Early on this season, Indiana's defense has drawn some pretty harsh reviews from analysts and writers of both the local and national variety. This criticism isn't undeserved, as the Hoosiers have struggled to prevent some of the worst teams in the country from piling in points and rank 155th in defensive efficiency. The individual defensive rankings are even worse:
- eFG%: 227th
- TO%: 211th
- OR%: 270th
- 3P%: 193rd
- 2P%: 235th
- Block %: 257th
I continue to find this stat funny. #iubb ranks 15th in the nation in opponent free throw percentage. Other teams shooting 58% from the line— CrimsonCast (@CrimsonCast) December 3, 2014
QUESTION: Just what in the hell are the Hoosiers doing to make people shoot free throws so poorly?
Shooting free throws should be easy. I like to take an objective approach in determining which components of basketball are easy and which are not. Essentially, if I can do them with some modicum of consistency, they are easy and Division 1 players should be able to do them. Why? Because I am a god-awful basketball player who didn't spend enough of his childhood swishing threes in my driveway like a good Indiana kid. I played video games in the basement until I resolved to start speaking to girls and now I run a blog, give me your money.
Here is a non-comprehensive list of things that I have deemed as difficult:
- Running up and down the court with no breaks
- Doing both of those first two things at the same time
- Shooting three pointers
- Shooting two pointers
- Setting picks without fouling
- Shooting free throws
|Mississippi Valley St.||66.7%|
Indiana is in a pretty typical free throw defensive alignment right here. They have two guys up front on each side of the basket, and because they are classy and understand sportsmanship they also let two Pittsburgh guys stand next to them. But, being classy doesn't win all the games (but it will win most of them and is easily the most important statistic to measure a team's success) they put two more guys to make a sort of Panther sandwich. Some people will try to tell you that Indiana lets opponents stand next to them because the rules require it but those people don't understand TRADITION and BANNERS.
Most free throw shooting teams take advantage of this alignment on free throws unless you are John Beilein desperately trying to avoid getting the offensive rebound that would deliver you a B1G Championship. (lmao)
Anyway, as you can see in the screencap, the coaching staff has made a point of making sure the Hoosiers look the free throw shooter dead in the eyes as he's attempting his shot. James Blackmon isn't showing very good technique here but he may see a quarter or silver dollar on the floor that he wants to make sure to pick up later. That would normally be O.K. but he needs to remember that, as a STUDENT ATHALETE, if anyone who gave money to the university dropped that coin and he picks it up then it is an improper benefit and could be subject to the NCAA's death panels.
In the future, James should alert the back guard (quietly) that there is loose change on the floor and then get back to staring daggers at the free throw shooter. He can worry about the coins later. These kind of growing pains are very common with freshman and he'll be better for it. Look at Troy Williams! He is completely locked in with the shooter's eyes when just last year he got so distracted during a free throw that he wandered into the stands and shared a soft pretzel with an attendee.
When you stare the shooter in the eyes you start to unnerve them. Get out of your chair and go stare at someone right now, look how upset they get after awhile! Imagine trying to do anything while that is happening! It's a very good and proven technique that Tom Crean has instilled. Free throw defense is a culture and it's safe to say we can always count on it and it's totally sustainable.