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Insider

IU's bench production a concern?

1/17/2013

We wrote recently that Indiana's bench was potentially concerning, but in the loss to Wisconsin, it became very apparent that the lack of bench production coach Tom Crean can count on from his reserves could become a serious problem as Big Ten play continues.

During the Hoosiers' last two Big Ten games, against Minnesota and the Badgers, IU's bench accounted for 82 minutes -- a stat that is consistent with the playing time allotted to IU's reserves all season (28.1 percent, per Ken Pomeroy) -- but scored just five points. What is also troubling is the Hoosier subs are foul (nine) and turnover (six) prone.

The Hoosier whose game has slightly dropped is Will Sheehey. During the last two games, the wing has missed all seven of his attempts, and the junior is not known for his defense; though IU's defensive turnaround has been well-catalogued this season, when both Sheehey and Jordan Hulls are together in the backcourt, opposing guards are better able to penetrate the lane and either draw a foul or execute a simple dump-down to a big. Sheehey is taking more shots that he did a season ago -- he is attempting nearly two more two-point field goals per 40 minutes, and his percentage of shots attempted within IU's offense, per Pomeroy, has also risen -- but his accuracy is only slightly better with his increased attempts. Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea aren't experienced enough to contribute, so Sheehey is essentially Crean's only player capable of creating points off the bench (though Remy Abell showed some offensive skill during the non-conference slate) but if Sheehey cannot contribute, the pressure to carry IU's offense could begin to wear on the starters.