The dust has started to settle on Indiana’s 73-72 win over No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall on Saturday, but one thing we’ve yet to dig deeply into are the statistical factors that led to the signature victory of the Tom Crean era (All stats via KenPom.com and StatSheet.com):
THE FREE THROW LINE
Kentucky actually outpaced Indiana in free throw rate (defined as FTA/FGA), but it was what happened inside of those attempts that helped push the Hoosiers to the winner’s circle. Both teams went to the line 17 times. Indiana made 14. Kentucky made 10.
Call it a bad shooting night or call it difficult circumstances created by the fan atmosphere, but two of Kentucky’s most experienced players — Doron Lamb (7-of-11) and Terrence Jones (0-of-2) — left valuable opportunities for naught at the line.
In our “What to Expect” preview, we wrote that one of the key areas to watch was Kentucky’s lockdown defense (37.5 eFG% entering the game) against Indiana’s high powered offense (58.0 eFG % entering the game). We also highlighted Kentucky’s block percentage of 25.8 and their opponent 2-point field goal percentage of just 33.2 as two reasons the Hoosiers would have difficulty scoring inside.
The 2-point field goal percentage nearly held true to form — Indiana hit just 37.2 percent — but it was the Hoosiers’ performance from behind the 3-point line that allowed them to post an effective field goal percentage of 50.9. That barely eclipsed North Carolina’s mark of 50.8 for the best performance against Kentucky of the season to-date.
Indiana ended up hitting 9-of-15 shots from behind the arc, including eight straight at one point and the game-winner as time expired. The Hoosiers are currently the second best 3-point shooting team in the country at 45.8 percent. Thanks to all of the 3’s and a lack of scoring in the paint, Kentucky posted a season low block percentage (10.8).
SUCCESS ON THE OFFENSIVE BOARDS
Rebounding was another area of concern for Indiana considering the size and caliber of athletes on Kentucky’s front line. But with Anthony Davis saddled with foul trouble and Jones totally ineffective (one rebound in 28 minutes), Indiana exploited the Wildcats on the offensive glass.
The Hoosiers posted an offensive rebounding percentage — defined as OR / (OR + Opp. Def Reb) — of 41.2, which was another season high against UK. Indiana finished with 16 second-chance points.
BECAUSE THERE’S ALWAYS WORK TO DO
Had Watford’s shot not connected, Indiana’s second half defense would have been cited as major discussion point in the aftermath.
Kentucky shot 68 percent (!) in the final twenty minutes (71 percent on 2’s) and their effective field goal percentage of 57.4 was easily the highest mark posted against IU this season. In fact, no team before Kentucky had cracked 50 percent.
After nine games, defensive rebounding is clearly the weakness for this group. Indiana did stellar work on the offensive boards, but allowed Kentucky to do the same. UK finished with an offensive rebounding percentage of 38.5. The Hoosiers’ defensive rebounding percentage of 34.9 now ranks 241st in the country.
(In case you missed any of our postgame coverage, here’s a recap: The Minute After; A night to remember in Assembly Hall; Indiana needed — and deserved — this win; Photo gallery; Postgame video of Jones, Sheehey and Zeller; Postgame video of Hulls, Oladipo and Watford; Postgame video of Crean.)