Indiana Hoosiers Basketball

Indiana Basketball: Biggest Improvements Hoosiers Have Made in 2013-14

Dec 10, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) during the second half of the game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 81-54. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

Much has changed for the Indiana Hoosiers in the last year. The roster is revamped, Yogi Ferrell is better by leaps and bounds and, unlike in 2012-13, freshmen are consistently contributing.

They may not be the team we grew accustomed to over the last two seasons, but head coach Tom Crean has recognized the mistakes of those squads and is trying his best to make sure the 2013-14 Hoosiers don't repeat them. 

Let's take a look at the biggest improvements IU has made since falling short in last season's Sweet 16. 

 

Yogi Ferrell's Shooting

The biggest hole in the point guard's game during his freshman year was his jump shot. He shot 40.3 percent from the floor and only 30.3 percent from three. Ferrell could have built a brick house after his questionable season of shooting.

This season, Ferrell's shooting percentage is slightly better (41.1 percent), but he's been draining three-pointers, making 40.6 percent of his attempts.

The improved outside shooting has made him a more dynamic and complete player. Not only can he take defenders off the dribble, but he can now hurt opposing teams from the outside. 

With this newfound ability, Ferrell's scoring has ballooned from 7.6 to 16.4 points per game. Indiana will need its point guard to continue to put up points when the Big Ten slate begins.

 

Rebounding

Last season, led by Cody Zeller, the Hoosiers were a solid rebounding team, finishing 16th in the country by pulling down 38.2 boards per game. Now, they are dominant.

The Hoosiers have owned the glass so far this season.
The Hoosiers have owned the glass so far this season.Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana is absolutely destroying its opponents on the glass. Registering 48.2 rebounds per game, IU is the second-best rebounding team in the country with a rebounding margin of plus-15.5.

The rebounding prowess of Noah Vonleh has been key (10 RPG). Despite not being a post player in high school, he's winning battles down low with ease.

It will be interesting to see how the Hoosiers' effectiveness on the glass changes when the Big Ten games start. The competition will be much better and controlling the boards won't be as easy.

 

Defense

The Hoosiers have been downright suffocating on the defensive end. They deserve to be featured on Cops for the way they are handcuffing opponents. 

Indiana's Jeremy Hollowell locks up a North Florida player.
Indiana's Jeremy Hollowell locks up a North Florida player.Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

According to Justin Albers of AllHoosiers.com, they are currently No. 10 in the country in defensive efficiency. Opposing teams are shooting a paltry 36.2 percent from the floor and just 27.7 percent from the three-point line.

Once again, Vonleh is leading the way with an absurd defensive rating of 78.9, but players like Will Sheehey have progressed in that category (94.6 in 2012-13, 92.1 in 2013-14).

It also helps that Jordan Hulls, an enormous defensive liability, is now suiting up in Poland and not Bloomington. 

 

These improvements are the main reasons for Indiana's 8-2 start. Things are definitely going to get hairier once Big Ten play gets underway, but great defense and rebounding should keep Indiana competitive against even the top teams in the conference.

 

Players' defensive ratings courtesy of Sports-Reference.com/cbb.

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