Film Session: Duke

  • 12/04/2015 9:27 am in

Duke feasted on Indiana’s soft defense on Wednesday night. In the first half, the Blue Devils scored 1.62 points per possession against the Hoosiers and dropped in a number of 3-point buckets (6-of-13).

Man. Zone. Transition. No matter what defense Indiana threw against the Blue Devils, it was no match. (Justin Albers of AllHoosiers also went deep on D last night.)

We’ll mostly take a look at Duke’s first half 3-pointers in the latest edition of Film Session:

On the first play of the game, a familiar theme occurs: an IU player getting beat off the perimeter:


James Blackmon Jr. does a decent job of staying with Matt Jones and Collin Hartman helps as well:


The shot doesn’t fall. Yogi Ferrell has left Grayson Allen and comes all the way over from the left corner to mix it up for a rebound. The entire Indiana team is not far away:


He’s able to knock it loose from Amile Jefferson:


With the ball up for grabs, Indiana has Thomas Bryant on the floor and the rest of the Hoosiers in the paint. This has left a host of Blue Devils open on the perimeter:


The ball simply rolls out to Brandon Ingram. Ferrell has trailed the ball, but he’s so concerned about getting back to Grayson Allen — his man and probably the top guy on Indiana’s scouting report — that he chooses against guarding the ball and sprints back to the corner:


Blackmon Jr. also goes past Ingram in favor of getting out to the left wing to re-pick up Jones. As Ingram gets the wide-open shot off, it’s too late of a recover and he drops in the first of many shots in this half:


Tom Crean has talked often about situational rebounding for his guards. Not sure what the situation called for here. But with Indiana bringing everyone to the basket on the miss and fighting for the rebound, it got their defense completely out of whack in terms of spacing. And with two Indiana players deciding against guarding the ball, Ingram simply took a wide open shot and connected. It no doubt helped him get going.


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  • PBzeer

    I don’t think it can be said often enough. It’s better to play one defense well, then multiple, switching defenses poorly. And you don’t play any defense well, if you aren’t fundamentally sound on the basics of playing defense (as well as rebounding). Footwork, positioning, blocking out, communication, team work, but above all, the discipline necessary to make them consistent.

    The one thing that is crystal clear at this point, is that this coaching staff is unable to improve our defense. Whether through inability, lack of concern, or any excuse you want to offer, the job just ain’t getting done.

    I don’t expect miracles, but I do expect a coach getting a top ten salary, to put a top ten team on the floor. Heck, at this point, I’d be happy just to see a team instead of 5 guys wearing the same uniform.

  • myrddin

    In the first example I don’t understand how you managed to avoid calling out Troy Williams. It is just mind-boggling.

    Ingram is *his man*. When the first shot goes up, Troy is at the elbow . . . he’s already left Ingram *for no discernable reason* since he is not actively helping on the drive and *would have already been out of position* had Jones decided to kick to Ingram off the drive instead of putting up the shot. If you freeze the video at :13, Williams is not doing anything useful and in fact at that point has no idea where his man is. I went to my 9-year-old daughter’s rec league practice last night, that was basically the first defensive principle the coach taught them.

    Between :13 – :16 Williams . . . I’m going to use the term “wanders” here because there is exactly 0 urgency in his movement . . . wanders into the lane. He’s not looking to rebound, he’s really just getting a closer look as a spectator to what’s happening around him.

    At :16 he turns around like . . . maybe he thinks Jefferson is going to go back up in between 4 Indiana defenders and he’ll be in a position to try to block the shot? Maybe he thinks there is some other Duke player nearby? (there’s obviously not). Given that Yogi, while no longer on his man, is nonetheless part of the scrap trying actively to get the ball, I don’t think at :16-:17 there is any single player on the court for either team more out of position than Troy Williams.

    At :19, when Williams finally realizes where is man is, the play is already over.

    Now, you can say Yogi and/or JBJ could have closed out on Ingram and Ingram might not have gotten the shot off. While that’s true, Duke still had 3 other players on the perimeter ready to shoot off an Ingram pass, none of whom were within Troy Williams’ defensive range since he was starting from just outside the charge circle.

    So while I’ll agree that either Yogi or JBJ should have closed on Ingram, the core failure of that play was *Troy Williams*. Yet somehow he’s not even mentioned on the first play analysis. I recommend re-writing page 1 from scratch.

  • Shaggy_C

    Yikes…Apparently our team thinks 2-3 zone means “2 on 4” on the perimeter. Even more amazing is that with three guys sitting under the basket watching the play we could not get a rebound.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I pity Ryan for having to wade through this muck and re-watch this.

    Tomorrow night’s game is mostly irrelevant. The Hoosiers will probably win but they might lose. Ultimately, I don’t anticipate anything meaningful being learned about this current squad or coaching staff. “The ink is dry” on the Tom Crean era in my opinion. That being said, I am truly hoping that some attempt at improving the defense is shown. Play different players if guys get repeatedly driven by (Burton, Niego, Taylor…try the bench as a motivator), play just one type of defense all game and dare the players to actually make positive things happen on that end (take the guesswork out, just say “we’re playing man all game, matchup and let’s go”)…try something different and at least show that the team is trying to make things different moving forward.

  • Shaggy_C

    I think that’s the most frustrating thing here. Last year, in the Big 10 tourney, the team switched to a mostly man to man defense and blew out a Northwestern squad that had embarrassed them just a few games earlier. And what does Crean do this year? He goes right back to the “multiple hybrid switch-up” defense where the whole team looks confused.

  • CreamandCrimson

    That Northwestern game was interesting…it gave me hope for the postseason (which turned out to be relatively false hope) and has proven to be the exception to the rule. To be clear, IU’s man-to-man D is awful (surrendered 53 points in 35 possessions against Duke) just like the zone is (39 points surrendered in 27 possessions). Would things be different if the only thing that was worked on during practice and played during the game was a basic man-to-man defense? Would things be different if players that weren’t performing were placed on the bench for a while to see if others can do better within the team concept?

    I don’t know but it’d be interesting to see. We know how things will end up if we continue trying the same things we have thus far.

  • Gdaddy

    In number 4, you mention Duke was out muscling and out rebounding IU. How about out hustling? Blackmon has got to grab that rebound!

  • inLinE6

    In most of our defensive schemes, we would look decent for couple seconds, then one of our star players would either lose his position or his man, and our entire defense would collapse from that point.

  • inLinE6

    I’m glad you called him out. I can’t envision he continues to start should RMK be the coach. Crean either doesn’t see it, or reluctant to bench start players.

  • yimyames

    This film session would be excellent for fifth or sixth graders. Good work by the ITH crew. Love the film session series.

  • yimyames

    “we’re playing man all game, matchup and let’s go”).

    That should be the entire rest of this season, until it is mastered, anyway.

  • PBzeer

    To me, the hardest part of analyzing our defense, comes from not knowing whether the players are simply deficient in fundamentals (since they often look that way), or if the “schemes” make them look deficient (in other words, put them in position to fail). That seems the biggest problem with the “Crean-style defense”, when looking at how to fix it.

    I see some player weakness in fundamentals, which are only made worse by the ever-changing defensive sets. And, I think, the relatively undisciplined style of offense, bleeds into an almost total lack of discipline on defense.

  • yimyames

    Yes, one high screen and it’s all over. Rediculous

  • Brklynhoosier

    The crazy thing is that Ryan didn’t even post that one insane possession Albers had up on Twitter yesterday… when it looked like every IU player was actively sprinting away from the ball…

    What a mess.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Agree, and when its rewritten be sure to add that at the end of the sequence YF runs out to Allen but runs by him (for no reason…he simply needs to disrupt the passing lane from Ingram to Allen), so Allen has a free lane along the baseline to find outstanding position for an offensive rebound (which he obviously takes). So even if Ingram had missed his open shot there is a high probability that Allen would have had an uncontested lay in/dunk…then he would have gotten going and the outcome likely worse. In other words Ferrell made a bad decision, then made a bad decision, then gave up on the play. That’s the state of affairs, play after play. YF is, at best, average. Please add that to the TW analysis (which I agree with too).

  • pcantidote

    Going to a zone against Duke was typical Crean paralysis by over analysis trying to be cute nonsense rather than just lacing them up and imposing their will.

  • pcantidote

    I bet he thinks if he benches people and gets in their face he will be viewed as less attractive coach for his almighty darling recruits.

  • Young Hoosier

    Giving up one of the best offensive performances Duke has had in the past 20 years… that is crazy.

  • wmsitz

    Maybe Crean should go out and hire a coach who knows how to play defense and teach players how to do so. Obviously Crean does not know anything about defense. Crean fits the definition of Einstein’s insanity of continuing to making the same mistakes and expecting different results. Surround yourself with people who know what they are doing will make you look more successful as will the team..

  • Bobby Knight

    If there is one regret I have, its not playing Richard Mandeville at the point more. Like James Harden, he needs the ball in his hands to be successful. In the same way Big Thomas Bryant should be the team’s point forward, a la Scottie Pippen, and wreak havoc on the rest of the league. In regards to defense, play a 4-1, with 4 players guarding the perimeter and Bryant protecting the rim like Scary Larry Richardson use to do back with the great 99-00 team that got pummeled by Pepperdine in the first line. Also, Yogi needs to learn the sky hook like the great Kirk Haston did, it will help him score over bigger defenders in the post or even on the perimeter. On offense, this team is much like the Golden State Warriors, Yogi is Curry, Blackmon is Thompson, Williams is Green, Hartman is Barnes, and Big Bryant is Ezeli, they just need to pass the ball a little bit better. I’m looking forward to them proving my 40+ years of experience and knowledge right.

  • dwdkc

    Film session on Duke? No thank you. This is officially the masochist’s thread.

  • KmanCRK

    Any one else recall Crean say at the beginning of the season (and prior seasons) that the team hasn’t worked much on defense yet and hasn’t installed much in many areas? What do these guys do in the offseason and preseason?

  • KmanCRK

    I’ve never been a fair weather fan, and sat in the seats supporting the team every year Crean has been here. But unless headlines start talking about IU bouncing back in a big way, I’m done watching this team while Crean is the coach

  • yimyames

    He said exactly that at the beginning of last season.

  • Tahoegirl

    Well said

  • IULore

    They nearly beat Witchita who beat Kansas. I think they played well, but played a really good team.

  • John D Murphy

    I will continue to say that JBJ is worst perimeter defender I have ever seen in IU uniform. It must be such a relief to know you can go right or left or just straight ahead and be by him in one step.


    If he doesn’t start getting in some players’ faces and planting his shoe in some rear ends, it’s not going to matter when it comes to recruits cause if you don’t have a job as a coach you don’t have to worry about recruits.I’m not saying he needs to head butt them or grab them by the jersey and jerk them around, but the method being used now isn’t working. He might want to try something in between that and the current policy.