Analyzing how Indiana uses Noah Vonleh

Here's a closer look at Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh and how he is used in the IU offense.

Noah Vonleh is one of the most discussed and debated players on the Indiana roster, and for good reason. He's likely the most talented.

Vonleh has been named the Big Ten's freshman of the week six times already this season. He has eight double-doubles on the season, including two straight in Big Ten play. Shoot, he's nearly averaging a double-double at 12.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

As Vonleh has gotten more comfortable, he has added things to his game, including a 3-point shot that is more accurate than any other one on the team, or maybe the conference. Vonleh is 9-of-12 from beyond the arc in Big Ten play, an incredible 75 percent. He made only one 3-pointer during the non-conference season.

Both Indiana coach Tom Crean and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo were asked about Vonleh's perimeter shooting following the Hoosiers' 71-66 loss to the No. 3 Spartans on Tuesday night in East Lansing.

"If he starts living out there like I've seen in one or two games, I don't think that's good," Izzo said. "I think he's gotta get fouled more. But he was a horse tonight, and we didn't guard him very well. I hope they pound it into him because he's a load down there."

Izzo makes a fair point, and one that should be considered as Vonleh moves forward with his career. It is important that he not fall in love with the perimeter so much that it stops him from spending time near the rim where he can score, get fouled, draw defenders, and rebound.

"It's not like he's a 20 or 25 percent 3-point shooter," Crean said. "He's a high-percentage shooter. He's very selective, he doesn't hunt 3s. The other day, as he's on the perimeter more and more, he didn't get to the offensive boards the way he needs to. It was his worst grade-out game on the offensive glass [against Northwestern]. That's the biggest thing. As long as he's getting to the glass, it really doesn't matter.

"I don't think we'll ever look at Noah Vonleh and say, 'He's not spending enough time inside.'"

The other issue at hand, and it is in some ways related to where Vonleh plays on the floor, is how often the ball touches Vonleh's hands. As games go on, Vonleh seems to touch the ball less and less, which is due, in part, to Indiana's youth and inexperience. charted each of Indiana's possessions from the Michigan State game, paying close attention to whether or not the ball touched Vonleh's hands on each possession. Here's what we found:

Vonleh touched the ball 13 times on Indiana's first 15 possessions of the game. He touched it 10 times the rest of the game, which included 42 Indiana possessions. Vonleh had only nine touches on 34 possessions in the second half.

There's no doubt getting Vonleh the ball is often Indiana's best chance to score, so it's an area the Hoosiers must work to improve through the rest of the Big Ten season. Top Stories