BOZICH | Three reasons Chattanooga is a dangerous game for India - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Three reasons Chattanooga is a dangerous game for Indiana

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Indiana opens NCAA Tournament play against Chattanooga. Indiana opens NCAA Tournament play against Chattanooga.

DES MOINES, Iowa (WDRB) – There’s danger in this NCAA Tournament first-round game for the Indiana University basketball team.

Dive into the data with me. I’ll give you three reasons Chattanooga is a team that could topple the Hoosiers Thursday at 7:10 p.m. when the teams play at Wells Fargo Arena in the East Regional.

Indiana is favored by a dozen points, but this is unlikely to be a 12-point game.

1. Chattanooga feasts on turnovers. The Mocs led the Southern Conference in several defensive categories. But their most impressive performance is their ability to knock loose turnovers.

Chattanooga was first in that category in its league. The Mocs ranked 54th in the nation in that statistic. Opponents turned the ball over on more than 20 percent of their possessions against Chattanooga.

Anybody who has watched Indiana play this season knows the Hoosiers’ biggest issue on offense is turnovers, especially unforced turnovers caused by players driving into traffic or leaving their feet before deciding what to do with the basketball. They had the worst turnover percentage of any Big Ten team.

Chattanooga feasts on turnovers. Indiana can be careless with the ball. The Mocs have limited 11 of their last 12 opponents to less than 70 points because their defense is sound. It’s a development to follow.

2. Brackets are relentlessly turned upside down by No. 12 seeds defeating No. 5 seeds. IU is the five-seed in the East Regional, Chattanooga the 12.

The 2015 NCAA Tournament was an exception. All four 12 seeds were toppled in their opening games. That was the first time that happened since 2007. But three of those games last season were tight, decided by less than 10 points.

In 2014, three 12 seeds won their tournament openers, taking down name schools like VCU, Cincinnati and Oklahoma. Ditto for 2013 when Oklahoma State, Wisconsin and UNLV all lost their opening games as five seeds. Veteran winners of office pools regularly pick upsets in the 5 vs. 12 game.

Historical precedent is powerful. Since 1985, teams seeded 12 have gone 44-80 in opening games, a winning percentage of nearly 36 percent.

3. Chattanooga excels at getting to the free throw line. Here is another Pomeroy stat that flashes off the screen:

The Mocs led the Southern Conference in free throw rate – the number of free throws they have attempted divided by their field goal attempts.

That percentage is 49. Only 10 teams in the tournament have a better ratio.

Consider this: The Mocs attempted 793 free throws in 34 games. Indiana attempted 621 in 32 games.

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