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



Indiana basketball
Sophomore bigs Malik Reneau and Kel'el Ware have been bright spots for Indiana basketball thus far. (Syndication: The Herald-Times)

Indiana basketball returns to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the third straight game as the Hoosiers host the Wright State Raiders. The Hoosiers are coming off one of their more uglier games under the Mike Woodson era, however, were able to squeak out a 72-64 win over Army last Sunday.

The Raiders enter the contest with an 0-2 record after dropping games against Colorado State (105-77) and Toledo (78-77) to open the season. Wright State is coached by three-time Horizon Coach of the Year Scott Nagy. Under his leadership the Raiders have won at least 20 games in five of his seven seasons. Prior to Wright State, he spent 21 seasons with South Dakota State.

Below is the full preview of Indiana game vs Wright State.

Key Storylines

Mackenzie Mgbako, CJ Gunn, and Kaleb Banks: Need more out of them on both ends 

For this trio, it has not been an easy first couple of games to say the least. When often times given opportunities on the floor, they are not showing enough to Mike Woodson in order to play important minutes down the stretch.

It was no secret coming into this season that Indiana needed those guys to step up and play important roles for them. While Mgbako is only freshman, both Gunn and Banks came in knowing exactly what Mike Woodson wanted out of the two sophomores.

The offensive struggles are one thing for the trio, pretty much everyone on Indiana is struggling offensively, but the defensive end is where they have gotten lost. While you would think on-paper that one of those three would have been closing out games at times, Mike Woodson has been asserting freshman guard Gabe Cupps to close out the games due to what he brings on the floor.

“I want to see more from Mackenzie, more from Kaleb, more from CJ,” Mike Woodson said postgame after Army win. “I want to see more when they’re in the game. If I don’t feel like they’re giving it to me, I’ve got to go somewhere else and get it.”

Long-term, Indiana is going to need more from these three underclassman. It is a work in progress right now, but you have to trust Mike Woodson to get more out of them.

If these three can start to produce, it will greatly improve the Hoosiers to a whole new level.

Need a better start from the starting unit

One part of the many struggles that Indiana basketball has faced in two games this season is the slow, underwhelming starts on both ends of the floor.

Sticking with the offense only here, when Indiana is forced to run a half court offense, that is when disaster strikes. Mike Woodson has made it clear that he wants to get out and run however unfortunately, the Indiana defense has not live up enough in order to get that type of offense thus the Hoosiers have been forced to go half court most of the time.

Turnovers, broken plays, forced contested shots, stalling, and other disastrous things is what you are seeing out of the offense and unfortunately that mainly comes from the starting unit. Indiana has not be able to get any kind of hot start in the first of either game played this season.

“…That whole unit has stunk the last two games in the first half,” said Mike Woodson. “When you put a starting five out on the floor, you expect them to get you off to a great start, and we haven’t done that the last two games. I have to figure that out.”

If the starting units can figure out ways to move the ball quicker up and down the floor while also figuring out some type of half court offense that works then Indiana will be in good shape. As the schedule gets harder and harder, the Hoosiers have to figure out a way to gain and maintain a hot start.

One more chance to fine-tune before the Empire Classic and reigning national champion UConn 

Speaking of the schedule getting harder, the Hoosiers have one more game to fine-tune things before they get their first real test with UConn coming up on Sunday.

Let’s be honest here however, Indiana struggles are not going to be all fixed in one single game. It is going to take time. This game vs Wright State is a good starting point in order to fix things.

You’d like to see Indiana get right on the defensive end, first. If the offense is still a work-in-progress, then the defense needs to be sole focus on fixing right away. UConn is the most dangerous offensive team that Indiana has faced up to this point. If Indiana struggles to bring the defensive pressure like they have vs FGCU and Army, UConn will blow them away extremely quick.

Indiana comes into this game with a four-day gap since the last time they played. Vs Wright State tonight, Indiana has to show some type of improvement and willingness to get better all-around. If Indiana shows the same struggles than they have the first two game, it will be all but clear that Indiana will not be ready for UConn.

Related: Indiana Basketball: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from the Hoosiers win against Army

Series History

The Hoosiers hold a 2-0 series edge over the Raiders with the last meeting coming in a 67-44 result on Nov. 14, 2010, in Bloomington. Verdell Jones III led the Indiana attack with 27 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Christian Watford added a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.

The two sides also met in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament. The top-seeded Hoosiers won 97-54 behind 29 points and eight rebounds from current Director of Player Development Calbert Cheaney in just 21 minutes. IU would advance to the Elite 8 that season.

Scouting Notes: Wright State

Injury Updates


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.

More: Lifeless effort from Indiana basketball on Sunday shows underlying issues just two games into season

Quick Hitters

Who?: Indiana (2-0) vs Wright State (0-2)

When?: Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 • 7 PM ET

Where?: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall

TV: BTN (Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo)

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

Betting Lines: Indiana is favored by 9.5 points.

SEE ALSO: Kel’el Ware an early bright spot in otherwise dismal offensive start for Indiana basketball

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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.