Connect with us


Indiana Basketball Game Preview: Auburn – key storylines, injury report, how to watch



Indiana basketball
Previewing Indiana basketball vs Auburn by looking at key storylines, injury reports, how to watch and other updates. (Photo Credit: Indiana Athletics)

Indiana Basketball continues its 124th with a Saturday afternoon contest against Auburn as part of the Holiday Hoopsgiving. Hoosiers are coming off a big road win at Michigan on Tuesday to improve to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

Auburn (5-2) has bookended a five-game winning streak with a season-opening loss against No. 20 Baylor (88-82) and a true road loss against Appalachian State (69-64) their last time out. unior center Johni Broome leads the Tigers in points per game (18.3), rebounds (9.1), and blocked shots (1.3). Freshman guard Aden Holloway is the only other Auburn player in double figures at 10.6 points per outing. He has hit a team-high 15 3-pointers.

Tip off is scheduled for 2:00 PM ET on ESPN2.

Below is the full preview of Indiana basketball vs Auburn in Atlanta.

Key Storylines

Mike Woodson makes his return to Atlanta, as well as others

As most are aware, Atlanta, Georgia holds a big spot in the heart of Indiana basketball coach Mike Woodson, who got his head coaching career started there when he coached the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010. During that time, he coached the Hawks to 206 career wins which is the fourth-best in Hawks franchise history. The Hawks increased their win total in each of Woodson’s six seasons in Atlanta.

“It means a lot,” Woodson told reporters on Thursday.” “That’s where my head coaching career began, and I still have a home there, a lot of friends, people that supported me when I first started my journey as a head coach in Atlanta.”

Besides Mike Woodson, there are more ties to Atlanta on the Indiana program with assistant coach Yasir Rosmond and players Kaleb Banks and Jakai Newton also being from the Atlanta, Georgia area. It will be a homecoming for important parts of this Indiana basketball program.

“It was important that I take a game back there because I think for a lot of the people that supported me that were in my corner, they are still there, and that means a lot to me,” Woodson continued.

“I figure bringing a game back would be something special for the people that have supported me all these years.”

The bench is starting to bring that production

Although it has been a rocky start for the second unit of the Indiana basketball team, they are starting to click at the right time.

Coming into this season, the bench was expected to be a huge part of the rotation this year. On paper, Mike Woodson had recruited players that could start on lot of others teams around the country. After a good showing in the exhibition games, the second unit hit a rough slump over the next 4-5 games due to youth, injuries, and adjusting to the style Mike Woodson wanted.

These past few games, however, things have really started to click for the second unit. In the last game, the bench unit of CJ Gunn, Kaleb Banks, Anthony Walker, and Payton Sparks combined to score 28 of Indiana’s 78 total points off the bench, and every bench player scored at least six points on the road.

While Gabe Cupps has been moved into the starting role while Xavier Johnson misses time due to an injury, the bench really started to benefit when Mike Woodson got away from running an ‘all-bench’ lineup in crucial parts of the game. With a starter or two in alongside the bench players, the Hoosiers have figured out a lot from the second unit.

Before we get started back up in Big Ten play, look for the potential of this bench unit to be a strong piece for the Hoosiers.

Hoosiers searching for that first signature win of the season 

While Indiana sits a really good record of 7-1 including 2 Big Ten wins and 3 road/neutral site wins….the Hoosiers are still looking for that ‘signature’ win to get the NCAA Tournament committee to open up their eyes a little bit.

Going into this afternoon, the Hoosier have a major opportunity to do so playing a very good, athletic Auburn Tigers team. The Tigers currently sit at a 5-2 record having beaten teams such as Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. They themselves are looking for a signature win so this will be no easy task for the Hoosiers today.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Mike Woodson said. “They do a lot of good things. But any team in college basketball is beatable.”

“We’ve just got to stick to our game plan, put a good game plan together, and see where we go.”

Big opportunity here for Indiana basketball to get a quality resume win while extending to 3-0 during this crucial 4-game stretch.

Read: What We’ve Learned: Indiana basketball opens Big Ten play with two tough wins

Series History

Indiana and Auburn have met just once on the hardwood. The Hoosiers emerged with a 107-90 victory over the Tigers in the second round of the 1987 NCAA Tournament. IU would go win the ‘87 title, the fifth in program history. The starting lineup for Indiana, led by Steve Alford (31 points) and Daryl Thomas (27), scored 105 of the team’s 107 points. Keith Smart nearly recorded a triple-double with 20 points, 15 assists, and nine rebounds. Rick Calloway produced an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double for the Hoosiers.

Indiana basketball holds a record of 68-50 against teams from the SEC.

Watch: Mike Woodson previews Indiana basketball matchup with Auburn

Injury Updates


Xavier Johnson: Xavier Johnson missed the last two games vs Maryland and Michigan due to a foot injury. His status is questionable heading into this game. Mike Woodson provided an update on Johnson earlier this week.

“I don’t know yet. Right now he’s rehabbing, and hopefully he’ll be back here in the near future. That’s all I can give you right now.”

Jakai Newton: Newton had a lower body surgical procedure done this past offseason to help fix a previous injury he sustained during high school. He is still recovering and is not expected to play awhile at this point.

Watch: Kaleb Banks previews Indiana basketball matchup with Auburn

Quick Hitters

Who?: Indiana (7-1) vs Auburn (5-2)

When?: Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023 • 2 PM ET

Where?: State Farm Center (16,888) • Atlanta, Ga.

TV: ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien, Jimmy Dykes)

Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, John Herrick)

Betting Lines: Indiana basketball is listed as a 6-point underdog, per DraftKings

See Also: ‘Indiana has the best front line in the Big Ten’: Indiana basketball set to face off with Auburn in résumé-building non-conference matchup

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated, part of the Full Ride Network, on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

Kyler Staley is a Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Kyler has been in the basketball recruiting industry since 2019 and is a credentialed media member. He has covered Indiana since 2021 while continuing to also work for Prep Hoops Indiana. He has previously worked for Rivals.