Film Session: Good take, bad take

  • 01/23/2014 8:56 am in

“The standard offensive set, to begin with, is a 1-in, 4-out flex, where the perimeter players provide ball screens and allow the ball handler to make a decision to drive, pass, or shoot. Indiana began out of that set a lot in the first half and it sent 5 MSU players to the locker room with 2 fouls. It is a read offense. It is not that complicated. Many teams run a similar offense.

Yogi can also call out plays at the top, or Crean can from the sideline, which can send those perimeter players to do off ball screens or other flex motions.” — Indiana_Banners

As detailed above by Indiana_Banners in the comments of The Minute After, the Hoosiers were able to find success in the halfcourt by hitting driving lines out of their offensive sets — leading to fouls and scores at the rim.

A look at some success and failure out of these sets, as well as some Noah Vonleh looks in the latest edition of Film Session:

The Hoosiers run some weave action as Yogi Ferrell hands off to Jeremy Hollowell and the two swap spots. Hollowell fills spaces up top as Ferrell hits the left wing. As this happens, Stanford Robinson starts to join the weave off the right wing:


Travis Trice sticks with Hollowell for a split second on the handoff as Keith Appling stays put waiting for Hollowell:


By the time Trice realizes he needs to mark Robinson, he’s already moving into space down the middle:


Trice does a decent job of chasing, but as Robinson begins to gather at the free throw line:


He avoids both Trice and Branden Dawson and scores untouched at the rim:


This is Stan Rob’s game: The crafty lefty who can avoid defenders and score at the rim.


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  • Indiana_Banners

    A shout out in my very favorite feature on the website?! I am swooning.

    Excellent article as always, Ryan; I really love these film sessions.

  • 5_Banners

    Maybe people on here will finally understand what half court offense IU runs. As you said, “It’s not that complicated.”

  • Mattcolliu

    It’s obviously not complicated! That makes it easier to defend, especially for a good opposing coach that can make adjustments during the game. If we had superior talent at all positions that demanded tight man coverage, sticking with this theme might make sense- but we put Howard and Hollowell and Etherington and Gordon and Hartman and Marlin and Davis and Perea in these slots and what do you get accomplished? These players need help, and to help each other get open but we don’t do that- that end up watching Yogi and Noah.

  • notfargj

    thanks, ryan.

  • Well several times this year, that cast of role players have been able to get us back into the game. Yes, it can be defended, but if it is done right and movement and spacing is what it needs to be, it can be very effective. You do need to shoot better than 25% though. You can’t miss 12 or 13 layups. And if they’re contested and you miss the shot, you need to get the foul and make the FTs..

  • MillaRed

    I don’t want to sound sarcastic, but this is not breaking news. We all know what offense IU runs. And at times it is exhausting to watch. Simply put, our offense lacks creativity. It screeches to a halt on occasion. It is what it is. And I am one of many that realizes it’s something we just have to deal with in The Crean era until there is a monumental shift in philosophy.

    Great players affect it all of course. We don’t have many on this team. So this offense will break down and turn the ball over as a result 5-7 times a game.

    Not trying to be a downer. I just do not like our offense. Like, really don’t like it.

  • Brklynhoosier

    What would you prefer? Genuinely curious, Milla. Assuming you were the coach and you weren’t coaching year to year, you were trying to establish a system. Bearing in mind, too, that you’re trying to recruit NBA bound players. I like a more structured offense, too, but I don’t think the top players want to play in one. I watch UNC, Kentucky, even Louisville and Duke, and I don’t see much difference — better execution, more creativity (from players) maybe — but not more structure…

  • MillaRed

    I’m a fan of the motion offense. There are many derivatives. It’s easier to practice, involves many crisp bounce passes and ultimately you just seem to gain the step needed to create a play.

    It’s all about gaining an advantage. I just don’t see it in Crean’s offense. At least half the time we end up picking at the top of the key or forcing something ugly.

    I realize we have put up many points over the years and many will argue that. But not when we really need it in the B1G or the dance.

    The thing that really bothers me is our lack of set plays. Especially out of bounds. When we really, really need a bucket what are we running out there? Our baseline out of bounds play is one deep. One deep! And it never gains an advantage. What gives?

    I don’t have all of the answers. I support Coach. But our offense struggles to gain an advantage. It’s an opinion.

  • Gregory Spera

    As the person who got this whole ball rolling, for better or worse, my first question “What is the intent when all five players are outside the three point line, just watching Yogi dribble?” has been answered. I indeed understand the “intent” behind what they are theoretically trying to do. But the question again raised by Dakich’s original comments is why does this “1-in, 4-out flex” offense as run by Indiana often appear so stagnant? Why does it, too many times, devolve into just five guys standing around? I know I’m not the only one here who agrees with Dakich on this point.

  • Indiana_Banners

    That’s an execution issue, not a schematic issue. The same offense, with older and more experienced players, was one of the top 3 offenses in the nation in part due to featuring guys like Oladipo and Sheehey who knew how to make cuts when they were off the ball.

    Most players don’t understand moving without the ball out of high school, but it will come in time. Stanford does it in spots, but needs to do it more consistently. He’s getting more time, so maybe he will figure it out a bit in the coming weeks.

    I hate to roll out coachspeak but it really is a process. It’s probably difficult for young players to make the correct read all the time, but they’re learning.

  • Indiana_Banners

    That’s not really true. Pick and rolls are simple, but tough to defend because pick and rolls always give the advantage to the offense. That’s why you see the pick in roll in every offense… dribble drive, motion, whatever. It’s all a path to the pick and roll or a post up. A pick and roll out of this offense isn’t any easier to defend than a pick and roll out of Bob Knight’s motion. It’s the same play every offense in the country builds their offense around.

  • Mattcolliu

    What pick and rolls?

  • Brklynhoosier

    I think there’s a big difference in the product we see on the floor now vs that which we saw the last couple years. To be effective, this offense needs: a) athletic, efficient ball-handlers on the wing and b) shooters for spacing. Bigs are mainly on hand to clean the glass and get second-chance points (which is the main reason, IMO, that we struggle so much and so often to feed the post). Right now, we have the athletic wings, but, w/ the exception of Yogi (and maybe Will?) they’re poor ball handlers. We also lack shooters.

    Re the out-of-bounds, I’d point out that last year we were the most effective team in the B1G on out-of-bounds plays. I think that, right now, it’s an execution issue.

    As to the overall point, I think that a well-run motion offense is a thing of beauty. I’m throwing up a little in my mouth saying it, but I’m also a fan of what Bo Ryan does, with every man on the floor prepared to post up. I just don’t think you’re going to sell top-quality 4-5* star guys on a motion offense (or any of its derivatives). Those guys have stars in their eyes — they want to hear that you’re running a pro-style offense, and that’s what Crean delivers. FWIW, I got as bummed w/ the losses to Wisky and Syracuse as anyone — but when the offense was running well, it was a thing of beauty (Wisconsin got the advantage by mugging us in the lane; also, if Jordy hadn’t gone through his end-of-year shooting slump, I think that Syracuse game (as well as the last few games of B1G season) have a completely different complexion)…

  • Dagwoodsdave

    This issue as I see it, is that the offense is too one dimensional. It is based on driving to the basket. If the lane is packed, or we miss the layup, then what? Even when we had outside shooters, we struggled some times to find open shots. Some years it will work, others it will not. If you want a consistent contender, you need a multi-dimensional offense. It needs to change with the personnel.

  • MillaRed

    We need good players regardless of the offense I get it. But I think we should be really good at running our offense in year 6. Will we always score? Gain advantage? No offense always does that. But like others like to point out, this standing around thing and staring at Noah isn’t fun to watch.

    One thing is for sure, thank God for Noah Vonleh. I shiver at the thought. Brrrrrrr

  • SCHoosier

    DD actually referred to that as “IU’s no nothing offense”. Wonder of TC will agree to be on his show next week?

  • SCHoosier

    Call me old school but when the dribble replaces the pass as the primary ball movement weapon in an is not a good thing.

  • SCHoosier

    Wait till we play Iowa and UM..we’ll see some of those out of bounds up close an personal.

  • NA Hoosier

    When they do set screens; they usually aren’t very solid screens. Seem to get called for a few moving screens a game as well.

  • NA Hoosier

    Shouldn’t a coach adapt his offense to the team he has right now? Maybe Crean is trying that and I am just missing it. But, so far this offense has not improved throughout this year IMO.

  • ForeverIU

    Don’t apologize for “coachspeak”. It makes sense to me, even as a “non-expert”. What I want to understand is whether this is one of a suite of offensive formations that are part of a particular style or paradigm of offense, and what do we call such an offense, if not a motion offense? Are we looking at IU from within the wrong paradigm if we keep expecting a Knight-era motion offense, which Dakich seems so keen on? Not sure if I’m making myself clear.

  • Scooter

    Yes, the good coaches can do this. I am convinced Crean doesn’t know how to adapt.

  • ForeverIU

    Okay, so did some research. Flex is one of several offensive strategies within the “continuity offense” category. I know this may sound academic, but can we safely say that we utilize a continuity offense (as opposed to motion offense), and that comparing our offense to a motion offense or setting it as a standard is like comparing apples to oranges? Also, does the “set play” tend to fit more within the category of the motion offense? I know in reality things are not so black and white, but just trying to get a thematic understanding here.

  • ForeverIU

    That comment right there to me disqualifies Dakich as a reliable commentator. I guess I’m lucky my wife keeps the volume down on the games so I don’t have to put up with this commentary-with-an-agenda. The only time I listen to live commentary is on radio when driving–thanks to Don Fischer.

  • Brklynhoosier

    Come on, Milla, you know that “year 6” is a cheap shot. Years 1, 2, and 3 were lost product. This is year 3, technically.

    But I am glad we whole-heartedly agree on one point… w/out Noah, we’d be lost. (Luke!… come baaack!…)

  • Dagwoodsdave

    I really didn’t want to bring RMK into the discussion (he’s gone and not coming back), but he did “change” his offense to fit his players. It adapted to the players. It was different when Alford was shooting threes, or Cheaney slashing, driving and shooting. He also changed it depending on the situation. They ran the “Running Rebels” out of town in 87.

  • Snookafly

    I honestly feel our out of bounds plays have regressed. I’m not just talking about our great team from last year, but even our terrible teams from a few years ago looked better getting it in. It was one of the few consolations that reminded me Crean was preparing the team better than Davis ever did. Now we look lazy.

  • Snookafly

    Set offense tends to not fit with motion.

  • MillaRed

    Coach Crean has his players he recruited running an offense. They should run it to perfection. Without question.

  • We may all know what offense IU runs, but apparently from some comments on here, some do not understand how it works, or how it is supposed to work. Therefore, I feel these film sessions are informative, and I for one find that, while they’re not breaking news, they are interesting and informative.. and I like seeing some of these plays broken down in this way..
    I’m sure you’re a lot smarter than any of the others on here, judging by your comments, so bear with those of us who are not as brilliant of a basketball mind as yourself.. “Debbie Downer’…lol…

  • I agree with you on this Milla.. I do think we have some set plays, but the ones I’ve seen Crean break down, seem very complex and seem to take a long time to get to the score.. maybe that’s just me, but JMO on it.

  • Indiana_Banners

    People said the same thing in 2010 but it wasn’t true then either. The team needs time to learn the system and experience executing it in games for it to ever work. That’s true of the motion offense too… just look at Purdue over the last 2 years. Any collegiate offense is going to face a young team with a steep learning curve because high school offenses are even more simple.

  • SCHoosier

    Maybe but at the time the comment was was exactly what IU was doing..”Nothing” but trying to drive into a packed lane…and having to back out. No alternatives that they were showing. Still a poor choice of words on DD’s part.

  • SCHoosier

    Yes..but in fairness..TC had few recruiting options his first two years..and some of the early offers that were made (and accept early)..would not be made today.

  • Chappy Dan

    EXACTLY. We can drone on and on about the intricacies of the 1-in, 4-out flex til Coach Knight comes home but once we acknowledge we don’t have the players for the system yet, something needs to change. It seems appropriate to invoke the definition of insanity here.

  • Brklynhoosier

    Perfection seems like an awfully high bar, Milla. RMK was one of the greatest tactical coaches of all times, but his motion often didn’t run to perfection (in fact, post 93-94, it rarely ran to perfection). Yes, these are CTC’s players, and yes, this is his system, but I rarely see players this young play well in any system. That said, if we’re seeing the same (or a similar) product in 2 years’ time, then I think you’ll have made your point.

  • 3AM Burrito

    What current college teams do you see running an effective motion offense? Or just in general, what other college teams do you enjoy their offensive scheme?

  • 3AM Burrito

    I somewhat disagree with saying Crean doesn’t design an offense for the players. I was watching the Kentucky – Indiana Sweet 16 game the other day and they never ran a 4 out one in with Cody like they have with Noah. They never had Cody get the ball out outside the 3 point line to isolate his guy like they have with Noah. They also almost always would run the offense with a ball screen or two on the wing and if that resulted in nothing it would usually end with Victor at the top getting the flat ball screen to the basket. You don’t really see that action now with the double ball screen as 1) the guy on the wing usually cannot shoot very well or drive very well without turning it over and 2) the bigs and wings we have now are not all that effective off a pick and roll to score – outside of Noah of course. Oladipo or Watford on the wing, getting ball screens from Zeller and even Elston with Hulls on the weakside is alot more effective than say Troy Williams getting ball screens from Jeff Howard and Perea with Stanford Robinson on weakside three. So they don’t really run that action often, the would run it some with Hollowell on the wing and he woudl usually turn it over. You do still see the final flat ball screen with Yogi since he can drive and finish, but a little less of it since that seems to hurt our transition defense, especially if Yogi misses a layup and falls down.
    But anyway sorry for long post but I think Crean does and has modified the offense for his personnel.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I would say though that for OSU, Ross, Smith, and Thompson all of shown the ability to knock down 3 pointers, that is what differentiates them from Williams and Stan and that is a huge difference. As for Sheehey he isn’t the same threat off the bounce as those guys.

  • 3AM Burrito

    One thing I think the offense should do more is back screen. With Troy’s athleticism, why not send Vonleh to back screen for him for an alley oop and then pop out for a 3 if the defense over plays? Maybe they have done this and I have missed it but I would do this early in the game and try to get Troy going early because he seems to snowball with however he starts – if he gets a big play early he usually feels good and has a nice game but if he struggles early it is usually not going to be pretty.

  • Lance

    There’s also the “we suck” part that’s being elided in most of the comments in this discussion. Apart from a layup, we can’t shoot it seems. Ugly offense, IMO.

    Oh, almost forgot–please fire Crean.