A Look At The Illinois-Indiana Free Throw Disparity

February 10, 2012

Illinois Hoops, IU Hoops

The official Twitter account of Illinois basketball – run by associate athletic director Derrick Burson – seems to be trying to make a point with this Tweet:

Burson was joined by other Illini faithful who were outraged or at least perplexed by the free-throw differential.

For example, Chief Illiniwek – forced to retire and now posting on comment boards late into the night – wrote at Reddit, “Wait, what’s that? 42 free throws attempted versus 15? THAT’S STRANGE!”

But might the disparity in foul calls be the result of a significantly more active – not to mention better – Indiana team?

Click to embiggen.

You know, kinda like in this game?

If you don’t want to follow the link, it is the box score from the Illinois-Indiana game on Jan. 9, 2010 in Bloomington. It includes these tidbits:

  • Indiana was whistled for 28 fouls. Illinois? 17.
  • Indiana took 18 free throws. Illinois? 39.

In Bloomington.

Why? Because Indiana, well, sucked.

The Illini were significantly better than Indiana, an overmatched team that was forced to foul at basically every turn – giving Illinois a 2.18 to 1 free-throw attempt advantage.

You know, kinda like Illinois on Thursday. When they weren’t committing silly fouls 43 feet from the basket, they were fouling Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford and Cody Zeller as they drove to the hoop – giving Indiana a 2.8 to 1 free-throw attempt advantage.

So, accounting for home cooking – a real phenomenon, no doubt – let’s call it even, shall we?

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3 Comments on “A Look At The Illinois-Indiana Free Throw Disparity”

  1. Newman Says:

    All Burson did was cite stats from the game. You’re the one making the inference. If you look at the box score, fouls and FTs were the only thing heavily favored IU, so why wouldn’t that be pointed out as a difference in the game. If rebounds are 50-30 in favor of one team, that’s pointed to as a key to the game, so why can’t FTs be mentioned in the same way?

    Comparing the box score to the 2010 game is ridiculous. That IU team was awful and it was IN Bloomington. Even though you claim this year’s IU team is far superior to Illinois in the same way the opposite was true in 2010, facts just don’t back that up.

    The 2 teams entered the game tied in the Big Ten standings. Illinois has wins over Ohio State, Michigan State and Gonzaga…not exactly a pushover like the 10-21 IU team was in 2010.


    • Tony Says:

      Yes, I am making an inference – which is why I wrote “seems to be trying to make a point.” If I weren’t inferring, I would have written something different.

      Of course, I could have just used one of the dozens of other Tweets out there that were out-and-out complaining.

      Also, I don’t see that I claim Indiana is “far superior” to Illinois – or at least did not intend to. I did write that Indiana is better (they are) and that Illinois was forced to foul as a better and more active Indiana team repeatedly drove to the basket (see Oladipo, Victor and Zeller, Cody). A vast majority of those weren’t cheapies.


    • Gern Blanston Says:

      I think the point was that it’s pretty tacky for a school AD to be fussing about foul calls via Twitter. Stay classy, Illini.


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