Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finding a silver lining

The Hoosiers didn't look all that impressive in a 18-point loss at Kentucky. However, I still think I would pay to see this team.

The game was won within the first 10 minutes of the game. After going nearly 7 minutes before scoring a point, IU found itself down 23 points at halftime, 36-13. It was the second half where the Hoosiers showed me something.

How many times have we seen a team go into halftime down a ton of points and just packed it in going into the second half? The Hoosiers came out with more grit and began to chip away at the huge Wildcat lead. It was helped by UK falling into a general malaise that led to sloppy play. The Wildcats shot 57 percent in the first half, but it decreased to 42 percent in the second half. IU was able to up its shooting percentage from 23 percent to 48 percent in the second half. So it appeared they improved their offense and defense.

The Hoosiers never closed the deficit to less than 15 points. It was clear there were chances for them to get a lot closer had a few more shots fallen, over even some free throws. IU shot 8 for 17 from the free-throw line, a 47-percent rate. Kentucky shot 73 percent from the line, making 16 out of 20.

There may be no moral victories, but the Hoosiers can take some positive things away from this game. They did win the second half, 41-36 and outscored Kentucky in the paint. The Hoosiers also won the points-off-turnovers battle.

For the game, IU was out-rebounded by 8, but it could have been a lot worse. They had 20 turnovers, which is not stellar, but UK had 23.

Is it possible to call this a good loss? I didn't turn this game off thinking the Hoosiers were destitute. I think they may be getting better.

Notes from the game are here.

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