A long, hard look at the Hoosiers

  • 02/24/2010 1:56 pm in

Many of you have your gripes about IU’s defense, and it’s justifiable. Many of you have gripes about IU’s offense. That, too, is justifiable. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to dig into some specifics on both sides of the ball (though, now that I look through this thing, it’s really just the offense), and seek to find a clearer understanding on why this team has lost eight straight Big Ten games.

Ready, set, go.

Start here.

Thanks to the Big Ten Geeks, here’s a scatter plot of offensive and defensive efficiency in the Big Ten as of yesterday:

Yes, not only is IU worst in the Big Ten offensively, as its only scoring about .93-.94 points per possession, but its second to last in defensive efficiency, allowing about 1.11 points per possession. If you want to know why IU has lost eight straight Big Ten games, you don’t have to look any further than these two numbers. When you aren’t scoring as much as your opponents, and you aren’t defending them well either, it’s sort of hard to get over the hump, ya dig?

When will they crack 60?

Let’s get visual, visual again. Via Statsheet, here’s IU scoring numbers:


NCAA Basketball

IU has failed to eclipse the 60-point mark in its last four games, and barely did it in its fifth to last game — hitting 61 — in a loss to Northwestern. And pace really has nothing to do with the low amount of points IU is scoring: according to Ken Pomeroy, the Hoosiers’ adjusted pace of 68.6 possessions per game is a touch higher than the national average. They aren’t playing a slow game.

So why then, Ryan, are they specifically having trouble putting the ball in the hole?

There are four factors right now that are hurting the Hoosiers:

1) They’re one of the worst teams in the nation at getting their shots blocked. A staggering 12.9 percent of their shots get swatted, which ranks them 338th out of the 347 Division I teams. Meaning this: for every ten shots they take, it’s likely at least one of them isn’t going to find it’s way anywhere near the hoop. Which makes it that much harder for them to put the ball in the basket.

2) Turnovers. Oh the turnovers. They are averaging 15.2 of them per game. That’s 15 possessions a game that are essentially wasted. Add in four or five blocked shots a game, and the Hoosiers are squandering 20 scoring opportunities per game. That’s a lot.

3) Points in the paint. Let’s be real: IU lacks a low-post scoring threat. They just do. And outside of Jeremiah Rivers, this team also lacks a guy that can beat someone off the dribble and take it to the hole for an easy two. As such, this team just doesn’t take a lot of higher-percentage shots around the rim. And they’re not a particularly skilled shooting team from the outside either. They rank last in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage at 39.0 percent, and second to last in the league in 3-point percentage at 32.3 percent. If this team was able to pump in threes at an effective rate to compensate for the lack of inside scoring, they’d have a better chance of being competitive. But that’s just not the case.

4) This may seem rudimentary, but it’s worth bringing up: teams have seen enough tape on the Hoosiers to know their weaknesses and flaws, and with their inexperience and age, they just aren’t overcoming any of it as of late.

Add all this stuff up, and it’s why you see IU go on ridiculously long scoring droughts game after game.

OK, that about does it for me. As always, feel free to add in anything I missed. I’m sure there’s more.

Filed to:

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    I think the majority of the last 86 games have all started the same way. Rivers turns the ball over in the first minute. IU gets down 10 – 2 in the first two minutes, and by the first TV timeout, they are out of the game. I love the Hoosiers, but that makes for a painful season.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    That's last 8 games, not 86. KS won a few games. The jerk.

  • bhorns

    A couple of observations –
    – Not that he is the answer, but without Creek, we have lost a decent inside/outside presence with Watford/Creek. Combine that with a tough Big Ten schedule and we should have expected the numbers to decrease.
    – As for our shots getting blocked….It would seem that anyone watching the games would know that we aren't that athletic under the basket and would do well at trying a shot fake every once in a while.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    I'd like to see the “with” and “without” Creek comparison.

    He was our best offensive option which would get the other players better looks increasing our efficiency. His defense wasn't great but it may have been better with him. He was only going to improve as the season went on.

    Shoulda, coulda, woulda…ha. We have turned into Cubs fans…there's always next year…

  • aceman07

    I don't think we needed a bunch of stats to help us realize that IU's the worst team in the Big 10. I don't mean that at all to be a bash it's just kind of obvious at this point. I too think things would be a little better, but still bad, if Creek were healthy and IU wouldn't be such a lousy shooting team if Creek and Roth were both healthy. All of the sudden, not finishing in last place looks somewhat in jeopardy. We need to beat Iowa at Iowa to finish with four wins and probably assure we won't finish behind PSU as well. PSU does have 3 games against and ranked teams and NW left so they probably aren't going to pass us. Iowa has three road games and the home game against us so we really need to win that one!!! 9th in the Big 10 would be an improvement over dead last during last year's season and another two spots to 7th next year and then another to 5th in 2012 would probably put us back in the tournament since the Big 10 usually gets 5 to the NCAA tourney. That's realistic isn't it?

  • vslice

    I guess that really sums it up. I don't think there is much more to add. This is more depressing that what I originally thought. When you really break the numbers down and see where we are bad (which is everywhere) it seems overwhelming to say the least. Oh man, I dont mean to sound pessimistic but this is bad, real bad and I can't stand it. When will it turn around, EVER? Please say it will, but I'm beginning to worry…..

  • HoosierChan77

    I def have faith it will turn…TC is the man and until we have a true foundaton to build on we will take baby steps. If we can get these bigs TC is chasing and develop BM…We may just take a LEAP next year!

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    We'll be better, but it won't be a leap. Maybe 16 wins next year.

  • All good points here to add to the fray, and only gives a wider view of the offensive struggles. You're right: if teams don't have to pay attention to IU down low, those outside shots can be covered better and thus it's harder to shoot a higher percentage.

    Thanks for the addition, Hardwood.

  • Hardwood83

    Good analysis. I think #1 (Shots blocked) & #3 (no inside game) have a lot to do with each other. Opponents are NEVER forced to help out down low against IU's post, so open looks outside are harder to come by, that equals lower shooting %, also the few times VJ3 or Rivers do penetrate their big men are comfortable leaving their man & swatting the shot- since IU seldom makes the extra pass and no one fears our inside players scoring at all. Most of these issues are cascading- improve one area, others will too. IMO just improving FT shooting and TO's would have helped this team win at least 3 more games, maybe 5. That doesn't take more talent or size and can be done with the current roster. As for recruiting- I think an athletic big man should be priority #1, 2 and 3.
    Unless Bawa or Pritch shocks the world with a huge improvement IU has no down low option on the roster for Offense or defense.

  • A with-and-without Creek comparison would be an interesting one to do, but he played against much weaker opponents for the most part, so it's harder to compare. The team looked better with him b/c of his talent, but also b/c of who they were playing, you know?

    I'd probably stick to losses and games against better competition — such as Pitt — if I do this. Which I think I will.

    Look for it early next week.

  • All good points here to add to the fray, and only gives a wider view of the offensive struggles. You're right: if teams don't have to pay attention to IU down low, those outside shots can be covered better and thus it's harder to shoot a higher percentage.

    Thanks for the addition, Hardwood.

  • dphattybrown

    Is this call name in relation to a Tipton Native?