Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts going into the Big Ten Season

The IU Men's team crushed another inferior opponent, this time it was Coppin State who came into Assembly Hall and got a 73-46 thrashing. It was a slow game (62 possessions, I believe), and IU played again without guards Armon Bassett and AJ Ratliff (and Eli Holman). Bassett and Ratliff appear to be ready to come back to play Chicago State, so this should give them a good warm-up before beginning conference play.

Looking quickly through the Big Ten Stats, Indiana's defense looks alright and offense looks to be the top of the conference, but IU's pre-conference schedule was probably the weakest of any Big Ten teams. I know Sampson is defending it, and honestly, the ACC challenge team turned out to be pretty weak (IU should've gotten Duke or UNC at Assembly Hall) and Kentucky and Southern Illinois turned out to be pretty uneven teams after all, but IU got rocked against Xavier. So, the question is, are the Hoosiers prepared for road games in the Big Ten? Atmosphere-wise, I don't think they'll be daunted, SIU had a pretty good welcome, and it didn't seem to rattle the Hoosiers at all. Being prepared for key guys to get into foul trouble and the opponents' reserves to play unusually well is much harder to prepare for. Perhaps the injuries and suspensions have given the Hoosiers a chance to look at all of their options, and know how to execute even in uncertain circumstances. The Hoosiers' thumping of Kentucky in the key stretch when Gordon, Bassett, and DJ White were all on the bench gives reason to suspect they'll be alright, especially with their new-found depth.

It's the defense that worries me. The rebounding is certainly more aesthetically pleasing than last year, and the Hoosiers aren't bad at forcing turnovers and getting into transition, but so far they haven't run up against a team that can really execute offensively, except Xavier. I guess we'll find out soon enough. 3 of the first four Big Ten games are on the road.

Go Hoosiers!


At 10:54 PM, Blogger UncleLar said...

Here's a tool that I've put together for my site that you might find worthwhile. It allows you to do a quick comparison of any two Big Ten teams using Dean Oliver's Four Factors. It's currently set up for our game (Penn State vs NW) tomorrow but you can ctrl-click any teams in the left hand legend to compare them.

I'll be keeping the data in the tool current so you'll be able to use it throughout the season.


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