Film Session: Man, zone breakdowns

  • 01/14/2012 8:54 am in

Indiana continues to struggle with defense in Big Ten play, as it gave up 1.15 points per possession to the Gophers on Thursday inside Assembly Hall.

A look at some of the Hoosiers’ breakdowns in both man-to-man and 2-3 zone defense in the latest edition of Film Session.



Elliott Eliason sets a ball screen for Maverick Ahanmisi out near half court:

Maverick is off to the rim past Oladipo. Elston just slides along to the side of him:

Jones doesn’t step up or get a body in front of Ahanmisi. He just swipes in with his right hand:

And it’s an uncontested lay-in for Ahanmisi:



Oladipo plays Julian Welch tight — perhaps too tight — out past the 3-point line:

A move allows Welch to get by Oladipo and he’s playing from behind:

Remy Abell doesn’t use his body but a hand to try and disrupt Welch. Jones is caught behind Joe Coleman’s body:

Welch lays it in for two:



Ralph Samspon III sets a ball screen for Ahanmisi:

Zeller and Oladipo do a good job here and recover to their men. But Jordan Hulls has decided to come over to perhaps help clog the lane and  stop any penetration:

Which leaves the man he was marking, Austin Hollins, alone in the corner. Both Watford and Hulls point to the open man:

Zeller is able to rotate over, but Hollins scores on him:


2-3 ZONE

1) 3-BALL

After some patient perimeter passing, Oto Osenieks dribbles into the middle of the zone, which collapses the Hoosiers. Hulls, Abell, Zeller and Will Sheehey are nearly all in the paint:

With Hulls and Abell — the two on top of the zone — near the paint, he passes to Ahanmisi at the top of the key:

Ahanmisi ball-fakes Hulls and quickly swings it over to a wide-open Hollins:

Who splashes in a 3-pointer:



Eliason flashes to the middle of the zone and Hollins darts in a pass to him:

With Sheehey coming all the way across the lane to mark Eliason, he dumps the ball over the top of Zeller to Rodney Williams, who’s streaking towards the basket from the basline:

Williams gather and dunks with no one in front of the hoop to challenge:



Hollins kicks it over to Ahanmisi on the right wing:

Abell stays with him as he drives towards the hoop:

This leaves an opening out on the wing, which Ahanmisi fills as Hulls tries to contest with Eliason blocking his path. And it’s another 3-ball from the Gophers:



Filed to:

  • JerryCT

    In almost every video , maybe every one , we are going under screens, looking to switch and helping defend a player we are not assigned.

    These techniques are legitimate but they have plagued us for years now. We simply are not quick enough to go under screens , give shooters/drivers space and still defend . Once burned we then try to switch which results in mismatches we often lose.

    Having seen these failures , plus the ill conceived double teams last year , I would love to see a consistent scheme where :

    + our bigs try to prevent the high ball screen by bumping the screener off the run up
    + our perimeter defenders go through and over the top of the screen
    + if needed our screener defender flash the hedge or completely hedge & recover
    + more ball denial of the other team’s hot shooter/driver

    Yes we would be more vulnerable to backdoor cut lobs to the big ( not an easy play however ), backdoors from the ball denial, and dribble penetration from the perimeter but I feel those are better chances to take with our guys than giving pressure up to switches and going under screens.

  • Anonymous

    I know Coach puts a premium on deflections. Could this be part of the reason we tend to swat at the ball instead of putting a body in front of a driving opponent? Or are we just that slow? Whatever. It was tough to watch it happen over and over.

  • Anonymous

    I know Coach puts a premium on deflections. Could this be part of the reason we tend to swat at the ball instead of putting a body in front of a driving opponent? Or are we just that slow? Whatever. It was tough to watch it happen over and over.

  • Anonymous

    Penetration will continue until we have a true deterrent in the middle. Hopefully Peter Jurkin pans out.

  • HoosierFromCt

    I didn’t know Mellancamp was dating the original Joker. 

  • Anonymous

    Almost put this under JerryCT’s excellent thoughts but there were some general thoughts I wanted to add, too, that didn’t relate to his recommendations.

    General issue #1: Bad timing.

    It was just in a bad place on the calendar. The Hoosiers had a mission set up for itself on the schedule. Make it through the three ranked teams in the first three games, then address the national criticism that it had not won on the road with the Penn State game. Mission more than accomplished. Exhale.

    Then, the team was three days away from a road game at Ohio State, when and where a win would truly make their season, setting themselves up for a championship and a #2 seed in the tournament. It just seemed inevitable that the players would be thinking about it, one-game-at-a-time rhetoric be darned.

    In between, of course, was Thursday’s game against lowly Minnesota.

    Disappointing. But it was no doubt a big part of Thursday night’s result.

    General issue #2: Offense

    Weird to say that the Hoosiers have problems on offense, given their stratospheric offensive ratings, but the Hoosiers have some problems on offense. Now that they’ve lost, I feel okay getting them off my chest.

    Jordan Hulls has got to understand that the very best shot that this offense produces is a three-point shot for him. Want to know an early tell when Hulls is going to struggle? When he passes up a three-point shot. It’s like clockwork; he’s going to play a bad game when that’s his mindset. Hulls has got to understand that passing up his own shot is not noble, it’s not selfless, it’s not the mark of a leader. It’s irresponsible. If he’s got a shot, he HAS to take it.

    Shot selection could be better. The following are good shots for this team…

    Three-point shots: Hulls (incl. off the dribble), Roth (incl. off the dribble), Watford, Sheehey, Abell (when really open, because he has to drift forward at this point in his career), and Elston (when really open).

    Mid-range shots: All the above, plus Oladipo and Jones III. All except Elston and Abell can hit it off the dribble.

    Post-ups: Zeller, Watford, and Elston.

    Drives to the lane: Hulls, Oladipo, and Sheehey from the perimeter. Watford, Elston, and Zeller, too, if two dribbles or less from the hole.

    That’s it but that’s A LOT of shots that are good shots. There is literally never a possession, except for the occasional Tom Crean substitution mind-freak, when good shots are not available all over the floor.

    Note that producing these shots does NOT require dribbling all the way across the lane from the ball-side to the off-side. (And though I’m not talking to you, two anonymous IU players who do this with regularity, I’m talking to you, two anonymous IU players who do this with regularity.)

    Note that there are a few of things that could make producing these shots even easier, and allow the Hoosiers to up the tempo a bit.

    Good screens. IU’s screens slow the defender down. Good screens stop the defender.

    Post-entry. IU is getting better but the post-entries are still too infrequent and are imprecise. 

    Hitting the roller on the screen-and-roll. If Hulls could hit Pritch on the screen-and-roll last year, surely he can figure out how to hit Zeller.

    Hi-lo. Like a spring hatchling attempting its first flight, we saw the fledgling beginnings of some hi-lo in the Michigan game. Not since. With Watford and Zeller, this should be a staple and killer feature of our offense.

    Out-of-bounds plays. IU’s out-of-bounds points come from pulling it out and running the regular offense. Get some quick hitters.

    General issue #3: Defense

    Better pressure on the pass.

    Help from perimeter man-to-perimeter man on the wing dribble-drive. Having the off-man pinch down to cut off the wing drive would do wonders for IU.

    Oladipo needs to learn that excellent defense does not always mean being six inches from the offensive player. If the player is not capable of pulling up and hitting a j in your face, back off. If Oladipo would have just backed up off his man a couple of feet on Thursday night, Minnesota does not win, in my opinion.

    Help in the lane on the dribble-drive. This has been especially woeful. 

    Much improved defensive rebounding. We got up for rebounding well in the Michigan State game but have been poor since.

    Helping Hulls. Teams are running an away-screen on the weak side and then a down- or cross-screen in the lane to get Hulls’ man free. Switch the initial away-screen, if the screener is another perimeter player. Switch down- and cross-screens if the initial away-screen was not switched. Yes, that creates a mismatch in the latter case, if it results in a post-player on Hulls’ man, but Hulls is usually playing the slower guard. The play is to set up a shot off-the-pass once Hulls’ man reaches the perimeter, not a drive. Just stop that shot. Minnesota abused IU with this and they’re not even a good shooting team.

    Handling the perimeter ball-screens. I’d agree with JerryCT totally on the preferred options, with the partial exception that I’d just like to see the screen defender go ahead and regularly hedge here, with IU occasionally seeking to double and trap off that.

    Make a double trap harder to escape.

    Switch defenses. While I’m a man-defense guy all the way, let’s not deny that IU STILL faces being physically and athletically over-matched by most teams it will face this year. That was a big part of the Minnesota game’s story. IU was more talented and skilled. Minnesota was far more athletic. So…

    Stay a man-2-man team. But switch for a few possessions here and there. And not just with a 2-3, but with multiple zones. And with full-court press defenses. And within possessions (the way Crean’s defense did occasionally his first year, which was wonderful). And switch the techniques used within the base man-2-man itself.

    Behind the switching suggestion is an overall issue about the ratio between risk and safety in the defense. IU has gone vanilla in the conference schedule. Get back to the non-conference approach and take some risks. That’s why IU created boatloads of turnovers in the non-conference but, in the conference, has turned it over more than its opponents.

    The other thing that IU “safe” defense is doing is giving opposing offenses too much time. Make the offense think, as Minnesota had to do for the few few possessions after IU switched to the 2-3. When you give a coach like Tubby’s offense a full 35-seconds to run its stuff, his teams are going to produce a good shot a pretty good number of times. While Tubby might be the best coach in the conference, with Chambers and McCaffrey, EVERY coach in the B10 is a good one. The Hoosiers are too predictable for these coaches’ offenses. They have to start making them stop and think when they bring the ball up, force them into mistakes, burn clock, and cough up turnovers.

    Whew…that was a lot but it’s, well…been on my mind lately. Of course, IU will not and cannot improve all of the above. But if even a few of these problems had been fixed already, the Hoosiers would not have lost the other night and might well be undefeated.

    It’s kind of funny. IU is WAY, WAY, WAY better than I thought they’d be. It just blows my mind that part of the disaster of the Minny game was that it damaged IU’s chances to win the Big Ten Championship. This year. In 2011. When I was going to cheer like heck when they made the NIT.

    It’s insane.

    Then, what’s really insane about IU being this much better than I thought they would be is that they could be so much better. That inherently means IU could be good enough to be a truly elite team. I’m not comfortable saying that. It just does not feel right, that IU could be good enough to beat just about anybody. Yet, the evidence is there.

    What a wonderful, strange year.

  • Diesel

    Shouldn’t be.  A charge counts as two deflections in CTC’s system.

  • JerryCT

    I seem to agree with all, and it was alot, of what you said.

    I worry a bit about our lack of consistent work rate the last 2 games

    One thing about the B1G , every team but 2 seem to work very hard on both ends of the floor. I thought PSU out worked us. PU works its butt off, NW, MSU, Minn, Iowa etc.

    IMHO only IL and OSU seem to have moments where they want to cruise.

    No team is a safe win this year including Iowa. When we take the court we must work very hard on every possession on both ends and not just when a player has the  ball or is defending the ball

  • Zipmonkey10

    The bigs are too soft- even CZ. They need to play tougher, angrier and with full determination.

  • Devout Hoosier

    #1 Breakdown was Watford vacating the paint when their guard drove the middle of the lane.  It wasn’t Verdell’s responsibility and Verdell’s man was setup for a three on the wing.

    #2 Was good ball reversal by Minn. that caught our bigs with their backs to the ball.  You’re suppose to keep your body between your man and the basket and your eyes on the ball.

    Bigs are suppose to protect the paint and guards salivate when they see an opening.

  • JohnFromBeyond

    In the first breakdown, I’m not sure who was at fault for letting the guy into the middle so easily, but VJ needs to provide help better than that. That was typical bullfighter defense. He had plenty of time to slide in front of the man and possibly take a charge. I guarantee Hulls would have done that. I’ve seen this happen many, many times with VJ and CW not providing good help defense (CW is just too slow I think). Cody really excels at it.

    In breakdown #2, Abell does a similar thing with poor help defense, but in that case there were more players involved and he didn’t have as much time to react. In #1, VJ had all day to see that coming and do something about it.