clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Indiana has the NCAA Tournament's most exciting offense

The Hoosiers can ride their offense to the Final Four.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

DES MOINES -- Given the propensity of 12-5 upsets in the NCAA Tournament, Indiana was a popular "upset alert" pick against Chattanooga on Thursday. The Mocs already had wins over Dayton, Georgia and Illinois, and they played well against the Hoosiers, putting up 74 points.

The only problem? Indiana was virtually unstoppable. The Hoosiers scored 99 points on an incredible 1.34 points per possession to run past a formidable upset challenge and set up an huge rivalry matchup with Kentucky in the round of 32. The Wildcats will be favored, but the Hoosiers' offense gives them a chance to make a run to the Final Four.

That's because it's almost impossible to be more well-rounded than Indiana's offense. The Hoosiers rank fifth in the country in offensive efficiency, fifth in three-point percentage, fifth in two-point percentage and second in effective field goal percentage. They're also 15th-best at grabbing rebounds on their own missed shots, on the rare occasions the shots don't fall.

As the shot chart, from Shot Analytics, shows, the Hoosiers have their way in every spot on the floor:


The Hoosiers are particularly adept to shooting beyond the arc — 35.8 percent of their points come from threes, which ranks 36th in the country. Often times, teams that rely that much on three-pointers are vulnerable in the NCAA Tournament, because it's tough to put together a string of six straight games with high-percentage shooting. But Indiana doesn't need to worry about that, because virtually everyone in the backcourt can shoot.

Of the six Indiana players who have taken at least 50 threes this season, all but one are shooting above the national average. A whopping four are shooting above 40 percent, including volume shooters Yogi Ferrell, Nick Zeisloft and Robert Johnson.

Player Threes attempted Percentage
Yogi Ferrell 175 42.3%
Nick Zeisloft 148 43.2%
Robert Johnson 111 44.1%
Collin Hartman 77 36.4%
Troy Williams 64 32.8%
Max Bielfeldt 57 43.9%
National average N/A 34.7%

Ferrell, the 2012 five-star recruit and four-year player, is who makes it all go. Since he can shoot, defenders are forced to play up on him. So when they do, Ferrell makes them pay, by passing to his teammates for three.

That's exactly what he did to one of Maryland's top defenders, Rasheed Sulaimon.

Given Ferrell's track record, and Zeisloft's shooting ability, the backcourt figured to be good. But with an emerging frontcourt, IU's offense is becoming unstoppable.

Five-star freshman center Thomas Bryant has been the rock down low all season, and he thrives on only taking high-percentage shots. He ranks fourth in the nation by making 70 percent of his two-point shots. Bryant's shot chart is a dream for coaches — he knows his shot.


Bryant would be a handful by himself, but he's now joined by emerging freshman OG Anunoby, who is a walking highlight reel. Anunoby has set career highs (13 and 14 points respectively) in his last two games, and he's done it in virtually every way possible.

He's only taken 27 threes, but he's hitting them at a 44 percent clip, and he scored his first ever NCAA Tournament points with a 360 dunk.

With Anunoby proving to be a bigger threat by the game, Indiana's offense could somehow get even better. Focus on the paint, and the Hoosiers will burn you from deep. Guard the three-point line, and they're fine dominating the paint.

It's the most exciting, most devastating offensive show on the court this NCAA Tournament, and it might be enough to send Indiana on a run to the Final Four.