A closer look at Indiana’s win over Kentucky

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.

3-POINT SHOOTING

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 AfterA night to remember in Assembly HallIndiana needed — and deserved — this winPhoto galleryPostgame video of Jones, Sheehey and Zeller; Postgame video of Hulls, Oladipo and Watford; Postgame video of Crean.)

  • Devout Hoosier

    Crean is a good coach.  Given the option he won’t play zone for this.

  • MrSticky

    It was a pleasure to see some our guys grow up during the game. Victor seemed to realize he could drive on any defender KY put on him in the second half. His jab step and go was leaving KY players on their heels. Not sure if he has displayed this level of aggression before.
    We seemed to go to one and one after the lead. You could just see our guys eyes get big when they got the ball on the wing. They KNEW they had the measure of KY’s defense and it could not stop them.
    Real growth individually and as a team. Especially Sheeladipo.

  • brianevans

    unless a defensive player is super slow-footed, has bad foot work, and is physically weak… i disagree with playing off of the quicker guard who can get to the bucket and score. it’s much like playing against a wide receiver. you have to get up on him and ‘jam’ him. laying off of him gives him way too much space to shake and bake and operate, leaving the defender backpedaling guessing what’s going to happen next. it’s just easier to keep in between the guy with the ball and the basket this way. and then you have to rely on the weak side help on defense if he does get by you. something the hoosiers didn’t do too great with at times. however, kentucky spaces the floor out really well on the offensive end. and to be honest, if they would’ve kept running a player behind the dribbler and ‘handing’ it off as he cuts towards the basket like they did early in the first half on a few occasions, the game probably would’ve been different. iu had trouble defending that and deciding whether to hedge or switch… but a lot of times they were just slow to rotate and defend against the much quicker wildcats. there is a lot of room for improvement. i think w/ a few tweaks on each end coupled with the confidence of the players, staff, and even the crowd, they will have a chance to win every single game from here on out

  • 888

    I understand why alot of people just look at X,s and O,s first along with match ups because it definatly matters. The thing I think alot of people have overlooked is how much resolve and heart does a team have. Our team may have the most in the country. If they get behind its like a button is pushed and you wont have the lead for long. That team we beat isnt gonna lose many games this year but IU simply whooped them. If it wasnt for the bad play in the last 5 minutes we would have blown them out. Yes were gonna lose some games because thats just the way the BIG is but I think were gonna be in the hunt all the way to the end. I think well split the home and home with OSU.  CTC is showing how he can develop talent and get them to play unselfish and hard. Next year we will be #1 in the country and look out for IU for years to come because once the national recruits see whats happening here we will be able to compete with anyone for their services.   HOOSIER 4 LIFE

  • InTheMtns

    To go along with your resolve and heart, I would add confidenence. Not cocky or over-confident, just totally confident that they can win. So far, they’ve carried that with them from start to finish.

  • Southport65

    You can gripe and complain about Hull’s defense but you must remember not even KY could stop his/our outside shooting and 3’s. That is why we won the game and had an effective FG% of 50.9 against the # 1 one team in America. If you want to fix guards driving on us then we must have weak side defensive help from Watford,Zeller and VO or Will. They must rotate to the ball or take a charge. For IU to be as effective as we are now we need to make the other guy guard us on the perimeter and then feed the ball to Zeller/Forwards for easy layups. Right now IU is the one others can’t defend and stop our 3 point goals. Remy,Jones and other larger guards can’t shoot the ball like Jordan can so his teammates must help on defense so we can keep him on the floor running the show and shooting at a record pace. Benching Hulls for 10-15 minutes a game is not the answer as some have said. We lose without his shooting, assists and steady hand running the offense. Defense is a Team sport so is basketball. Steve Alford was a defensive problem for IU at times but his offense out weighed his short comings and his team mates covered for his slow foot speed. The same can happen for Hulls.

  • cooper

    That game should eliminate the elite argument made by someone in a prior post for Hulls. His D was awful in the second half and was a main factor in them coming back.. VJ and VO weren’t great on D either. It has to be better to beat a good team that is playing well.

    I said in another post I’m shocked Moore was part of a 8 man rotation and Abell didn’t see the court. We wil need his defense at some point.

    The PG position is the biggest worry. Gotta be better on both ends especially feeding the ball to Zeller and getting in the lane. Hulls is a very good shooter but has to do better on D.

  • cooper

    That game should eliminate the elite argument made by someone in a prior post for Hulls. His D was awful in the second half and was a main factor in them coming back.. VJ and VO weren’t great on D either. It has to be better to beat a good team that is playing well.

    I said in another post I’m shocked Moore was part of a 8 man rotation and Abell didn’t see the court. We wil need his defense at some point.

    The PG position is the biggest worry. Gotta be better on both ends especially feeding the ball to Zeller and getting in the lane. Hulls is a very good shooter but has to do better on D.

  • B-town 88

    But when we DO get the ball in to Cody-WOW! At 8:13 in the first half, uk up 20/14, Zeller backed Davis into the lane, got the pass, Davis was on his back and drew his 2nd foul, but Zeller made the 2, even with Jones hooting his arm as well. 3 point play, 20-17! Key time of the game.
    Besides THE C-WAT SHOT, Christain’s defense on Jones during the first half was great!
    What a TEAM effort-Players, Coach, and Crowd!

  • Anonymous

    What kind of coach does it take to call a timeout and say, “Either pass it in to Zeller or you sit on the bench?”

  • Hodge2120

    First of all, great win by our Hoosiers. Those of you complaining about Hulls defense on Teague, think this over. I believe CTC decided to concede those drive bys by Teague. If anyone came off their man with help side defensive it would have most likely resulted in a Jones or Davis dunk. If you have watched them play that is how they get those two guys going. In my opinion CTC thought process was if Teague beats us then so be it. The way it played we gave up a few points to Teague, but kept Jones/Davis from getting it going. We got the dub and if we played it any other way we could have seen CWat and Zeller in foul trouble. Like most of you I agree Hulls won’t have to face explosiveness like Teagues to often. Great win. Let’s keep it going.

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