Film Session: Illinois

  • 01/21/2023 12:17 pm in

In its win against the Illini on Thursday evening, the Hoosiers flashed subtle changes and creativity on both sides of the ball.

On offense, Indiana ran more down-screen action than usual for its primary ballhandlers, leading to an effective counter in the second half. And on defense, while not needing to guard nearly as many ball screens against Illinois’ flex offense with a shooter on the strong-side wing, Indiana showed a touch of deviation from the norm on how they’ve been guarding so far this season.

We’ll take a look at all this in the latest edition of Film Session:

In the first half after an early Mike Woodson timeout, Indiana calms the waters with this set. As Trayce Jackson-Davis receives the ball near the top of the key, both Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trey Galloway cut off the wings to the paint. Hood-Schifino sets a screen for Galloway under the hoop and Galloway keeps coming, now curling up on the left side of the court and receiving a down screen from Jordan Geronimo, then one from Jackson-Davis after a dribble handoff.

From there, Galloway uses his quickness on Dain Dainja to score at the rim.

Nice set from the Hoosiers here, one it looked like the Illini weren’t quite ready for.

Later in the first half, Indiana runs similar action. This time it is Hood-Schifino receiving the screen from Malik Reneau in place of Geronimo in the same spot near the left low block, then getting the dribble handoff and screen from Jackson-Davis.

Hood-Schifino stops and pops at the nail for the shot. It doesn’t fall, but Reneau corrals the rebound and scores on a putback.

We’ve highlighted a similar set for Hood-Schifino earlier this season from Indiana’s exhibition win against Marian. But it’s not something Indiana consistently goes to.

Here’s where it gets fun. In the second half, Indiana looks like it’s returning to the same set it ran for Galloway in the first half. Jackson-Davis has the ball up top as Galloway cuts off the wing and curls to the other side of the court. Hood-Schifino also cuts down to the paint again, but stops short of the screen and instead clears out a bit to the right low block. Geronimo sets the down screen again for Galloway.

But it’s all a misdirection.

With things happening on the right side of the court, this clears the left side for Jackson-Davis. He uses his quickness to blow by Dainja, dunking it home with his left hand after a drive.

Great counter from the Hoosiers here, an inventive way to keep Jackson-Davis cooking.

Now on to the ball-screen defense. In the first half, Dainja sets the ball screen for Matthew Mayer. Tamar Bates fights over the screen and sticks with Mayer on the drive. As this happens, we see Hood-Schifino stick home on Terrence Shannon Jr. on the strong-side wing, not coming over to the nail to help the drive as Indiana usually does here.

Bates sticks with Mayer and knocks the ball loose on his drive, some nice individual defense from IU’s sophomore here.

While Shannon Jr. isn’t a dead-eye 3-point shooter (34 percent), it’s possible Indiana decided it didn’t want the Illini’s most prolific scorer to have any space on the perimeter. Hence, the Hoosiers switched up coverage here.

In the second half, Jayden Epps gets the ball screen from Dainja. This time around, though, we see Bates and Reneau more in typical help for the Hoosiers near the nail and rim. So Epps decides to kick out to Coleman Hawkins in the right corner, but his 3-point shot doesn’t fall and the Hoosiers get the rebound.

Bates helped off RJ Melendez, who is shooting just 27.7 percent from distance for the season. And while Hawkins can hit corner 3-pointers, he’s also shooting a pedestrian 32.5 percent from 3-point range this season. Perhaps Indiana played the percentages here, feeling more comfortable helping off less impactful shooters.

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