Smooth sailing ahead for Indiana
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent December 4, 2012 11:12PM
BLOOMINGTON, IN - DECEMBER 01: Christian Watford #2, Will Sheehey #0 and Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers put defensive pressure on Patrick Cole #1 of the Coppin State Eagle during the game at Assembly Hall on December 1, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Big Number
87.8 — Indiana’s scoring per game, the best in Division I entering the week.
It’s not an officially recognized statistic, but Indiana coach Tom Crean puts a lot of emphasis on deflections, a defensive stat that credits players for taking charges, touching the ball on defense except when it’s a rebound, and forcing a shot-clock violation.
Crean said Victor Oladipo had 20 deflections against Coppin State, the most any Hoosier has had under Crean. Dwyane Wade had 23 in a game for Crean at Marquette.
The players take pride in the “stat” as well. Crean said Will Sheehey wasn’t happy when he was credited with only five deflections against Coppin State.
Updated: January 6, 2013 9:52AM
BLOOMINGTON — From a purely statistical standpoint, this season’s Indiana team looks an awful lot like last season’s Indiana team.
Through eight games last season, the Hoosiers’ top five scorers were Cody Zeller (15.5 ppg), Victor Oladipo (12.3), sixth-man Will Sheehey (11.8), Jordan Hulls (11.3) and Christian Watford (10.4).
Through eight games this season, the Hoosiers’ top five scorers are Zeller (15.0), Oladipo (12.4), Sheehey and Hulls (12.1 apiece), and Watford (11.4).
The difference lies in the schedule.
This time a year ago, the Hoosiers were 8-0 but unranked, preparing for a showdown with No. 1 Kentucky. IU’s dramatic last-second win over the Wildcats pushed the Hoosiers into the rankings for the first time in 3½ years.
This year, the Hoosiers are 8-0, ranked No. 1 themselves, and are preparing for a matchup with the Blue Devils.
The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils, that is.
Not necessarily the Hoosiers-Blue Devils matchup that everyone is waiting for. Not with Duke ranked No. 2 in both polls and gaining ground among voters.
Duke’s resume for No. 1 has been helped by a tough schedule that has included three wins over teams ranked in the Top 5 at the time: then-No. 3 Kentucky, former No. 2 Louisville and former No. 4 Ohio State.
IU’s most impressive wins thus far have been the overtime victory over Georgetown in the championship of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, and the dismantling of then-No. 14 North Carolina last week in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The combined record of IU’s eight victims thus far? Through Monday’s games, they were 29-27, including their losses to the Hoosiers.
Things shouldn’t get much more challenging before the Big Ten season begins. After Central Connecticut State (3-3), the Hoosiers face Butler (5-2) in the Crossroads Classic and host Mt. St. Mary’s (3-3), Florida Atlantic (3-4) and Jacksonville (4-5) before opening the conference schedule at Iowa.
Still, that gives the Hoosiers the opportunity to further hone perhaps the biggest statistical difference from last season.
Through eight games last season, IU’s opponents were averaging 61.2 ppg while shooting 38.1 percent from the field.
Through eight games this season, IU’s opponents are averaging 56 ppg while shooting 35.7 percent from the field.
“Defense fuels offense. Offense isn’t always going to come,” Remy Abell said after the Hoosiers’ 87-51 win over Coppin State on Saturday night. “The hustle. The toughness. The boxing out. The rebounding. You can bring that all on the road and at home. Offense isn’t always going to be there.”