Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to make some sense of the 2010-11 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. Today: Tom Crean.
Tom Crean stood at the lectern inside the Assembly Hall press room, his most common pulpit, and tried in vain to put into words what had just come to pass.
Crean’s team had just lost 70-64 at home to Northwestern, the Hoosiers’ fourth in a row and third on the run against a once-conference doormat that Indiana fans had long enjoyed beating comfortably.
The third-year Indiana coach looked perplexed, lost in thought. He was without his tie, taken off during the game itself, commonly viewed as a sign of unusual frustration. A man noted for his ability to speak prolifically, on this night, appeared void of explanations.
He talked about his team’s lack of accountability, lamenting that just one of his players (it turned out to be freshman Will Sheehey) actually asked to match up defensively with Michael Thompson, the Wildcats’ leading scorer on the night. That lack of willingness (or desire, if you will) from his more veteran players to meet that challenge head-on had Crean practically speechless.
It might have been as flustered and defeated as Crean has ever looked in his three years in Bloomington.
2012 IU commit Peter Jurkin and United Faith Christian Academy (NC) just fell to Oak Hill Academy (VA) 86-52 in the quarterfinals of the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Maryland.
Here are a few observations from the game, which was broadcast on ESPNU:
— Jurkin, who finished with seven points and two rebounds, appears to have added some weight to his frame. Continuing to improve upon his upper body strength will be a key in determining how soon the 7-0 junior will be able to contribute upon his arrival in Bloomington. His ability to affect and block shots makes him an intriguing prospect, but the added bulk will be pivotal in a physical Big Ten.
— The IU commit still looked to be favoring his leg, which caused him to miss nearly two months of the season due to a stress fracture. It certainly wasn’t a good representation of just how well Jurkin can run the floor when he’s 100 percent. He split time with Henry Uwadiae, who got the start at the five.
— Jurkin made the most of his limited touches in the post. United Faith Christian Academy’s Braxton Ogbueze (Florida commit) dominated the ball and there wasn’t much focus on getting the ball inside. That said, Jurkin quickly established himself with a one-handed dunk on the first possession after entering the game with just under five minutes to go in the opening quarter. He also showed nice touch in knocking down a bank shot over Oak Hill’s A.J. Hammons on the right block and got to the foul line and hit 1-of-2 free throws.
— The Sudan native did a nice job of holding his position and staying on his feet rather than trying to block every shot attempt. But when he did go into the air against a driving Quinn Cook (Duke signee and McDonald’s All-American), Jurkin came up with an impressive block.
Two bigs problems for Indiana’s defense this season.
You may know them already.
Its opponents’ free-throw rate of 50.2 percent ranked 333rd in the nation. Not one major conference program fared worse. This team fouled and fouled and fouled, and then fouled some more. Tom Pritchard (6.5 fouls per 40 minutes) Derek Elston (5.7) and Bobby Capobianco (10.7) were Indiana’s biggest culprits. But freshmen Will Sheehey (5.5) and Victor Oladipo (4.8) contributed to the problem, as did Daniel Moore (5.0) in a limited role.
Most games the opponent held the advantage at the line. Twenty-plus attempts from the opposition was common. When your margin for error against quality Big Ten opponents is already small, giving away so many freebies can sink your ship fast. To put this in perspective, Indiana finished dead last during the conference season by allowing 473 free-throw attempts. Northwestern, which finished a spot ahead in 10th, allowed over 100 less at 358.
Indiana’s other defensive issue — one not in the box score or measured by advanced statistics — was a communication and assignment breakdown. Often, Indiana failed to execute in its half-court defense, leaving opposing players wide open for 3-pointers, something Film Session covered early and late. And a lack of strong communication between the five players on the court sometimes left Indiana scrambling to pick up the pieces as the opponent got a clean look at the basket.
Between the open looks and free throws, Indiana finished the season allowing 1.14 points per possession, which tied them for last in the Big Ten with Northwestern. And their adjusted defensive efficiency in-conference regressed year-over-year, too (111.8 in 2009-10 to 113.7 in 2010-11).
Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to make some sense of the 2010-11 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. Today: Indiana’s Team Offense.
Final Stats: 69.9 ppg, 46.1 FG %, 34.6 3PT %, 72.6 FT %, 51.6 eFG %, 12.9 turnovers per game
For as much as Indiana’s offense was criticized for a lack of cohesion at times throughout this season, there was movement in a positive direction in three important categories year-over-year in Bloomington.
Consider these numbers:
– Effective field goal percentage – defined as (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA): 51.6 percent overall in 2010-2011 (48.5 percent in Big Ten games) compared to 46.4 percent overall in 2009-2010 (43.9 percent in Big Ten games).
– Adjusted offensive efficiency rating – defined here: 109.0 overall in 2010-2011 (102.3 in Big Ten games) compared to 99.9 overall in 2009-2010 (92.9 in Big Ten games).
– Turnover percentage – defined as turnovers / possessions: 19.9 percent overall in 2010-2011 (18.3 percent in Big Ten games) compared to 23.0 percent overall in 2009-2010 (23.3 percent in Big Ten games).
But with any good news, there’s usually a bit of bad news as well.