Indiana Basketball: 1 Pressing Concern for Each Hoosiers Starter

Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2014

Indiana Basketball: 1 Pressing Concern for Each Hoosiers Starter

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    BRADLEY LEEB/Associated Press

    Indiana basketball, currently sitting on a 12-7 (2-4) record, is struggling through the early parts of the Big Ten season. In order to right the ship, IU's starting five must improve.

    Even Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh, who have been some of the conference's best players, have something they can work on to give the Hoosiers a better shot to win.

    Here is one concern each starter must address going forward if Indiana wants to get its season turned around.

Yogi Ferrell: Turnovers

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    Ferrell must take better care of the basketball.
    Ferrell must take better care of the basketball.Al Goldis/Associated Press

    Hoosier point guard Yogi Ferrell is turning the ball over more than any of his teammates. In Big Ten games, the sophomore is giving it away almost three times per night.

    Not acceptable.

    Understandably, this number is perhaps a little skewed because the offense runs through Ferrell and he has the ball in his hands more than anyone else, but regardless, he must be smarter when he has possession. 

    The Hoosiers give the ball away more than any other Big Ten team, and as point guard, Ferrell must do his part to cut down on mistakes.

    Possessions count, and until the Hoosiers start getting more shots instead of turnovers, they will struggle to win games.

Stanford Robinson: Free Throws

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    Robinson has been poor from the charity stripe this year.
    Robinson has been poor from the charity stripe this year.Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Stanford Robinson has only started one game in his career, but he has been one of the Hoosiers' most effective players since the start of the Big Ten season. He makes this list because I feel he will now be a regular starter. 

    Though Robinson is showing promise, he isn't performing well when he steps up to the free-throw line. Robinson's free-throw percentage is just 54.3 percent. For someone who plays aggressively and loves to drive to the rim (69 percent of his shots are there, according to Hoop-Math.com), being able to make free throws is key.

    Under no circumstance does head coach Tom Crean want Robinson to change his style of play, but Robinson just has to convert when he is inevitably fouled driving to the basket.

Will Sheehey: 3-Point Shooting

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    Sheehey is struggling from outside.
    Sheehey is struggling from outside.Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Will Sheehey has never been known for his three-point shooting, but this season, he's been awful. The senior forward is making only 27.5 percent of his long-range attempts (14-of-51), by far the worst percentage of his career. 

    Either Sheehey needs to start knocking down some triples or just give up shooting them altogether. Making such a low percentage isn't helping the Hoosiers. 

    Indiana needs production from the senior, but as it looks right now, making three-pointers doesn't seem to be one of Sheehey's strengths this season.

Troy Williams: Jump Shots

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    Williams has not been an effective jump-shooter this year.
    Williams has not been an effective jump-shooter this year.Rich Barnes/Getty Images

    Troy Williams is one of Indiana's best athletes. He's one of the team's top rebounders. The thing he is not is a jump-shooter. 

    ESPN's scouting report of Williams (subscription required) said he needed to work on his shooting before he arrived in Bloomington, and he is proving it right. 

    Williams is ice cold from every area of the floor except close to the rim. Per Hoop-Math.com, he is making 21.1 percent of his jump shots. He's even worse from beyond the arc (10.5 percent).

    Williams can throw it down around the rim, but in order for Indiana to be better, he has to develop his jump shot. It's not too late in the season to make improvements. If he can become a more diverse offensive threat, it will create more options when the Hoosiers have the ball.

Noah Vonleh: Personal Fouls

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    Vonleh has to be smart on defense.
    Vonleh has to be smart on defense.Duane Burleson/Getty Images

    Through his first 19 games as a college basketball player, Noah Vonleh has racked up a team-leading 53 fouls, which comes out to 2.8 per game. 

    This is understandable considering Vonleh is a freshman adjusting to the college game, but he must become better at defending without fouling. Outside of Ferrell, he is Indiana's only true offensive threat. He is turning into quite the low-post presence.

    As far as defense, he runs the show. He is Indiana's enforcer and leads the team in blocks with 24. 

    Vonleh is far too valuable to be on the bench longer than to get a quick rest. Indiana needs him to play a ton of minutes in order to be competitive. Because of that, he must become a smarter defender to cut back on the personal fouls.