Friday, November 20, 2009

I Was Wrong

So I predicted yesterday that the game between the Hoosiers and Rebels would be all about turnovers. It wasn’t. Predictably, the Hoosiers turned it over a lot. But that didn’t matter because they turned it over only one more time than Ole Miss did. The problem with turnovers is that they prevent you from taking shots. As it turned out, both teams took the exact same number of shots in the game. Mississippi just connected on more of them, probably because they were repeatedly able to knife down the lane for a layup or a dump-off for a dunk or layup by someone else (typically Murphy Holloway, who hit 12 of his 18 2 point shots) or an occasional wide-open 3. The Hoosiers had some, but less, of that, and their heretofore white hot shooting beyond the arc deserted them. Ken Pomeroy has pointed out that eFG% is far and away the most important of the four factors, and that (not TO% as I predicted) was certainly the case in this game.

Some other random thoughts:

  • IU’s spunk and fight was good. They made two solid pushes in the second half and never stopped fighting. That’s nice to see.
  • Jordan Hulls looked completely overmatched against the aggressive and quick Mississippi perimeter defenders. That was probably just some shock at the drastically improved quality of the competition.
  • Neither team seemed particularly interested in defensive rebounds. IU grabbed 45% of their own missed shots, outdone only by the Rebels getting to 47% of theirs.
  • Jeremiah Rivers is better for the team, but he needs to settle down a little. Twice in the half court, he probed the middle of the D with the dribble, then stopped, pivoted and fired a pass to the wing … where it bounced straight out of bounds. Later in the game, I heard Tom Crean holler to Jordan Hulls, “Jordan, see the open man!” after a turnover thrown to someone on the IU bench. That might be good advice for everyone handling the ball.
  • Speaking of handling, Verdell’s behind-the-back dribbling in traffic needs to stop. That move twice turned the ball over in the first half, once when it bounced off his back heel.
  • Regarding the importance of eFG%, 2 point jumpers are the most inefficient shots a player can take on the floor. This isn’t some conjecture of mine. It’s a fact. The Hoosiers took 24 of those shots out of 68 total shots from the floor, their highest percentage of this young season. Obviously, the defense plays a role in what shots the offense can take, but it would be nice to take fewer of those.

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