As if Indiana Didn't Have Enough Problems

Most stats that have a real impact on the outcome of a game mean something, they're not just dumb, blind, luck. Whether it's shooting, rebounding, turnovers, steals, blocks, etc., these stats not only significantly determine the outcome of a game, but they're also indicative of a team's ability. But there is one big exception: free throw defense. For obvious reasons, this stat has little to do with any abilities the team has, and has more to do with the other teams' skills. And if we look at a scenario where everyone has roughly the same opponents (such as in conference play), large differences in FT defense are fairly attributed to luck.

In other words, we have to count that against them in the coming season. A solid efficiency number that was achieved, in part, through excellent FT defense must be discounted. So if your team had great FT defense last year...that's not good news.

2007-08 FT Defense Leaders (Conference Games)

Team

Opp. FT %

Indiana

63.8

Michigan State

65.5

Michigan

66.0

Wisconsin

68.2

Purdue

69.2

Penn State

70.2

Minnesota

70.6

Northwestern

71.0

Illinois

71.1

Iowa

72.6

Ohio State

73.4

Some good news for Buckeye fans (as well as some aggravation over the fact that some unlucky bounces prevented them from reaching the NCAA Tournament last season).

And just to prove this isn't some sort of home-court phenomena, here are the leaders from the 2006-07 season:

Team

Opp. FT %

Wisconsin

65.3

Iowa

65.6

Penn State

69.0

Michigan

69.6

Ohio State

70.1

Michigan State

70.2

Purdue

70.5

Northwestern

70.9

Minnesota

72.7

Indiana

73.4

Illinois

76.7

If this had something to do with home court advantage, then the Orange Krush really need to step up their game. They were at the bottom of the Big Ten in 2005-06 as well (75.2%). They need to get back to their 2004-05 form (68.7%), but that goes for the whole team, really.