February 12, 2010

Inside the numbers: Indiana

MADISON - When a program undergoes a complete overhaul such the likes of Indiana, chances are it will take a couple of seasons to get the ball rolling in its favor. In the meantime improvement is of the highest priority and for the Hoosiers, under second year coach Tom Crean, that is exactly the case.

Overall, Indiana has three league wins with six left to play. They have beaten Pittsburgh, a team that has been ranked for most of the season, and have played Kentucky, Maryland, Illinois and Purdue tough throughout the rest of their schedule.

Needless to say, the Hoosiers are a tough team that has the potential to upset a team many thought they wouldn't have a chance against. Next up, Wisconsin.

Before the two squads hit the floor Saturday afternoon in the Kohl Center, BadgerBlitz.com takes a look inside the numbers.

20.3: Verdell Jones has proven on multiple occasions that he is arguably the best player on the Indiana squad. Last season, in the game at Madison, Jones dropped 23 points on the Badgers before UW eventually pulled out the victory. This season, he has established a career high with a 28-point performance against Northwestern.

He is a very capable scorer that seems to be improving on a game-by-game basis. Over that past three games (all losses), Jones has averaged 20.3 points and five rebounds per game. At the same time, he is shooting an eye opening 90.5 percent from the charity stripe.

790: This stat could be read in a variety of ways, but it's impressive nonetheless. Of all the squads comprising the Big Ten, Indiana has a core of true freshmen that score more than anyone else. So far this season, Hoosier true freshmen have scored 790 points. The next closest teams in that department are Illinois (555) and Iowa (550).

40 and 30: Of the 22 games Indiana has played, the Hoosiers have topped the 40-point mark in a half 12 times. At the same time, IU has held opponents to 30 or fewer points in a half 16 separate times.

337 out of 347: Out of the 347 division one college basketball programs in the country, Indiana ranks as the 337th most experienced team according to kenpom.com. With Crean at the helm, the Hoosiers have been one of the youngest teams in all of college hoops. In the 275 possible starts dating back to last season and continuing to where we're at today, 158 went to freshmen. Overall, three freshmen on average start each game for Crean.

12.5 and 5.9: As much as Jones has meant to whatever success the Hoosiers have had this season, Christian Watford has been just as instrumental. Starting every game, Watford ranks second on the team in scoring (since Maurice Creek suffered a season ending injury) with 12.5 points per game. He also leads the Hoosiers with nearly six rebounds per game on average. To top it off, Watford is shooting 40 percent from the floor.

69.6: As far as team defense goes in the Big Ten, Indiana is the worst. On average, the Hoosiers allow nearly 70 points per game. If you compare that to Wisconsin's conference leading team defense it's not even close. So far, the Badgers are allowing opponents just 56.5 points per game.

32.5 percent: Since Jon Leuer suffered a broken wrist early in conference play, the Badgers have fallen in love with the 3-point shot. When playing Indiana, though, UW will have to be especially sound from distance. Entering the game, the Hoosiers are allowing only 32.5 percent of its opponents three's to find the net, good for fifth in the conference.

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