There’s no other way to describe it. Teams are hunting 3-pointers against Indiana.
And to this point in the season, they haven’t been hard to find.
As a percentage of total points allowed, IU gives up the 14th most points in the country from beyond the arc. And 42.9 percent of opposing field goal attempts have come from three. Only 44 teams (out 0f 362) have allowed a higher rate of 3-point attempts as a percentage of total shots.
So there is some real outlier data in Indiana’s profile to examine, and that’s what we’ll do with this edition of IU film study, as we look at why their last three opponents got so many open triples.
Morehead State, North Alabama and Kennesaw State each shot more than 30 threes, and they combined for an incredible 101 attempts in just three games. That was a notably higher attempt per game average (33.7) than what IU has seen for the season (26.6).
Those three teams combined for 36 makes. Some were simply shooters making a tough, contested shots. But here are 18 that appeared to be the result of a mistake or shortcoming in Indiana’s personnel.
One of the easiest ways to generate open 3-pointers is via dribble penetration. Mike Woodson has said many times that aggressive on the ball defense is a critical component of his scheme, and that element has been subpar without Xavier Johnson. All three teams, and especially Kennesaw State, got to the paint and then found kick-outs for open shots. One key element of these looks is shooters are relocating to weak spots in the defense, and IU is losing track of them and/or unable to close the gap.
BALL SCREEN DEFENSE
Woodson has been open at times about his team struggling to execute coverages on ball screens. Is it a switch? Do you go over or under? Things got so bad against Louisville he was forced to play zone to save the game. Against Kennesaw State they switched everything midway through the second half to simplify things.
Perhaps some of these are proper executions of the scout (e.g. going under screen on ineffective shooter). But that seems unlikely.
A common refrain among Indiana fans is that this Indiana team is helping too much on dribble penetration. Whether that’s true or IU is properly executing Woodson’s nail-slot-rim principles can probably only be assessed on a case-by-case basis. But one thing is clear — teams have been able to generate good looks by using those principles against IU. A strong drive to the nail or slot lines seems to draw a neighboring defender and result in that defender’s man being open. Again, better on ball defense could help alleviate some of the issue.
Indiana got torched by Auburn when the Tigers pushed the pace, drew defenders to the paint, and then kicked out for trailing threes. Michigan State has used this approach for years too. We saw open threes in transition the last few games as well.
Here’s four more threes that were too easy over the last three games, describe below in the order they appear in the video.
- A soft close-out
- Perimeter mismatch via switching
- Offensive rebound
- Baseline out-of-bounds play
All videos via Big Ten Network.
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