Indiana Basketball: Hoosiers' 3 Biggest Concerns for the Postseason
Don't look now, but the Indiana Hoosiers (17-12, 7-9) are making a late push for the NCAA tournament. IU is the winner of three of its last four, and with a few more victories, the selection committee would have to seriously consider them for a bid.
So, the Hoosiers must have a good showing in the Big Ten tournament. As the postseason quickly approaches, let's examine the three biggest concerns facing Indiana. The concerns were ranked based on how they affect Indiana's chances of winning.
3. Can Will Sheehey Stay Hot?
Will Sheehey is the man behind Indiana's resurgence. In his last two games, the senior has carried the Hoosiers offensively, dropping a career-high 30 points against Iowa and 19 versus Ohio State. His efforts earned him Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
Besides rediscovering his mid-range game, Sheehey is converting from long range. This season he's made just 31 percent of his attempts, but during this recent hot streak, Sheehey is shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc.
As evidenced by recent wins, the Hoosiers are much better when Sheehey is pouring in points. A confident, explosive Sheehey is exactly what they need going forward.
But, can Sheehey sustain his recent play? Outside of the last week, he's been pretty mediocre.
In order to keep Sheehey going, it's imperative to get him the ball early and often. Sheehey scored 16 and eight points in the first half against Iowa and Ohio State, respectively. Those early looks build his confidence, and once he's in a groove, he's a completely different player, and Indiana is better because of it.
2. Noah Vonleh's Health
When Noah Vonleh was a late scratch against Ohio State, a shock wave went through Hoosier nation. The news was surprising to say the least. Vonleh is suffering from a foot injury and was wearing a protective boot on the sideline. Now, the health of Indiana's star freshman will be in question going forward.
While the injury may not be major, it's a concern for Indiana nonetheless. In Vonleh's stead, Hanner Mosquera-Perea played well (8 PTS, 5 REB), but can he really be counted on to be consistent when he hasn't been his entire career?
If Indiana is to continue its winning ways, it needs Vonleh on the floor. He's arguably the most important player on the roster, especially because of his rebounding and defense.
If Vonleh isn't healthy down the stretch, the Hoosiers could be in major trouble.
The Hoosiers commit a Big Ten-worst 15.2 turnovers per game but showed positive signs that those days were behind them in their recent matchups with Northwestern and Wisconsin. They only gave the ball away seven and 10 times, respectively.
Then, the Hoosiers got back to their old ways. They had 17 turnovers against Iowa and 18 versus Ohio State. Indiana did win both games, but the amount of mistakes cannot be overlooked. Winning with those kinds of turnover numbers is not sustainable.
I know I sound like a broken record at this point, as I've discussed the Hoosiers' turnover problems over and over this season, but it's for good reason. Indiana is playing a dangerous game and has been fortunate to win their last two despite the insane amount of turnovers. If they keep it up, their luck is bound to run out.