Between now and when league play resumes we'll be taking a look at how each team fared in non-conference play in our "Non-Conference Wrap Up" series.
Non-Conference Win/Loss: 6-6 (4-6 against Division I)
Current KenPom rank: 182nd nationally (5th in league)
Laudable Trait: Though their trips to the line aren't as frequent as one might like, the IUPUI players are knocking down 77 percent of their free throws at present -- good enough for 12th in the nation. Stephen Thomas leads the way with 49 makes in 52 tries, while Alex Young has connected on 72-of-87 freebie attempts (83 percent).
Lamentable Trait: The team's 44 percent two-point field goal percentage is troubling. The Jaguars' top playmakers off the dribble, Alex Young and Stephen Thomas, are making just 47 percent and 37 percent of their twos, respectively. Moreover, big man Christian Siakam has made only 39-of-81 (48 percent) of his own two-point attempts, which comes as a surprise given that he drained 63 percent of those shots last season.
Best Win: After starting the season out with just one Division I win in eight tries, Coach Todd Howard shifted the starting line-up when he took his team to Louisville. Of note was that Alex Young did not start the game, and he was ineffective off the bench. The team lost that one, but it seemed like some tough lessons were learned, which allowed the players to come out strong at home against Western Kentucky. Young had 43 points in that game, and the Jaguars picked up the first of what has now been four straight wins.
Worst Loss: Eastern Michigan is a member of the MAC with a new coach and all, but the program has been terrible the last few years. And the Jags let them come to Indy and win a game on their home court. That was a very surprising result given IUPUI's recent history as one of the best Summit League programs.
Top Performer: There was not a top performer on this squad until that Western Kentucky game. Alex Young was struggling from the field and with his ball control until he broke out against WKU for 43 points. Since then he's been coming into form as the player we all expected to see this year. Though his shooting percentages are down from his career averages, his rebound, assist, and block rates are all up from last season. If he can get his two-point percentage to increase, he'll be on his way to a very impressive season.
Player To Watch In League Play: Guard Ian Chiles. The 6-foot-1 sophomore is a newcomer to the IUPUI roster this year after spending a year in the junior college ranks. He's currently the most efficient player on the team in a low-usage role, but there is evidence to suggest he could see his role grow more in Summit League play. For starters, he's been feisty on the defensive end by forcing steals and even coming up with a few blocks here and there. What's been most impressive is his shooting touch. He's drained 17-of-39 three-point attempts (44 percent) and made 9-of-14 during IUPUI's current four-game win streak.
Overall Assessment: IUPUI has already suffered two league defeats at home this season, which came in the midst of its miserable start in non-conference play. Since that Western Kentucky game, the team has been playing much on both sides of the ball. With a little momentum on their side, the Jaguars could get on roll to start looking like a contender again.