Indiana Hoosiers Can Be Serious Contenders If They Can Get Over Offensive Woes

By Eric Smith
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Bloomington, Ind- We’ve been taught to say, “Don’t get too high on wins and don’t get too low on losses.” But after the last five games for the Indiana Hoosiers and how they’ve been playing during that span, they can be a real tough out for teams down the stretch if they can fix their offensive woes.

Yes, I said Indiana can be a tough team and a serious contender if they can clean up their offensive woes.

Yes, this is the same Indiana team that’s struggled this year and are 3-2 during the same five-game stretch I’m talking about.

Why do I think they can be tough? It’s all on film.

Indiana has done a tremendous job lately on defense. They’re getting their hands up on nearly every shot, forcing turnovers and not allowing second chance opportunities.

Indiana has forced 10 or more turnovers in every Big 10 game this year and have only allowed opponents to shoot 30-percent (31-for-103) over the last five games. They’ve also done a good job of limiting second chance opportunities as the Illinois Fighting Illini only had four on Sunday.

Also, two of their last three opponents have shot less than 40-percent from the field. That’s why they can be a real contender if they can get better on the offensive end.

Indiana has only given up more than 75 points in regulation just once in seven Big 10 games. Illinois put up 83 in the conference opener, but that was in overtime. The Hoosiers have done enough on the defensive end to show they’re not going away anytime soon. It’s the offense that needs help.

Think about it; if Indiana cleans up the unforced turnovers, makes the wide open shots and doesn’t miss any layups, then they’re 6-1 in Big 10 play and 16-4 overall. The Hoosiers do a good job of throwing the ball away or making unforced turnovers on their own. Teams aren’t putting Indiana in those positions as the Hoosiers are doing it all on their own.

Also, Indiana missed 11 layups in the second-half of the Michigan State game last Tuesday and another 10 during the Illinois game on Sunday. That’s 21 missed layups over the last three halves. If the Hoosiers make those they beat Michigan State and blow out Illinois by more than 10.

Then there’s the missed wide open shots. Indiana missed countless wide open shots against the Northwestern Wildcats and several more over the past two games.

All of these are easy fixes. They’re just fundamentals. It’s putting the extra time in the gym.

Division 1 athletes can be corrected on layups, making smarter decisions and making wide open shots. The Hoosiers  have the talent to do so. This group is under-performing as they have tons of star power in Yogi Ferrell, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, Will Sheehey and Stanford Robinson. They also have a deep bench as well if they play solid in their minutes given.

That’s why I feel Indiana is on the cusp of something. With win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Thursday and an upset win over the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday they’re going to be finally making some noise.

The defensive intensity needs to stay and the offensive fundamentals need to be corrected. If that happens then watch out.

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