Jacksonville-Indiana Preview

The Associated Press

Indiana is looking forward to getting back on the court after a week off.

Fortunately for the Hoosiers, they have one final tune-up before opening Big Ten play.

Looking to continue its domination in Bloomington, No. 5 Indiana concludes its non-conference schedule Friday night against Jacksonville.

While the Hoosiers (11-1) have jumped right into league play following their Christmas break in each of the previous two seasons, they'll have a chance to get their legs under them this time around before visiting Iowa on Monday.

"The closer you get to conference play, the veteran guys know what is coming," associate head coach Steve McClain said. "For the younger guys, I think it's good to have a non-conference game, especially after a break."

Indiana hasn't played since blowing out Florida Atlantic 88-52 last Friday. Preseason All-American Cody Zeller had a season-high 24 points while Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo combined for 33.

"Our guys were locked in. They had a great week, they've had a great year," coach Tom Crean said. "Our team is full throttle right now and they're only going to get better."

Crean's team leads the country with 89.1 points per game, and its 52.1 field-goal percentage is second to only North Carolina State's mark of 53.4. The Hoosiers have also held opponents to 36.1 percent from the field to rank 15th in the nation.

"I think we're playing better defense, we're playing better in transition, I think our defense is the reason we do so well on offense," Oladipo said. "We have a lot of weapons. ... But when we play defense and we score off turnovers, we play at a high level, we score easy baskets."

Indiana has outscored non-conference foes by an average of 30.7 points during a 29-game home winning streak. Though that run doesn't appear to be in danger with Jacksonville (5-7) coming to town, the Hoosiers aren't taking the Dolphins lightly.

"They are a team that knows you have to play at a high level and I expect them to be ready when they come in our building," McClain said. "They like to play inside-outside, create matchup problems. I think their freshman (Jarvis Haywood) is really having an outstanding year. He leads them in scoring."

Haywood, averaging 11.2 points, matched season highs with 16 points and nine rebounds Saturday in a 65-53 victory over Furman. The Dolphins, who had dropped their previous two games, outrebounded the Paladins 43-32 and limited them to 33.9 percent shooting.

"Our energy level was much better," coach Cliff Warren told the school's official website. "It was good to see them come out with some more energy."

Jacksonville was outscored by an average of 38.5 points in losing both its games against ranked teams last season.

Indiana won 69-59 in the only previous matchup Dec. 27, 1977.

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