Kansas vs. Indiana prediction and game preview. The Jayhawks and Hoosiers tip off the college basketball season at the Armed Forces Classic in Hawaii.
Kansas vs. Indiana Game Preview
When: Friday, Nov. 11 – 9 p.m. ET
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Standout freshman Josh Jackson is a potential No. 1 pick in next year’s NBA draft and is getting plenty of attention as the season opens. And that’s just fine with Kansas, which has plenty of talent beyond the five-star prospect. Coach Bill Self is expecting big things from senior Frank Mason III and junior Devonte’ Graham, as well as sophomore Carlton Bragg Jr, whose athleticism rivals Jackson’s.
Similarly, Indiana is relying on returnees as it seeks back-to-back Big Ten titles. The Hoosiers won the conference last year without James Blackmon Jr., who averaged 15.8 points and shot 48 percent from the floor in 13 games before suffering a season-ending injury. He’s back along with sophomore Thomas Bryant, and coach Tom Crean hopes the big man can provide big numbers in the paint to complement Blackmon’s perimeter game.
Kansas Wins If …
… Jackson defers to his teammates. Jackson is going to have his own highlight reel by season’s end, but this isn’t the game to begin creating footage. Self might have to calm him down a bit and tell him not to force things. If he lets Mason and Graham do their thing, the Jayhawks should leave the island with a nice victory in hand.
Also, don’t forget about freshman 7-footer Udoka Azubuike. Self has been known to gradually bring along his young big men and keep them sitting for long lengths of time before they see the court for significant stretches. Azubuike is different, and Kansas will benefit from it in this game.
Indiana Wins If …
… Hoosier fans aren’t left missing Yogi Ferrell. Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk is the man at point guard now after Ferrell graduated following a storied Indiana career. Newkirk wants to run and push the tempo, things he wasn’t doing at Pitt and has found with Crean’s system. He isn’t the scorer Ferrell was, but he has vision and speed that will cause fits for opponents.
If Newkirk keeps the Jayhawks off balance and helps Blackmon and Bryant get going, the Hoosiers could wind up with an unexpected victory.
Matchup To Watch
Graham vs. Blackmon
The Mason-Newkirk matchup is a close second, but Graham and Blackmon could turn into a back-and-forth scoring battle. They’ll be close to each other most of the night, and if one significantly gets the better of the other, that could be the deciding factor.
Spread: Kansas -6
Kansas vs. Indiana Prediction
Viewing the talent on paper, Kansas wins in a landslide. But the Hoosiers are going to make this very tough on the Jayhawks and will get out to an early lead. Kansas will creep back before the end of the half before Mason takes over late.
Kansas vs. Indiana final score prediction: Kansas 82, Indiana 71