Connect with us


Scouting Notes: Harvard



Indiana basketball faces Harvard on Sunday

The Indiana basketball program hits the court on Sunday afternoon for a notable non-conference matchup with the Harvard Crimson at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Harvard is led by head coach Tommy Amaker in his 17th year with the program. The Crimson are battle tested early this season with four of their first six games being true road contests. Harvard comes into this matchup rated 167th in offensive efficiency (104.5) and have a defensive efficiency rating of 113th (101.1). Overall, the Crimson are rated 131st in the KenPom ratings and have risen from 227th since the season started.

Here is a deep dive into some of the challenges Harvard could give the Indiana basketball program.

Key Players

What Harvard does starts and ends with freshman guard Malik Mack. Mack is a highly effective and efficient scorer and playmaker. Mack is terrific with the ball in his hands and can create off of the bounce by himself or off of high ball screens. While Mack isn’t necessarily super quick, he’s extremely shifty and has great footwork. He always has the ball in his hands and is extremely creative getting his shot off. He’s not overly big or long, so his creativity is extremely important. He has a terrific shooting ability and is shooting 45.5 percent on 2.5 made 3s per game this season. Mack brings in a 38.3 percent assist rate, ranked 25th in the country. He has 33 assists to just 11 turnovers in 194 minutes. Indiana needs to do what it can to get into the body of Mack and force contact and match his aggressiveness.

In the front court is a terrific player in Chisom Okpara. Okpara is a hybrid forward who is equally impactful on the perimeter as he is in the paint. He’s shooting 37.5 percent from three on 3.2 attempts per game — mainly all off of the catch. While he’s not someone who is always going to be able to create his own shot off of the dribble, he’s a very good slasher attacking the rim. He has a great frame and good strength to finish through contact. If Mack isn’t controlling the offense, it’s running through Okpara.

Louis Lesmond is a terrific backcourt mate alongside Mack. He has tremendous size at 6-foot-6 and additional length. Lesmond is best known as a shooter this season and he’s extremely effective off of the catch or dribble. Despite struggling the first two seasons, he’s shooting 40.5 percent on 2.8 made 3s a game. 78.6 percent of his career shot attempts are 3s, with 67 percent of his made field goals coming off of 3s. Indiana needs to make Lesmond a driver and run him off of the three-point line. He’s still effective in long 2s, but he’s always going to look for 3s before anything else.

Chandler Pigge is another long wing for Harvard. He’s the most versatile player on the roster on both ends of the floor and plays with a very high motor. Pigge is someone who is typically going to play inside the three-point line. While he’s hit at least one three in all but one game this season, he’s only shooting 31.3 percent from the perimeter. Because of his frame and athleticism, he likes to play at the rim. He’s a strong rebounder on both ends of the floor and has some nice playmaking ability as well. Defensively, he can guard numerous positions and his quick hands and footwork make him able to be effective on the perimeter against quicker opponents.

Justice Ajogbor is a physical presence in the front court who has tremendous size and strength at 6-foot-10 and 255 pounds. Ajogbor is a terrific rebounder and rim protector. He’s averaging 3.2 blocks per game and leads the nation in total blocks at 17. He ranks 15th in the nation with a block rating of 11.8 percent. Ajogbor isn’t someone that Harvard runs a lot of its offense through, rather a someone who will clean up a lot on the glass and be utilized in some pick and roll action.

Key Tendencies

Harvard is an average offensive team in terms of pacing and will run when it has the opportunities but likes to play a slower-paced game and utilize a lot of fundamentals sound offensive sets. Its 54.5 effective field goal rate is ranked 55th in the country. A lot of Harvards sets will be coming from Mack or Okpara and that starts with getting down hill and into the paint. From there, it opens on the three-point line. Harvard gets 34.9 percent of its points this year from the perimeter, shooting 41.3 percent from three — 8.7 made 3s per game. Indiana is giving up 42 percent of opposing teams points from three this season, the sixth most in the entire country.

Defensively, Harvard is going to make opponent work for open looks. Its defense ranks top-85 in three-point percentage defense (29 percent), two-point field goal percentage (44.1) and effective field goal rate (43.8). Because of their size on the perimeter and in the paint, the Crimson are tremendous at protecting the rim. They have a 15.8 percent block rate, ranked 14th in the country. They also average 6.7 blocks per game, the sixth most in the nation. Harvard is going to make life hard on the Indiana basketball forwards in the paint and have the size to play Kel’el Ware one-on-one, so Indiana will need to find creative ways to get him open looks.

Projected Starters

G – Malik Mack (Freshman; 6-1, 170)

Stats: 20.2 ppg, 3,8 rpg, 5.5 apg, 45.5% 3pt

G- Louis Lesmond (Junior; 6-6, 190)

Stats: 10.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 40.5% 3pt

G- Chandler Pigge (Sophomroe; 6-5, 210)

Stats: 10.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.3 apg

F- Chisom Okpara (Sophomore; 6-8, 225)

Stats: 16.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 37.5% 3pt

F- Justice Ajogbor (Senior; 6-10, 255)

Stats: 8.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.2 bpg

Key Notes

  • Malik Mack leads all first-year players in scoring
  • Justice Ajogbor leads the nation in total blocks (17) — averaging 3.2 per game
  • Harvard’s rankings in the Ivy League: first in field goal percentage defense (36.7), blocks per game (6.7), 3-point percentage (38.8), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.41), and second in field goal percentage (.475) and 3-point percentage defense (29.4)
  • Indiana has the only win in series history, with a 97-76 victory in 1972

SEE ALSO: 5 things we learned following Indiana basketball’s showing at the Empire Classic

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.

Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.