While the result looked similar to all of the other games for the Hoosiers this season, the caliber of opponent was a little different. Marquette came into Assembly Hall ranked #24 in the country, but left with a sour taste in their mouth after getting handily beat by the Hoosiers.
It’s very clear that Archie Miller’s packline defense philosophy is fully instilled in his players, as Marquette struggled to get good looks the entire night. Marquette came into the game as a touted as a good three-point shooting team, but the Hoosiers defense held them to just 21% from beyond the arc.
A trio of newcomers helped propel the Hoosiers to victory, as Romeo Langford, Robert Phinisee, and Evan Fitzner all made their presence known throughout the game.
Below, I break down seven different clips that I thought were significant for this game’s film breakdown.
Our hope is to do these for every game to help you go more in-depth with what the Hoosiers are doing.
Phinisee Steal & Assist
This clip is the epitome of how Phinisee looked the entire evening. As the Marquette player looked to turn the corner and get to the basket, Phinisee was able to get his hand in there and get a steal for the Hoosiers. After the steal, Phinisee pushed the ball up to Durham for the assist. Defense and making good decisions were exactly what Phinisee did the entire evening. As Archie Miller put it in his post-game press conference – “he’s a stud.”
Stunt and Help Side D
One of the principles of the packline defense that the Hoosiers employ is what’s called a ‘stunt.’ A stunt is when a help-side defender lunges at a ballhandler to try and get him to pick his dribble up, then recovers back to his man. As you can see in this clip, Durham executes the stunt & #23 on Marquette picks his dribble up.
However, Durham did get caught ball-watching, which allowed his man to backdoor him. Against previous IU teams, that backdoor cut is an easy layup for Marquette – but this Archie-led team is different. Juwan Morgan was there in perfect help-side, and even went straight up on his contest. The play resulted in a Marquette miss and a rebound for Indiana. The next Indiana played resulted in a transition 3-pointer, so Morgan’s help-side defense was a possible 5-point swing in the Hoosiers favor.
Archie Miller Chalk Talk
I love when the networks go inside the huddle and give us a glimpse of what the coaches are saying in the huddle. Sometimes it’s pretty bland stuff, but this Archie Miller segment was full of good stuff, and it’s all broken down in the clip to the left, as well.
First of all – Archie gets on Damezi Anderson about his defense on two particular plays. The first thing Archie notes is that a ball-screen was set in which Damezi was supposed to be the ‘tag’ guy, but wasn’t there. The ‘tag’ is an aspect of the Hoosiers’ ball-screen coverage. Because IU sends their bigs to hedge ballscreens, those bigs must rely on their teammates to help if the guy setting the screen rolls to the basket. It’s called ‘tag’ because the guy that helps on the roller needs to touch (or tag) the roller until his man can recover. In this instance, De’Ron Davis hedged, and Damezi should have been there to help on the roller, but got caught hugging his man. Evan Fitzner had to end up helping late and the play resulted in an And-1.
Then, Archie notes that Damezi’s man cut in front of him from the opposite corner and caught the ball in the post. Archie told him he has to fight in the post and front in that situation. Instead, Damezi got caught behind and gave up two more points.
The last thing Archie says in this segment is, “what’s the wars? 1-1?” The wars are the 4 minute segments between TV timeouts. Archie’s theory is that you can win each of those, there’s obviously no way you can lose the game.
Ball Movement and Spacing
This play just shows you how disciplined and drilled the IU players are in ball movement and spacing. Romeo attacks the baseline, so Al Durham floats to the opposite corner to give Langford a window to pass the ball. As that action is happening, Juwan Morgan floats to the wing. As Durham catches the ball in the corner, he quickly swings it to an open Morgan, and Morgan knocks down a triple.
IU starts a lot of their baseline out of bounds plays in a 1-4 low alignment to keep teams on their toes about what they’re doing. This baseline out of bounds play starts with Fitzner acting like he’s popping to the elbow looking for the ball, but then receives a backscreen from Al Durham and cuts to the opposite block. After Durham sets the screen for Fitzner, he receives a screen from Morgan to pop to the ball-side corner. If Morgan’s man helps on the screen for Durham to the corner, Morgan’s automatic read is a slip to the basket. Morgan slips in this instance and gets an easy bucket at the rim.
This is yet another BLOB play that starts in a 1-4 low alignment for the Hoosiers. Archie Miller loves to use this play if he thinks the opponent has a weak defender. The play starts with the guy in the ball-side corner sprinting to the elbow, and the guy on the ball-side block cutting to the corner to receive the ball inbounds. The guy that catches it in the corner (Langford on this play) throws it to the player at the elbow. As the player at the elbow catches it, the post player on the opposite block clears to the other side, creating a clearout to the rim. In this play, Fitzner takes his man to the rack and scores an easy 2.
Phinisee to Smith
I noted at the beginning of this that Rob Phinisee was very good in this contest, and this play was yet another one of his fantastic ones. His ability to see the floor and hit the man in-stride is something that has really impressed me for a freshman. What was also impressive on this particular play is that Smith saw his man turn his head and immediately cut to a window where Phinisee could find him. Phinisee hit Smith, and Smith jammed it home.
A lot of positives that Archie Miller can take from this one, especially given that he was down at least three guys that would probably be in his rotation. Were the Hoosiers perfect? Certainly not – but they looked pretty darn good. If they take care of business at Arkansas, they’ll find themselves in the top 25.