The weekend’s only matchup between Top 25 teams certainly delivered as Victor Oladipo and the Hoosiers withstood a furious 40-minute Michigan State three-point barrage to win their seventh consecutive game at Assembly Hall against a ranked opponent (dating back to last season), 75-70.
After center Adreian Payne hit two three pointers in the opening moments of the first half, Indiana knew it was going to get a fight from the Spartans. Payne ended up going 3 of 4 from beyond the arc (he had previously attempted a total of four threes all season), and Gary Harris added five of his own, as State finished 11 for 23 from range, surpassing their previous season high of eight against Purdue.
But despite five treys and 21 overall, Harris, the 2012 Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, wasn’t the best player on the court Sunday afternoon.
That honor was reserved for Indiana’s emerging superstar who’s also arguably becoming their best player — Victor Oladipo.
In a game where Indiana’s lead never exceeded nine, and never was greater than seven in the second half, Vic cashed in one of the best performances of his collegiate career. His stat line is a thing of a beauty: 21 points (on 8 of 12 shooting), 7 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 blocks, 1 assist, and 22 pass deflections (15 in the first half).
Jerod Morris mentioned this in his article yesterday, but it bears repeating: This was once a player who was ranked 144th in his 2010 recruiting class. Now he’s second in the nation with an effective field goal percentage of 71.47%, just shy of Ian Clark’s 71.76%.
That’s a testament to Crean’s ability to recruit and coach, but more importantly, it’s also an exemplification of Oladipo’s work ethic and effort.
Second to Oladipo was Christian Watford, who continues to be a model for consistency, notching his tenth straight double digit game, with 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field to go along with 6 rebounds. While those may not seem like astounding numbers, we’ve been able to rely on C-Wat for that type of game for the majority of the season. Since the beginning of Big Ten play, Watford has averaged 12.7 PPG and 7.3 RPG.
Hulls and Ferrell also had decent contributions, each adding 10 and 11 points, respectively, to along with a total of seven assists. As a team, however, the Hoosiers only had ten assists, well below their season average of nearly sixteen a game.
For the first time in his career, Cody Zeller was held to under 10 points for a second consecutive game. Not only that, but before the 2:27 mark in the first half, Zeller had gone 63 minutes and 12 seconds without a field goal. That’s more than a game in a half without scoring any points other than free throws.
I want to remain free of any concern until after the Purdue game, however. Cody has been a solid contributor in other areas. He’s had 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 4 steals to go along with his 11 total points over the past two games, so it’s more than likely at this point that he’s just going through a little scoring slump.
It’s also worth noting that Zeller stepped up big when we needed him most. In the final two minutes of play he recorded a block, a crucial driving layup to put the Hoosiers up 74-70 with 1:39 to go, and then made the defensive play of the game, drawing a charge on Adreian Payne with 14.3 seconds to give the Hoosiers the ball back with a four point lead.
In our IU v Michigan State preview, we looked at Dean Oliver’s ‘Four Factors for Basketball Success’ to analyze the following four factors:
- Effective Field Goal percentage – A shooting percentage that takes into account both field goals and three pointers made.
- Turnover percentage – The rate at which a team turns the ball over turnovers over possessions.
- Offensive rebounding percentage – The rate at which a team collects offensive rebounds.
- Free Throw Rate – Made free throws over field goal attempts.
FOUR FACTORS: JAN. 27
FOUR FACTORS: SEASON AVERAGES
|MICHIGAN STATE (away)||47.42%||20.12%||34.40%||18.57%|
Looking at the tables, we can see that even though Michigan State had a higher effective field goal percentage, thanks to impressive three point shooting, they were below their averages in every other category. But so were the Hoosiers.
Indiana’s own eFG% was right at their home average of an extraordinary 58.49%, but their turnover rate was 3% above average (16 turnovers), and Michigan State beat them on the offensive glass, as well as total rebounds. This afforded the Spartans seven more shot attempts and was part of the reason why Indiana was never able to pull away. The Hoosiers were also awarded a relatively healthy 20 free throw attempts, but were unable to effectively convert on more than a third of them, so it hurt their free throw rate.
All in all, we can see that the Spartans clearly limited Indiana, but it just wasn’t enough, as the Hoosiers won a key conference game to keep pace with top-ranked Michigan, and still came out on top in three out of our four factors.
Next up: Wednesday, January 30th, at Purdue (11-9 overall, 4-3 Big Ten)