Indiana Basketball: 5 Things We've Learned About Hoosiers in 2013-14
The Indiana Hoosiers have played 25 games and have a 14-11 (4-8) record heading into the season's final stretch. After a very successful 2012-13, this season could be classified as the complete opposite.
Through the ups and mostly downs of this year, IU has taught us a lot about the team. Let's examine five things we've learned about this season's Indiana squad.
Yogi Ferrell Needs Another Year
Before the season, it wasn't crazy to think that, with a great sophomore campaign, Yogi Ferrell could leave for the NBA draft. He's played admirably and is Indiana's leading scorer, but another year in Bloomington would serve him well.
Ferrell's biggest problem after last season was his shooting, specifically from outside the arc. He's solved that problem, as he is now Indiana's best threat from the outside, making 42 percent of his attempts.
However, Ferrell's game still needs work. While his three-point shooting is superb, his mid-range game is another story. According to Hoop-Math.com, Ferrell is shooting just 28.4 percent on two-point jump shots. Clearly, there is room for improvement.
Considering the mid-range jumper is an extremely important shot for NBA point guards in today's pick-and-roll offense, it would be wise for Ferrell to improve from this area of the court.
Finally, by no means am I discounting what Ferrell has done this season. He deserves a ton of credit for the way he's played. Without him, IU would be struggling much more than it currently is.
He's one of the Big Ten's best players and will almost certainly be an All-Big Ten selection. With that said, he shouldn't rush his jump to the NBA. He can take his game to even another level with more time in college.
Youth Is an Issue
The Hoosiers have sorely missed the experienced players it had a season ago. The veteran presence of Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford was key to Indiana's success.
After bringing in a large freshman class of six and having a group of sophomores, obviously some of these players were going to receive valuable minutes.
These younger players are talented, as they've shown flashes of brilliance, but the key word is "flashes." The consistency is not yet there, and that's what turns talented players into solid contributors. The inconsistency of its younger players has hurt IU all year and this trend will continue through the season's home stretch.
Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson, Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea need more time to develop and hone their skills. Unfortunately for IU, those strides won't be made until the offseason.
Regardless, you have to like the potential on Indiana's roster. It will just take more time to unlock it.
Noah Vonleh Has Lived Up to His Billing
Before his arrival to Indiana, freshman Noah Vonleh was considered a 5-star recruit by Rivals.com. As with any 5-star, plenty of hype surrounded the big man from Massachusetts.
To say he's delivered is an understatement. Vonleh has been everything the Hoosiers could have asked for and more.
After losing All-American Cody Zeller, the Hoosiers had to somehow replace his production down low. While Vonleh hasn't had the offensive pop of Zeller, his defense and rebounding have been top-notch. Vonleh will most likely end the season as the Big Ten's leading rebounder.
Along with Ferrell, he's kept Indiana competitive this season.
No More Gimmes
This slide isn't so much about what we've learned about Indiana, but what the Hoosiers have learned about their own conference. The Big Ten no longer has any bad teams, and IU has learned the hard way.
The known "bottom-dwellers" of the conference have been Penn State, Northwestern and Nebraska. Well, the Hoosiers have lost to all three this season. Nebraska and Northwestern are actually higher in the conference standings than IU.
No longer does this league have "guaranteed wins." Whatever B1G team the Hoosiers play is going to be a challenge. Because of their current season, they will remember this going forward.
Turnovers Are the Team's Biggest Issue
The Hoosiers have had their fair share of problems this season, including youth, a stalling offense and coaching, but at the end of the day, the cause of IU's struggles is turnovers.
Indiana gives the ball away more than any other Big Ten team (15.6 times per game) and ranks 334th out of 345 teams nationally in the category.
Not a recipe for winning basketball.
In notable losses, IU had 19 turnovers against Nebraska, 16 versus Minnesota and an astounding 20 when it faced the Penn State.
If you want to identify what's holding Indiana back this season, look no further than turnovers.