Film Session: Maryland

  • 01/23/2018 7:26 pm in

With De’Ron Davis out for the season, Justin Smith has seen an uptick in minutes this month. The freshman has been impactful on the offensive end, scoring 20 points against Minnesota and 12 against Maryland in Monday night’s win.

While Smith looks more comfortable and confident on offense, a look at a number of defensive possessions in the first half reveal Maryland running similar action against him to free shooters.

We’ll take a look at Smith’s offense and defense in the latest edition of Film Session:

Jared Nickens enters the ball to Bruno Fernando:

Nickens moves off the right wing to the top of the key as Smith plays in-between him and the ball:

Smith fully commits to the double team and reaches in on Fernando. This leaves Nickens with plenty of space:

Fernando makes the pass:

Robert Johnson rotates up, but he’s not there in enough time as Nickens rises, fires and hits the 3-pointer:

This has been a constant for the Hoosiers this season on perimeter shooters as part of Archie Miller’s pack line defense. An Indiana defender doubles hard on the block and is unable to recover back out to his man. With Nickens moving off the wing, it makes even more ground for Smith to cover here and he’s simply too far away to do so.

On the next play, we’ll see more help rotations from the Hoosiers, but the same end result for Maryland.


Continue to page 2 to see another Maryland 3-pointer:

Filed to:

  • Mark Hinton

    So the question I have is: Is JS supposed to go to a full double team and someone else is wrong in not being prepared to run out and cover Smith’s man? Or is JS just going too all in on the double team and his teammates are expecting him to be able to recover to his own man? Simply, is it his fault or a teammates fault? Or is it just a bad defense that will continue to leave shooters open no matter if it’s JS or anyone else?

  • HoosierDom

    I won’t pretend to be an expert on Archie’s defense, but it seems to me that Smith did the right thing. I assume coach made the call that Morgan couldn’t guard that guy one on one so help had to come. Seems like Newkirk should have rotated on the first one which should have given Smith a shorter distance to get to Newkirk’s man. On the second one it seems to me that McRoberts was slow to get out to guard the corner and then Smith should have had no problem getting down on Zach’s guy.

  • Just to answer your last question, in a general sense: Virginia’s pack line defense is the #1 defense in the country per Kenpom. As I write this, it’s held Clemson to 34 points with 3:06 left in that game. Ours likely will never be that good (Bennett does a lot to keep the possessions low, a style that Archie doesn’t emulate), but no, it’s not “just a bad defense.”

  • Arch Puddington

    It’s already more than “just a bad defense”. As I noted in the “5 Takeaways” comments, we are now consistently holding opponents under 40% from behind the line, a significant improvement from earlier in the year. Also, our last 8 opponents have averaged nearly 16 TOs per game, an obvious sign of effective defense.

    And as Alex had noted, we have held 4 of our 8 B1G opponents under 1.0/ppp. Our overall defensive ranking has improved by more that 70 spots since December. Can’t prove it, but I suspect our defense has been in the top 30-40 in the country during that stretch.

    And all of this improvement has taken place despite a roster full of players not recruited for or trained in the system, plus the injury to DD and our overall lack of size. So while no one thinks we are where we’d like to be, there is plenty of reason to think this is a sound defense that will get much better as the personnel improves and the coaching continues.

  • IUBizmark

    No doubt JS and others have been told specifically when to hard double and when not to. It might be dictated by matchups or once the offensive player backs down his defender to a certain line, etc. The system is designed to rotate.
    On the second breakdown, not sure why Durham was basically doubling the post instead of getting in the passing lane to one or both of the UMD players on the perimeter.

    As others have said, it’s a great system; just takes practice to make these adjustments.

  • david r

    All I have heard from coaches, ex-coaches, and people in the business, is how lucky we were to bring Miller to B-town. It seems that he is universally respected for his coaching ability, and has learned under a bevy of great basketball minds. I enjoy reading ALL of the opinions, and learn a lot on ITH, but, MY opinion is that Archie’s defense is a proven commodity, just as much as his character and competitiveness.

  • Mark Bando

    Great stuff Ryan. The defensive lapses probably explain why JS is not getting more minutes. But this added experience for him will be great for next year. He has the size and quickness to excel in the packline.

  • Mark Bando

    I dont get why this needs to be explained to people over and over again. Isnt it obvious the defense keeps getting better and better. Some people just dont get it.

  • N71

    Watching the Maryland game I couldn’t help but think that Justin will play an enormous role next year, particularly if Juwan decides to go pro. Conceivably, he’d become the “leader” of the team, teaching the freshman how its done while being the best player on the squad, aside from Romeo.

  • Mark Bando

    JS should be a beast next year. If JM keeps playing like this I have to believe NBA teams will be looking at him, especially because he can guard three positions in the NBA. And teams are looking for that these days.

  • Arch Puddington

    Not everyone reads every article and every comment, so things that are repetitive to those of us who do aren’t to those who don’t. I don’t remember encountering Mark Hinton before, so maybe he is just new to the site or the information we have all been processing. It took me a while to understand this defense, and early on I had some concerns as well. Among other things, I wondered why, if the pack-line is such a great defense, more coaches don’t use it. But not only have I seen the progress over the course of this season, I have begun to see that the reason more coaches don’t use it is that it takes time. It’s like Boeheim’s zone; works great with the right personnel and enough time to learn it, but it would not be a great defense on day one. Given the pressure coaches are under to win NOW, the shorter learning curve of a more traditional man defense makes sense. But over time I have come to better understand how the defense works and why it has taken (and will take) time to get good at. If Mark H. was one of those determined naysayers who continues to run things down even good information has been given to them, I would be frustrated as well. But if, as I suspect, he is still learning about Archie’s system, his questions are quite fair.

  • Mark Bando

    All good points, but I dont how anyone could have watched the games this year and not be excited about how far the defense has come and about how good it will be in the future.