Defending national champion head coach Dan Hurley had a few days to focus on Indiana, and he saw enough post touches by their big men through their first three games to know that’s where he had to focus his gameplan to stop the Hoosiers.
What’s his read on what IU is all about right now?
“Just paint, paint, paint for them,” Hurley said after a 77-57 win over the Hoosiers.
Including IU’s 3-of-13 effort from long range on Sunday, Indiana is just 14-of-53 from deep on the season. Closing out on the arc wasn’t a major concern for Hurley coming into the contest.
“The three-point line is not something at this point for them (IU) that’s a strength,” he said.
“The strength is is their fours (Malik Reneau) and fives (Kel’el Ware), and it’s (Xavier) Johnson and (Trey) Galloway cutting, slashing.”
Hurley wanted to double team Reneau, who had a career-high 18 points against the Huskies. But Reneau often beat the traps or just bullied his way through.
“We didn’t do a good enough job on Malik (Reneau),” Hurley said. “Malik is a hell of a player man, that guy is going to be just a killer. The double teams didn’t get there (on Reneau).”
Hurley said because he has his own 7-footer, he felt like double-teams weren’t warranted on Ware. And that strategy proved to be on point. Instead UConn just tried to dig at the ball when Ware put it on the floor, and then recover rather than a full double-team.
“We came into this wanting to trap him (Reneau) and want to just dig off of (Kel’el) Ware because Donovan (Clingan) could handle that one-on-one for the most part, and Ware’s only two field goals in the game were threes.”
UConn typically wants to run teams off the 3-point line and lead drives into their shot blockers, but Hurley deviated from their norms for Indiana.
“Really it was just about taking away the paint and getting in (driving lane) gaps which is not necessarily what we do but for this game it made sense.”
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