It appears that our defense is on the mend. Having ended the pre-conference season outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency, as of today we have cracked the top 30 on that measure. One constant throughout the lzzo era has been defensive rebounding, and we are pretty good in that area again this year, ranking 46th in the nation. We're also doing a pretty good job of limiting our opponents' effective FG percentage (we rank 53rd), 3 point field goal percentage (we rank 60th), and 2 point field goal percentage (also 60th).
One suprising area where we have been excelling this year, contrary to our MO as a physical team, is in limiting our opponents' free throws. We currently rank 41st in the country in opponents FT attempts per FG attempt. We should perhaps take this statistic with a grain of salt so far, as it may be to some extent a function of who we have played and where. Generally speaking, teams tend to get more foul calls when playing at home, and we've played more home than away games by far this year. To date in the Big Ten season we have played 3 home games vs two away. Furthermore, those two away games were against Northwestern and Iowa. Northwester currently ranks 186th in the nation in drawing fouls, which is pretty mediocre. Iowa is downright horrendous at drawing fouls, ranking an abysmal 315th in the nation.
So far, since Big Ten play began, we are actually fouling less than we did in the pre-conference season. We're currently featuring a FTA/FGA ratio of .24 in Big Ten play, which is significantly less than the .29 season-to-date ratio. Even considering the nature of our opponents, we have been very good at playing sound defense without fouling. If this keeps up through the season we may officially be able to steal the incredible no-foul defense mantle from Wisconsin. Also encouraging - our improvement on D does not appear to hinge on any one factor - we're performing well above the national average in several areas, indicating that we have a fundamentally sound defense that can beat opponents in any of a number of ways. Lets hope these improvements continue to hold.