Indiana Basketball: 10 Lessons Hoosiers Have Learned in B1G Season
The Indiana Hoosiers are in arguably the toughest conference in the country, but that hasn't seemed to slow them down much up to this point. Still, there have been some tough games and some lessons learned from them.
The B1G conference boasts some of the best teams in the country this year, including Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana. It has been a constant battle for the top spot in the conference, and the teams keep going at it.
With such a difficult conference schedule, here are a few things the Hoosiers have learned during this B1G season.
1. No Lead Is Safe
The Hoosiers have blown out quite a few opponents this year. In the B1G, however, no lead is ever guaranteed.
The biggest example of this was in the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Hoosiers simply dominated them in the first half, going up 52-29 at the break. However, the Gophers made a furious comeback and nearly stole the game away from the Hoosiers.
The Illinois Fighting Illini also showed that you can't coast late when they made another big comeback in the second half. They trailed by 12 at the half and came back to actually win the game, thanks to a blown defensive assignment on the last play.
No team in the B1G gives up when they are down, and the Hoosiers have learned that by now.
2. Yogi Ferrell Can Run the Offense
When the season started for Yogi Ferrell, he was playing well against bad teams, but he still hadn't found his shot.
Now, Ferrell is proving that despite his youth and size, he knows how to run the Hoosiers' offense. His shot is working for him, and he has become a dangerous scorer and passer.
Despite the opposing talent, Ferrell has had no problem running the team. He has created open shots for others, as well as gotten himself open with his incredible speed.
In perhaps their biggest game of the year, Ferrell simply blew up. He had 14 points and five assists, leading his team over Michigan.
Ferrell has simply found ways to step up in big games, and he's quickly becoming a true floor general.
3. "The Movement" Hasn't Been so Moving
When the Hoosiers' freshmen came in, they were considered to be "The Movement." Up to this point, they really haven't done much to earn that name.
Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell have been the only two to see real playing time. Ferrell has been a solid starter, but Hollowell is still developing. He has had some big games lately, however, as he has begun to find his shot.
The other two freshmen are Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin. Up to this point, neither has really done much. Perea has gotten a few minutes, but he's averaging only one point per game. Jurkin has only gone in when the game is put away and has still failed to score.
Overall, this class of freshmen hasn't quite met expectations. However, they still have plenty of time to develop as players.
4. Will Sheehey Is a Great Sixth Man
There are few players to come off the bench who are quite as exciting as Will Sheehey.
Sheehey has been a great sixth man for the Hoosiers all season, and he has stepped up big in a few of the B1G games. His intensity sometimes gets pretty high, but that is just what makes him unique.
The biggest game in B1G play so far for Sheehey was against Illinois. He had 13 points, making six of his 11 shots. He also received a technical foul, however, after taunting the home crowd after a big slam dunk.
Overall, the Hoosiers have needed someone reliable off of the bench, and Sheehey has had no problem doing just that.
5. Turnovers Can Kill Momentum
The Hoosiers have one of the nation's best offenses, but turnovers have still been a problem for them.
The team as a whole has struggled holding on to the ball, as they average more than 13 turnovers per game. It's something that has proven to kill their momentum, and there was no bigger example of this than against Illinois.
The Fighting Illini made a big comeback against the Hoosiers because Indiana simply couldn't hold on to the ball. They had 14 turnovers for the game, and it simply wasn't pretty for most of the game. The biggest turnover was in the final seconds, when the Hoosiers could have taken the last shot, but the ball was stolen, giving the Illini the last possession.
If there's one thing offensively the Hoosiers need to work on, it's turnovers. There really isn't any argument about that.
6. Victor Oladipo Is a Star
The Hoosiers came into the season expecting Cody Zeller to be the star, but Victor Oladipo has stolen the show.
Oladipo has had some spectacular games, and his season averages are quite impressive. He is currently averaging 14.3 points per game while shooting an incredible 64.5 percent from the field.
The Ohio State Buckeyes didn't seem prepared to face Oladipo on Sunday, as he had arguably his best game of the season. He had 26 points, which marks the highest total in his career. He also brought eight rebounds and two steals, giving him a great performance all-around.
The Player of the Year award is up for grabs, and Oladipo is playing well enough to make an argument for it.
7. Unranked Teams Are Still Dangerous
The B1G is a deep conference, and even the weaker teams can still provide upsets. The Hoosiers have found this out several times and have learned not to underestimate their opponents.
Both of the losses in B1G play for the Hoosiers came against teams that were unranked at the time. The Wisconsin Badgers stunned Assembly Hall and beat the Hoosiers there for the first time in over a year. Illinois simply took advantage of a team trying to coast to a win and ending up winning on a final shot.
Another game that was close for the Hoosiers was against the Iowa Hawkeyes. They struggled at Iowa's home court and escaped with a win by a score of 69-65.
The Hoosiers have now realized that the B1G is filled with good teams, and any one of them could knock them off.
8. Cody Zeller Doesn't Have to Carry the Team
Cody Zeller was all over magazines and television shows throughout the preseason, and a lot of that attention seems to have faded. That doesn't seem to bother Zeller—he is doing just fine without it.
The Hoosiers have realized that if Zeller isn't having his best game, the team doesn't need to worry. All five starters have proven themselves as true scorers and don't seem to miss a beat when Zeller is missing shots.
Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo all average more than 10 points per game, while Sheehey averages 9.8 points off of the bench. There are other scoring options on this team, and Zeller doesn't have nearly as much pressure as other stars in the NCAA.
9. Playing at Home Has Its Advantages
Who says there's no such thing as home-court advantage?
Assembly Hall has proven to be one of the loudest stadiums in the country, mostly due to the crazy student section. They know when to get loud and when to be absolutely silent.
The Hoosiers have done a great job at home, only losing once there this year. They have knocked off some big opponents, including Minnesota, Michigan State and Michigan.
There are few towns that revolve around basketball as much as Bloomington, and the students wouldn't want it any other way. Their intensity has helped the Hoosiers dramatically, and it will hopefully continue as the season winds down.
10. No Conference Is Better Than the B1G
The Hoosiers are sitting at No. 1 in the latest AP poll, but they aren't even at the top of their conference. That's pretty impressive for a conference.
The B1G has proven that it is now the best conference in the country, as they have a few elite teams. In the most recent AP poll, the B1G has three teams in the top 10 and five teams in the Top 25.
There is simply no conference that is as impressive this year as the B1G, and the Hoosiers have had to learn that the hard way. Their schedule has been brutal, and they still have big games against Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan remaining. If they can win these big games, there will be no doubt they are the best team in the nation.