Indiana Hoosiers: Team Needs to Get the Ball to Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo More

By Eric Smith
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Hoosiers are severly underacheiving this season and there’s one big glaring reason why – they’re not getting the ball to Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo enough.

The Hoosiers have lost five games this season with one game left. With the talent level and how good of a bench they have when they’re playing well, there’s no reason this team should have any more than three losses. In fact, they’re within a couple of possessions of being undefeated at this moment.

In four of Indiana’s five losses, Zeller shot the ball less than 10 times in each of those contests. Why is the preseason player of the year and an All-American shooting less than 10 times in a game?

Zeller was 4 of 9 against Butler, 4 of 6 at Illinois, 2 of 9 at Minnesota and 5 of 9 on senior night against Ohio State. The only loss where he had more than 10 shots came against Wisconsin back in January. Even then, he dominated the first half but only touched the ball five times in the second half.

That’s inexcusable.

If IU can’t get Zeller the ball, then at least get it to Oladipo. They’re not doing that enough either. He reached 10 shots twice in Indiana’s five losses.

Basically, what this equates to is you’re two NBA prospect players are averaging seven and eight shots per game respectively in Indiana’s five losses.

Compare that to Ohio State’s DeShaun Thomas and Michigan‘s Trey Burke, who averaging 16.5 and 15.7 shots per game in Big Ten play respectively. They have yet to shoot less than 10 times a game in conference play.

There’s a reason their respective teams are good — because they’ve figured out that if the ball is in the hands of their best player majority of the time, they’re going to win.

Indiana has done that in their wins as they get the ball to their best two playmakers. It’s glaring to see them shoot less than 10 times which usually equates in losses.

Some may make the argument well Indiana has so many playmakers that these two don’t need to shoot that much. As true as that is, the others haven’t performed in those losses either.

Jordan Hulls is 16 of 31 combined in those losses, while Christian Watford is 12 of 31. What’s really going to make you sick is freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell has shot the ball 49 times in Indiana’s five losses, and only made 15 shots.

There’s the culprit to why Zeller and Oladipo aren’t getting the touches they need.

Why is the freshman point guard shooting more than Zeller, Oladipo, Hulls and Watford?

If he’s going to shoot that much, he better hit more than 15. He should be making 30-35 of those 49 shots. He did that in high school and last time I checked, the three point line and free throw line are the same distances to the goal as last year. So why is Ferrell that inept at shooting? Nothing has changed.

He needs to be the player that distributes to the playmakers and score when he gets the chance. If he can figure that out by Sunday’s game with Michigan, Indiana will be cutting down the nets in April. There’s no team that can hang with them or match up with the Hoosiers.


It’s Indiana’s title to lose. Anything less is unacceptable. When you have two guaranteed NBA players that are better than any two players in the nation to go along with a superb supporting cast, there’s no reason to lose the rest of the year.

It’s as simple as Ferrell shooting less and getting Zeller and Oladipo more touches.

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