(Photo credit: James Brosher)
The debate on who is, at this early juncture of the season, Indiana’s best option at point guard has been a healthy one over the past 24 hours in the comments here on Inside the Hall.
Keeping that topic in mind, we’ve decided to open things up with a dedicated thread to keep this discussion moving along.
There are several arguments to be made, but not an obvious, clear cut answer. We hope you’ll chime in with your thoughts.
Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on.
+ The Big Ten Geeks over at the Big Ten Network go into a little detail on IU’s defense in the BC game and well, it’s not good:
Indiana had a historically bad night on the defensive end in their 88-76 loss at Boston College. Since at least 2002 (the furthest back I can find efficiency data), no Hoosier team had allowed an opponent to score 1.45 points per possession, and this season’s version just did it. Boston College turned it over on just 10 percent of their possessions, rebounded over half their misses, shot 58 percent from two, and nailed 42 percent from three. The Eagles basically got anything they wanted, and some pretty good offense from Indiana (with a genuinely low turnover rate!) wasn’t enough to keep up.
+ Our old friend Eamonn (you remember him, right?) weigh-ins in briefly on the loss in his ACC-Big Ten Challenge recap on ESPN’s College Basketball Nation:
This wasn’t the greatest game in the world — it contained shades of Wake Forest-Iowa from Tuesday night, and yes, I probably just made a bunch of Wake fans angry again — but there were good takeaways for both teams. The Hoosiers proved they can score and compete with decent teams on the road, even if their defense needs serious work. Boston College proved it can play a more intelligent and composed brand of basketball under new coach Steve Donahue. Neither team looks tourney-bound, but neither team looked truly horrible either, and given where both of these programs are, those count as steps in the right direction.
+ Jeff Eisenberg at the Dagger on Yahoo has four winners and four losers from the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and a point guard from Duke tops the list:
How scary is it that Duke returns last year’s Final Four MVP in Kyle Singler and a guard who made numerous preseason all-American teams in Nolan Smith and yet it’s readily apparent that neither of them are the Blue Devils’ best player? Irving became a freshman star on Wednesday night in the mold of Derrick Rose or John Wall, scoring 31 points on 8-of-12 shooting and showing an ability to get to the rim at will.
(Photo credit: AP/Mary Schwalm)
Zach Osterman returns for his third installment of the Inside the Hall Podcast and joining him is former Herald-Times sports editor Chris Korman, now of The Baltimore Sun, to talk about this year’s version of the Hoosiers, the NCAA and Guy-Marc Michel and how the football coaching search relates to the basketball program.
Listen in the embedded media player below:
For those unfamiliar, here’s some background on the four factors to winning: Established by Dean Oliver, the four factors are building blocks for Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency formula. It’s important to mention, as noted by Stat Sheet, that the factors are not weighted equally. The best way to weight the numbers is as follows: shooting (40 percent), taking care of the ball (25 percent), offensive rebounding (20 percent) and getting to the line (15 percent).
Here’s a recap of the four factors in Wednesday’s 88-76 loss at Boston College:
Effective field goal percentage (FGM + 0.5*3PM)/FGA): The Hoosiers entered Wednesday night’s game allowing their first six opponents to shoot an eFG of just 41.5 percent. Boston College put a dent in that figure with an effort of 60 percent (8.4 percent above their season average). IU also shot well (57.3 percent), but when the opposition shoots even better, particularly from 3-point range, it’s normally a recipe for disaster.
Turnover percentage (Turnovers divided by possessions): Excellent showing here for IU (16.7 percent), but an even better performance by Boston College. The Eagles came into the game ranked sixth nationally in this category and posted a ridiculously low 10 percent. One caveat to the low figure for the Hoosiers: BC isn’t particularly good at turning over the opposition, so don’t be surprised if this performance ends up as an exception rather than the rule.
Notes on an 88-76 loss to the Eagles:
Well, despite the double-digit loss, there were at least some positives tonight, eh?
Sure, the Hoosiers came out flat in the first half — running their Verdell Jones-only offense we’ve seen from time to time when they get stagnant. And in an atypical performance, Indiana was out-hustled for many 50-50 balls and long rebounds on BC’s end — or maybe they were just in the wrong place? — which gave the Eagles 13 second-chance points. Add in a weak first-half shooting performance — 39.3 percent from the field (11-28) and 22.2 percent from three (2-of-9) — along with seven turnovers (which BC converted into seven points) and the Hoosiers found themselves down 14 at half: 43-29.
It was their first road game of the season. We may not have liked it. But it wasn’t a shock.
Yet, as we’ve seen from these Hoosiers on a few occasions so far this season, they tightened up their D in the second half (for a while, anyway), shared the ball much better and played with a lot more confidence. Jordan Hulls was hitting pull-up jumpers. Christian Watford put on a show inside, mid-range and long-range. Victor Oladipo had a spirited dunk. Creek, despite some bad misses, hit when he needed to.
What was once a 14-point halftime deficit whittled down to one twice (60-59 with 7:22 to go; 63-62 with 5:44 to go).
And then the wheels came off.
A few things pop out here:
1) Free throws should be something to watch tonight. Boston College ranks 237th in the nation in free-throw rate, so the Eagles aren’t getting to the line all that often. As I detailed yesterday, Indiana has been giving up a lot of free throws so far this season — ranking 290th in opponents’ free-throw rate. So it’ll be interesting to see what gives: Will the Hoosiers continue their ways of putting the opposition on the line regardless of if it’s actually in the other team’s DNA?
2) Turnovers present an interesting case study, too. IU has been great at getting other teams to cough up the ball so far this year, but Boston College is one of the best ballhandling teams in the nation at this juncture. Again, we’ll see what gives here once the ball tips. The Eagles are only 202nd in defensive turnover percentage, so despite many comments from the ITH faithful about their sound pressure D, the numbers don’t present them as overly intimidating in this regard — though they may certainly still test the Hoosiers this evening.
3) Because Boston College takes care of the ball and is shooting well enough, their adjusted offensive efficiency (112.9 points per 100 possessions) is higher than Indiana’s (105.1). Indiana’s adjusted defensive efficiency (91.2), though, has been very good, putting them in the Top 40 in the nation. So with a tougher offensive opponent on the other side of the ball, IU’s defensive prowess could be put to the test a bit more this evening.
Note: Alex made this chart for me without Tuesday’s games reflected in the rankings, so a few are a touch off.