2011-2012 season preview Archive

Pomeroy predicts IU to finish 18-13 overall, 8-10 in Big Ten

KenPom.com: 2012 Scouting Report for Indiana

One change this season involved the computation of the Pythagorean winning percentage. Calibration of last year’s predictions revealed that 10.25 is the best exponent to use for the purpose of the game probabilities. This should provide a more realistic forecast of end-of-season records now and especially as the games start and real data goes into the system. This does not affect the calculations of any other statistics.

Right now this results in a lot of conference records bunching up near .500. This will prompt your message board friends to say something like “There’s no way every team in the Pac-12 finishes with between 6 and 12 wins. LOL.” Substitute your own conference of choice in the quote. Of course that’s not how the teams will finish, but this is setting an expectation for each team on an individual basis, and not trying to predict the record of the conference champ, whoever that may be. Considering that the last preseason number one to go unbeaten in conference play was Duke in 1999, chances should be fairly low for even the best teams to run their conference’s table. Though I’ll admit, chances are unrealistically low for some teams. That should change fast as games are played.

2011-12 Player Profile: Derek Elston

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today, we conclude the series with Derek Elston.

X-factor.

It’s the first title that comes to mind for Derek Elston in his rapidly-approaching junior campaign.

After a disappointing 2010-11 season — one riddled with injuries, as Elston revealed to the media in August — the Tipton native coming into his own this year could be a key component in just how successful the Hoosiers will be.

Last season, Elston was a part of Indiana’s fouling problem. He finished third on the team in fouls committed per 40 minutes (5.7) behind the departed Bobby Capobianco (10.7) and Tom Pritchard (6.5). Beyond his heavy foul rate, he, like many of his teammates, also struggled to stay in proper position on defense, though some of that may be attributed to injuries which limited his lateral quickness.

On the offensive end, he improved his effective field-goal percentage year over year (50.0 to 52.4 percent) by being efficient inside the arc (61-of-108, 56.5 percent). Outside of the arc, however, Elston struggled (3-of-17, 17.6 percent). He was also the top defensive rebounder on the team among regulars (defensive rebounding percentage of 21.3).

If he’s able to move past his injuries of last season and find the missing spring in his game, Elston figures to benefit from dump-offs and open looks around Cody Zeller. And if he can find a 3-point stroke again to couple with his strong two-point shooting, there’s no reason he couldn’t find himself as a low double-digit average scorer, more than doubling his 4.9 points per game mark from last season.

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2011-2012 Player Profile: Austin Etherington

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Austin Etherington.

Is it possible “The Movement” started with Austin Etherington?

When the Hamilton Heights product gave his verbal pledge in August of 2009, he was just the second Indiana native to commit to the Hoosiers in the Tom Crean era. And over the 15 months following his decision, Etherington made it a point to recruit others to join him in Bloomington.

I remember standing courtside after a pool play game at the 2010 adidas Invitational listening to Etherington talk about his goals for the summer. Rather than bringing up the back injury he had just returned from or individual accolades, he simply uttered four words with a smile: “Get Cody. Get Cody.”

It was Etherington who spent time with Zeller and Hanner Perea behind the IU bench at last year’s “Night of the Living Red.” Yogi Ferrell joined them in Bloomington the following day.

Less than a month later, Zeller’s Letter of Intent was signed and Ferrell and Perea were verbal commitments in the 2012 class.

On the court, Etherington built a reputation in high school as one of the state’s best shooters. At 6-foot-6, he’s big enough to get his shot over most backcourt defenders and when given an opening, he’ll connect from all over the perimeter.

Defense, lateral quickness and ball handling are probably his three biggest areas for improvement as he begins his career.

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2011-2012 Player Profile: Maurice Creek

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Maurice Creek.

Maurice Creek’s 2011-2012 season won’t produce the much anticipated comeback that many were hoping to witness.

For the third time in 22 months, the Maryland native suffered a serious injury and as a result, Creek will miss the entire season. The latest setback — a torn left Achilles — occurred just days before the Hoosiers reached the official start of practice.

What does the injury mean for Creek’s future? How it will affect this year’s team? Let’s dive in.

Creek will redshirt and assuming he’s able to return after a full season off, he would be a member of the 2014 graduating class with Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey. What’s not certain, however, is that he’ll ever be the same player that lit up Kentucky for 31 points at Assembly Hall in December of 2009. Coming back from one major injury is difficult enough. But three? An uncertain road lies ahead for Creek.

“It is really hard to put into context what has happened with him,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said about Creek’s injury situation. “But the one thing that I can put into context is that he is one tough young man. He embodies the spirit that we want this program to be about. When you look at a situation where, not only has he had one major injury and surgery, not only has he had two major injuries and surgeries, but he has now had three in less than 22 months.”

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2011-12 Player Profile: Matt Roth

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Matt Roth.

As one of three scholarship seniors, Matt Roth enters his final season in Bloomington with far fewer on the court expectations than his classmates Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones III.

Roth, one of two recruits from the Kelvin Sampson era, was targeted in large part because of his shooting prowess from the perimeter. In fact, Sampson once likened Roth’s potential impact to that of Lee Humphrey, a starter on two national championship teams at Florida.

The reality for Roth is that his most productive season from a statistical standpoint is likely in the rearview mirror due to a much more competitive landscape in the backcourt for playing time.

After missing all but two games as a sophomore, Roth returned and played in 28 of 32 games as a junior. His role on offense was almost exclusively a 3-point shooter. 72 of his 78 field goal attempts were from behind the 3-point arc. His effective field goal percentage was 55.8 percent, which was fourth on the team behind Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo and Tom Pritchard.

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2011-12 Player Profile: Tom Pritchard

(Photo via Peter Stevenson on TwitPic)

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Tom Pritchard.

Here’s something.

Tom Pritchard made 59 percent of his 2-point attempts in 2010-11. No one on Indiana’s roster fared better. (In fact, because Pritchard attempted no 3-pointers last season, he also tied for the best eFG% on the team with Jordan Hulls at 59 percent.) Pritchard’s offensive rating — which measures a player’s offensive efficiency — was also second best on the team to Hulls.

So why is it he only averaged 2.5 points a game as a starter? Well, the problem was two-fold: The Ohio native’s fouling issues only allowed him 18.2 minutes per game. And despite shooting such a high mark, Pritchard only attempted 61 shots all season, down from 92 as a sophomore and 233 as a freshman.

Simply put, he was an afterthought on offense last season.

But there’s another issue lurking under the surface here: Pritchard has had some serious issues at the foul line (just a 34.8 percent mark last season and 37.3 percent as a sophomore), which may have him shying away from taking more initiative around the hoop, despite shooting such a high percentage.

But to beat a dead horse, the arrival of Cody Zeller could take some pressure off Pritchard as the lone “true” big in the frontcourt, which may help boost his confidence around the hoop as the second option. (But when he did flash some confidence last year? Whoa boy.)

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2011-2012 Player Profile: Victor Oladipo

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Victor Oladipo.

Like most players experiencing the rigors of life in the Big Ten for the first time, Victor Oladipo’s debut season as an Indiana Hoosier was a mix of highs and lows.

Oladipo shot 59 percent from inside the 3-point arc, which tied Tom Pritchard for a team-high among regular contributors. Many of those buckets were easy opportunities around the basket and in the lane that Oladipo finished thanks to his athleticism.

His defense was also solid at times and his steal percentage (3.6) was third in the Big Ten. On the glass, Oladipo’s offensive rebounding percentage of 11 was the best mark on the team and sixth in the conference.

On the down side, Oladipo’s 3-point percentage (30.8) and free throw percentage (61.2) left plenty of room for improvement. If both of those figures can be improved upon, the Maryland native looks like a prime candidate to breakout in his sophomore season.

So where does Oladipo fit on a roster that should be much more competitive for playing time? Right in the mix to crack the starting lineup.

The sophomore guard spent the offseason in the weight room, working on his perimeter game, traveling to China with Reach USA and playing in the Indy Pro-Am in Indianapolis. Those factors, coupled with the fact that Tom Crean is looking for his guards to defend and rebound at a high level, suggest Oladipo’s role will grow significantly this winter.

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2011-2012 Player Profile: Cody Zeller

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Cody Zeller.

Easy.

It’s a word that seems to follow Cody Zeller around.

He’ll make things easier for his teammates; he makes it look easy on the court with his fundamentally sound game; he’s at ease in front of the media, cracking jokes about cookie-eating contests at Hoosier Hysteria.

There is the other side, though. Is it all really this simple? Are the expectations placed on this freshman too grand? Is anointing him the savior of Indiana basketball before he’s played a game taking it too far, too soon?

That’s all to be revealed in due time.

But on the verge of his first season in Bloomington, there’s little denying Zeller is special. On Saturday, he was the best player on the court. He’s bulked up this summer. He does so many things well — rebounding and scoring and defending and running the floor — that he’s destined to make an immediate impact as a member of the starting lineup on a team that’s setting up to get out on the break and go. Indiana’s frontcourt has been void of a true scoring threat in the Tom Crean era, and Zeller figures to fill that hole. And for a defense that struggled in 2010-11, his addition as the anchor in the middle should help.

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2011-2012 Player Profile: Verdell Jones III

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Verdell Jones III.

On the surface, Verdell Jones’ numbers during his junior campaign were respectable. He averaged 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists in just over 28 minutes per contest. Not bad, right?

Peel them back a little further and you can piece together a solid argument that the Hoosiers would have been better off using Jones in a lesser role and redistributing his minutes to more efficient teammates.

His offensive rating (which measures a player’s personal efficiency) was just 94.8. That mark barely eclipsed Jeremiah Rivers (93.5) and Bobby Capobianco (93.8), who were IU’s two worst offensive players. He shot just 67 percent from the foul line and a dismal 29.8 percent from behind the 3-point line. And Jones took 27.2 percent of IU’s shots while on the floor, which was second highest on the team behind Christian Watford.

As Jones prepares to embark on his final season in Assembly Hall, a shift in his role could be pivotal to Indiana’s hopes of climbing out of the Big Ten cellar. His low efficiency marks and high turnover rate (22.4 percent) suggest he should be using fewer possessions and playing off the ball this season. Defensively, Jones was just as responsible as anyone in the backcourt for the 40 percent 3-point mark Big Ten opponents achieved last season.

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2011-2012 Player Profile: Will Sheehey

It’s time for Inside the Hall’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Will Sheehey.

Victor Oladipo showed his flash early and often in 2010-11, and became an instant fan favorite.

But as the season progressed, Indiana fans found his freshman counterpart, Will Sheehey, had some serious, spring-y swag as well.

Witness:

But like most freshman, Sheehey has plenty of room to improve his game. He shot only 64.9 percent from the line (24-37) and 30.4 percent (7-23) from three. (Though it should be noted both marks are of a relatively small sample size; Sheehey only played 34.4 percent of available minutes last season.) And he was also a part of the problem on defense last season at times, but that could be written to describe just about every player on the roster.

However, Sheehey did excel inside the arc, as he hit 52.4 percent (55-105) of his two-point field goals. Part of this was predicated on his game around the rim, as he was a solid offensive rebounder (8.6 percent OR%, fourth-best on team among regulars), which led to some nice put-back opportunities.

Derek Elston praised Sheehey’s improved jumper on Aug. 11, and Sheehey told assembled media on Sept. 22 he’s been working on his outside shooting as well as ballhandling in the offseason — so the sophomore may be able to flash a more versatile inside-outside game in 2011-12.

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