Tuesday, March 3, 2009
On a side note, if you're getting ready to purchase those season tickets and finding the deadline is quickly approaching, there's now a way to get an almost instant cash advance online. Getting access to your money has never been faster or easier....and just a click away.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Taber, to everyone's surprise, started against Northwestern on February 3, 2008, and played 24 scoreless minutes with 4 rebounds, a block, and a turnover. From that point forward, Taber played in every game, exceeding 20 minutes four times, and playing at least 10 minutes in 10 of IU's 13 remaining games. Taber was a model of offensive efficiency, shooting only when a basket was certain. He shot 0-1 against NU but then made all nine of his attempts for the rest of the season. He shot 5-6 from the line, pulled down 3 rebounds per game, and turned the ball over only 5 times in 207 minutes. As I noted many times last year, he was a classic do-no-harm player. He played minutes without making a huge positive impact, but with virtually no negative impact.
Unsurprisingly, with a larger role this season, he hasn't been quite as effective, but he has been very solid: in 24 minutes per game, he has shot 50 percent from the field and pulled down 5 rebounds per game. Like nearly all members of this team, more has been asked of Taber than is realistic, yet he has handled it well. Taber has had a front row seat for one of the most turmoil filled periods in IU basketball history: he witnessed the contentious last two years of the Davis era, the entire Sampson era and all that entailed, and the unique first season of Tom Crean. Thanks, Kyle.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Current record: 19-9 (8-7)
Current RPI: 61
Current Sagarin: 57
Current Pomeroy: 74 (8-7)
2007-08 record: 15-16 (7-11)
2007-08 RPI: 155
2007-08 Sagarin: 115
2007-08 Pomeroy: 108
Series: IU leads 27-5 (25-5 since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1992-93)
Last Penn State win: 1/17/2009 (65-55 in Bloomington)
Last IU win: 1/20/2008 (81-65 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in University Park: 1/13/2007 (84-74)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6 pm Saturday, BTN
IU has lost to Penn State only five times since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1992-93, and I feel comfortable guessing that the Lions have never been so heavily favored against IU as they will be tomorrow night. PSU, like Northwestern, won at Assembly Hall for the first time ever this season, and a win tomorrow night will give PSU its first-ever season sweep of IU. Penn State is firmly in NCAA contention, but the lackluster computer ratings suggest that the Lions still have some work to do. It goes without saying that Penn State can't afford to lose to IU. Penn State concludes its schedule with a home game against Illinois and a road trip to Iowa, and Penn State probably needs two wins to feel relatively comfortable.
Penn State, like so many other Big Ten teams, plays a slow-paced offense (ranked below 300 in possessions per game) and takes good care of the ball. Limiting turnovers, defensive rebounding, three point shooting, and perimeter defense have allowed Penn State to move out of the lower echelon. Penn State completely shut down IU's offense in the last game. Defense and taking care of the ball allowed Penn State to overcome a less than impressive shooting performance.
The previews are getting a bit stale, I realize, but there's not much to say. IU faces a much better team tomorrow, and will need a well-above-average performance to have a chance to win.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Also, if self-reports of these sorts of violations are front page news, perhaps the Star should recall that the open records statute applies to all publicly supported institutions, and most states have similar laws. The Star says that these things are commonplace, and IU's critics will try to turn this into a big deal. Perhaps the Star should find out what Purdue, Ball State, Indiana State, IUPUI and others are reporting on a regular basis, if anything, or even other Big Ten schools in neighboring states.
Current record: 14-11 (5-9)
Current RPI: 78
Current Sagarin: 64
Current Pomeroy: 82
2007-08 record: 8-21 (1-17)
2007-08 RPI: 191
2007-08 Sagarin: 190
2007-08 Pomeroy: 158
Series: IU leads 107-44
Last Northwestern win: 1/29/2009 (77-75 in Evanston)
Last IU win: 2/23/2008 (85-82 in Evanston)
Last Northwestern win in Bloomington: 1/13/1968 (86-81)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6:30 Wednesday, BTN
In the first game, neither defense excelled, and both teams turned the ball over quite a bit. For IU, that is typical. for Northwestern, it is not. In conference games, NU allows 1.09 points per possessions, just a touch better than IU's 1.10. On offense, NU is marginally better. Both teams are shooting well from three point range during Big Ten games (NU 37 percent, IU 36.8 percent). On the other hand, the teams are the two worst defensively against the three. IU rebounds significantly better on both ends of the court. NU's main advantage, statistically, comes from turnovers. NU is first the conference both in taking care of the ball and in forcing turnovers on the other end. In the first game, both teams turned it over a bunch and both teams shot 12-23 from behind the arc. If IU is to win, the Hoosiers will have to take better care of the ball, do whatever they did to force NU to cough it up, and find a way to stop Kevin Coble, Craig Moore, and Michael Thompson.
Northwestern has never won at Assembly Hall. That was true of Penn State until a few weeks ago, but Penn State has been in the conference only since 1993. Northwestern, a charter member of the Big Ten, is 0-32 in Assembly Hall and hasn't won in Bloomington since 1968, when IU played at what then was known as the "new fieldhouse." In the 101 years since IU and NU first played in basketball, the Wildcats have won in Bloomington on 12 times, and eight of those were before the NCAA Tournament era began in 1939. I'm not sure how, but IU simply has to win this game.
Monday, February 23, 2009
|Last week's ballot|
Here it is. Let me say this. Basketball polls are hard. There are more teams, more games, less uniformity in scheduling, less ability to rely mostly on overall record. I'm not sure how I feel about my ballot.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
This wasn't the turnover-fest I expected. In 72 possessions, IU turned the ball over 16 times, 22.2 percent. This is my own math, not Pomeroy's, but if my numbers are correct, this would be one of IU's best 8 or 9 performances of the season in terms of turnovers. If I could have made a single prediction about this game, I would have predicated a minimum of 22 turnovers. It's also a significant improvement over last season's lone game against Purdue, in which IU turned the ball over on 32 percent of its possessions. While IU's offensive numbers were acceptable, even surprisingly good, across the board, Purdue's were significantly better. IU shot 50 percent; Purdue shot 57 percent. Purdue turned the ball over only 14 times, and made 7 three pointers to IU's 3. Neither team shot well from the line, but Purdue had more opportunities (6-13 for IU; 18-33 for Purdue). Rebounding was fairly even.
As for the individuals:
- Verdell Jones has played well in the last two games. He scored 16 points on 7-12 from the field. He had 4 turnovers but 5 assists.
- Tom Pritchard had his best game in a while. He scored 12 points (first time in double digits since January 25 against Minnesota) on 6-11 from the field and had 8 rebounds.
- Kyle Taber was 5-7 from the field and finished with 10 points, although he fouled out.
- Devan Dumes continues to struggle a bit: he scored 7 points on 2-7 from the field and turned the ball over four times.
For the Boiler perspective, here is Hammer and Rails.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Current record: 20-6 (9-4)
Current RPI: 20
Current Sagarin: 10
Current Pomeroy: 12
2007-08 record: 24-7 (15-3) (lost to Xavier in second round of NCAA Tournament)
2007-08 RPI: 42
2007-08 Sagarin: 27
2007-08 Pomeroy: 23
Series: Purdue leads 107-84
Last IU win: 2/19/2008 (77-68 in Bloomington)
Last Purdue win: 2/15/2007 (81-68 in West Lafayette)
Last IU win in West Lafayette: 3/1/2006 (70-59)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 2 pm Saturday, BTN
As I said, I don't have much time today, and this game probably doesn't warrant it. Purdue is much better than IU, apparently has a healthy Robbie Hummel, is playing at home, it's a rivalry game in which there is no chance that Purdue will mail it in, the game will tip off less than 39 hours after the end of the Wisconsin game.
Purdue is reasonably proficient on offense, but the Boilers are in the Big Ten title hunt and the high-seed discussion because they have one of the best defenses in the country in nearly every sense imaginable. Purdue is #2 in adjusted defensive efficiency (and raw efficiency, for that matter), and they allow only .86 points per possession. Purdue forces lots of turnovers (23.6 percent of possessions), plays excellent field goal defense, you name it. In offensive rebounding, Purdue is merely above average, ranking #134 in D-I. To make matter worse, Purdue has two players, JaJuan Johnson and Hummel, who really are unguardable by any current Hoosier. This could be every bit as ugly as the Bucket game.
Travis at Hammer and Rails has a much more detailed look at things than I do. H&R is the new Purdue blog on SB Nation, replacing Travis's personal blog Off the Tracks. SB Nation is making a push to fill out its college coverage, and Wisconsin and Illinois blogs either are now or soon will be live. I'll provide more details later, but I will be joining SB Nation as its IU blogger in the near future. I don't have a firm start date yet, but I'll keep you posted.
- This was IU's slowest paced game of the season, 57 percentages, so the 15 turnovers weren't any better than usual.
- The game stats don't really tell the story in this one: IU shot 50 percent in the first half and only 27.8 percent in the second half.
- The free throw shooting was better: 15-19. That sort of shooting would have won a couple of more games for IU if done in close games.
- IU rebounded reasonably well at the defensive end, not so well at the offensive end.
- Verdell Jones was reasonably effective driving to the basket, scoring 16 points on 7-14 from the field. Still, 2 assists to 4 turnovers.
- Devan Dumes was a bit rusty, shooting 1-6 from the field on his return from a two game suspension.
- Malik Story scored 11 points on 5-8 from the field.
- Tom Pritchard continues to struggle: only 4 points on 2-5 shooting in 24 minutes of play, and 5 rebounds.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
- Bob Knight would have suspended Dumes before the season (even though the conduct for which Dumes was suspended began in the Northwestern game);
- "the system's not designed for sleepy backwaters like Bloomington, Indiana, to have powerhouse teams" (I wonder if Chandler has ever been to Lawrence, Kansas, the home of the 2008 NCAA Champs, a town that is very similar to Bloomington in size, character, and proximity to a semi-major city);
- "Tom Crean — even though he hasn't really had a chance to prove what he can do with his own players — isn't the answer."
- "Have you been to Bloomington? What multi-talented player is going to go there to play for Tom Crean?"
After he was savaged by his own commenters and in various other places, Chandler came back for more today, pronouncing himself "guilty...with an explanation." He began with a pithy explanation of his devotion to Bob Knight, a mid-1980s interview with the coach, and so on. It turns out that Chandler, despite no ties to Indiana or to IU, is a hardcore Knight fan, which is fine. He made something of a pilgrimage to Bloomington in 1987 and caught an IU game and continued to make the trip regularly. And then, because he made a trip once a year for less than a decade, tells us: "But be aware that you're in my wheelhouse on this one. I've been watching the situation for more than 20 years. And I've been taking notes."
Wow, thanks, Rick! I've lived in Indiana for nearly all of my life, but you used to show up for a few days a year, and you took notes! Please, educate me about my home state and my alma mater. Unfortunately, Chandler's mea culpa contains nearly as much bullshit as the first:
- First, and perhaps a minor quibble, but I think it shows the lack of care that Chandler has given to his work: he claims to have watched Damon Bailey play on his home court in something called the "semifinals of the state playoffs." First, as anyone from Indiana knows, there is the sectional, the regional, the semistate, and the state finals. Which was it? "Semifinals of the state playoffs" has no meaning to anyone who actually follows Indiana high school basketball. Really, it doesn't matter what round it was, because as this site shows, Bedford-North Lawrence didn't play any state tournament games on its home court in 1987 or in any other year of Bailey's career. All sectional and regional games were at Seymour; the semistates were at Evansville and Terre Haute, and the state finals in Indianapolis. In other words, all of the wax-poetic bullshit about "Bedford's gym" just doesn't hold up. (There must have been some nacho cheese on that page of Rick's notes).
- "No, that magical, John Feinsteinian year of 1987 is gone forever." The "season on the brink" was 1985-86 and Feinstein's book was published in 1986.
- "Yeah, he had blue chippers, but the bulk of his rosters were always populated by JC transfers (Keith Smart, Dean Garrett) and local kids (Bailey, Joe Hillman, Alford) which he took and beat the likes of Syracuse and Shaquille O'Neal's LSU in the Big Dance." Ah, where to start. First, Smart and Garrett were the first juco transfers that Knight ever took [this isn't quite right--Andre Harris was there the year before, and Courtney Witte a couple of years earlier]. His excellent 1991-93 teams had no juco transfers. So, the 1987 team was the only of Knight's excellent teams that was populated to any degree by Juco transfers. Joe Hillman was from California. I'm not sure what definition of blue chippers Chandler is using, but Bailey and Alford were elite recruits who would have been welcome anywhere. The team that beat Shaq in the 1992 tournament included three NBA first rounders (Alan Henderson, Calbert Cheaney, and Greg Graham). Isiah Thomas was an elite recruit from Illinois. Scott May and Quinn Buckner were from Ohio and Illinois, respectively. Kent Benson, while local, was an elite recruit who could have played anywhere. There's certainly no disagreement that Knight was an excellent coach who got the most out of his players, but come on. He wasn't doing it with smoke and mirrors.
- He then tries to backpedal on the "backwater" comments: "what I mean by basketball backwater is that the Hoosiers will always take a back seat to Duke and North Carolina and UCLA and even Wake Forest and UConn." Come on, Rick. If you are going to strike an apologetic pose, stop bullshitting us! By backwater, you meant that you think Bloomington, because it's a small, somewhat out-of-the-way town, would be a tough place to attract blue chip talent. That's why you said, "Have you been to Bloomington? What multi-talented player is going to go there to play for Tom Crean?" I would respect you more if you had the courage of your convictions, Rick. I think it's a stupid point (explain to me what makes Lawrence and Storrs and Chapel Hill and Durham and Winston-Salem and East Lansing so much more inherently attractive), but we know exactly what you meant, and respect you less for not admitting it.
I realize that some of these points are nit-picky, but if some non-resident doofus is going to lecture us about Indiana (both state-of and IU) basketball, his "wheelhouse," he better as hell have his facts straight. Rick Chandler doesn't. He also won't stand by the assertions that he made in his sloppy initial post, crafting a dishonest dodge about what he meant by "backwater." No one actually knows what the next two or five or twenty years hold for IU basketball, but it's an odd argument indeed that the tradition and fan support that arise from Bob Knight's excellence are some sort of disadvantage. I do know that whenever it happens, Rick Chandler will say, "well, I didn't mean that Indiana would never get back to the Elite Eight."
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Current record: 16-9 (7-6)
Current RPI: 30
Current Sagarin: 30
Current Pomeroy: 32
2007-08 record: 31-5 (16-2, Big Ten champion/Big Ten Tournament champion; lost to Davidson in NCAA Sweet 16)
2007-08 RPI: 10
2007-08 Sagarin: 5
2007-08 Pomeroy: 5
Series: IU leads 94-57
Last IU win: 1/31/2007 (71-66 in Bloomington)
Last Wisconsin win: 2/13/2008 (68-66 in Bloomington)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 pm Thursday, ESPN
(I thought the game was tomorrow, but it's Thursday. Here's the preview anyway).
After two excellent seasons, the Badgers have settled back to Earth this season, and the Badgers cannot afford to lose to IU, even on the road. Wisconsin has rallied admirably from a six game losing streak, and has won four in a row, including home wins against Illinois and Ohio State and a road win at Penn State. Not long ago, Wisconsin was a Big Ten laughingstock and went 46 seasons (from 1947 to 1994) without a single NCAA Tournament appearance. Now, Wisconsin has been to the tournament ten consecutive years and 11 of the last 12. Only Michigan State has a longer current tournament streak among Big Ten programs. Of the Badgers' five remaining games, two are against IU, but the Badgers still have to travel to Michigan State and Minnesota.
The main tempo free difference between this year's Badgers and the excellent teams of 2007 and 20008 is on the defensive side. UW's usually dominant defense is merely above average. Wisconsin's field goal defense and defensive turnover and steal percentages are pedestrian or worse, although they remain among the nation's leaders in defensive rebounding. On the offensive side, the Badgers continue to excel at taking care of the ball. As always, the Badgers play at a very slow pace, only 60 possessions per game (#331 of 344 teams).
The ageless Marcus Landry leads the Badgers at 12.9 points per game, and is shooting 50 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the arc. Virtually all of Wisconsin's top 7 scorers are legitimate threats to shoot three pointers. Jon Leuer, who is 6-10, is shooting only 28 percent from behind the arc, but still takes 1.6 from there per game, and could present a matchup problem, as could Landry if he drags seemingly exhausted Tom Pritchard out to the perimeter. I wouldn't be surprised to see some novel defensive looks for Crean in this game.
Monday, February 16, 2009
|Last week's ballot|
IU's turnover numbers were modestly better. They turned the ball over 13 times in a 59 possession game. The slow pace exaggerates it a bit, but the 22 percent figure still makes it one of IU's better performances of the season in that regard. On the downside, the rebounding stats, one of the few bright spots of IU's trip to Illinois, were almost completely reversed in this game. The Hoosiers pulled down only 25 percent of their own misses (second worst performance of the season) and Illinois ended up with 40 percent of its misses, IU's fourth worst performance of the season. Most disappointing was the 11-24 performance from the free throw line. Illinois committed 20 fouls to IU's 14, but IU could have made the game much more competitive by making a respectable number of free throws.
Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale led the way for Illinois, each scoring 16 points on 12 shots. Trent Meacham and Dominique Keller led the way during the road loss in Champaign, but didn't play huge roles today. Illinois's balanced offense could help the Illini in March. There was plenty of strutting and posing in the first half, which led to some sort of discussion/staredown between Tom Crean and Davis. I haven't read anything about it in the media, and Crean deflected a question about taunting during his press conference. In the second half, Calvin Brock got a technical for what appeared to be an inadvertent collision with Kyle Taber while dancing after a made basket. It was a tough call, but I'll take it as payback for the officials' refusal to T up Chester Frazier in Champaign last year.
As for IU's individuals:
- Tom Prtichard again wasn't much of a factor. He scored 7 points on 6 attempts and had 4 rebounds in 36 minutes.
- Kyle Taber, although chewed out by Crean late in the first half, had a game more reminiscent of his performances last season, when he wasn't asked to shoulder as much of a burden. He scored 5 points on 2-3 from the field, had 7 rebounds, and didn't turn the ball over. Do no harm.
- Matt Roth was IU's leading scorer, scoring 13 points on 4-7 from the field, 3-6 from behind the arc.
- Verdell Jones had a couple of nice plays, but 5 of IU's 13 turnovers.
- Devan Dumes sat out his second consecutive game as part of his indefinite suspension for elbows against Northwestern and Michigan State. I won't quote it, because it appears only as part of Peegs's premium content (i.e., the IU Pravda site didn't reproduce the whole press conference transcript), but there's at least a suggestion that IU is getting pressure from Jim Delany not to bring Dumes back quite yet. Figures.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Illinois fighting Illini
Current record: 20-5 (8-4)
Current RPI: 13
Current Sagarin: 13
Current Pomeroy: 22
2007-08 record: 16-19 (5-13)
2007-08 RPI: 99
2007-08 Sagarin: 73
2007-08 Pomeroy: 40
Series: IU leads 82-79
Last IU win: 2/7/2008 (83-79 in Champaign, double OT)
Last Illinois win: 1/10/2009 (76-45 in Champaign)
Last Illinois win in Bloomington: 2/3/2004 (51-49)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 1pm Saturday, CBS
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Neither offense looked very good, but the Gophers' shooting was even worse than IU's. The difference is that because of a +7 turnover differential and tremendous offensive rebounding by Minnesota (48.5 percent of their own misses), the Gophers attempted 55 field goals to IU's 37.
Verdell Jones, despite 5 turnovers, was very effective. He scored 18 points on 8 attempts, thanks to 8-8 from the line. Nick Williams scored 15 points on 7 shots because of 5-6 from the line. IU began the game 1-6 from the line but made 15 of its final 16 free throw attempts. Malik Story was fine offensively (9 points on 8 shots, but 5 turnovers). Most significantly, he played 24 minutes, in a road game no less, and committed only one foul. That's progress.
On the downside, Tom Pritchard may be hitting the wall. He hasn't scored in double figures in the last five games. Last night, he didn't score and fouled out in 27 minutes. Ditto Daniel Moore. Again, all of these guys are bearing more burden than any freshman typically has to bear. Still, 5 turnovers and 4 fouls in 13 minutes isn't a good output for a guy who doesn't shoot.
IU plays at home against Illinois on Sunday. It will be the Illini's first trip to Bloomington since last year's game in Champaign, and it will be interesting to see how the crowd greets Bruce Weber and Chester Frazier.
The Daily Gopher's take is here.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
IU's schedule will be a bit tougher this season. IU still plays Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky, Akron (it's not clear if this game will be at home or on the road), and Western Michigan, but the addition of a BCS conference road game at least will keep us off the "worst schedule" lists. Also, IU drops Michigan State and Minnesota in favor of Michigan and Ohio State.
As for Virginia, former Jets coach Al Groh now is entering his ninth season in Charlottesville. Groh has won 56 percent of his games there, although he hasn't been quite as successful as his predecessor, the underrated George Welsh. Groh has led the Cavaliers to five minor bowl bids in his eight season there. After a Gator Bowl bid in 2007-08, UVa fell back to 5-7 last season. Groh is 2-2 against Big Ten schools, with a bowl win over Minnesota, a home win against Penn State, and road losses to Penn State and Wisconsin.
I have mixed feelings about this game. If IU, at this stage in the program's development, really wanted to play a BCS conference school, I would prefer a team in the Washington State or Iowa State mold. Still, if IU is a legitimate bowl contender, this is a winnable game. If it's not a winnable game, then IU probably isn't going anywhere anyway. Still, if IU is sitting a 5-7 with a 3 point loss at Charlottesville, there may be some second-guessing.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Current record: 18-5 (6-5)
Current RPI: 25
Current Sagarin: 32
Current Pomeroy: 48
2007-08 record: 20-14 (8-10), lost to Maryland in first round of NIT
2007-08 RPI: 98
2007-08 Sagarin: 78
2007-08 Pomeroy: 61
Series: IU leads 88-65
Last Minnesota win: 1/25/2009 (67-63 in Bloomington)
Last IU win: 3/5/2008 (69-55 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in Minneapolis: 1/17/2008 (65-60)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 p.m. tonight, BTN
As I noted before the last game, the Gophers present particular problems for IU because their strength's match IU's weaknesses. Minnesota leads the nation in blocked shot percentage, is #9 in steal percentage, and #44 in defensive turnover percentage. In conference play, Minnesota ranks second to Northwestern in turnover percentage and is the by-far leader in block percentage (over 11 percent of attempts, compared to about 3 percent by IU). The Gophers rank #3 in conference games in effective field goal percentage allowed. The Gophers have struggled a bit offensively in conference, shooting only 41.4 percent from the field (#10 in the conference, one spot behind IU) and only 32.5 percent from behind the arc (IU ranks #2 in the conference at 39 percent). Even Blake Hoffarber hasn't been immune. The Gophers have struggled with turnovers, surrendering the ball on 22.6 percent of their possessions, almost as bad as IU's 25 percent.
It's hard to be optimistic about this game. Minnesota is at home, needs a win, and should be able to disrupt IU's offense. And IU will be playing without Devan Dumes, sitting out the first game of his indefinite suspension for throwing some elbows against MSU and in earlier games.
For the Minnesota side, be sure to check out the Daily Gopher. From the Barn has a preview up, and advocates treating it as an exhibition game, essentially. With Dumes out, Minnesota probably could get away with it, but that seems like an odd perspective considering that the game in Bloomington was within a one point margin with 29 seconds remaining.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Current record: 18-4 (8-2)
Current RPI: 4
Current Sagarin: 7
Current Pomeroy: 14
2007-08 record: 27-9, 12-6 (lost to Memphis in NCAA Sweet 16)
2007-08 RPI: 13
2007-08 Sagarin: 15
2007-08 Pomeroy: 15
Series: IU leads 65-44
Last Michigan State win: 3/2/2008 (103-74 in East Lansing)
Last IU win: 2/16/2008 (80-61 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in East Lansing: 2/28/1991 (62-56)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 4 pm, ESPN
While conventional wisdom suggests that the Big Ten does not have a great team this season, but absent an inexplicable home losses to Northwestern and Penn State a couple of weeks ago, the Spartans would be in control of the Big Ten race and in the thick of the one-seed discussion. Of course, Penn State and Northwestern are much better than usual, but it would be interesting to know the highest in the Big Ten standings a team has finished in a season in which it lost at home to both Penn State and Northwestern.
I digress because I don't have much to say about this game. It appears to be IU's second most hopeless remaining game, ahead only of the trip to Mackey in a couple of weeks. This team is yet another example of the classic Izzo formula: good shooting plus excellent offensive rebounding equals an incredibly efficient, if not pretty, offense. On the defensive side, the Spartans excel only at rebounding, but that's enough to make MSU's defense very effective. Unlike matchups against the likes of Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, and even Ohio State and Illinois, MSU seems likely to manhandle the Hoosiers. Currently, the Spartans rank #3 nationally in offensive rebounding, coming up with 42.2 percent of their own misses, and #8 in defensive rebounding percentage, limiting opponents to 27 percent of their misses. MSU doesn't take all that many three pointers, but they choose carefully, ranking #44 nationally with 37.8 percent shooting from behind the arc, and thanks presumably in large part to second chance points, the Spartans shoot over 50 percent from inside the arc. MSU doesn't take particularly good care of the ball and doesn't force many turnovers, but the Spartans play solid field goal defense and rarely allow or miss out on a second chance.
Of course, the subtext in this game is the first conference game between Izzo and his protege, Tom Crean. They previously met in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007, and MSU defeated Marquette. Many IU fans will be wondering if they are watching a preview of future IU teams? To some degree, that seems likely. The one thread that runs through Crean's good and mediocre Marquette teams is excellent offensive rebounding. Marquette under Crean never really excelled on the defensive boards the way Izzo's teams do, but Crean's teams also tended to be more perimeter oriented, with more three point shooting, and also look a bit better on turnovers on both sides of the ball.
The only positive for tomorrow is that Raymar Morgan, MSU's #2 scorer and #2 rebounder, will miss his second consecutive game because of walking pneumonia. Still, the Spartans, with Kalin Lucas, Goran Suton, and a host of others, even a competitive loss by IU would be a surprise.
For the Spartan side of things, be sure to check out this preview from Spartans Weblog, one of the finest basketball-focused blogs around. As KJ notes, IU may be starting to show the Izzo-Crean influence already. In conference games, IU ranks #3 in offensive rebounding percentage and #2 in defensive rebounding percentage, and #3 in three point percentage (41 percent, thanks in large part to great games from Matt Roth and Devan Dumes in the last week.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
- Devan Dumes was perhaps even better than Matt Roth was against OSU. Dumes scored 27 points on 8-9 from the field (including 5-5 from behind the arc) and 6-8 from the line.
- Nick Williams scored 14 points on 9 attempts, thanks to 6-6 from the line. He also had 9 rebounds.
- Malik Story scored 9 points on 8 attempts. Unfortunately, Story committed 3 fouls in 15 minutes, which limited his play. Story is averaging a foul every 7.6 minutes, every 6.8 minutes in Big Ten play. Story has quite a bit of potential, but has to find a way to stay on the court.
- Tom Prtichard is struggling a bit. He scored only 2 points and fouled out.
- Fortunately, Kyle Taber picked up the slack with one of his best games as a Hoosier. Seven points on six shots, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks.
Well, that's a relief. We'll leave the 0-fers to Northwestern. IU goes to Michigan State on Saturday, where the Hoosiers haven't won since 1991. Let's worry about that one tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
UPDATE: As the link now reflects, this was an uneventful signing day by modern standards. All eighteen commits signed: no additions, no subtractions.
Current record: 12-10 (2-7)
Current RPI: 88
Current Sagarin: 75
Current Pomeroy: 84
2007-08 record: 13-19 (6-12)
2007-08 RPI: 188
2007-08 Sagarin: 149
2007-08 Pomeroy: 116
Series: IU leads 93-69
Last Iowa win: 1/3/2009 (65-60 in Iowa City)
Last IU win: 1/23/2008 (65-43 in Bloomington)
Last Iowa win in Bloomington: 2/11/2006 (70-67)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6:30 pm, BTN
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Also, there is no doubt that IU is employing a close to home philosophy. Of IU's 18 commits, 17 are from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, or Michigan. The 18th is from Pennsylvania, within the Big Ten footprint. It will be interesting to see how IU under Lynch and Purdue, under new coach Danny Hope, compete both on the field and on the recruiting trail. From the looks of Purdue's class, they may not be moving in the same circles. Of Purdue's recruits, 13 are from Florida, none from Indiana, and a single recruit from Kentucky is the only Boiler commit who is from a state that is even contiguous to Indiana.
I don't mean to take this post in a "whose class is better" direction. IU's class is better in terms of star rankings, but there is such a glut of talent in places like Florida, Georgia, and Texas that many talented players are under the radar, and obviously Hope hopes that he has found those types of players. Still, I think Purdue's philosophy is good for IU. One of IU's great disadvantages has been being the #3 football school in a relatively small state. If Purdue simply declines to compete for Indiana kids, leaving IU as the first caller for good players who aren't quite good enough to get offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, etc., that's good. Again, that's not to say that one philosophy or the other is better. But it's long been conventional wisdom that it's tough for IU and Purdue to be good at the same time. In the last 25 years, Purdue was mostly horrible during the Mallory era, and IU was mostly horrible during the Tiller era. If Purdue is going to focus so heavily on outside recruits, that makes it more likely in my mind that both teams could be good at the same time.