Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eric Gordon shaking off rough start, IU over Iowa

Indiana beat Iowa at home last night, 65-43. I guess the Hawkeyes thought 43 points were good enough to beat Michigan State, so it should work against the Hoosiers. It was a little bit of a slow game for the Hoosiers at 65 possessions. However, the Penn State game was a surprisingly low 64 possessions. Obviously the Hoosiers scored a point per possession last night, but they held the Hawkeyes to .662 points per possession. I couldn't watch the game, so I don't know if this was more due to the Hawkeyes' incompetence, the variables of a road game (refs swallowing the whistles) or honest-to-goodness great defense by the home team. Speaking of defense, while I really like the guys over at Hoosier Scoop and what they do, Ben calls Chris Korman out over not using tempo-free stats in assessing (or deriding) the Hoosier defense. As we saw last night, the Hoosier defense ain't bad. It may or may not be championship caliber, but it ain't 8th in the conference. Good catch, Ben!

As I noted above, Eric Gordon has started playing more like the guy we saw at the start of the season, and less like the turnover-and-foul prone freshman that struggled with everything but shooting in the first four conference games. I noted in my early individual player ratings that Jamarcus Ellis & DJ White were heavy-hitters in both per-game & per-possession effectiveness, but Eric Gordon was just above average in per-game, and significantly below average in per-possession. It probably had a lot to do with playing the first three conference games on the road, but in the two non-conference games prior to this, he shot 5-25 (20%) from the field and had 5 turnovers against Coppin State & Chicago State. So we're looking at a six-game funk that maybe now the fab frosh has snapped out of. Here's my numbers:

First four Big 10 games: 11.8 hppg, .2093 hpps

Penn State & Iowa home games: 27.8 hpg, .4848 hpps

These numbers would put him as the top-five player that we all know that he is, but again these were home games against mediocre (at best) competition. If he has started realizing the importance of playing defense without fouling and just hanging on to the [expletive deleted] ball, it may be just the thing to get the Hoosiers clicking in time for Connecticut and Wisconsin.

Oh, and Gopher Nation awarded this blog the post of the week for the Big Ten Bloggers BasketBall Power Poll! Yes, I know it's unseemly to wallow in such a small amount of praise/recognition. But I've never been seemly. Honestly, I do think the BTBBBPP is pretty cool and I'm just happy to be a part of it.


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