Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hoosiers Turn It Over Lots, But Also Turn Over Boilermakers

A big win by the Hoosiers last night makes the Big Ten a three pony race.  IU, Purdue, and Wisconsin all stand with two losses (although Purdue has 12 wins, while IU and Wisconsin have 11).

It certainly wasn't the prettiest game I've seen (no good, bad, and ugly theme this post-game recap, as it was mostly ugly.)  IU turned the ball over 22 times according to our HD Box Score, or 23 times according to the Indianapolis Star's Box Score.  (They have D.J. White down for a third turnover.)  I have them with 24 turnovers, as they surely  threw it away once more while going down the tunnel after the game.  It was as sloppy as I've seen them handle the ball in quite some time.  That being said, it's par for Purdue to force teams into so many turnovers.  As Abs pointed out to me, Purdue ranks #11 at forcing turnovers.  The numbers sometimes do tell the story.

What the Hoosiers lacked in safeguarding the ball, they made up for in rebounding.  They were solid on the glass (except for a stretch in the second half where they allowed Purdue to make a comeback).  IU sported a +16 rebounding margin, which offset their strong desire to give a cold shooting team a chance by giving them extra possessions.  Purdue was not as sharp from the floor, shooting only 24% from behind the arc (they average 36%) and a dreadful 52% from the free-throw line (they average 71%).  Of course, the numbers tell the story for the FT%, because as we've pointed out before (here and here), the Hoosier's bring out the worst in other teams at the free-throw line.  In fact, they continue to sport the 3rd best FT defense in the nation... 62%.  Abs and I laugh about this being the X-factor.

D.J. White starting was a surprise to me, but not so much as the 36 minutes he played.  Early reports indicated he'd miss a few weeks, and he clearly wasn't 100% but he was still very sharp.  The Hoosiers went to him early and established his presence in the low post.  They came away empty, but it set a tone and Purdue usually looked to double-team him.  His 19 points were a great contribution, but I believe his 15 rebounds were even more valuable.  Either way, a double-double from a player expected to be out for a knee injury is a well-received contribution.  Purdue didn't have the big bodies to match, and so it changed the focus of the game to have him play.  I have doubts as to the outcome of this game if he didn't.  I'm not suggesting the Hoosiers lose, but it's a much different game without him.

Our readers (both of them) know about our affinity for Kyle Taber and he was brilliant last night.  3/3 shooting for 6 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 21 minutes.  That's a good line, but what doesn't show up in the stat line is the constant screening that he did, particularly at the elbow and higher.  The Hooseirs are not a pick and roll team, but the high screen is essential for allowing Gordon and Bassett the ability to gain a step and drive to the hole.  Repeatedly we saw Gordon step through double-teams, and the seam was created by the screen.

Armon Bassett's play was also sparkling.  He shot a perfect 4 of 4 from beyond the arc, and was extremely effective in drive and dish attacks.  His +22 +/- rating and this lofty 2.17 Points Per Weighted Shot tell the story.  He was on the bench during the second half run where Purdue closed the gap to 2 points.  I had been yelling at the TV for Sampson to put him back in.  Once he got back in, Indiana built their lead back up to stay.

Eric Gordon had a tough night shooting, but showed that he knows how to use his quickness to drive and draw fouls.  He has a toughness that goes under-appreciated.

Brent Musburger is terrible.   How is he gainfully employed by ESPN?  I kept yelling at him to talk about THIS game, talk about THESE players.  When there weren't long pauses (presumably where Steve Lavin was poking him to wake him up)  there were inane pontifications about how much a hot dog and a soda cost at Mackey Arena, or how Midwestern barber shops are the best places to get your hair cut and learn what folks are talking about.Brent Musberger

Lavin has a sharp coaching perspective and if set up, can deliver some gems that you might not see.  But he was never set up.  It must make him want to return to coaching more than anything.

1 comment:

Abs said...

I went to the recording to figure out the turnover situation, and the play by play was wrong. There was a mess of a sequence that didn't make sense. Now, it looked to me like a foul on Taber, but it seems to have been scored as a steal from DJ White by Calasan, immediately followed by a Taber foul. And that's fine, because an offensive foul would ruin Taber's perfect "do no evil" offensive performance. Either way, 23 TO's is the right number for the team (not counting the one in the tunnel), and that slightly changes a few of the calculated numbers. I updated the HD Box score with the new numbers.