Some nights, you’re just off.
On Tuesday night, the nation’s most prolific offense just couldn’t find the rhythm and consistency that we’re all used to seeing. I kept waiting for the Hoosiers to get hot, but it just never happened.
Christian Watford ended his streak of double-digit scoring, tallying just 8 points in only played 18 total minutes. The first half of the game was somewhat of a nightmare for both Watford and Cody Zeller; they were a combined 0-9 from the field with a total of four points.
Zeller’s play was substandard at best, getting bullied and browbeaten on the block at both ends of the court.
Despite this, the Hoosiers were winning the game for the first 30 minutes. But in the final ten, they finally fell apart.
Indiana forced a lot of shots, point guard Yogi Ferrell especially. He was frantically bricking three pointers in the final few minutes of play, leading to one of his worst shooting performances of the season: 2 for 10 from the floor.
The player of the night was Minnesota’s center, Trevor Mbakwe, who looked more like Cody Zeller than Cody Zeller did. Mbakwe was superb in 25 minutes of play, scoring 21 points (on 8 of 10 shooting) and ripping down 12 boards, 6 of them on the offensive end.
Simply put, the Hoosiers got spanked on the glass and in the paint, and they lost the game because of it. Their poor shooting didn’t help either.
Let’s look at our Four Factors to see how each team fared in the different areas of the game:
The teams split the four categories, but Minnesota absolutely dominated on the offensive glass, and their OR% of 54.5% was clearly the difference.
The Hoosiers ended up with just one more total turnover (11), and one more made free throw attempt (20), so there clearly wasn’t much of a statistical difference there or in their respective Factors (TO% and FTR).
Let’s go and look back at the offensive rebounding percentage. We allowed 23 offensive rebounds. And I mean that literally and figuratively. I seriously took offense to how badly the Hoosiers were pushed around in the paint and the 21 second chance points Minnesota collected because of it.
You can still win a basketball game with an entirely unexceptional effective field goal percentage of 46.3% by simply just getting your team a greater number of shot attempts, which Minnesota did by out-rebounding Indiana repeatedly.
In the end, the Hoosiers shot their third lowest FG% of the season (42.3%), and it just wasn’t enough to overcome the Gopher’s dominance on the glass.
STAT OF THE GAME
Minnesota’s Offensive Rebounds: 23
As mostly everyone watching the game probably surmised, Minnesota’s 23 offensive rebounds and an offensive rebounding percentage of 54.5% were largely the difference in the outcome of the game.
Player-wise, a case could be made for Trevor Mbakwe’s performance as well, as he was clearly the best player on the court on Tuesday, but 23 offensive rebounds was the most Indiana had given up all season.
The second most? 19 offensive rebounds given up in our loss to Butler. Sounds like we might have identified a secondary weakness for this Hoosier team.
The biggest issue for Indiana has been their ability to take care of the ball, which, in all fairness, has improved markedly over the past five games. Come tournament time, however, Indiana will need to perform better on the offensive glass if they want to avoid losses like this one.
The Hoosiers head back to home to Bloomington to battle it out against the (18-10) Iowa Hawkeyes, who’ve only won two games on the road in conference play all season: a 20-point win over Northwestern, and a two-point win at Penn State.
Just two games ago, however, the Hawkeyes lost on the road to lowly Nebraska, 64-60. If they’re having trouble winning in Lincoln, the Hawkeyes might have their hands more than full with a Hoosier team that might looking to release their frustration over Tuesday’s rebounding debacle and subsequent loss to Minnesota.
Indiana hasn’t lost two in a row all season, and I fully expect the Hoosiers to bounce back stronger than ever on Saturday. Preview coming soon!