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December 21, 2012
Familiar face leads Owls tonight at Assembly Hall
It's a quick turnaround for Indiana tonight as Florida Atlantic of the Sun Belt Conference comes into Assembly Hall this evening for a 7 p.m. ET game on ESPN2. The Owls are headed by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis.
"My last time coaching against Mike was when I was at Marquette and he was at St. John's and I have been a Mike Jarvis fan, and more importantly a friend, for a very long time," said Indiana coach Tom Crean yesterday.
Jarvis is in his fifth season at the school located in Boca Raton. His Owls are 5-6 and coming off a buzzer beating loss at home against cross-rate rival Stetson. Florida Atlantic has played three bigger name opponents, North Carolina, Mississippi State and Dayton, and lost all three by 20 or more points. All three games were on the road. Besides the Tar Heels, the Owls have another common opponent with Indiana, Coppin State, and FAU did manage to win that game on a neutral court, 64-61.
Leading the way for this team is 6-foot-2 shooting guard Greg Gantt. The senior from Gainesville, Florida is one of the better scorers in the country, averaging 21.5 points per game. Indiana will have to look to limit his outside looks as he launches up 7.5 three-pointers each game and knocks them down at a respectable 42.7 percent rate.
"Gantt can really score the ball," said Crean. "They move the ball well and they run a ton of screening actions. They utilize them really well, whether they are curling or clearing out to look for a drive or using the 3-point line. Any Mike Jarvis team is going to be a well-coached, disciplined team."
The other scorer on this team is a bit of a surprise this season. Stefan Moody, a 5-foot-10 freshman, has come off the bench in all but two games and despite playing just over 25 minutes has averaged 15.0 points per game for the Owls.
On the interior Jarvis has some size in Baylor transfer Dragan Sekelja. The Croatian native goes 7-foot-0 and 255 pounds, so he should be able to bang well with Indiana's Cody Zeller. But Sekelja is not a big scorer (4.5 ppg) and 6-foot-6 forward Jordan McCoy is actually FAU's leading rebounder (6.4 rpg).
The Owls are a much better defensive team than the Mount St. Mary's team that was blitzed by Indiana on Wednesday. Florida Atlantic is giving up just 40.2 percent shooting to opponents this season. The biggest defensive weakness appears to be an inability to force a lot of turnovers. FAU manages to do that at just a 19.7 percent rage, ranking No. 247 nationally.
Jarvis's team won't take the air out of the ball.
"We have to have good transition defense, they like to get out and run and shoot 3-pointers," said senior IU guard Jordan Hulls. "They have really good players who can score the ball so we have to focus on that and we can't have any miscommunication on defense. That is going to be the biggest thing for us."
Dave Pasch and Len Elmore will have the call for the ESPN2.
For more on Florida Atlantic, check out the Hoosier Game Day page.
Expected starters and key reserves with current year's stats: