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



Indiana basketball
Previewing Indiana basketball vs Harvard by looking at key storylines, injury reports, how to watch and other updates. (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana basketball returns to the hardwood as they make the quick trip up to Indianapolis to host Harvard at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers coming off going 1-1 at the Empire Classic having lost to No. 5 UConn but ending on a high note with a win over Louisville.

The Crimson enter the contest with a 5-1 record including three wins away from the Lavietes Pavilion in Boston. Harvard owns true road victories over Rice (89-76), UMass (78-75), and Colgate (76-70). Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker is in his 16th season as the Crimson head coach. He holds a record of 283-167 while working the sidelines at Harvard.

Below is the full preview of Indiana basketball vs Harvard in Indianapolis.

Key Storylines

Indiana basketball plays in Indianapolis for the second season in a row

For the second year in a row, Indiana basketball will host a game in Indianapolis at the Pacers arena under the Mike Woodson era. The Hoosiers will host Harvard having hosted Miami (OH) last year in a victorious effort.

“Playing in Indianapolis is always a priority for us, and we are excited for the matchup with a well-coached Harvard squad,” Mike Woodson said previously.

With Mike Woodson being from the Indianapolis area, he has been trying to get ore games up in that area ever since the Crossroads Classic came to an end two seasons ago. It is also a great chance for Hoosiers fans in the area to see a ‘home’ game that can’t make it down to Bloomington.

As long as Mike Woodson is the head coach for the Hoosiers, this trend of playing at least one game in Indianapolis will continue.

Will we see more of the zone defense this season? 

A zone defense led to Indiana basketball winning a game? Yes you heard that correctly.

In the win versus Louisville, Indiana was getting beat terribly on backdoor cuts and straight line drives which eventually led to both Kel’el Ware and Malik Reneau getting into the foul trouble. At around the 10-minute mark in the 2nd half and with Louisville having the lead and momentum, Mike Woodson made a rare adjustment to his defense, which ultimately led to the Hoosiers winning.

“We couldn’t stop their step up pick and rolls,” Woodson said postgame about the change to zone. “Had we continued down that path, (Kel’el) Ware and Malik (Reneau) would’ve fouled out of the ball game. It was the right thing to do and probably caught them off guard since I don’t normally play zone … but we were aggressive enough and rebounded out of it.”

“Coach Woodson don’t like playing zone defense so it was something to adjust to,” Indiana basketball senior guard Xavier Johnson said postgame. “They (Louisville’s guards) were getting downhill a lot and we had to change the game. It opened everything up for us even offensively.”

With the way Indiana had been guarding the perimeter this season thus far, a switch to zone was a little worrisome but it was the right call to make to stop the driving.

The great thing is that is worked in one game, but will Mike Woodson use it more often this season? It may be a good thing to keep in the pocket for the Hoosiers.

An ‘all-bench’ lineup may be a thing in the past for Mike Woodson and Indiana basketball 

When it came to the lineup rotations in the win versus Louisville, Mike Woodson also switched up the way he had been doing things the first 4 games before.

In the previous games, Mike Woodson would often times have an all-second unit on the floor with the starters sitting. Due to the lack of experience the second unit had, it would get a little worrisome too often than not. In the Louisville  game, Woodson elected to have either Xavier Johnson or Trey Galloway on the floor with the second unit guys, which proved to be a great move.

The second unit guys really benefited from having Johnson or Galloway on the floor, someone that could command the offense and defense and lead on the court. Guys like Kaleb Banks, CJ Gunn, Payton Sparks, and Anthony Walker all had their best game of the season thus far because of it.

With how well the rotation looked, you might not see a lineup with all second unit guys anymore. Having at least one experienced guy of Johnson or Galloway on the floor at all times will be very beneficial for the Hoosiers moving forward.

Watch: Former Indiana basketball guard Victor Oladipo speaks with team after Louisville win

Series History

The Hoosiers won the lone matchup between the two programs by a score of 97-76 on Dec. 2, 1972, in Bloomington. Indiana was led by Hall of Famer Steve Downing in the 1972-73 season opener. He finished the game with a 31-point, 12-rebound double-double. Downing would be named Big Ten MVP and lead Indiana to a Final Four appearance that season.

Read: Mike Woodson confident early struggles will pass for Indiana basketball wing Mackenzie Mgbako

Injury Updates


Xavier Johnson: Was listed as ‘questionable’ in both the UConn and Louisville game but did play in both. Johnson was also seen in a boot afterwards. He should be good to go.

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.

Quick Hitters

Who?: Indiana (4-1) vs Harvard (5-1)

When?: Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023 • 4:30 PM ET

Where?: Gainbridge Fieldhouse • Indianapolis, Ind.

TV: BTN (Matt Schumacher, Robbie Hummel)

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

Betting Lines: Indiana basketball is listed at a 7-point favorite per DraftKings Sportsbook

See Also: Indiana Basketball: 5 things we learned following IU’s showing at the Empire Classic

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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.