Friday Morning Links
- Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan to miss second straight game
“Does appear to be improving.”
- If Izzo’s Spartans can get fully healthy, watch out
Tom Izzo didn’t see the Super Bowl.
- Game 23: Penn State at Michigan Post Game
Manny Harris and Co. on the rebound going into next Tuesday’s game?
- Mike Krzyzewski and his coaches look similarly unhappy
This makes me smile.
Indiana Game Preview
4:00 Saturday. The Breslin Center. ESPN.
Going into this season, there were no expectations whatsoever for Indiana. Tom Crean had to basically recruit a brand new roster of players after the Kelvin Sampson fiasco. The Hoosiers were a virtual lock to finish in last place in the conference.
And, upon casual inspection, Indiana would appear to be as big a pushover as one could expect to find in a BCS conference:
- 6-15 overall record.
- Just one win in conference play–a home win over the second worst team in the conference.
- Ranked 190th-ish in the Kenpom/Sagarin ratings.
- Worst team efficiency numbers in conference play on both offense and defense.
Closer inspection reveals, however, that the Hoosiers might just be improving as the season goes on. Their efficiency numbers trail the next lowest teams in the league by just a tenth or two of a point (Iowa/Michigan on offense, Iowa/Northwestern on defense). And they’re showing some distinct strengths in conference play:
- Rebounding: IU ranks 3rd in the league in offensive rebounding percentage and second in defensive rebounding percentage (just ahead of MSU).
- 3-point shooting: IU ranks 2nd in the league in 3-point shooting at 41.3%.
The rebounding numbers, I think, reflect this is a team that works hard and hustles in a league that doesn’t place much emphasis on offensive rebounding. The 3-point shooting is more impressive, given that they don’t have any quality inside scoring options to draw defenders in; their 2-point shooting percentage of 43.1% is only slightly higher than their 3-point shooting percentage.
Offsetting those strengths are a multitude of weaknesses. A high turnover percentage 24.4%) and opposing free-throw rate (39.9%) indicate they’re overmatched defensively. And they’re allowing opponents to shoot the same 41.3% on 3-pointers.
Junior transfer Devan Dumes is leading the way on offense, averaging 15.0 points per game on 51.9% 3-point shooting in conference play. Dumes carried IU to that first conference win Wednesday night, scoring 27 points on 5-5 three-point shooting.
Freshman guard Matt Roth has also been extremely proficient shooting the ball beyond the arc (47.7%). Freshman Tom Pritchard (a high school teammate of Delvon Roe) is the main Hoosier player inside, averaging 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Senior Kyle Taber, the only returning player from last year’s team, is chipping in 5.6 boards per game.
Kenpom says blowout: 82-59 in a 69-possession game. As much as the Hoosiers may be getting incrementally better, it’s hard to see them keeping the outcome of this game in doubt past halftime. The talent gap is just too big. The first Izzo-Crean Big Ten showdown is not exactly a fair fight.
Three-point shooting is the only potential equalizer. And we know the MSU players will be keenly aware of the danger of allowing a less-talented opponent to get hot from 3-point range at the Breslin Center.