Film Session: Northwestern
Editor’s note: Ryan is out on paternity leave. Zion Brown will be writing Film Session in his absence.
Indiana’s 64-62 loss at Northwestern was a tale of two halves. The Hoosiers trailed by 21 points late in the first half, and Northwestern managed to minimize Trayce Jackson-Davis’ impact from the post.
When Northwestern wasn’t turning Indiana over, it forced the Hoosiers into low-quality looks. Jackson-Davis had only five points and three shot attempts at the intermission until Indiana figured out the Wildcats’ double teams in the second half.
In today’s film session, we’ll look at how the Wildcats defended the Hoosiers and how Indiana almost won the game:
Northwestern didn’t only double Jackson-Davis. The Wildcats sent two defenders at any IU player who dared to drive inside. In this play, Trey Galloway and Jalen Hood-Schifino get trapped, and the Wildcats come away with a steal.
Northwestern’s scheme against Jackson-Davis and Purdue’s Zach Edey was to leave the skip pass available. The Wildcats trusted their ability to recover while not respecting whoever was in the opposite corner.
On this play, the Hoosiers failed to get it to an open Galloway (50 percent from 3) in the far corner, despite Northwestern failing to recover.
Indiana turned the game by going to its potent high-low action. Race Thompson dropped 13 points Wednesday, his most since Dec. 20.
Thompson and Jackson-Davis’ high-low game was elite last year, and it returned for the Hoosiers in the final 25 minutes of Wednesday night’s game.
Notice how Indiana combats Northwestern’s weak-side help on these plays. Instead of burying a player in the corner, the Hoosiers had a player lift to the wing.
If you can recall learning the Pythagorean theorem in junior high, the distance of the hypotenuse (c) is always longer than the other sides of the triangle (a or b). By drawing the weak-side help to the wing, it created a longer distance to recover to Thompson at the hoop.
All four of Thompson’s field goals came from Jackson-Davis’ assists. Jackson-Davis finished the game with eight assists, marking him two shy of a triple-double.
The Hoosiers made the mistake of not spacing to the wing at a key point in the second half. IU cut Northwestern’s lead down to five with 5:05 left.
This time, it was Thompson looking to facilitate to a cutting Jackson-Davis. The play was there to be made, but Northwestern’s Chase Audige intercepted the pass because Kopp was in the corner instead of at the wing.
The excellent passing of Jackson-Davis made it easier for him to get points himself. Jackson-Davis scored nine points in the final four minutes because Northwestern was afraid to send two defenders fully at him.
Boo Buie hit a runner with 2.7 left to win for Northwestern, but Indiana showed its ability to adjust and fight in the second half. In the end, a 13-4 turnover margin was too much to overcome for the Hoosiers. These teams could clash again in the Big Ten tournament, and IU may be more prepared for the swarming Wildcats’ defense in that matchup.