Born and raised in Indiana, I have enjoyed this unexpected run from our Hoosiers just as well as anybody. However, several adjustments need to be made in order for the boys in the candy striped pants to have a successful run in the big show in March and cement into the minds of our highly ranked recruiting class that they made the right decision. Although I think a win over both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country may have already done that.
The first aspect of improvement that needs to be made is our turnover ratio. The Hoosiers certainly take advantage when the change of possession is in favor of Indiana as we work extremely well in transition with athletic guys like Oladipo and Sheehey and with freshman Cody Zeller being an exceptionally athletic big man who can run the floor well. Despite all that, we rank 126th overall in turnover margin. Successful teams take care of the ball, and clearly that is something that Indiana needs to start doing. Another aspect of the Hoosiers’ game that needs delving into is our ability to rebound on both sides of the ball. Being able to take away your opponents’ second chances and also to reward your own team with their own second opportunities is a vital characteristic of successful basketball teams. Pulling down just under 35 boards a game is not going to get the job done in the March tournament. A big man like Cody Zeller will need to provide big production in that department in order to give the Hoosiers a chance to make sure their season does not end prematurely. He needs to have a fire sparked under him that convinces him he should pull down every missed shot no matter what. The last attribute has to do with our unprecedented ability to shoot the 3-ball efficiently. Everyone who loves Hoosier Hysteria has been awed by our veterans in senior Matt Roth and junior Jordan Hulls and their ability to knock every light out of Assembly Hall on occasion. With 6 member of the lineup shooting at least 44% from behind the arc, it is certainly something that needs to be taken advantage of in order to maintain their scoring habits. However, as we’ve witnessed the unconscious performances, we have also succumb to the ice cold droughts most notably everywhere except for Assembly Hall. This is the result of poor shot selection as well as not rotating the ball quickly enough to the opposite side in order to find the open man. Matt Roth, shooting an improved 55% on the year, speaks for himself in his ability to efficiently shoot the ball especially when wide open. Running these double screens and targeting Hulls and Roth does nothing if the shot is not quickly created by effective ball movement. Lethargic passing leads to these poor shot making decisions. This could all be avoided by speeding up the ball around the arc.
If the tournament were to be drawn today, the Hoosiers could be seeded as highly as a 4 seed, according to ESPN.com’s bracketology. This would leave Indiana in a position to not meet third-ranked Ohio State until the third round. As the long as the Hoosiers can buckle down on the road and feed their multiple weapons they have, they could provide all of Bloomington, IN with a great show and plenty of pride to go around looking forward to next year when it will only get better.