Season in review: Matt Roth.

Roth, along with Tom Pritchard, is one of the two remaining vestiges of the Kelvin Sampson era.  Roth and Pritchard never played for Sampson, but both signed with IU in November 2007, and unlike recruiting classmates Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway, elected to attend IU despite the coaching change.  Roth, (game log here) the leading three point shooter in Illinois high school history, started only 7 games, but averaged a respectable 21 minutes per game.  He averaged 6.7 points per game and broke the double digit barrier only eight times. 

Whatever Roth does for the rest of his career, he produced one of the most memorable moments of the 2008-09 season: his 29 point barrage in the home loss to Ohio State, almost entirely a result of 9-11 three point shooting.  Overall, Roth shot 37.3 percent from three point range.  His shooting was fairly consistent across the season: Roth's three point percentage in Big Ten games only was 38.1, good enough for 4th in the conference.  Roth is basically a spot-up shooter who sometimes struggled to get open.  His ballhandling numbers, at .5 assists per game and .6 turnovers per game, make clear that he isn't a point guard, but he also didn't do as much damage as many Hoosiers.  The most disappointing statistic on Roth resume is his overall shooting percentage of 37.9, 40.7 in Big Ten play.  This means that Roth's shooting percentage from inside the arc is barely better than from outside the arc.  Obviously, this could be related to shot selection, strength, maturity, you name it, but obviously will have to improve if Roth is going to be more than a role player on future, more talented IU teams.  Also, while Roth shot 80 percent from the line, he had only 25 free throw attempts all season.  To be fair, 17 of those attempts came in the final 12 games of the season, so for whatever reason, Roth became more effective at getting to the line.

The highlights, in addition to the Ohio State game:

  • Roth shot 4-9 from behind the arc against IUPUI in his second college game.
  • He was one of the few bright spots in the blowout loss at Wake Forest, scoring 12 points on 4-5 from three.
  • In one of IU's more excruciating losses, the road game against Northwestern, Roth shot 4-7 from three point range in only 15 minutes of play.

As for the lowlights, it's hard to pick on a shooter like Roth.  Shooters have good days and bad days.  Still, the performance that stands out in this regard is his 1-6 three point shooting in the loss to Lipscomb.  A better performance on that day might have prevented one of the most embarassing losses in IU history. 

Roth strikes me as a player who can be very dangerous on a team with a couple of elite players.  Consider 2001-2002.  IU's opponents that year had a difficult job, because very few teams had a player good enough to guard Jared Jefferies one-on-one, but double teaming him opened up lots of three point opportunities for Kyle Hornsby, Dane Fife, and Tom Coverdale.  Lots of players can hit wide open three pointers, and a very gifted shooter like Roth could do well in that situation.

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