Indiana Hoosiers vs. Kennesaw St. Fighting Owls Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 29th 2023

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At 70.4 possessions per game, Indiana ranks in the top third of Division I schools when it comes to fastest tempos, per kenpom.com.

But the Hoosiers are plodders when compared to their Friday night opponent, Kennesaw State. The defending Atlantic Sun Conference tournament champs average 77.1 possessions, more than anyone in Division I.

And if recent history is any guide, the Owls could give Indiana a tough test, even in Bloomington, Ind. Their different style of play and the Hoosiers’ tendency to occasionally play down to the level of their competition mean this could be a worthwhile watch.

Indiana (9-3) scraped by in four of its nonconference home games, most notably a 69-68 win over Morehead State on Dec. 16. The Hoosiers’ win expectancy was less than 4 percent when they trailed the Eagles by 15 points with less than nine minutes remaining.

“We have to create our own energy, especially coming out of the gate in the game, and this won’t be a problem all year,” forward Anthony Walker said after that escape. “We’ll be the boss of our own energy for the rest of the year.”

The Hoosiers lived up to that promise on Dec. 21, drilling North Alabama 83-66. Indiana led by 25 at one point in the second half. Malik Reneau led the way with a career-high 25 points.

Meanwhile, Kennesaw State (9-4) is coming off a 79-70 defeat on Saturday at UNC Asheville. The Owls fell behind 51-33 at halftime and couldn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.

“We didn’t get off to the start that we needed to in order to win the game, and we spent the second half climbing out of the hole,” coach Antoine Pettway said.

Four players average in double figures for Kennesaw State, led by Simeon Cottle’s 16.3 points per game. Terrell Burden scores 13.5 and Demond Robinson tallies 12.5 ppg and 8.1 rebounds per contest. Quincy Ademokoya adds 11.8 points and hits 38.4 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Indiana has won all three previous matchups, including a 69-55 decision last year in Bloomington.

–Field Level Media

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