Film Session: Illinois

  • 02/20/2023 7:51 am in

Editor’s note: Ryan is out on paternity leave. Zion Brown will be writing Film Session in his absence.

In his postgame press conference after Indiana’s 71-68 win against Illinois, Indiana forward Miller Kopp mentioned how the Fighting Illini chose to double-team Trayce Jackson-Davis in the post.

“I remember one of the first plays I was the feeder for Trayce, and then after that when I wasn’t, I could tell that they were pre-rotating to the feeder after leaving to go trap,” the fifth-year senior said. “And so I was the second pass, and I knew that one out of the trap, whether it was the one more or the skip that Trayce is so good at finding me at, I knew it was going to be open, so I just pulled it.”

Illinois chose not to trap Jackson-Davis when these teams first met on Jan. 19, leading to a season-high 35 points for the Indiana star and an 80-65 Hoosiers win. On Saturday, Illinois doubled from that “feeder” position Kopp mentioned, and Indiana figured it out quickly.

Here is IU’s second offensive possession of the game. This is the play where Kopp figured out the Illini’s strategy. RJ Melendez traps Jackson-Davis after Kopp enters the ball into the post. Illinois does a solid job of rotating, and the play ends in a miss (although it was a quality look) by Trey Galloway.

Later in the first half, the Hoosiers made the slight adjustment of having a player at the top of the key cut early to throw off Illinois’ pre-rotating defense. On this next play, Jalen Hood-Schifino sinks into the paint early to make the recovery to Galloway (the feeder) lengthier. Indiana managed to swing it back to Hood-Schifino in the opposite corner, although he misfired on the jumper.

The exact same play happened later in the half, but this time Kopp was the feeder instead of Galloway. Kopp is a more confident shooter, so after a pump fake sent Ty Rogers into outer space, Kopp drilled his second 3-pointer of the afternoon.

Indiana put Illinois’ defense on its toes late in the second half with crisp ball movement. Once Jackson-Davis got trapped, the Hoosiers reversed the ball from corner to corner while creating excellent looks.

When the game was in the balance, the Hoosiers declined to feed Jackson-Davis in the post. Instead, they went to high screen-and-rolls between Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis. Although Hood-Schifino shot 5-for-17 with five turnovers on Saturday, he delivered four-straight monstrous points off pull-up jumpers.

Despite Illinois leading most of the game, Indiana won a home game it needed for Big Ten standings and NCAA tournament seeding. The Hoosiers didn’t make any substantial adjustments to come back, they just played with more energy and showed a bit more patience on offense.

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