As part of its preview of the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. All stats are through Monday, March 16.
Record: 20-13 (9-9 in Big Ten)
Adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency: 116.6 (10th)/104.7 (216th)
Seed: No. 10 in Midwest
Impact player: Yogi Ferrell, junior guard: 16.1 ppg, 4.9 apg, 40.8 3-pt FG%, 85.4 FT%
The Case For: The Hoosiers possess the offensive firepower needed to advance to the second weekend and possibly beyond. Three Indiana players (senior guard Yogi Ferrell, junior guard Nick Zeisloft and sophomore forward Collin Hartman) who have attempted at least 50 three-point shots this season have connected on 40 percent or more of their long-range attempts. Two others (freshman guards James Blackmon and Robert Johnson) have knocked down 38.7 and 39.4%, respectively. As a team Indiana ranks seventh in the country in three-point shooting percentage and 20th in effective field goal percentage. This is very simple: If Indiana is knocking down three-point shots, its opponent is going to have a hard time keeping pace. Even a well-executed defensive game plan can be undone by lights out long-range shooting. That’s a scary proposition for any team matched up with the Hoosiers.
The Case Against: Indiana lost eight of its final 12 regular season games and found itself squarely on the bubble before solidifying an at-large bid by beating Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. The win over the Wildcats is cause for some optimism, but Indiana’s closing stretch was a drastic negative turn for a team that at one point looked capable of pushing for a top-three finish in the Big Ten. While the Hoosiers can scare any opponent with their outside shooting, they have struggled defensively for most of the season. Indiana ranks 287th in opposing two-point field goal percentage and 232nd in opposing effective field goal percentage. On several occasions this season, the Hoosiers were often able to overcome their poor defense with its play on the other end of the floor. Yet if Indiana’s offense isn’t operating at full speed—as was the case in late-season losses to Purdue and Iowa, both of whom held the Hoosiers to fewer than one point per possession—can it still win?
SI prediction: Lose to Wichita State in Round of 64