest for a Wolverines game this season.
The primary strength for the Tigers is their rebound at both ends. Jackson State ranks 98th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and 56th in defensive rebounding percentage.
As with most smaller conference opponents, Indiana will have a size advantage in almost every position. Adams is just 5-foot-8 and the Hoosier forecourt should have no problem getting clean looks at the rim. Jackson State opponents are shooting 53.4 percent on 2s and the Tigers are just 334th in the country in block percentage.
Health comes first for Indiana. The Hoosiers were without three grantees in Wednesday’s win against Little Rock. Trayce Jackson-Davis is struggling with back pain, Trey Galloway has a knee injury and Anthony Leal is wearing a boot with an ankle injury. With the North Carolina game coming up next week, there’s no reason to take chances on Friday.
The Ken Pom prediction is Indiana at 28 with a 99 percent chance of winning for the Hoosiers. The Sagarin ratings like Indiana by 26 points.
Indiana didn’t play a full game Wednesday and Jackson State should step in with some confidence after playing with Michigan in Ann Arbor. Still, this is a game the Hoosiers should easily win, and a win could mean a jump into the top 10 in the Associated Press poll for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Filed by: Jackson State Tigers