Indiana basketball vs. Florida State: Preview, key storyline, and prediction

Indiana basketball takes on Florida State at 7:15 pm ET on December ninth.

We are six days removed from Indiana’s conclusion to the Maui Invitational tournament in which they convincingly beat Stanford 79-63. The Hoosiers will look to continue that level of play against a talented Florida State team.

Fans may remember when Indiana beat the Seminoles last season 80-64, but this team is much different than its’ predecessor. Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams were both drafted in the lottery and Trent Forrest — who led the team in scoring in last year’s matchup — has graduated.

Nevertheless, Florida State remains a talented team due to Leonard Hamilton’s ability to recruit elite talent. Hamilton brought in top-10 recruit Scottie Barnes, a 6’9″ athletic wing with good passing vision and excellent scoring ability. Thankfully for the Hoosiers, Barnes has some potential that needs to be tapped into before he is a real monster on the court, but he still can hurt them in this game.

Barnes is joined by senior guard M.J. Walker. Walker averaged 10.6 points per game last season but has taken a bigger role this year. He scored 17 points in their only game of the year so far against North Florida.

Balsa Koprivica is another name for Hoosier fans to know headed into this matchup. Koprivica is originally from Serbia but came to the United States to play for Montverde High School and was a top-100 high school prospect. He is a sophomore and only played six minutes against the Hoosiers last year, but he is ready for a much bigger role this time around.

Koprivica is a skilled 7’1″ big man who can space the floor and pass but is on the skinnier side. In those six minutes against IU last season, Koprivica committed two fouls. Even though he is giving up some size, Trayce Jackson-Davis may be able to dominate this matchup physically.

Key Storyline for Indiana

Which team will show up?

We have seen the 2020-2021 Hoosiers play four games so far, with three of them being against real competition (no offense, Tennessee Tech). Three of those four games featured an Indiana team that looked fresh, new, and poised to overcome some of the struggles from the previous three seasons.

The one other game out of those four was maybe the worst game I have watched Indiana ever play on offense. I will not be convinced this team has shaken its old identity until performances like that are far in the rearview mirror.

As much as it seems like a cop-out answer, that is the real question. Will the fun, competitive Hoosiers show up in Tallahassee, or will they look like the NBA stars in Space Jam after the Monstars stole their talent?

Prediction: Indiana 65, Florida State 55