Film Session: Northwestern

  • 02/27/2015 8:58 am in

While Indiana’s 10:06 scoring drought was the lead storyline from its loss to Northwestern on Wednesday evening, its atrocious defense wasn’t far behind. It was especially bad in the first half, as the Hoosiers allowed the Wildcats — who entered the game with the league’s 8th best offense — to post 1.41 points per possession.

Indiana switching from man to zone often left Wildcats completely unaccounted for or with more space than they had just seconds before, while other times IU’s defenders made some head-scratching decisions or showed little effort.

We’ll take a look at six of Indiana’s defensive lapses from the first half in the latest edition of Film Session:

James Blackmon Jr. holds up “2”, as do some of the Hoosiers on the bench. Indiana will switch defenses mid-possession and sink back into a 2-3 zone:


Blackmon Jr. initially has the left wing locked down:


As he heads back down to the baseline,  Dave Sobolewski takes a ball screen from Nathan Taphorn:


With the wing not occupied defensively because Blackmon has evaporated out of man-to-man and sunk into the back line of the defense, Sobolewski turns and passes to Taphorn in some pick-and-pop action. He’s got room to shoot the triple:


On his closeout, Blackmon Jr. never leaves his feet. He simply glides out and it allows Taphorn to work into his shot and release unobstructed. He hits the 3-ball to give the Wildcats a four-point lead:



Northwestern took exactly what Indiana gave them here and it went down as three points on the scoreboard.

Filed to:

  • The fact of the matter is we don’t play defense and CTC isn’t capable of teaching it! We absolutely will not get any better until after his departure.

  • Bud Jenkins

    Why don’t we just play man to man all the time. Can’t be any worse that what we got now… a small homage to our fallen god… will please the fans

  • SCHoosier

    I am sick and tired of IU’s switching defenses. I know TC has to do something unusual given our poor man to man abilities. But every announcer.. and waaaaay too many fans quickly identify how many open shots occur when the Hoosiers switch. Even Yogi gets lost in the crowd. That type of defense is a sign of desperation..and Iowa has the shooter/drivers to make IU pay big time for those predictable mistakes.

  • SCHoosier

    I know ESPN and CBS both reported that Thad Matta and his staff spent the summer studying the zone defense..went to to Syra etc. They committed to using zone at the beginning of the season..but quickly went back to man when it became obvious that the zone had too many holes. ..and they lost confidence in it.May be he didn’t give it enuff time or whatever..but I would also like to see IU go man. Mantra has to be..if you can’t play D..u don’t play. I realize that would put some big names on benches.

  • MillaRed

    I refuse to believe we have 13 scholarship players that are incapable of defending. Do the math folks.

  • MillaRed

    We are the only team in the universe that switches from man to zone in a single possession and defends centers with shooting guards. I agree, play man and guard big people with big people.

  • BeatWisconsin

    As I posted yesterday, it may be (for once) a true coaching issue that kids are drilled over and over again to ‘not to over help.’ So, since the team is so young, they don’t end up helping at all for fear of being benched for over helping. Not sure if this is the case or not, but perhaps it is a small or big part of the problem?

  • Jimmy Johnson

    Thank you so much for finally high lighting this. I have been posting for weeks how terribly flawed this approach is to defense. Crean has absolutely not created any kind of defensive identity and now it is being exploited by teams like NW and I am good teams like Iowa and MSU will exploit it even worse. If Indiana is ever going to return to the status this it is capable of becoming a change has to come. Here is somebody I think could do the job and bring a winning identity back to IU. How about Michael Lewis. He has everything and IU fan should want. Hoosier roots as a high school star and great career at IU. Winning back ground as an assistant and the closest to Stevens IU will probably every get. I am officially jumping on the Michael Lewis bandwagon to be the next coach at IU

  • alwaysiufan

    The change can not come quick enough. Having lottery picks is awesome but winning championships with a team is more impressive to me

  • IUDan

    Kudos to you guys for watching that mess again … You are truly dedicated professionals.

  • Bud Jenkins

    Not sure coach will change. Take if from me, a former I-work-so-hard-and-put-so-many-hours-in-because-I-have-a-super-work-ethic-and-that-is-all-it-takes-to-succeed guy. We would rather beat our head over something over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, rather than taking a step back and re-evaluating… It took me many years to understand the value of backing off and… dare I say… giving up (whaaaa!!)… Being bullheaded is good for many things, but the real smarts is in knowing when to give up and try something new… It is time to try something new…. Coach… make the game simple.

  • KmanCRK

    Glad you focused on the Defense. Ryan I wish Crean would hire you to help them “watch the tape”.

    I can vividly remember #2 and #6. #2 was a perfect glimpse into the defensive effort that JBJr has shown all too often.

    Safe to say our “Match-Up” zone only creates problems for ourselves and not the opponent.

    As I keep saying on here: SEE-BALL, SEE-MAN

  • John D Murphy

    We are on a downward spiral. If we lose our next, which I think is probable at this point, then we are NIT bound. I watched Utah destroy Ariz State in the first half last night 41-9. I have serious coach envy.

  • BT

    Considering the entirely of my organized basketball career came one weekend in a youth Gus Macker, I feel as though I’m not qualified to second guess coaching decisions. Having said that, giving a defensive liability who is having an off-night shooting 27 minutes of floor time seems like a bad idea.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Krystkowiak has done a tremendous job with that team. They are an outstanding defensive team.

  • PDXHoosier

    I somehow ended up listening to the NU radio feed and the announcers kept saying they didn’t know what kind of defense IU was playing- whether it was man, match up zone, or zone. Is this good or bad?

  • N71

    I wouldn’t mind seeing us play 6 guys at once, inevitably one of them will disappear on defense and the refs will never notice.

  • Ms hoosier

    Got to be bad. You got announcers calling play by play on the radio and they can’t reconize what kind of defense IU was playing. IT CANT BE NOTHING but A MESS!!!

  • Ms hoosier

    Wish I would have thought of that one. LOL!!!

  • Hoosier1158

    Maybe we should be thinking similar to football? Coach take a cut in pay and hire a defensive coordinator?

  • colts439

    That’s solves the defensive issues. How about timeouts and substitution issues? 😉

  • brntn


  • brntn

    But you’re definitely right. You gotta be! It’s the only thing that makes sense. It’s definitely not that the team is super, super young. It’s definitely not that they’re undersized. And Crean… Crean!!!!! He absolutely does not have a history coaching solid – but not elite – defenses at IU.

    Crean should be fired immediately. Brad Stevens will absolutely leave the NBA, all we have to do is gather the alumni together and raise enough money! Global warming isn’t real.

  • ATG08

    “We’ll take a look at six of Indiana’s defensive lapses from the first half in the latest addition of Film Session.” Hmpf. That about sums up our defense.

    This is the best Film Session in a while. You guys at ITH do fantastic work all around. I wish you could package this up and send to the coaching staff for their review. Because in all honesty I am not sure what they are doing between games.

    JBJ…still love that he is a Hoosier. But he got torched on this edition of FS. I think it is justified, the film is factual evidence. Not opinion.

    Whether you blame this type of “defense” on the coaching or the players, ultimately this falls on coaching. Effort is one thing, but letting a lack of it go on this far into the season is coaching. That is an opinion. Mine. As always, Go Hoosiers.

  • Global warming _isn’t_ real.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Why regergitate it Alex? The pain has lingered for years! Our weaknesses are apparent. Our strengths are intermittent. How many ITHers feel fortunate CTC is our coach? How many ITHers believe CTC will take us all to the promised Land, our next NCAA title?

  • SCHoosier

    No coincidence that Blackmon is featured in 4 of the five miscues. James ..all year..has paid more attention to where the ball is and not enuff to where his man is. There is not a “basketball jury” in the nation that would not convict TC, the coaches and players of felony impersonation of a college defense. I mean it is embarrassing.

  • Lance76

    Defense must improve. It reminds me many years ago when IU player (?) walking to the locker room said what a great dunk he had and was overheard by RMK. RMK then said if he had played defense with that much effort they would have won the game. Some players @ IU get the defensive need and others not so much. Glad I am not a college coach.

  • iugradmark

    Thank you for the great work. It seems like everyone except the coaches believe in the changing defensive strategy and using small guards on centers. This is very frustrating to watch and just shows how stubborn the coaches are about this. Most games are decided by a few possessions so giving up uncontested baskets when kids don’t know what defense they are in or having Yogi or Stan guard Centers is making it very difficult to win these close games. Time for a coaching change is all I can say.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    CTC promised a defensive focus early in the season. No delivery. I think the defensive effort has been steady throughout the season but of course other teams are playing better now than at the start of the year so our defense is more and more exposed. Yogi is a horrible defensive player, and a junior. No hope at this point for him. At least JBJ has time to turn it around.