Indiana basketball looks for first top 25 win of season vs. No. 18 UNC

Head coach Mike Woodson. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike Woodson. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

On Wednesday night, Indiana basketball clashes with the national title runner-ups from a year ago, North Carolina, in a primetime matchup on ESPN.

Indiana basketball has not won a game against a top 25 team when they were also ranked in the top 25 since November 30, 2016, when the Hoosiers took down No. 3 North Carolina in Bloomington, 76-67.

Here are my keys for the Hoosiers to come out of Wednesday night’s clash in Assembly Hall with a top-25 victory over No. 18 North Carolina:

Keys to an Indiana basketball victory

Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson need to control the glass and limit Armando Bacot

All season long, it’s been pretty apparent that the Hoosiers have struggled on the glass, even against teams like Little Rock and Miami (Ohio), where they allowed those opponents to grab 14+ offensive rebounds each.

If Bacot and the Tar Heels control the glass in this game, they will come out with a victory just based on numbers alone. More offensive rebounds, mean more chances to score, and more opportunities to knock down big-time shots. I think North Carolina has enough big-time shot-makers to make the Hoosiers pay if the glass dictates the outcome.

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Miller Kopp and the supporting cast need to do their jobs and knock down shots

Miller Kopp has made a three-pointer in each game this season, with 2+ made threes in four of the six wins for the Hoosiers. Kopp is shooting 52.0 percent from deep and has found his groove this season after struggling most of last season.

Along with Kopp, the supporting cast of Tamar Bates, Malik Reneau, Trey Galloway, Jordan Geronimo, and others need to show their grit and stand tough when facing up against the Tar Heels starters, which will happen in this game.

If Kopp and the supporting cast for Indiana basketball make a big impact on this game, it will be hard for the Hoosiers to drop a home game against a tired Tar Heel group.

Xavier Johnson and Jalen Hood-Schifino need to show up and show out

It’s been a huge give-and-take for the starting guards for the Hoosiers this season. Xavier Johnson is averaging 13.8 points on 60.0 percent shooting, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 turnovers in his last four games. Jalen Hood-Schifino is averaging 8.0 points on 31.0 percent shooting, 3.8 assists, and 2.3 turnovers in his last four games.

If both Xavier and Jalen step up, limit their turnovers, and look to make plays for the rest of the team, it’s going to be a positive step in the right direction, win or lose. Johnson and Hood-Schifino both need to knock down open shots for the Hoosiers to come out with a huge win over the national title runner-up.

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Projected Starters


G – Xavier Johnson
G – Jalen Hood-Schifino
F – Miller Kopp
F – Race Thompson
F – Trayce Jackson-Davis

North Carolina

G – R.J. Davis
G – Caleb Love
F – Leaky Black
F – Pete Nance
F – Armando Bacot

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Stat line predictions for Indiana basketball vs. North Carolina

Trayce Jackson-Davis: 35 MIN | 29 PTS | 13 REB | 9/12 FG | 11/15 FT | 2 BLK

Armando Bacot: 36 MIN | 14 PTS | 9 REB | 5/10 FG | 4/7 FT | 3 BLK

Jalen Hood-Schifino: 33 MIN | 21 PTS | 5 REB | 6 AST | 8/15 FG | 4/7 3PT | 2 TOV

Caleb Love: 40 MIN | 12 PTS | 5 AST | 4/16 FG | 1/7 3PT | 3/3 FT | 4 TOV

Xavier Johnson: 36 MIN | 10 PTS | 7 AST | 4/10 FG | 1/4 3PT | 1/1 FT | 3 STL | 3 TOV

R.J. Davis: 38 MIN | 21 PTS | 4 AST | 8/17 FG | 2/7 3PT | 3/3 FT | 2 STL | 1 TOV

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