Indiana Basketball: Analyzing Hoosiers’ offensive struggles

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA - JANUARY 25: Juwan Morgan #13 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots the ball against the Michigan Wolverines at Assembly Hall on January 25, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA - JANUARY 25: Juwan Morgan #13 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots the ball against the Michigan Wolverines at Assembly Hall on January 25, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

An Indiana basketball program that is struggling to win games all stems from their offensive struggles.

The Hoosiers are in the midst of losing nine of their last 10 games, falling out of the NCAA Tournament, and looking at a possible NIT bid, all after starting 12-2 this season.

At times it has been defense, other times it’s been effort, but the main issue for Indiana has been their lack of offensive execution. What started the downfall? The injury to Rob Phinisee.

Ever since the freshman point guard went down with a concussion in late December, missing the next three and a half games, the Indiana offensive production fell off of a cliff.

Before his injury, Phinisee was averaging 7.6 points and 3.7 assists per game in 11 games, with six games of four plus assists. In the last nine games, Phinisee is averaging 5.3 points and just 1.7 assists a game and only one game with four assists.

Granted he is just a freshman and wasn’t a highly recruited player coming out of high school, Phinisee’s role to this team’s success can’t be overstated. His ability to create for others, as well as opportunities for himself has been nearly non-existent since his return, thus hurting the Hoosiers.

Obviously there is more wrong with the Indiana offense than the performance of a freshman point guard, but it also goes hand in hand with one of the other main problems, turnovers.

Indiana ranks 161st in the country in total turnovers, with 13 per game. Not all turnovers are created equal, and with the Hoosiers, they have made the worst of their turnovers.

None more evident than in the last two games, where they were tied with slightly over a minute to go in their games against No. 20 Iowa, and Ohio State. Both times with the ball, and a chance to go ahead late, they coughed it up on boneheaded plays, trying to force the ball to the post when it wasn’t there and there would be nowhere to go if the pass was completed.

Along with the turnovers, goes assists. The Hoosiers are led by Phinisee with 2.7 a game – Devonte Green averages 3.1 per game but has yet to reach the minimum to count – and have just 13.7 as a team per game, ranked 169th in the NCAA.

During Phinisee’s injury, Archie Miller tried running the offense through Romeo Langford more, often times playing Langford as the primary ball handler, but with an assist-to-turnover ratio of just 1.1, his ability to create for others is relatively slim. In addition the Hoosiers as a whole have just a 1.05 assist-to-turnover ratio, ranked 169th in the country.

Pressing even more in their last 10 games, Langford has four games with either a negative or zero assist-to-turnover ratio, a real problem for someone who has the ball in his hands on most, if not all possessions.

Resulting from the increased rate of turnovers is obviously a lack of shot attempts.

The Hoosiers, who shoot 47.2 percent on the year as a team, rank 55th in total field goal percentage, but also take the fourth least attempts in the teams ranking in the top 70.

Furthermore, the Hoosiers rank 263rd in the nation in three point percentage, at just 32.7 percentage on the season.

With a lack of knock down shooters, teams are able to double Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis on the catch, leaving wide open three point shots, showing their lack of respect for Indiana’s ability, or inability to make shots from deep.

Overall, the weave offense that Indiana is running is not going to get it done with the skillset that they have. Despite Romeo Langford not being a tremendous playmaker for others, he needs the ball in his hands more on the offensive end.

Next. Breaking down Indiana's tournament resume. dark

More ball screens at the top of the key between Langford and Juwan Morgan are greatly needed in order for this offense to succeed, but it doesn’t look like this offense will gravitate towards that.

Ranked 235rd in effective possession ratio, and 171st in offensive efficiency, the offensive production can’t get much worse, right? I guess only time will tell.