Data dive: A look at IU’s second half struggles

  • 03/12/2014 10:01 am in

Editor’s note: Only conference games were considered in this analysis.

One of the topics covered earlier this year was Indiana’s propensity for close games and their struggles to win those games. Not only has Indiana played in a lot of tight games this year, it’s actually held a lead in many of them. In fact, only Wisconsin (14) and Iowa (13) have held more halftime leads than Indiana (10) in the entire conference.

Indiana didn’t hold a halftime lead in any of its first five Big Ten games, which means that IU has been the halftime leader in 10 out of their final 13 conference games. The caveat, however, is that the Hoosiers have struggled to hold onto the lead in those contests.

The chart below shows each Big Ten team’s winning percentage in the games it was leading at halftime:


At 4-6, Indiana is just tenth in the conference in terms of closing out games when they lead at the half. The Hoosiers have led by an average of seven points in the games they have lost, the highest mark in the conference. The second half certainly seems to cause this Hoosier team difficulty, but by looking at the play-by-play data the issue can be better understood.

First, here is a look at the scoring differential for each Big Ten team in five minute chunks of game time. The graphic is a bit overwhelming, but including all of the conference teams provides a fascinating overview. (Horizontal axis in minutes, vertical axis in points).


A couple of interesting notes on teams other than Indiana:

· Ohio State is clobbering their opponents in the five minutes after halftime.
· Wisconsin dominates the first half and then seems to merely hang on for victory in the second half.
· Michigan is a slow starter, losing in the first ten minutes, but blowing by their opponents after that.
· Nebraska is the most consistent team with no single stretch of time much better or worse than the others.

It is also important to take these numbers with a bit of caution as they are likely prone to large game-to-game variation.

Moving on to IU, the Hoosiers are very strong midway through the first half, but the point that really jumps out is the five minutes directly after halftime. Indiana is second worst in the league during this stretch, behind only Northwestern. This aligns with what most people would observe watching IU’s Big Ten games: They play well to build a lead at the half but have often let the lead slip away quickly after halftime.

The figure below shows Indiana’s halftime leads and the subsequent lead five minutes after halftime.


At Nebraska, at Wisconsin, vs. Ohio State, and at Michigan all stand out as particularly rough stretches. Of these four Indiana only won the Ohio State game and missed out on road wins in the other three.

What’s more interesting than verifying that this does happen is to understand why it is happening. Is it the offense, defense, or a combination of both?

Looking at the points per possession statistics answers this question quite clearly: Indiana is scoring 1.01 points per possession and allowing 1.35 points per possession for the five minutes directly after halftime. On the season, Indiana scores right at 1.00 points per possession in conference play, but allows only 1.03 points per possession. In other words, Indiana’s offense performs the same but its defense is much worse during this time period.

Even using play-by-play data, defense is difficult to measure, so determining what exactly is allowing Indiana’s opponents to score at a higher clip is challenging. Still, there are some statistics that stand out: turnovers forced per possession, second chance points allowed and 3-point field goal percentage allowed.

In the first five minutes after halftime Indiana allows its opponents to score about 13 second chance points per 40 minutes while it allows only nine second chance points per 40 minutes overall.

Additionally, IU forces turnovers on just 12 percent of its opponent’s possessions in the five minutes following halftime but on the Big Ten season overall the team sports a turnover rate of 17 percent.

Finally, Indiana is allowing its opponents to score more 3-point field goals and to shoot a higher percentage on them after halftime. In the five minutes after intermission, Indiana is allowing its opponents to shoot 45 percent on 3-point field goals while they allow just 31 percent on 3-pointers overall in Big Ten play, the best in the conference.


Though this young team is still learning how to work together for a full 40 minutes, they have shown they can make improvements, even mid-season. The regular season is now behind the Hoosiers, but as senior Will Sheehey will tell you, there are still more games to be played. The upcoming Big Ten tournament may just reveal how Indiana can put their struggles behind them and build on their recent improvement.

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  • OhioHoosier

    Should we just ignore the fact that you are saying Yogi is not a shooter?

  • The defense. Though I’d be curious how much more we turn it over early in the 2nd half. I bet we give up more easy points of turnovers then than at any other time in a game.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Those high-profile/high-dollar guys “that matter” are certainly welcome to their opinion. I just hope we don’t see a defection of alumni who stop supporting the program or rooting for IU to do well or making Assembly Hall a raucous home court advantage because they don’t love the coach or are “done with him”.

  • MillaRed

    Nothing I say makes sense to you so I’m just not going there any more. So please just work with other people in here.

  • MillaRed

    Ahhhh, didn’t really catch that…….

  • MillaRed

    Oh sure i send pie and you send cobbler. Cobbler is harder to make, more time consuming and more expensive. Thanks for showing me up.

    Forever is a cobbler over your pie kinda guy.

  • Alford Bailey

    No, you are right. He has developed into a nice shooter. Was recruited as more of a passing point guard, though.

  • ForeverIU

    Okay, so I’ll just respond without directing questions to you. When you broadcast a comment on a public forum, you don’t own your space anymore, but of course you have every right not to respond to my response. Do I tend to respond to you more than others? Maybe, but maybe this means I value your opinion, or else I would not respond. I also think you have a great sense of humor, which is always a good thing.

  • Ole Man

    They also imply that the other coach made adjustments. Haven’t heard that mentioned anywhere.

    Edit: Now I see your comment below. Never mind 🙂

  • Ole Man

    Are you going to send him a cobbler now?

  • Ole Man

    Tell that to Oakland! LOL!
    Go Yanks!

  • ForeverIU

    Nothing tops a warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. I like that fusion of opposites, an exercise in compromise, lol.

  • Ole Man

    UP arrow; just because it’s thinking outside the box.

  • hgdownunder

    Remember the Kyrie Irving recruitment? At the time, I wondered if what the team really needed was the steroid boost of an undoubted one and done.

  • ForeverIU

    I think all I’ve done is cobbled my ITH friendship with Milla. Sigh. Lol.

  • Ole Man

    Laughed at loud at the image of your sweet, 90 year-old Aunt yelling over basketball.

  • Rie

    I find it quite impressive that you have managed to put the inconsistencies of the team on Yogi. Did you watch Indiana last season? He was a great distributor and was always probing the opposing defenses for the best opening possible. His defense lacked at times, but on the whole, he was a good man defender. He has not been the best rebounder, but I would put that on him trying to be the first guy down the court and the first guy back. With as much as he has to do on the court, I am willing to give him a pass on the intricacies of his game such as this rebounding or blocking out.

    Honestly, I am having a very hard time of understanding how Yogi was supposed to play this season. It was lose/lose for him with the fan base; people wanted him to shoot more and others wanted him to pass more. What if he had not developed such a reliable offensive game? We would be last in the B1G. At some point, I think people have to realize that a point guard who is 5’11”, game planned against, the only reliable scorer, the only reliable ball handler, and the only reliable player, in general, needs some alleviation to perform at his highest level. His surroundings this season were turnover prone, bad shooters, bad off the ball with movement, and etc.

    I agree he can benefit from focusing on the details, but blaming him in any capacity for our shortcomings this season is basically showing a lack of understating as to what took place this year.

  • Ole Man

    “Everything in moderation.”
    Right, Alex?

  • Ole Man

    Yogi was “slightly above average” as a distributor on a team with beaucoup shooters and scorers, last year.
    Not putting it all on Yogi, because I think that would be an exaggeration.
    Just disagree with your “conclusions”, such as “blaming him in any capacity……”.
    Yogi had to score for us this year. Sometimes he took on too much as a scorer. That was obvious to all.
    But, to those piling on Yogi, get a grip.

  • Ole Man

    Apple’s good. Peach, in season, takes the cake.
    And I hear that Fedex will overnight to North Carolina!

  • Rie

    Right, maybe I went too much on the defensive, but everything this season with him is circumstantial and should be looked at that way. It is hard for Yogi to find a level to operate consistently, when our rotations and substitutions were anything but that. I really believe the criticism in regards to him doing too much or too little are misguided. Also, the fact our offense did not change does not help much; the lack of pick n rolls we do, considering we have Yogi and Noah, is baffling. Either way, Yogi can still improve greatly, but I honestly believe we will not truly see how great he is until he has some reliable scorers and ball handlers to pass to.

  • ForeverIU

    Admittedly, I am not a coach (see my new avatar, it says “couch coach”), but I would like to explore a few notions:

    1) More than any time in recent years, Crean wants to develop as large a pool of players as possible and give them valuable game experience. And thus the large rotations. The more you do this regularly, the less you have to do it regularly. Our team was great last year, and Crean had to do what he had to do to win. But many players (other than the starters, who mostly left) didn’t get enough game time, and we are suffering because of it now. Next year will be our first year with two sets of recruits, one new, and one older, who are ready to be game starters. This could not have happened without the rotations, not only number of minutes played, but the particular game situations in which players played, thus maybe the higher frequency (and thus the fabled Crean folder). I can never guess Crean’s thinking, but I think he might have prioritized building over winning in certain cases, not that the two can’t serve one another.

    2) All teams depend on momentum, this abstraction which we attribute to the edge you get from pure motion (physical or mental), that force you possess purely from being in motion. All teams depend on it, but some more than others. This is partly the half-time killer for us. The other team suffers from momentum kill at the beginning of the second half, but might not be dependent on it as much as we are, primarily because of being young. Mature, seasoned, championship-type teams, are able to hold the fort, so to speak, even in the relative absence of momentum. It is as much mental as physical focus. Again, this is a theory/hypothesis, but I think young teams are more momentum sensitive than older ones. Meaning, the more pauses we have, the worse we tend to do, just from the momentum perspective (which might be outweighed by other factors, such as the need to switch game plans and thus go for a timeout). So the decision to take a time-out is always a choice to deny us one of our edges.

    I really do think the youth factor is more pronounced in our case. Only B1G team that starts three freshmen. But we will be a much stronger team for it next year, especially if Noah leaves.

    Just some thoughts. I am not very articulate right now, stream of thought …

  • CreanFaithful

    CTC almost always has the starting 5 in the game when we get beat down the hardest by the opposing team (right after halftime). That does not support rotations as being the issues.

  • CreanFaithful

    Your doc seems to have have his finger on the pulse of Hoosier nation. Lol!

  • CreanFaithful

    That was my first thought as well. Not to mention, we are outscoring opponents in the 25-30 min range. So, losing team adjusts at half time and comes out strong against the Hoosiers. 5 min into the second half, the Hoosiers adjust and punch back. Just as probable (if not more probable) than people using this stat to indicate CTC getting out coached.

  • SCHoosier

    “These things (over signings) tend to work themselves out.”..Tom Crean

  • MillaRed

    ha ha

  • MillaRed

    We’re fine. Just on different bandwagons. It’s all good.

  • CreanFaithful

    Seriously, is there another player with the initials YF? Cause Yogi is nothing like you just described…

  • calbert40

    A Yankees fan?! You just went WAY down on my favorite ITHers list!

  • Rie

    So you believe one or two players in an over-signing situation is the same thing as having a “roster shake up”?

  • Rie

    Sorry, I was just going into a rotation rant, not actually sticking to the time frame the article is referencing, but rather, responding to Milla addressing the “tired” thing and the rotation stuff he mentioned. Was not clear.

  • Ole Man

    Well said 🙂

  • Ole Man

    I lived in the City. Who was I suppose to root for? The Mets? ROFL.


    I get exactly what you are getting at and find it very interesting to say the least. Had never heard of that kind of stat but had always wondered if there was something out there that took those type of factors into consideration. Would be kinda surprised if there isn’t a hybrid version of that being used by some teams. If they’re not it certainly is one that should be strongly considered.


    Exactly. The type of turnovers and the sheer number of those type of turnovers, by a senior with a lot of previous playing time, was what aggravated / puzzled me the most. Him doing that was something that I would never have thought would come to be at the beginning of the season.

  • OhioHoosier

    While I understand what you are saying in regards to last year, he was a strong shooter in high school

  • calbert40

    Yes! The NL is WAY better than the AL. It is “real” baseball. I’m saying that to you and other AL fans…like Alex. 🙂

  • calbert40

    I am a self-professing stats geek, Mike, so I eat stuff like this up. BABIP is a really interesting tool, and I don’t see why basketball couldn’t implement as similar tool. It simply measures how (un)lucky a team/player is over a given period of time.

    If you’ve ever watched a game and seen a player hit a hard liner, but the SS dives and catches it…and then seen a different player hit a dribbler down the 3rd baseline, but get a hit…this is why BABIP was invented. Obviously, the 1st hitter did a better job, but didn’t get a hit. Conversely, the 2nd hitter got fooled, but got lucky, so he made it on base. Over the course of the year, the theory used to be that these things “evened out,” but when you look at the stats, sometimes you see that they don’t over long stretches of time.

    That’s why I think our opponents propensity to hit nearly half of their 3s in the 5 minutes immediately after half may be PARTIALLY a function of us just being unlucky. We are 1st in the B1G at opponent’s 3FG percentage, but for a 5 minute stretch, we let them hit 45 percent? Something’s up in that stat. JMO.

  • wesmont

    I know a couple of guys who are North Carolina fans and they are complaining about their team having no shooters.Now who would say roy williams isn’t a great coach,but here his team ,like ours lacks shooters and both he and Crean go after Theo Pinson,a 5 star athletic wing not known as much of a shooter.Kind of makes you wonder…

  • Alford Bailey

    And I’m not saying don’t go after the Pinsons and Troy Williams but bring along a shooter in the class. IMO with the offense Crean runs and the player turnover we see these days, he should be landing a 4 star ish shooter every year. His system requires it.


    Alex probably keeps a stat on what generates a lot of comments and seen that a discussion of stats, is good for business, kind of a stat of stats thing I guess. lol


    Agree, was a lights out shooter at times in high school. He also seemed to be an, as needed scorer, in high school. When you can more or less turn it off and on like that speaks even more to him being an above average shooter IMHO. I think his sub-par shooting % last year was from a combination of things, adjusting to the game at the next level, deferring to upperclassmen, and maybe the biggest one was adjusting to shooting after having put on a lot of new muscle.

  • OhioHoosier

    Could not have said it any better.

  • calbert40

    You’re probably right! But just to show you how much of a stats geek I am, I was thinking about how you could compute this “luck” stat in basketball last night before I went to bed! I need help.

    Basically, if we allow 31 percent of opposing 3FGAs to go in on average, but during that 5 minute stretch, we allow 45 percent 3FGAs to connect, there is a 14 percent difference. That means that per every 100 3FGAs shot during that 5 minute stretch, our opponents would make 14 more shots than they would in the rest of the game with equal attempts.

    I’m no mathematician, so I’m certain what I have come up with is not fantastic, but I’ll use it as a starting point. Take our typical opposing 3FGM percentage multiply by 3 (points) and then again by 100 (number of possessions). Then divide that number by the sum of two quantities: that same number again AND our opposing 3FGM during the stretch in question.

    It would look like this: (31*3*100) / (31*3*100 + 45*3*100). That would be 9300 / (9300+13500). That comes up to 2.214.

    The way I look at that number is that our opponents are likely to make 2.2 3FGM during that 5 minute stretch. Six point swing. It sorta fits with the numbers we see too. But it is just me spitballing. 🙂


    Sounds like pretty sound spitballing to me. Sound spitballing, now there are two words that I never envisioned using together.

    You might want to check into this little gem that I noticed in the paper this morning:

    Opening for statistically obsessed person at Stats Are Us. Applicant must submit a sheet showing statistical chances of receiving job at end of interview and must show their work to support how they reached their statistical conclusion. After submission of this sheet applicant will be provided with enough data to determine their chances of receiving the job.

    Sounds like it would be right up your alley. lol

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Rie, I acknowledge your points. Very reasonable. My perspective seems different though. My view is that YF has been anointed “leader”. He also has more latent talent than most other college bballers. So I’m holding him to a higher standard. Maybe that is unfair in the eyes of others, but I don’t think it unreasonable. He has been given the wonderful opportunity to be IU men’s basketball’s team leader. Not many have that in front of them. Given my perspective, all I see are inconsistencies, many of which you seem to acknowledge in your post, although you seem to label them small while I label them big. I label them big because of his role on the team. I did watch IU last year and predicted to my friends that IU could not possibly win the NCAA if the ball stayed in his hands. It did, and it needed to be in others’ hands (IMHO). I wrote it off to inexperience (Freshman in a demanding position). A big part of that isn’t YF himself, its coaching…which of course is another related topic on these threads (and a contributing factor IMHO). Anyway, I see exactly the same thing this year out of Yogi. Will “better” teammates help…yes, of course. But my overall premise is that IF the ball is in his hands as much as it is AND if he is inconsistent then IU has limited upside as a team. IF he returns next year with a better understanding of his teammates, the game and a focus to detail, (including effort and attention both BIG in my view) THEN IU has substantial upside.

    Rie, again, I’m not trying to destroy YF. He has loads of potential. I am saying that so far, through two seasons, he has had the opportunity to LEAD IU (and thus I hold him to a higher standard than some of his teammates) and he seems to be very inconsistent in his efforts and attention. Lack of effort and attention seems a strange “red flag” considering his opportunity. I hope for maturity and improvements next year…from him and others.

    Rie, you state that without YF this team would have been last in the BIG10. I don’t agree that thats a foregone conclusion. Do you recall how the Denver Nuggets performed when Anthony left for NYC? Yeah, out of no where they started playing team ball and went further with it. I’m not prepared to say IU would have reacted the same, not at all, but its not lost on me that in basketball we see that sort of reaction somewhat frequently. Same this year for the LA Clippers…C Paul goes down with injury and now the team is better for it (so the experts, coach, teammates say). Same this year for OKC (KD said he now understands the game better after Westbrook was out). Food for thought, anyway.

    I see your post below and we agree 100% that the lack of pick/rolls (particularly with YF and NV) is baffling. Actually baffling is a kind word after watching this season.

    Thanks for the discussion points. They are interesting.