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Courtesy: Brian Blalock/SHSU
Men's basketball faces No. 1 Indiana Thursday
Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Release: 11/14/2012
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Sam Houston takes on the No. 1 men's basketball team in the nation Thursday as they challenge the Indiana Hoosiers at 6 p.m. (Central time) in Bloomington, Ind.

Indiana (2-0) hosts Sam Houston (1-1) in the Bloomington Regional of the Progressive Legends Classic. The game will be televised on the Big 10 network with Eric Collins and Jim Jackson calling the action.

KSAM 101.7 FM will carry the action live on radio and the internet. Jason Barfield will have the call for the game.

Next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bearkats will welcome Southern Mississippi, UC-Irvine and Liberty to Huntsville for a Progressive Legends Classic sub-regional. The tournament will consist of doubleheaders each evening starting at 5 p.m. with the Kats hosting the nightcap each day.

The Hoosiers are 4-0 all-time against Southland Conference opponents with the last meeting coming in November, 2010 when IU beat Northwestern State, 100-66.

For the first time since the 1979-80 preseason and just for the third time in school history (1975-76), the Indiana men's basketball team started the season as the top ranked team in the country. Indiana was also picked by the Big Ten media to win the conference championship.

The Hoosiers return the same starting lineup they finished their season with last year. The group helped lead IU to a 27-9 record as they earned the program's first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2002 and just the second berth in the round of 16 since 1995.

"It's exciting to have the opportunity to play one of the most storied programs in NCAA men's basketball," Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten said. "Right now, we're just working on becoming a better basketball team. It's going to be a great experience playing the Hoosiers."

Indiana was ranked 16th by the Associated Press and 13th in the final USA Today/Coaches poll. Using the formula on how the NCAA ranks a teams' improvement from one year to the next, IU had a 15 1/2-game improvement in the standings from 2010-11, the seventh largest in NCAA history. The Hoosiers also rank 11th with 1,692 wins all-time.

After finishing 140th in the country last season in scoring off the bench (18.9 ppg), the Hoosier depth could challenge for the nation's best after scoring 77 points in the first two games. Sophomore Remy Abell and freshman Jeremy Hollowell are averaging 13.0 points per game, while Will Sheehey  is averaging 9.5.After two games, the Hoosiers have a 14.5 rebound per game edge on its opponents.

Last year at the same time, opponents had outrebounded IU by 1.5 per game. The Hoosiers are averaging 32 free throw attempts per game. Last year, IU led all Big Six Conference teams making 18.2 charity tosses per game.

The Progressive Legends Classic features 12  teams from across the nation with top-ranked Indiana, No. 13 UCLA, Georgetown, and Georgia serving as regional hosts. Regional action takes place from Nov. 11-15 with the four hosts advancing to the Championship Rounds, Nov. 19-20, at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The remainder of the field will participate in Subregionals held in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Huntsville, Texas, Nov. 19-21. Joining the four Regional Round hosts in the Progressive Legends Classic are Duquesne, James Madison, Liberty, North Dakota State, Sam Houston State, Southern Miss, UC Irvine, and Youngstown.

Tickets to the Huntsville sub-regional Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are available on line now at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the SHSU athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium. Ticket office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone is (936) 294-1729.

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