indiana msu

The Hoosiers locked up a second consecutive conference win, holding off the Minnesota Golden Gophers 84-79 in Minneapolis on Sunday. That put the Hoosiers at 18-10 (9-9 B1G), and IU’s first game in March, fittingly, has major, season-altering consequences.

That means two months of conference play are in the books. Since the start of January, which Indiana lineups have succeeded, and which have struggled? What strategies can Mike Woodson deploy against Rutgers, Purdue, and in the Big Ten Tournament to help land crucial victories?


  1. IU’s best lineup by raw +/- since Jan. 1 is Rob Phinisee, Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. This lineup especially prospered in the home games vs. Ohio State (+9), vs. Minnesota (+14), vs. Purdue (+3), and vs. Michigan (+1). They have not had the chance to play together since the Michigan game due to injury.
  2. IU’s lineups with Phinisee and Johnson have been very productive in 2022, going +24, regardless of the other three players on the court. As a frame of reference, IU is -2 overall since the start of full conference play in January. Having Phinisee back from his leg injury will allow the staff to play these two together more often.
  3. IU’s best player by raw +/- is Xavier Johnson (+34). Trey Galloway is second (+28), and Phinisee is third (+22). On the flip side, the player with the lowest +/- since Jan. 1 is Tamar Bates (-30), followed by Miller Kopp (-28) and Parker Stewart (-21).
  4. However, when you look at numbers on a per minute basis, the order of the top three changes. it’s actually Phinisee who leads (+0.13 per minute), followed by Galloway (+0.10) and Johnson (+0.08).
  5. It would behoove Woodson and his staff to have at least one of those three players on the court at all times. All lineups without one of Johnson, Phinisee, or Galloway are a combined -15. Therefore, when at least one of them is on the court, IU is +17.
  6. We’ve said a lot here without much explicit mention of Jackson-Davis. He leads the team in minutes since the start of 2022, and in particular, IU is more productive when TJD is paired with Thompson. IU is +18 when TJD and Thompson are on the court together. When only TJD on the floor, IU is -14.
  7. The Hoosiers also find success when Jackson-Davis is paired with Galloway, as long as Galloway is not the point guard. With Jackson-Davis and Galloway on the court, along with one of Phinisee, Johnson, or Lander, IU is a whopping +43 in 158 minutes. If Galloway can come back from his hamstring/groin injury, it will likely improve IU’s effectiveness down the stretch.
  8. IU has a tough time beating Big Ten opponents when Bates and Kopp play together. When that duo is on the floor, IU is -19. They’re +17 in all other situations.
  9. IU’s offense is at its sharpest with Johnson on the court, scoring 1.75 points per minute (PPM). When Johnson is off the court, that number drops to 1.55 PPM. In other words, when you extrapolate it over the course of 40 minutes, IU scores eight additional points per 40 with Johnson playing.
  10. IU’s defense is at its stingiest with Phinisee on the court. IU gives up 1.61 PPM with him on the floor. When Phinisee is not playing, IU concedes 1.72 PPM.
  11. Woodson used 118 unique player combinations over the course of January and February, buoyed by some strange groupings thanks to suspensions and foul trouble.

Featured Photo: IU Athletics

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