Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Why the No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers Keep Winning
Bloomington has regained its swag as the No.7 Indiana Hoosiers (15-1) keep on rolling and punishing their opponents left and right.
But what makes this Hoosier team so special? (Other than being the first IU team to have beaten the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the same season.)
You can see the determination from the boys in cream and crimson, their drive has been fueled with confidence and they are playing as a team.
This is a squad that has served as a doormat in the Big Ten for the past three years but appears to have risen over the hump as a competitive opponent.
Now ranked No. 7, there seems to be no unobtainable task for the Hoosiers as they continue to play with a chip on their shoulder.
The Hoosiers are special, and these are the reasons why.
Excellent 3-Point Shooting
Indiana heavily relies on the success of the three-point shot, and junior Jordan Hulls has single-handedly made this a strength for the Hoosiers.
Hulls has the second best three-point shooting percentage in the NCAA.
Anytime Hulls gets the ball on the perimeter, expect the 58 percent three-point shooter to quickly release and drain the trifecta.
He is not the only Hoosier with dangerous outside shooting; senior Matt Roth shouldn't be left open, either. The two red-hot shooters combined for 12-of-15 shooting from three against Penn State.
All together, Hulls and Roth have combined to hit 57 threes for IU and provide the team with momentum-gaining ability.
Not to mention, Christian Watford can nail the deep ball (27 made), as we saw against No. 1 Kentucky.
Freshman Cody Zeller's Post Play
Although Hulls, a senior, leads Indiana, freshman Cody Zeller has stirred up national attention on his valuable play as a post man.
Zeller leads the Hoosiers in scoring, averaging 14.2 points per game, and Indiana is finally learning how to feed him the ball on the block.
Against Michigan State, Indiana had problems getting the ball to Zeller and as a result, the Hoosiers were handed their only loss of the season.
Zeller possesses skills in the post with talented footwork and his persistent attacking of the rim.
When the ball is quickly fed to the big man, IU can get the post game going and defenses have to adjust. The success of IU's center opens up the three ball for Hulls and Watford.
Plenty of Scoring
Five, count 'em, five Hoosiers are averaging over 10 points per game (Zeller, Hulls, Watford, Oladipo and Sheehey) through IU's 15-1 start.
This Indiana squad ranks fourth in the NCAA in shooting percentage as a team at 50.5 percent and seventh in the league in points per game with an average of 82.4.
Junior Christian Watford is developing extremely well, utilizing his body size and capitalizing on mid-range jumpers. He might be playing with an extra step because of his famous buzzer-beater against No. 1 Kentucky.
Sophomore Victor Oladipo's explosive play has significantly improved since his freshman season last year. Victor can flat-out penetrate the lane and speed by defenders.
The amount of talent on this team is exciting for Hoosier country.
Constant, Tenacious Defense
Tom Crean prides himself on constructing a defensive-minded squad; this is one of them.
Led by defensive star and senior Verdell Jones III, the perimeter defense has been lock-down, only allowing an average of 63.8 points per game to opponents.
More importantly, the Hoosiers have held opponents to an average of 41 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc.
Also, on the season, IU is plus-3.2 in the rebounding column and plus-3.3 in the turnover margin.
Cody Zeller has noticeably been bulking up, and he needs to be strong on defense if he wants to keep up with the biggest men of the Big Ten.
Unbeatable Home-Court Advantage
The Hoosiers are undefeated in Assembly Hall this season, having won 12 straight games at home.
With the five national championship banners hanging from the rafters and the student section going berserk, Assembly Hall is one of the toughest places to play.
With the home wins over the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, the Hoosier nation is only adding more hype to its home-court advantage.
The reputation of unbearable noise inside Assembly Hall gives opponents another problem to deal with when heading into Bloomington.
Tom Crean fuels this energy with his enthusiasm towards the Indiana program.
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