Indiana finished the first month of the season with an unblemished record but the level of competition ratchets up considerably in December, beginning Tuesday night at home against Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. While the Hoosiers will be facing their first opponent from a major conference, the 19th-ranked Seminoles are much more battle-tested.
Florida State has rattled off seven wins in a row after an opening loss to Pittsburgh, beating No. 20 Tennessee and highly regarded Purdue last weekend to win the Emerald Coast Classic and move into the latest Top 25. The Seminoles' resume also includes a road win over then-No. 6 Florida. Indiana, which hasn't faced that type of competition, claimed a 64-50 victory at home over South Dakota State on Saturday in one of its most sluggish outings of the season. The Hoosiers are averaging 86.4 points, sixth-best in the country entering Monday, but will find out against a more defensive-oriented team whether their scoring production is legitimate or a product of playing lesser competition.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (7-1): The Seminoles are deep, talented, and have size and length, with seven players 6 feet 8 or taller and two 7-footers in the rotation. Devin Vassell, a 6-foot-7 sophomore guard, averages a team-leading 12.5 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. The player that drives Florida State is senior point guard Trent Forrest, who scored a game-high 17 points in the win over Purdue in the Emerald Coast Classic championship game and is averaging 12.4 points while also pacing the team in assists (four per game) and steals (14).
ABOUT INDIANA (7-0): Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has emerged as a force for the Hoosiers, leading the team in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (9.6) through the first month of the season, but hasn't faced a front line like he'll see against Florida State. On Saturday against South Dakota State, he dominated the action with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. Forward Justin Smith has consistently performed well, averaging 14.3 points and shooting 57.4 percent from the field while leading the team in steals with 14, but guard play will be a concern for Indiana coach Archie Miller against Florida State.
1. Indiana's Rob Phinisee has missed three of the last four games and Miller said after Saturday's game that he's not sure when the point guard will play again.
2. Without Phinisee, Indiana's ball-handling has suffered in the past two games, which was reflected in its 19 turnovers against South Dakota State on Saturday, and that concerns Miller against Florida State's defensive pressure.
3. Florida State is holding opponents to 59.9 points per game and 35.8 percent shooting from the field, and forcing 18.4 turnovers.
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