Unlike our other trend posts, this one will have basically no value in terms of the upcoming season. Indeed, it will have the feeling of a port-mortem more than anything else; still, I didn't want to just skip Indiana, so we'll take a look at the past five seasons for the Hoosiers anyway.
First, overall team strength, measured by Pomeroy rating:
The Hoosiers showed great improvement in their two seasons under Kelvin Sampson, but it's interesting to see that the 2008 squad didn't quite live up to expectations. Of course, a chunk of that was from the controversy surrounding the eventual departure of Sampson, but part of it was just plain performance. This possibility of perceived underachievement was suggested by Basketball Prospectus before the season, due to the fact that the main addition (Eric Gordon) would have to replace a very productive Roderick Wilmont. Indeed, Gordon just managed to put up similar numbers to the departed Wilmont:
From the efficiencies chart, we can see that the Hoosiers didn't improve at all offensively last year; in fact, they regressed a tiny bit (but were still very good):
Sampson brought serious offensive improvement to Bloomington in his two years, and the defense was also better than it had been.
Indiana's shooting improved slightly this past year, but the surprising thing to me is how well they shot it in 2005-06, led by Robert Vaden, Marshall Strickland, and Marco Killingsworth. That overall offense wasn't outstanding because they had a turnover problem and rarely got offensive rebounds.
Indiana actually committed more turnovers than it forced last season, which is pretty surprising considering they were a top 25 offense. Turnovers and 3-point shooting were the only real chinks in their offensive armor last year, and they were especially awful in either.
If there's one thing that Kelvin Sampson truly seemed to bring to Bloomington (other than his cell phone), it was offensive rebounding. Indiana wasn't a great offensive rebounding team under Sampson, but they were solid, which is a lot more than you can say about the previous years. Defensive rebounding was a bit less consistent under Sampson, but still good.
In these two charts, we see the Eric Gordon effect. If Gordon was exceptional at one thing, it was getting to the line and knocking 'em down. In fact, only Psycho T made more free throws than Gordon last year. And yes, this is most definitely a skill, despite the amount of head-shaking I do when I watch Duke.
This is an area where Gordon actually didn't help (33.7%). Shooting from distance was Indiana's worst offensive category in 2008, after being a real strength the previous two seasons.
This was all Eric Gordon and D.J. White, and, after free throws, was the other big driver of Indiana's offense.
You can see the impact of D.J. White here - 2006 was the season he lost to injury.
Despite the improvement, Indiana was still mediocre in 2008 at getting steals, ranking 135th in the nation. Steals obviously weren't a big part of IU's defense.
The downward trend in shooting threes bucks the overall NCAA trend, but it shows smart strategy on IU's part when you consider what the team's strengths were. You actually could argue that Indiana still shot too many threes, as they were middle of the road nationally in attempts per 100 FG.
As noted previously, this statistic shows us more about the style of a team than anything else. IU ranked 235th nationally last year in this category, meaning they didn't share the ball much. For anyone that watched D.J. White and Eric Gordon hunt their shots last year, this shouldn't be a big surprise.
That should just about do it. Up next, we'll get back to looking at trends that actually have some relevance to this season (plus the effects of a coaching change!), with the Iowa Hawkeyes.