B1G Game 16: Gophers Host Indiana (2-22-20)

Ignatius L Hoops

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Entering the Fray

Indiana’s early season 71-57 victory over South Carolina is a hawser keeping the Hoosiers firmly affixed to the national conversation. However, the connection is showing some visible fraying. IU’s record is solid (20-7 overall and 4th in the B1G at 10-5); but concern is creeping in. Three games (Nebraska, Illinois and Ohio State) during the last eight days have increased the alert level in Bloomington.

Nebraska

In Lincoln, Indiana sprinted to a 26-6 first quarter lead. The Huskers didn’t even light their side of the scoreboard until the first quarter was half over. Then Nebraska started an insanely sloooow comeback. An Indiana 41-23 halftime lead shrunk to a 51-40 third quarter advantage.

Then Indiana’s offense drifted off course allowing Nebraska’s Nicea Eliely to tie the game at 53 on a layup with 1:45 remaining. The Hoosier’s controlled the ball for the next :45 seconds while missing three shots. Finally, the Huskers rebounded the third miss; but a Kate Cain turn over allowed Indiana’s Grace Berger to drop a go ahead reverse layup at the :30 second mark. After Nebraska’s Nicea Eliely committed a charge, a couple of Jaelynn Penn free throws provided the final margin. A good escape if not a great one.

Illinois

Four days later, the Hoosier Houdini’s made a late escape from Champaign. In a godawful display of basketball, Illinois led at the half 27-25. (A nine point Illini lead almost evaporated with IU closing the half on a 7-0 run).

Skipping ahead: three minutes into the fourth quarter the Illini took a 46-45 lead on a layup by freshman Jeanae Terry. Illinois stretched the lead to 49-47 before Ali Patberg’s free throws tied the game at 49. On the next possession, the Illini’s Petra Holesinska’s drive to the bucket began with her whacking defender Jaelynn Penn in the face. Holesinska was assessed an intentional foul at the 3:31 mark. Penn made both free throws and Aleksa Gulbe added a layup :12 seconds later giving the Hoosiers a four point lead. Indiana brought it home for a 59-54 win.

Ohio State

On Sunday, the hooping level was much higher when the Buckeyes and Hoosiers faced off in Bloomington. And things were going Indiana’s way starting the fourth quarter. Ohio State’s Bell, Patty and Juhasz were in foul trouble and a Mackenzie Holmes layup gave the Hoosiers a 59-49 lead at the 9:07 mark. Then the Hoosier defense faded. Following a couple of early misses, the Buckeyes closed the game 11-11 from the field over the last seven minutes. Not all of it was bad defense; there’s not much that can be done against this Madison Greene dagger.


It was the Hoosier’s 14th straight loss to the Buckeyes and, according to the play by play guys, the 5th where the Hoosiers gave up a double digit second half lead to OSU. And now, the Buckeyes are only a game1/2 game behind IU and gaining fast.

The 10-5 Hoosiers versus the 5-10 Gophers; a frayed nerves warning has been issued.

Notes:

Teri Moren runs a pretty short rotation with 6’3 freshman Mackenzie Holmes the only bench player getting double digit minutes. The Hoosier rotation has trouble against 2-3 zones in general. And, not surprisingly, Ohio State’s aggressive 2-3 helped turn the game in the Buckeyes favor.

Struggles against the zone help highlight that Indiana is a terrible three point shooting team. Yesterday, Indiana was 4-15 while Ohio State was 9-22. Indiana is last in B1G three point shooting percentage (.262) and in makes/game (3.5). Minnesota is better from behind the arc at .331; but if you remove Destiny Pitts’ stats the Gophers are a middling .319 (91-285) and they average a middle of the B1G pack 6 makes/game.

An OSU Game Summary from Ali Patberg (sounding a little frayed herself):

https://www.idsnews.com/article/2020/02/standout-performances-mean-a-little-less-as-no-20-ius-defense-collapses

“I think what’s frustrating is that I feel like this has happened the past couple games,” junior guard Ali Patberg said. “We have not been communicating on defense like we need to down the stretch, and I think tonight we got beat.”
Of Note: Sophomore guard Grace Berger had a pretty good run in the three games. Against Nebraska she had 9 points and 15 rebounds; Illinois 6 points and 10 rebounds and against Ohio State 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Ali Patberg last six games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Wisconsin2046432
Purdue1797371
Maryland16511402
Nebraska1034374
Illinois1759381
Ohio State2236373

Jaelynn Penn last six games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Wisconsin2053423
Purdue1543360
Maryland1353364
Nebraska1442330
Illinois1061382
Ohio State1481372


B1G Wins: Michigan State 79-67, @ Rutgers 66-56, Illinois 83-42, Purdue 66-54, Penn State 76-60, Minnesota 65-52, Wisconsin 75-65 (OT), @ Purdue 66-54, @ Nebraska 57-53, @ Illinois 59-54

B1G Losses: @ Iowa 85-91 (2 OT), Northwestern 69-71, @ Maryland 62-76, Maryland 69-79, Ohio State 76-80.

Probable Starters (B1G Stats):

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’11”GRJrAli Patberg36.815.54.1
6’0”GSoGrace Berger36.813.16.3
5’10”GJrJaelynn Penn25.69.66.3
6’3”FSoAleksa Gulbe25.89.66.3
6’0”FSrBrenna Wise28.18.85.9


Bench (B1G Stats):

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’3”FFrMackenzie Holmes18.910.64.8
6’1”FFeJorie Allen9.71.51.0
5’6”GRFrChanel Wilson7.11.10.3
6’0”GFrGrace Waggner3.50.80.5
5’10”GJrKeyanna Warthen6.40.80.3
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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I forgot to note, following our last outing versus Indiana, Bendu Yeaney entered the transfer portal.

No. 20 IU women’s basketball announced Friday morning that junior guard Bendu Yeaney will leave the program and enter the transfer portal.

Yeaney, a native of Portland, Oregon, played in just six games for the Hoosiers this season. She suffered a torn Achilles in last year’s second-round NCAA Tournament game against the Oregon Ducks.

Yeaney’s decision was influenced by her desire to be closer to home, according to a press release. She said the health of an immediate family member has left her wanting to be closer to the west coast.

“Family always must come first, and we support Bendu in her desire to be closer to her family at this time,” IU head coach Teri Moren said in a press release. “We thank her for her contributions and impact that she has had on our program. We wish her nothing but the very best.”
...
She was known at IU as a tenacious defender. During her IU career, she averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 76 games.

In her first two seasons, Yeaney started in 69 of 70 games played but had not seen significant minutes since her return to the lineup.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Indiana Daily Student:

IU will travel north to take on Minnesota Saturday, looking to complete a season sweep after the team defeated the Minnesota 65-52 on Jan. 27. A win would mark a program-record 21 wins for the regular season.

A victory would also put IU in fourth place in the Big Ten, separating itself from Ohio State. The Buckeyes hold the tiebreaker over the Hoosiers for a coveted double bye in the Big Ten tournament.

That puts a lot of emphasis on Saturday’s matchup in the Twin Cities.
...
The Hoosiers' forwards could play a major role since they do not have to worry about a significant height disadvantage against Minnesota.

Sophomore forward Aleksa Gulbe has turned strong defense into offensive production, scoring 15 and 14 points in her last two games respectively. Gulbe went 9-12 in those games, taking some of the burdens off freshman forward Mackenzie Holmes, who has struggled at times to discover where she slots into IU’s zone offense.

Minnesota's key players remain the same from the first matchup this season. Senior forward Taiye Bello is averaging a double-double at 12 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

She had a double-double against the Hoosiers on Jan. 27, finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

While limiting Minnesota’s rebounding may present a challenge for IU, it may not be as challenging as slowing down freshman guard Jasmine Powell. After leading scorer and junior guard Destiny Pitts transferred, Powell has taken over and excelled offensively.
 

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Down 21-19 after 1 quarter. Indiana shooting very high percentage. But at least we are holding with them for the moment.
 

EaganGopher22

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Down 3 at half. Patberg is killing us. Lucky to be as close as is given that Powell had to sit last of 2nd quarter with 2 fouls.
 

Shades

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40-37 IND at the half
It’s the Patberg vs Powell show

Patberg 25 pts (11-15, 1-3 3P, 2-2 FT), 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
Powell 15 pts (6-8, 3-5 3P, 0-0 FT), 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
 

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57-53 now after 3 complete. We continue to hang around. Even tied it briefly.
 

EaganGopher22

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59-59 eight minutes to go. Brunson 10-12 from free throw line and 14 pts total.
 

EaganGopher22

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72-65 with 2 minutes to go. We went cold on shooting. And Berger now hitting all her shots.
 

GopherGangsta

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So Whalen lost her best player and is 5-11.....Pam Borton could have done this.
 

EaganGopher22

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75-69, Indiana sweeps the series. Poor shooting in the last several minutes of the game sealed it for us.
 

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Indiana's guards gave ours alot of trouble, Diva was the only one that could slow them down.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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We get Indiana's post in foul trouble and then get run over by the Hoosier guards.


End of game:

At 7:28 Sara Scalia hit a three to put us up 62-61. We don't sink another field goal until Jasmine Powell's at 1:23 making it 67-72 Indiana. During that time we went 3-4 from the line and 0-7 from the field. Our next and only score comes when Powell hits a jumper with :08 seconds remaining. Yuck!
 

CutDownTheNet

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We get Indiana's post in foul trouble and then get run over by the Hoosier guards.


End of game:

At 7:28 Sara Scalia hit a three to put us up 62-61. We don't sink another field goal until Jasmine Powell's at 1:23 making it 67-72 Indiana. During that time we went 3-4 from the line and 0-7 from the field. Our next and only score comes when Powell hits a jumper with :08 seconds remaining. Yuck!
> During that time (6 min) we went 3-4 from the line and 0-7 from the field.

If our strategy was “kill em with our awesome free-throw shooting,” it didn’t work.

I didn’t keep an accurate count, but I bet ten of our shots rolled around the rim and out. Meanwhile, Patberg (and then Berger) were nothing but net on what seemed like 95% of their shots (but perhaps it just seemed that bad). In any event, seemed like we didn’t get the roll tonight, hardly ever.

You can’t just give Patberg a hall pass to shoot all she wants from wherever she wants without any effective defense on her for 25 points in the first half. Multiply times two, that’s on track for a 50-point game for Patberg. 50 freakin points (if the Patberg 2nd half had gone like the first)! That (if it had happened that way) is only 19 points less than our entire team ended up scoring.

Game over at halftime, really, even tho the score was still close then. Point is, we exhausted ourselves all game, cuz every one of our points came at great effort. And then (in first half) we just let Patberg go to whatever point on the court she wanted, and pop it for an easy swish.

Diva did put up a gritty effort tonight. She was getting Patberg POed especially second half, and getting in her head helped slow her down.

But if we had just held Patberg to 15 in the first half (like they held Powell), then we would have been up 10 at the half and had a good chance of winning it, even if we went cold in 4Q.

What I don’t understand is, whatever adjustment we made on defense in 2nd half, why didn’t we just adjust at 1Q/2Q break? Patberg is eating our lunch to the tune of 12.5 points per quarter, and it takes til half-time hardcopy game stats arrive fresh off the printer to realize it? Do any of the assistant coaches know how to read the jumbotron? What gives? Any competent set of 5th-grade girls basketball coaches could have done better.

Bottom line is, Indiana marquee player is out there giving the Barn a shooting clinic, while our marquee player is sitting in the bleacher seats, probably thinking to herself, “I can shoot that good too.”
 
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GringaGopher

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We were at least competitive in this game. We missed way too many lay ups and short range jumpers. I went to a Lynx event @ BWW before the game and Cheryl Reeve was the guest speaker. She talked about the new CBA, her team and that she was going to be watching Patberg. She also shared that she told Whalen to " stay the course " during this difficult season.
 

wbbaddict

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> During that time (6 min) we went 3-4 from the line and 0-7 from the field.

If our strategy was “kill em with our awesome free-throw shooting,” it didn’t work.

I didn’t keep an accurate count, but I bet ten of our shots rolled around the rim and out. Meanwhile, Patberg (and then Berger) were nothing but net on what seemed like 95% of their shots (but perhaps it just seemed that bad). In any event, seemed like we didn’t get the roll tonight, hardly ever.

You can’t just give Patberg a hall pass to shoot all she wants from wherever she wants without any effective defense on her for 25 points in the first half. Multiply times two, that’s on track for a 50-point game for Patberg. 50 freakin points (if the Patberg 2nd half had gone like the first)! That (if it had happened that way) is only 19 points less than our entire team ended up scoring.

Game over at halftime, really, even tho the score was still close then. Point is, we exhausted ourselves all game, cuz every one of our points came at great effort. And then (in first half) we just let Patberg go to whatever point on the court she wanted, and pop it for an easy swish.

Diva did put up a gritty effort tonight. She was getting Patberg POed especially second half, and getting in her head helped slow her down.

But if we had just held Patberg to 15 in the first half (like they held Powell), then we would have been up 10 at the half and had a good chance of winning it, even if we went cold in 4Q.

What I don’t understand is, whatever adjustment we made on defense in 2nd half, why didn’t we just adjust at 1Q/2Q break? Patberg is eating our lunch to the tune of 12.5 points per quarter, and it takes til half-time hardcopy game stats arrive fresh off the printer to realize it? Do any of the assistant coaches know how to read the jumbotron? What gives? Any competent set of 5th-grade girls basketball coaches could have done better.

Bottom line is, Indiana marquee player is out there giving the Barn a shooting clinic, while our marquee player is sitting in the bleacher seats, probably thinking to herself, “I can shoot that good too.”
No, Pitts could not shoot as well as Patberg.
 

CutDownTheNet

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No, Pitts could not shoot as well as Patberg.
> Sheryl Reeve ... talked about ... that she was going to be watching Patberg.

Presumably, Sheryl was pretty impressed. Patberg scored 29 points, which is double her per-game average of 14.6 (which probably got about a half-point bump also). I’m not quite sure whether Reeve should be impressed by Patberg, or unimpressed by our defense, or both.

I know I was impressed by the effortless-ness with which she scored. She just dribbled to an open spot and shot it (and it usually went in) - not minding too much where she shot from as it didn’t seem to matter.

Clearly, the Indiana first-half game plan was for Patberg to keep shooting until we proved we could stop her, and we couldn’t, so she kept shooting. During halftime while we were scheming how to stop her, Indiana was deciding to have her distribute the ball more, under the assumption that we’d figure out a way to slow her down.

It looked like Diva was best at slowing her down, which is a bit surprising since I thought Masha and Sara and Brunson would be a bit faster (and Powell faster yet but too short). Just watching, I didn’t think Ali looked that difficult to defend (but then the view from the stands is always rosier). Basically, it appeared that all she needed was a foot of free space to get the shot off, and then swish.

In the first half especially, I thought Patberg’s performance was very Banham-like. She shot 9-11 (all but one in the paint or layup) plus 2 free throws for her 20 half-time points (which was half of Indiana’s points). In other words, Patberg shot .818 in the first half. That’s an expected 1.636 points per Patberg shot. You think Sheryl was interested? Yup. The Lynx goal is 1.1 points per possession.

For the game, Indiana had 36 points in the paint to Minnesota’s 20. The Gopher strategy was clearly focused on making threes. They were getting more assists than usual so I thought our offense was pretty good. Except for not getting the roll so many times.

We got beat on the defense (particularly defending Patberg) and rebounding side of the equation. Indiana had 42 rebounds to Minnesota’s 29. Anytime you give the opponent an extra 13 rebounds, you’re asking for a loss, unless your 3-point shooting is immaculate. If, when you give your opponent an extra 13 possessions via giving them 13 extra rebounds, and they are able to give those extra shots to a (first-half) on-fire Ali Patberg at an expected 1.636 points per shot, then you can expect your opponent (Indiana in this case) to score an expected extra 21.27 points off those extra rebounds and Patberg shots.

The actual Indiana victory margin was 6 points. Yet we were only behind by 2 points right up to the dagger 3-pointer by Jenna Wise at 3:01 in the 4th quarter. And that’s in spite of our long shooting dry spell. Thus we were doing almost 20 points better than you’d think - and that speaks to our quality (revitalized, really) 3-point offense in this game.

The other defensive point that helped kill us was giving them way too many easy baseline drives (on all of which they scored, if I recall). They need to defend more to the baseline side - force them the other way where there’s hope of help defense.

What has plagued us all season (and is still defeating us) is the Catch-22 that Whalen faces. We usually lose to a combination of not enough rebounds (mostly) plus sometimes poor shooting plus often poor defense. But if she tries to correct poor rebounding by putting in Kehinde or others at second post alongside Taiye, then offensive point production suffers since in-general we’re not good enough at assisting to get an assist to Kehinde (and/or potential assists from Powell come too quick or unexpected). We’re damned if we do rebound, and damned if we don’t.

> No, Pitts could not shoot as well as Patberg.

Actually they’re very close in shooting ability (which is all I claimed) - but perhaps not a good comparison since they’re different types of shooters. Patberg is a two-point shooter, while Pitts is a three-point shooter. This season Patberg shot 77.7% twos and 22.3% threes, and Pitts shot 48.7% twos and 51.3% threes. Patberg is a much better two-point shooter, and Pitts is a much better three-point shooter.

But there’s an advanced statistic that combines two- and three-point and free-throw shooting ability together while appropriately giving more credit for the higher value of threes. I call it Actual Shooting Percentage (ASP) since it’s based on the actual mix of shots taken in the season; others call it True Shooting Percentage (TSP) https://www.basketball-reference.com/about/glossary.html but that formula uses an 0.44 constant that is incorrect for NCAA WBB. The shooting stats are listed here ...

Statistic Patberg Pitts

GP 28 15
3PM/3PA 23/67 45/98
2PM/2PA 124/234 31/93
FTM/FTA 91/117 48/56
3P% .3433 .4592
2P% .5299 .3333
FT% .7778 .8571
ASP .5675 .5594

Patberg just barely wins the overalll shooting battle over Pitts (by a factor of 1.0145 - or relatively 1.45% better) since Ali has an Actual Shooting Percentage of .5675 versus Destiny’s Actual Shooting Percentage of .5594.

If it’s three-point shooting you’re interested in, then Pitts wins the battle with 3P% of .4592 versus .3433.

But for two-pointers, Patberg is the victor with a 2P% of .5299 versus Pitts at .3333. Interestingly, Pitts is one of a rare class of shooters who shoot threes better than they shoot twos (in games). This results from most of her two-point shots being off balance. Off-balance doesn’t seem to faze Patberg.

For free-throws, Pitts edges out Patberg .8571 to .7778.

But it’s the ASP statistic that is the best statistic for comparison, because it indicates the relative effectiveness of their shooting in terms of expected points per shot (for an average shot that is the appropriately weighted mixture of twos and threes with free throws also factored in appropriately). Pitts got to take an average 3.73 FT per game, with Patberg taking 4.18.

Patberg scores an average 14.6 points per game this year (and I’m guessing the 29 against Minnesota might be her high). Pitts scored an average of 16.3 points per game in her 15 games this year. But toward the end of her season she was often scoring 20+ points.

A couple interesting side notes: With Pitts shooting a much better percentage on threes than on twos, that implies that the expected average scored-points value of a Pitts three-point attempt E(Pitts_three) = 1.3776 points is much greater than the expected average scored-points value of a Pitts two-point attempt E(Pitts_two) = 0.6667 points. In fact a Pitts three-pointer nets over 2.06 X more points than a Pitts two-pointer attempt. That being the case, a simplistic optimization would suggest that Pitts shoot all threes and no twos. It’s more complicated since you always want a mix, plus drives into the paint get you free throws (that she hits at .8571). However, it’s an easy call that Pitts probably should have been shooting a 25/75 mix of twos/threes instead of a 49/51 mix. A back of the envelope calculation shows that doing so would have netted us an extra 4 points per Pitts game. That would have quite probably switched the early Ohio State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa games from the L column to the W column (maybe needing OT for Nebraska) for a net plus of 4-5 games in our Big Ten record - putting us at 9-7 or 10-6 instead of 5-11 - and with an invite to the Big Dance. The latter back-of-the-envelope calculation demonstrates the importance of basketball analytics. BTW, I’m including Illinois and Iowa in the above calc, under the likely assumption that if an extra 4 points from Pitts won us the Northwestern game, then Whalen and Pitts would have been dancing in the streets instead of arguing about bad body language, and there probably wouldn’t have been a parting of the ways.

For Patberg there is only a very slight advantage to her shooting twos, so she is probably at about an optimal mix of twos and threes.

Although Patberg wins the ASP statistic - the only fair comparison for such dissimilar shooters - by a hair, the result is so close that it’s essentially a tie. Which was basically what I was asserting. Both are approximately equally productive marquee players. One playing (and winning games); and one, unfortunately, not playing.

So which player should Sheryl Reeve prefer? Both. Or, if there were a player who combined the automatic two-point shooting of Patberg with the three-point and free-throw shooting of Pitts, that’s who I’d be wanting to draft.
 
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Frink

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2nd game I was able to see in person. The Gophs did some good things out there but I think the score pretty accurately reflected the difference between the teams. IU is a team that knows what it does well and doesn't deviate from it's plan. In the first half IU got almost every shot they wanted. Even when MN did contest it didn't matter. I though Patberg was really tired in the last 8 minutes or so.

In particular, the Hoosiers took a TON of mid range shots. It's really remarkable to see a team take so many pull up jumpers on the drive and other 10 to 15 foot shots. I was thinking it's a remarkably old fashioned way to play the game. Then I remembered their Coach is Dick Bennet's daughter. Of course they play a controlled, old school game.

Really tough to see the Gophers force one of IU's non scoring bigs into a last second three and watch it go in. Put them up by 5 and essentially put the game out of reach.
 

CutDownTheNet

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2nd game I was able to see in person. The Gophs did some good things out there but I think the score pretty accurately reflected the difference between the teams. IU is a team that knows what it does well and doesn't deviate from it's plan. In the first half IU got almost every shot they wanted. Even when MN did contest it didn't matter. I though Patberg was really tired in the last 8 minutes or so.

In particular, the Hoosiers took a TON of mid range shots. It's really remarkable to see a team take so many pull up jumpers on the drive and other 10 to 15 foot shots. I was thinking it's a remarkably old fashioned way to play the game. Then I remembered their Coach is Dick Bennet's daughter. Of course they play a controlled, old school game.

Really tough to see the Gophers force one of IU's non scoring bigs into a last second three and watch it go in. Put them up by 5 and essentially put the game out of reach.
Best three-sentence summary of the Indiana game, especially Patberg and Berger:

> @Frink: In the first half IU got almost every shot they wanted. Even when MN did contest it didn’t matter. ... In particular, the Hoosiers took a TON of mid range shots.

It’s interesting to look at the shot charts - in particular the PDF stats have a blow-up chart that shows just the rectangular paint area plus about a foot either side of the paint. For this area ...

The Hoosiers shot 21-39 (.538) for 42 points, and the Gophers shot 11-32 (.344) for 22 points. In the first half the Gophers shot 6-12 from deep, but only 2-5 from deep in the second half (for a total of 8-17 or .471). Our long-range shooting was good both halves - it’s just that Indiana’s defense prevented us from shooting enough triples in the second half. Indiana was 2-4 in the first half on triples, plus the 1-1 dagger in the 4th quarter (for a total of 3-5 or .600). So the margin was +5 triples or +15 points-off-triples margin for Minnesota. That comes up short relative to the +20 points in the paint for Indiana. And wouldn’t ya know it, that dagger three made all the difference. In fact, the delta between Indiana's in-the-paint margin and Minnesota’s three-point margin, pretty much explains the Indiana victory margin.

Minnesota, who lives and dies by its triples, died this time because even though they shot em well, we just couldn’t launch enough of them in the second half. All our three-point shooters are set-shot shooters (not true jump-shot shooters like Patberg shoots twos). Thus we need enough space to get our shot off. Indiana didn’t give us that space in the second half. We were doing somewhat good at penetrating then kicking it out, but not enough of that in the second half.

Plus our in-the-paint shooting was crappy.

Along with Iggy’s description of our 4Q field-goal dry spell from 7:27 to 1:24, here’s the best two-sentence description of what went wrong in the 4th quarter:

> @Frink: Really tough to see the Gophers force one of IU’s non scoring bigs into a last second three and watch it go in. Put them up by 5 and essentially put the game out of reach.

That dagger 3 by a non-three-point shooter seemed especially ironic since we had a ton of highly makable shots roll around the rim and out.

In our 4Q field-goal drought from 7:27 through 1:24 we made 3 free shots ithrows but missed three 3-pointer attempts and four 2-pointer attempts (two of which were layup attempts). During the same period of time, Indiana made four 2-pointers plus the one dagger triple (for 11 points), but also had time to miss eight 2-pointer attempts. In other words, they had 13 field-goal attempts to our 7 field-goal attempts. The difference in attempts was one turnover by us, and better rebounding by them. During this time, Indiana wasn’t shooting terrific (except for the dagger three) but just shooting their 2-pointers in workman-like fashion. It’s their modus operandi.

But we scored zilch in that six minutes. Fourth quarter droughts have been an ongoing problem for us, this year and last year. Apparently that’s our modus operandi.

One 20/20 hindsight observation from the Indiana game might lead to a strategy that could be used to win the B1G Tournament.

We only shot .344 from the paint for an expected point production of E(Paint_shot) = 2 * .344 = 0.688 points. On the other hand, we shot .471 from three-point range for an expected point production of E(Triple_shot) = 3 * .471 = 1.413 points. Note that the ratio E(Triple_shot) / E(Paint_shot) = 2.05. That is, in the Indiana game, a trey attempt generated twice as many points, on average, than a shot from the paint. Conclusion: We shot too many shots from the paint, and too few shots from beyond the arc.

This suggests that we’ve been doing this all wrong, and have probably been doing things all wrong since the start of the Big-Ten season. At the Indiana game we shot a mixture of 77.6% two-point shots and 22.4% three-point shots. Aside from Brunson shots from the top of the key (which she hits at a high rate, so we need to keep on doing that) plus a few open-look just-sub-three-point shots (which are quality if open), the bulk of our two-pointer attempts were from the paint.

Why would you want to take such a large portion of your 77.6% of two-pointers in the paint when E(Paint_shot) = only 0.688 points, when you could have shot a three-pointer whose expected value is over twice as large at E(Triple_shot) = 1.413 points? Under such a scenario, one should ideally refrain from shooting in the paint, unless the probability of making the shot is 77% or better (or perhaps a slightly lower threshold if you were certain you’d be fouled).

You wouldn’t and we shouldn’t. Instead of a 22.4%/77.6% mix of three-point/two-point shots, we should have taken (say - just a ballpark guess) a 60%/40% mix of three-point/two-point shots!

If we had done the latter mix with our 76 shots, we would have had about (rounding down) 45 triple attempts and 31 two-point attempts. Our trey attempts alone should net us over 63 points. Add in our (assumed half as many for simplicity) 8 made free throws, gives 71 points so far. Now recall that we actually scored 69 points and Indiana scored 75. So our revised strategy outscored our actual score by two points already without counting two-pointers. Our target is 76 points for the win, which needs 5 points out of our 31 two-point attempts. We thus need to shoot .161 or more on two-pointers. That’s easy to do. Even at our bad in-the-paint shooting (in)efficiency of 0.688 per paint shot, we could expect 31 * 0.688 = over 21 points off those 31 two-pointer attempts. Add in the 71 off treys and free throws, and we conclude that we could have scored over 102 points against Indiana. And that’s even including our misfortunes, such as that former dagger three that now just reduces our victory margin a bit (we win 102-75 under the revised game plan).

In other words, as long as we are shooting well from deep, this team should be shooting “almost all threes almost all of the time.” The way to achieve launching those extra triples that we needed to do in this game, would be to (a) almost always kick it back out when you penetrate into the paint, and (b) almost always kick out an offensive rebound.

That being said, if Taiye is not being double teamed, it still makes sense for her to make a post move, or shoot a putback if virtually uncontested; and if Powell penetrates and has a clean shot or a clean dish, she should take it.

But what the situation calls for (for the rest of the season) is a radical change in shot mixture that doubles (or maybe even triples) the number of three-pointer shots attempted per game.

If we’re a little cold on threes for awhile, we shift back more toward a normal mix and/or put in another post to get more rebounds. (Offensive rebounds would mostly get us a second chance to shoot a triple in the new scheme of things.)

Our team lives and dies by the triple in any event, so might as well go all-in on shooting threes, by intentionally shooting a radically large percentage of threes, to be adjusted dynamically during the game as needed.

There’s a trend toward shooting more threes anyway. What I’m saying is that the Gophers need to make a really radical quantum leap in that trending direction, to the point of matching or exceeding the percentage of triples shot by the Golden State Warriors.

With this change, and assuming that the guards are shooting “normally” from deep, the Gophers could score 100+ points on any team in the Big Ten - including Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Northwestern.

One proviso if we should try this, though. The coaches need to be merciless in benching a guard who is shooting bricks from deep. Let em rest, they’ll shoot better when they come back in. We can’t have any of this 1-8 individual stat on threes. If not enough shooters are hitting threes well, then you put in a second post and focus on rebounding and scoring in the paint for a while.
 
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gopher572

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2nd game I was able to see in person. The Gophs did some good things out there but I think the score pretty accurately reflected the difference between the teams. IU is a team that knows what it does well and doesn't deviate from it's plan. In the first half IU got almost every shot they wanted. Even when MN did contest it didn't matter. I though Patberg was really tired in the last 8 minutes or so.

In particular, the Hoosiers took a TON of mid range shots. It's really remarkable to see a team take so many pull up jumpers on the drive and other 10 to 15 foot shots. I was thinking it's a remarkably old fashioned way to play the game. Then I remembered their Coach is Dick Bennet's daughter. Of course they play a controlled, old school game.

Really tough to see the Gophers force one of IU's non scoring bigs into a last second three and watch it go in. Put them up by 5 and essentially put the game out of reach.
Kathi Bennett has not been the coach at Indiana since 2005. Teri Moren is the current coach.
 

Frink

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Kathi Bennett has not been the coach at Indiana since 2005. Teri Moren is the current coach.
Ha ha. I'm officially old, an idiot or both. Somewhere in my brain I remembered Legget Jack and the other coaches in between but went way too far back in the vaults.
 
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