Indiana Daily Student

Taking you to numbers school

When Kelvin Sampson arrived on campus almost a year ago, there were two things his teams were known for: good defense and rebounding.\nBut if you actually look at the numbers from this year’s IU squad in the Big Ten season, you’ll notice that hasn’t really been the case.\nTo wit: In defensive field-goal percentage, IU is eighth, letting 45.1 percent of opponents’ shots drop. The Hoosiers rank eighth as well in scoring defense, allowing 64.6 points a game. They are seventh in opponents’ points per possession at 1.03. \nFor a frame of reference, Illinois led the conference in that department, giving up 0.92 points a possession. One stat IU actually ranks near the top of is defensive 3-point field-goal percentage, ranking third at 32 percent.\nIn the rebounding department, IU grabbed 33.2 a game, good for only seventh place.\nPhew. Take a breather, everyone. That was a lot of numbers to swallow. We good? Great.\nObviously, the Hoosiers aren’t quite the defensive team many have purported them to be all season. However, they have shined with the ball in their hands this season. Here are some more stats, probably ones you’ll enjoy digesting more.\nThe Hoosiers were flat-out the top scoring team during conference play. They averaged the highest points scored per game at 70.3. \nAnd we all know they’ve lit it up from beyond the arc this year. IU made 40.7 percent of its 3s this year, good for tops in the conference. Looking across the country, IU’s mark from the arc only puts them at No. 38. But any team that splashes more than 40 percent from 3-point land is doing something right.\nJust because IU’s defensive numbers rank low in conference doesn’t mean the Hoosiers are an awful defensive team. But to me it does mean they are a very average one, a team not quite living up to the expectations of a traditional Sampson squad. \nWithout IU’s hot outside shooting and scoring prowess, we might be looking at a team with a few more tallies in the loss column. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but in my opinion, they tell most of it.\nI don’t know if I can point to one reason for this occurrence. Perhaps it’s because Sampson inherited all these players. None are his recruits, except for Lance Stemler and Mike White. Maybe his handpicked players will fit more into his defensive mold in years to come. I don’t really buy that school of thought, though.\nI don’t know if there’s a right answer for these average defense numbers, other than they are what they are. An off-year, I suppose.\nSo, what have we learned here today, kids?\nIU’s defense: OK.\nIU’s offense: Pretty darn good.\nClass dismissed.

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