Indiana Basketball: Blueprint to Winning B1G Title
The Indiana Hoosiers (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) put themselves in the driver's seat to win their first Big Ten title since 2002 by defeating Michigan State Tuesday night. By knocking off the Spartans in East Lansing, IU is alone atop the conference standings.
Indiana controls its own destiny for a conference championship. This slideshow will show what the Hoosiers need to do in their final four games in order to bring the trophy back to Bloomington.
Defend Home Court
Two of Indiana's four remaining games are in Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers have to win when they get the chance to play in front of their home crowd.
This year in the conference, the home team is 48-31 (as of 2/19/13). In the Big Ten so there is a clear advantage when playing at home.
Indiana must take care of business when Iowa and Ohio State come to town.
A misstep in one of these games could force IU to have to win on the road against Michigan in the final game of the season. The Wolverines have yet to lose a game at the Crisler Center in 2012-13 (16-0 home record).
The Hoosiers would be wise to wrap up the conference title on their own court.
Keep Hulls Involved
Hulls' three-point shooting ability is an asset Indiana has to utilize.
He isn't great at creating his own shot, but his shot is lethal (shooting 48.9 percent from three this season) .
The three-pointer is a way to create your own momentum and stop the other team's momentum.
Keeping the threat of Hulls alive in the minds of opponents will clear out space for Oladipo and Cody Zeller to maneuver in the paint without the fear of getting double-teamed by the defense.
This offensive spacing is something IU needs. Getting Hulls open shots is not only an efficient way to score, but a great way to help others put up points.
Score in the Paint
The Hoosiers have the fourth-highest field goal percentage in the country. Shooting right at 50 percent, it's no wonder why Indiana is having a successful season.
This team is so effective on offense because they get shots close to the rim. It's pretty simple logic.
The closer you are to the basket, the better chance you have of making the shot.
This is no accident considering Zeller constantly gets the ball eight feet from the basket or closer, and Oladipo makes it a habit of driving to the hoop instead of shooting long jump shots.
Getting the ball in the lane also creates fouls, which lead to free throws. IU has attempted 713 free throws this season.
The next closest team is Iowa with 645.
The Hoosiers shoot 74.5 percent from the charity stripe which is the best in the Big Ten. When they get to the line, they are effective.
IU knows the recipe to scoring points. Now, they just have to keep it up over their last four games.
Clean Up the Glass
Indiana has been a solid rebounding team this season. They are currently third in the Big Ten in total rebounds, pulling down 39 per game.
In their final four games, IU will face Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan. All are right behind Indiana in rebounding statistics.
The Hoosiers allow the least amount of rebounds to the other team (30 per game), but right behind them is Minnesota (2nd, 30.5), Michigan (3rd, 30.6) and Ohio State (5th, 31.8).
As far as total rebounds, Iowa is the best in the Big Ten (39.5 per game).
At this point in the season, Indiana cannot get sloppy on the glass. The teams left on the schedule will make IU pay if the Hoosiers rebound insufficiently.
If Indiana can rebound effectively, they will be well on their way to a conference championship.