That’s A Wrap: Offense

  • 04/22/2013 9:57 am in

IUUNCITH0013Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Indiana’s offense.

Final stats (36 games): 78.6 ppg, 48.2 FG %, 54.8 eFG %, 40.3 3P FG%, 74.3 FT %, 45.9 % FTR.

Indiana’s offense was once again elite in 2012-2013, and paired with a much improved defense that wasn’t present in 2011-2012, the Hoosiers spent a majority of the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press top 25 poll.

Despite a tough last month in which it scored just 1.03 points per possession, Indiana finished the season with the nation’s second best offense at 1.21 points per trip. That was up slightly over last season when IU finished at 1.206.

The improvement was a bit more defined in Big Ten play where IU scored 1.136 points per possession compared to 1.112 last season.

Once again, the efficiency was led by Cody Zeller’s presence in the middle, getting to the foul line and IU’s ability to find shooters on the perimeter. Zeller’s biggest impact was in getting to the foul line, where he posted a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 73.2. Indiana shot 904 free throws and made 672 of those attempts compared to 563 attempted for its opponents. Offensive rebounding was a big area of improvement this season as Indiana rose from 59th nationally in on the offensive glass all the way up to seventh. Both Zeller and Victor Oladipo ranked in the top seven in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding.

The 3-point shooting percentage was down from last season, but was still fourth best nationally with four guys — Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Oladipo and Remy Abell — finishing at better than 40 percent. After shooting better than 41.2 percent in each month from November through February, the Hoosiers managed just 31.5 percent from behind the arc in March, which was a big reason the offense sputtered down the stretch.

The offense was again incredibly balanced with five guys scoring 9.5 points per game or more and a sixth, Yogi Ferrell, averaging 7.6. The two biggest movers year-over-year were Oladipo and Watford. After an up-and-down sophomore season, Oladipo put it all together as a junior and finished seventh nationally in effective field goal percentage (64.8). Watford shot a ridiculous 48.4 percent on threes, which was up nearly five percent from his junior season and almost 17 percent from where he finished as a freshman.

If IU’s offense had a weakness, it was turnovers. The Hoosiers coughed up the ball on 19.2 percent of their possessions, which didn’t impede winning in most cases. But those mistakes were costly in late losses to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament and Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. Against the Badgers in a halfcourt game, Indiana coughed it up on 20.8 percent of its possessions and against the length of Syracuse, that figure ballooned to 27.7 percent. Indiana also had an abnormally high number of its shots blocked (11.2 percent).

Bottom Line: Before the season, many wondered if Indiana could duplicate the amazing offensive output it enjoyed last season and for the most part, the Hoosiers delivered. Zeller and Oladipo were two of the most efficient players in the country and the dual perimeter threat of Hulls and Watford was as good as any in the country.

IU’s struggles in the final month will be etched in the minds of many, but it’s impossible to ignore the offense for what it truly was: elite and a big reason the program was able to capture its first outright Big Ten title in 20 years.

PreviouslyHanner Mosquera-PereaPeter Jurkin, Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy HollowellCody Zeller, Remy AbellWill Sheehey, Victor Oladipo, Maurice Creek, Derek ElstonJordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Tom Crean

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  • SCHoosier

    Having the balanced scoring we did was a luxury many teams don’t enjoy. Getting to the line was also a plus…I hope those tendencies can continue. In terms of offense ranking..I think we all understand that IU was second in the nation because the Hoosiers fattened up on the cupcakes with our starters often on the floor even with 3 minutes left in a blow out game. Not sure the statistics permit it..but I wonder how we compare in just conference play? When teams (like WIS and ‘Cuse) were able to force us into a half court game..our numbers faltered even more. Jordy’s late season swoon from 3 pt land..Wat’s inconsistency..Cody refusal to take a face the basket shot, Yogi’s “still developing” offense..and spotty bench scoring for a long conference stretch each had a major impact on IU’s ability to put points ont he board.
    Come crunch time @ season’s end/tourney..our offense was just not very good. Clear away the hype (vs. potential) and I’d rate IU a “B” for offensive performance this past season. Lot of room for real improvement.

  • MillaRed

    I really enjoyed watching this team score but there are things to learn from as far as this coaching staff is concerned. I would much rather see a Final Four than be the #2 scoring team in the country.

    We can only speculate why we sputtered down the stretch. But it seemed clear that the key to knocking off The Hoosiers was forcing them into a half court game. We need to be able to play different styles of basketball to get deep into the tournament. When in the half court, we were nearly as bad as we were good in transition.

    Once again it was fun to watch. When we were rolling I can’t say I have seen an IU team more explosive. But at IU we are looking for championships. Whatever it takes. Ans we didn’t have an answer for the teams that forced us into playing their games.

  • IU had the best offense in the Big Ten in conference play.

  • JerryCT

    Any idea how effective we were after the initial break and secondary break ie offense in the half court set ?

    I always thought that efficiency numbers should be exponentially weighted averaged so that more weight is given to recent performance than distant past . This better reflects the goal of a coach who wants his team to show improvement over the season.

  • NervousWreck

    I think people need to realize how hard it is becoming to score 70 pts per game. This team almost averaged 80 per game. Crean understands what it takes to score points in the College game nowadays. This offense gets an A this season, IMO.

    The offense wasn’t the problem. It was the physical, oversized, and turnover creating teams that dragged this IU team down.

  • mjwade

    I would most like the turnovers to decrease, but with so many young players coming in, I expect next year to be a repeat of this year on that stat

  • Tom S

    Do you think the lack of size at guard was the key to offensive issues in the half court? We all worried about size on the defensive end – there were times it hurt us there, but on the whole I thought Ferrell and Hulls held up pretty well.
    But especially late, when teams did a better job of forcing them into the half court, it seemed like size became a factor. Both Hulls and Ferrell need space to get their shots up, and space to make interior feeds. Ferrell can get to the rim at times, but at his size that isn’t going to be a dependable part of the offense possession by possession.

  • MillaRed

    We are indeed speculating but I think you make good points. I just don’t think we looked crisp in the half court. Syracuse definitely exposed our size at guard. But there were other teams that didn’t have that length that controlled us too.

    I think Yogi more than held his own defensively. He caused problems and will only get better. Hulls gave us everything he had. Really improved since his FR year on D.

  • SCHoosier

    well that just floors me.

  • Arch_Puddington

    Right on the money. People seem to find it very easy to blame losses on the personal traits of the coaches and players — you know, “heart”, mental toughness, intensity, etc., — all the while ignoring the reality that the size, speed, and skill of the players are still the primary factor in most games. With the exception of the Illinois game, all of our losses this year came against teams that were able to physically overpower us. It had little to do with the character of our players or the skill of our coaches, and much to do with the size and speed of the other teams.

    Wouldn’t you love an explanation for how we managed to have an elite offense for the last two years if not for good coaching? Two seasons ago our starting guards were Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls. Anyone want to bet how many other coaches produce the #4 offense in the country with that back court? (Don’t get me wrong, they are ALL TIME favorites of mine, but physically dominant they are not). Or how about this: an upgrade from the 64th best defense to the 13th best with 6 of the same top 7 players? Either Yogi was enough by himself to move us up 51 spots, or else someone did some coaching.

    I’m not sure why people take for granted that our players are so talented that the wins should come naturally and that any losses or disappointments must be blamed on something else, but it seems to be the way.

  • Arch_Puddington

    Man, it’s hard to knock an offense that finished in the top 5 in the country two years in a row. I was at the Minnesota game, and the stretch you are talking only lasted 10 minutes. We actually trailed midway through the first half, then went on an epic 10 minute run that was largely spurred by turnovers and rebounds that led to transition baskets. The second half we got outscored by 16, and then of course we lost to Minnesota on the road. All in all we were outscored by Minnesota for 70 of the 80 minutes we played them.

    So is it really fair to hold out the best 10 minute stretch of our season as the norm, and then accuse of being “erratic” when we don’t play that way all the time? It seems to me that we overachieved given our limitations, and that we should be thrilled to have done as well as we did rather than disappointed that we did not do better.

  • IUMIKE1

    After taking more than a small amount of time to reflect back over the season as a whole I’m not so sure that what, overall, our lack of size at the 1 & 2 spot hurt us more on O more than it did on D and with that assumption multiplied against certain teams, ie teams that forced us into a half court game (UW) or against teams with a lot of length at the 1 & 2 (Syracuse). Thus the kind of games we got against these two teams. Don’t remember what our defensive numbers were against these two teams but I’d be surprised if they were bad or even below our season averages while it’s painfully obvious that our offensive numbers were well below our season averages. Can’t now also help but wonder if Crean having this team push it up & down the court like he did wasn’t part of his way of negating our lack of size at the 1 & 2. I mean I know that is the kind of game he wants to play but I am really wondering if he didn’t see this as having multiple pluses, recruits loving this kind of play, returning players being better next year after playing at this kind of pace and then getting even more of a jump on next year if he slows the pace down somewhat, and like I said all the while negating a lack of size at the 1 & 2 at the same time. When we look at the type, size & length of the guards that CTC has coming in or has offered it makes me think this even more.

    Like you said when we were rolling or someone wanted to try and play an up tempo game with us most of the time it was a great thing to watch, but also like you said and I agree totally with, we’re not about looks and rankings, we’re about championships and having a team that can play whatever way it takes to do that. Saying we are going to impose our will on teams and make them play our kind of game sounds good, but in any given season there is going to be times where you aren’t able to do that, for whatever reason, and you have got to be able to win when you wind up on the other end of that and your opponent is able to pretty much able to force you into their kind of game (UW cough, cough).

  • Ole Man

    Politely disagree, not with your analysis, but with your conclusion.
    SO many games this year, the team would suddenly “take flight”. It was as close to a choreographed ballet as you’ll ever see on a basketball court.
    Oddly enough, it seemed to jell in the tourney loss to KY (people forget that we would have beaten them without that insane FT differential and even more insane % of makes).

    No team could maintain that level for 40 minutes. And there were too many stretches of “5-10 minutes” with no scoring (that’s where a good half court would have helped).
    But in over 40 years of watching Hoosier basketball, this team, when it soared, was the most beautiful and breathtaking to watch that I’ve ever seen.

  • Ole Man

    Other teams were “more physical” with IU when the refs let the teams play “thug and mug” ball. In a straight up contest where those calls were made, we won–MSU twice (and they were bigger, stronger), OSU once, MN for a half.
    All those losses, were the result of “thug and mug” type of play being allowed in college ball.
    It’s hurting the game tremendously.
    It cost this team tremendously.

  • Ole Man

    From the article:

    ” Indiana finished the season with the nation’s second best offense at 1.21 points per trip. That was up slightly over last season when IU finished at 1.206.

    The improvement was a bit more defined in Big Ten play where IU scored 1.136 points per possession compared to 1.112 last season.”

    I’d go A-‘ ., but B seems too low.
    And of course, there was room for improvement. Our half court stunk!

  • Ole Man

    All good comments, so I’ll keep mine short.
    It wasn’t just half court that cost us.
    Teams quickly learned in the conference that they could thug us and IF they got away with it, force us into some type of “un-comfort” zone.
    We beat physical teams in half court sets, OSU, MSU are two examples. But in those games, until the loss at home against OSU, those teams were not allowed to play “thug” ball.
    And personally, I hate the slow, overly-physical play when it’s allowed.
    Basketball was never meant to be played that way.

  • When last year’s team was on a roll, they were a work of offensive basketball art. When they were out of rythem, well, it was like the Syracuse game….

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Yes less dribbling, more passing = more offense.

  • Ole Man

    Good analysis. And here’s another thought: Hulls and Ferrell didn’t always get the space because: A: we seemed to panic and instead of spreading the floor, closed in and dribbled; and B: Indiana runs the “new pro offensive” screening game, which in my mind, in a half court situation is too easy, too simple to defend. The other teams simply went above the screens leaving our guards nowhere to go.
    The only one able to exploit this with any consistent success was Vic with his drives.