That’s A Wrap: Improvement in numbers

  • 03/16/2010 4:30 pm in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to um, wrap up the 2009-10 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. All stats on this post come from the indispensable

The Hoosiers lost 11 straight Big Ten games this season. That’s enough to make a grown man cry, or at least throw his remote at the TV. But amidst all the turnovers and scoring drought, the missed layups and defensive lapses, there’s one thing to keep in mind: this team improved in pretty much every significant statistical category. Follow along on the magical journey.

(Oh, and for a point of reference: there were 344 Division I teams in 2008-09, and 347 this past season.)

+ Adj. Offensive Efficiency 2008-2009: 97.7 (228th in the country)
+ Adj. Offensive Efficiency 2009-2010: 100.2 (187th in the country)

Let’s be honest: 2.5 points more per 100 possessions — adjusted, that is — is far from a vast improvement. But it’s an improvement nonetheless. With IU’s turnover and opponent block rate still sky high this season — not to mention lower-percentage shots and scoring droughts running rampant — IU just wasn’t able to take a huge step up in this category.

With Mo Creek back, everyone else a year older and hopefully a better handle of the ball going forward, IU should be primed to take a larger leap next year.

+ Adj. Defensive Efficiency 2008-2009: 101.8 (178th in the country)
+ Adj. Defensive Efficiency 2009-2010: 100.7 (159th in the country)

Again. Not much improvement here. The Hoosiers only allowed one less point per 100 possessions from Tom Crean’s first year to his second. Size, athleticism, communication and inexperience were all culprits this season.

+ Adj. Tempo 2008-09: 66.5 possessions per game (164th in the country)
+ Adj. Tempo 2009-10: 68.8 possessions per game (96th in the country)

This is often times inconsequential: Wisconsin’s adj. tempo this season was 60.2 possessions per game, ranking them 340th in the country. But the Badgers get it done. Bo Ryan’s style of play is pass, pass, pass until the shot clock winds down and you find the best shot. As such, they don’t have time to gobble up more possessions per game; they use every one like it’s their last.

A noble concept.

But Crean’s style of play is a bit different; he likes to turn defense into offense, and get out and go some. So in this respect, the Hoosier played a faster tempo this season, which might closer mirror their coach’s  style.

Yet, looking back at Marquette from 2003-04 to 2007-08 — as far back as the Ken Pom rankings will take us — only one season (2005-06, 70.1 ) did a Crean-led Golden Eagles squad crack the 68 possessions barrier.

So in that sense, this season’s Hoosiers line up with Crean’s Marquette teams his last few years there — about a 68-possessions-per-game ball club.

+ Effective field-goal percentage 2008-09: 47.9 percent (215th in the country)
+ Effective field-goal percentage 2009-10: 46.4 percent (269th in the country)

Here’s our first regression, albeit a small one. Without the presence of a go-to big man for high-percentage shots down low and Mo Creek,  IU had difficulties making shots. This team just took too many jumpers that didn’t find the net, and they missed their fair share of bunnies as well.

With Creek and Roth back, as well as everyone else having another year under their belts, it would be surprising if this number fails to trend upwards next season.

+ Turnover percentage 2008-09: 26.4 percent (342nd in the country) — THIRD WORST IN THE NATION
+ Turnover percentage 2009-10: 23.0 percent (306th in the country)

Improvement again. But certainly nothing to write home about. This was IU’s biggest issue a season ago, and it continued to plague them this season. When you are turning the ball over on a quarter of your possessions, it makes it difficult to win ball games. Plain and simple.

If IU makes a big leap in this category next season, it’s worth at least a couple wins.

+ Offensive rebounding percentage 2008-09: 32.6 percent (139th in the country)
+ Offensive rebounding percentage 2009-10: 35.0 percent (93rd in the country)

This was one of Indiana’s strong suits this season. But is it because the Hoosiers miss so many shots, there’s just more available offensive boards? Eh, maybe.

At the same stretch, this is the percentage of the offensive boards they’re grabbing; not the number in total. So this is one of the few areas this team excels in.

If they keep this up for the years to come and can improve in other categories, it will serve them well.

+ Free-throw rate 2008-09: 37.4 (152nd in the country)
+ Free-throw rate 2009-10: 41.8 (82nd in the country)

Another category the Hoosiers under Tom Crean have proven competent in: getting to the free-throw line. It’s sort of odd: they don’t have a low-post presence getting fouled and going to the line on a consistent basis, nor do they have a lot of slashers getting to the hole.

But whatever the case, keep this up and turn the shooting woes and turnovers around, and only good things can come from it.

+Free-throw percentage 2009-10: 65.5 percent (278th in the country)
+Free-throw percentage 2009-10: 69.1 percent (168th in the country)

Nothing overly impressive here, but it’s a nice 3.6 percent improvement — which was good for a few points during some games this season.

I’m a broken record beating a dead horse here, but if they can get up into the 70s next season in this statistic, it could be good for a win or two in close games.

+ Opponent block percentage 2008-09: 14.3 percent (344th the country) — WORST IN THE NATION
+ Opponent block percentage 2009-10: 13.2 percent (342nd in the country) — SIXTH WORST IN THE NATION

Along with the turnovers, this is IU’s biggest deficiency, and leads to less chances on the offensive end, which means less points, which means more losses.

The fact that the Hoosiers have gotten so many shots blocked the last two seasons and they rank among the worst in the country two years running in this category is a red flag.

So how to improve? Well, get in the weight room for one. But as IU becomes more comfortable with each other in Crean’s sets, expect less contested shots, which means less of them getting blocked.

+ Opponent steal percentage 2008-09: 13.5 percent (343rd in the country) — SECOND WORST IN THE NATION
+ Opponent steal percentage 2009-10: 10.4 percent (235th in the country)

Here’s one category that’s still not great, but year-over-year there’s some solid improvement.

This really just feeds back into the turnover percentage; the better this team takes care of the ball going forward, the more opportunities they’ll have to score, which will transfers into more Ws.

+Defensive effective field-goal percentage 2008-09: 54.6 percent (334th in the country) — 11TH WORST IN THE NATION
+Defensive effective field-goal percentage 2009-10: 49.7 percent (206th in the country)

A good one to close on. For as much as the ITH faithful ragged on IU’s defense this year, the Hoosiers allowed nearly five percent less of their opponents’ twos and threes to find the bottom of the basket.

Is 206th in the nation in this category good? No. Not really.

But it’s a lot better than 334th.


Outside of effective field-goal percentage, the Hoosiers improved in all categories highlighted here. Yet, the improvements were oftentimes only a small margin better than the year before.

As such, that equated to only four more wins this season (10-21) over last (6-25).

Provided the main talent corps stays in tact this offseason, expect the Hoosiers to again make a leap in these categories. Yet, how much that will transfer into wins remains to be seen.

If this team can make a vast improvement in the turnover department and get far less of their shots blocked, that’s a start. And if they start shooting at a far more effective clip as well, keep up the free-throw rate, offensive rebounds and make marginal improvements in all other categories?

This team has a chance to remain competitive and push .500 next season.

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  • HoosierFromCt

    ITH is freaking amazing. Keep up the good work, guys.

  • HoosierFromCt
  • HoosierFromCT

    Just saw this interesting piece by John Hollinger of ESPN:

    He did the Player Efficiency Ratings for College Bball. In the Big 10, only 2 players on IU made the top 50 – VJIII (of course) at #30 and guess who was 2 sports AHEAD of him at 28th……..DEREK ELSTON! Yes, I was surprised but at the same time not surprised because the guy seemed to do many things right when he had the chance to play. That bad thing about these ranking? VJ or DE didn't crack the Top 100 in the whole nation.

    CTC, Elston should be starting every game next year.

    Rounding out the top 100 in the Big10:
    58. CWat
    68. Hulls
    69. Pritchard
    70. Rivers
    71. Dumes
    75. Capo
    82. Morre

    Pritchard ahead of Rivers? …..Jeez…..

  • Hoosier_Hound

    For the Hoosiers it really all comes down to improving in taking care of the basketball. Every turnover takes a scoring opportunity away from IU and gives another one to the opponent. I'm optimistic because you kind of assume that turnovers are a factor of youth and inexperience and there is the possibility of significant improvement that can lead to several more wins in the future.

  • widget

    Putting a positive spin on this season is, to me, an affront to the tradition of Indiana Basketball. Yet another year, we'll be filling our bracket sheets void of the Indiana name. You can't put an “improvement” tag on that fact.

    I don't care if we move from 285 to 195 to 95. Anything in that region flat-out stinks and is not worthy of mention. A .500 season? Man, I hope TC has higher hopes than that!!

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    Really, I'm quite sure Crean doesn't have higher hopes. I'm sure he's happy with the poor play and pains of this team. He'll likely just rest on his laurels now as he has them playing exactly where he wants them to be playing. Give me a break.

  • hoosierbd

    I'm ever the Hoosier optimist. Looking at these stats and projecting growth next year here's how I see games IU could have won this year. If they improve any of these categories I say I they would have gone 2-1 in Puerto Rico. Beat Loyola. Beat Iowa (instead of losing twice). Win either the IL game on the road or the Purdue game at home. I believe those to be the other win-able games this season. So if you count those as wins that puts IU at 14-17. That is sniffing a .500 record that IU fans are craving these days (wow we have fallen fast and landed with a thud). At the end of the day, as we all know, these stats are nice but until they produce more wins they are as hollow as a YMCA trophy or “participating”.

  • widget

    Sadly, you're missing the point. I have no doubt that TC would have read this piece with equal dismay. Playing .500 ball is no goal, stepping stone or otherwise, for a program as storied as IU's. Unless you're UCLA, that is.