Indiana Basketball: 5 Reasons Victor Oladipo Is Outplaying Cody Zeller
Victor Oladipo has proven game after game that he is one of the best players in the country. He has also proven that he is the Indiana Hoosiers' best player, even better than Cody Zeller.
Both players have had exceptional seasons, but Oladipo is playing better than perhaps anyone in the country. While Zeller was the Player of the Year before the season started, Oladipo has a chance to be the Player of the Year when the season ends.
In order to prove that Oladipo is outplaying Zeller, here are five things to look at.
While Zeller is having another fantastic season shooting, Oladipo is simply blowing him out of the water.
The Hoosiers boast the sixth-best field goal percentage in the country at 50.1 percent. Both of these players are a big piece of that. Zeller is shooting 59.6 percent, with nearly all of his shots in the paint. Meanwhile, Oladipo is shooting 64.4 percent from the field, making anything from big slam dunks to long jump shots.
Shooting over 64 percent is good enough for Oladipo to rank eighth in the country in field goal percentage. He has also been deadly from behind the arc, making 51.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
It's pretty clear that Oladipo has the advantage in shooting. In fact, there are few players in the country that are shooting as well as him.
What makes Oladipo such an incredible player is his incredible defense. He is able to trick players into making passes that he intercepts and consistently brings back for big dunks.
The number of steals for Oladipo this season have jumped dramatically compared to his first two years with the Hoosiers. After averaging 1.1 and 1.4 steals per game, he is now at 2.5 per game, which is the 13th best in the nation.
Tom Crean loves the way Oladipo plays defense, and it has helped the team tremendously. His great performance against Michigan on Saturday night was just another example of how dangerous he is on both sides of the court.
Since the beginning of the season, the Hoosiers have been thankful for the consistency of Oladipo and Zeller. While this is a closer category than the others, Oladipo has been slightly more consistent than Zeller, particularly for the past few games.
Zeller struggled a bit before the game against Michigan. In the two games against Michigan State and Penn State, he combined for 11 points, making only two of his 11 shots. He missed all four of his shots against Penn State, scoring only two points.
Meanwhile, Oladipo has played great. He has scored at least 10 points in 19 of their last 20 games. He was also named the Big Ten Player of the Week after his big performance against Michigan State.
It's likely that Zeller's slump was just a fluke, but Oladipo hasn't had a slump yet, giving him the slim advantage in consistency.
Improvement from Last Year
When Oladipo came to Bloomington, he was just a freshman who was incredibly athletic but not the most refined player.
Now, he's become a lethal weapon on both sides of the ball.
The numbers don't lie. He has become a better player in nearly every aspect, and his development is truly surprising. After shooting 47.1 percent and 20.8 percent behind the arc last year, his numbers improved to 64.4 and 51.4 percent respectively.
While he was always a pretty solid defender, he has now become a great shooter. His ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor drives coaches insane when planning for him. That kind of improvement is something that few players show in just one year.
There are few people that can pump up their home crowd quite like Oladipo.
When it comes to comparing the emotion and intensity of Oladipo and Zeller, it isn't even close. When there's a big play, Oladipo lets the fans know it.
When there's a loose ball, fans are surprised by how hard Oladipo will fight for the ball. It doesn't matter how far away the ball is, he goes as hard as he can to try and get it. He works the same way when making steals, attacking the opposing team for the ball.
What makes Oladipo one of the most intense player in the country is his aggressiveness when throwing down big slam dunks.
Whether it's on a fast break or splitting two defenders, the dunks are always thunderous. Assembly Hall always goes crazy when a dunk of his goes down, and he always gives them a show.
Simply put, it's hard to find another player as intense as Victor Oladipo.