That’s A Wrap: Defense
Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today, the final installment: Indiana’s defense.
Final stats (32 games): 67.6 ppg, 41.2 FG %, 46.2 eFG %, 29.9 3P FG%, 35.6% FTR.
Indiana’s season was epitomized by its ups and downs. From the optimism of a 63-52 win against Michigan to the shock of an 11-point collapse to Penn State in the final minutes in Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers’ defense was prone to exactly that throughout the 2013-2014 season.
After losing almost all of their regular contributors over the offseason prior, the Hoosiers found a new identity that emphasized switching defenses and catching the opponents off-guard. It resulted in varying degrees of success throughout the season.
The Hoosiers held opponents to just a 29.9 clip beyond the arc this season — the best rate Indiana coach Tom Crean has ever had as a head coach. Despite the Hoosiers being undersized at times, opponents rebounded only 28 percent of their misses — also the best rate Crean has had as a head coach.
The highlights were plentiful on the defensive side this season: the main one being the Hoosiers shutting Michigan down in Assembly Hall on Feb. 2, and Wolverines coach John Beilein saying after the game “we hadn’t seen anything like” what the Hoosiers implemented, defensively. Another was the Hoosiers’ 72-64 win over Ohio State exactly a month later, when the defense held the Buckeyes to an 0-for-11 clip from beyond the arc.
But again, this was an up-and-down season.
There was 82-64 loss at Purdue. The collapse and loss to Penn State, in which the Hoosiers (with the help of turnovers) allowed an 11-point lead with 2:53 remaining to evaporate.
Overall, however, teams were able to penetrate the Hoosiers’ defense quite easily. The Hoosiers, in Big Ten play, allowed 53.7 percent of opponents’ points on 2-point shots (fourth-highest in the Big Ten) and a 2-point shooting rate of 50.8 percent (second-worst). The Hoosiers’ inside struggles were epitomized when 6-foot-10 freshman forward/center Noah Vonleh — the Big Ten’s leading rebounder — returned from a left foot inflammation injury yet was dominated by Illinois’s Nnanna Egwu in what would be Indiana’s final game of the 2013-2014 season in the Big Ten tournament.
And without Vonleh next season, the Hoosiers, as of right now, will have two players on the entire roster taller than 6-foot-8: Hanner Mosquera-Perea (7.7 minutes per game) and Peter Jurkin (1.4 minutes per game). The lack of size inside could, again, negatively affect the Hoosiers down the line.
Bottom Line: There were certainly shining moments for Indiana’s defense this season. It shut down the nation’s No. 1 offense in Michigan and had the conference’s leading rebounder in Vonleh. But for a team that finished the season 17-15, it had its bad moments as well. At times, you never knew which Indiana defense would show up (it could allow 19 points at Wisconsin in one half and 50 in the other), much like Indiana’s offense this season, as well. And looking ahead to next season, the Hoosiers will face a new challenge in making up for their newfound lack of size and experience up front.
Previously: Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams, Collin Hartman, Noah Vonleh, Devin Davis, Austin Etherington, Jeremy Hollowell, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Yogi Ferrell, Peter Jurkin, Will Sheehey, Jeff Howard, Evan Gordon, Offense
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