Another game, another inferior opponent for the Hoosiers. However, that'll change quickly as IU hosts Marquette on Wednesday before traveling to Arkansas next Sunday to face the Razorbacks.
This game against Montana State was all Hoosiers from the jump, which was good to see.
Friday night's contest was another splendid one for Coach Archie Miller's packline defense, as IU forced 25 turnovers, held Montana State to 11.5% from the arc, and only allowed 35 points - the fewest an IU team has given up since 1971.
Below are a few clips I pulled out that I thought were valuable enough to breakdown in this game's 'Film Breakdown' session.
Our hope is to do these for every game to help you go more in-depth with what the Hoosiers are doing.
IU Zone Offense
If you’ve followed either of our other two breakdowns, you’ve seen us talk about how IU loves the overload against a zone, and this video is no different. As the ball is skipped to the right wing – Juwan Morgan goes from the middle to the ball-side short corner and pulls the middle defender of the zone with him. As that action happens, Justin Smith dives to the rim and gets hit with a pass and finishes with the right hand.
Zach McRoberts Steal & Layup
We noted above how good IU’s defense was in this game, and it was so good because of plays like this. McRoberts doesn’t allow himself to get screened and jumps the passing lane. Denying that passing lane with his right hand is exactly the way coaches teach it. McRoberts steals it, takes 1 dribble, and finishes at the rim for an easy 2.
Romeo Langford Hesitation
I added this clip just to show you Romeo’s explosiveness, his court awareness, and his overall skillset. As Langford dribbles to the right wing, he performs a quick hesitation move that freezes his defender, and also makes #31 on Montana State think that he’s good to leave Langford and return to guarding Juwan Morgan.
As Langford’s defender freezes, Langford explodes to the basket with one dribble and finishes at the rim while getting fouled.
Zone Ball Screen & Roll
What I love about Archie Miller is that his zone offenses still utilize ballscreens and player movement. A lot of teams will play zone because offenses tend to go stagnant or chuck up perimeter shots – but not this IU team.
As you can see in this clip, Juwan Morgan sets a ball screen and then rolls to the basket and immediately pins the bottom guy of the zone. Justin Smith receives a pass on the left wing because he has a better passing angle to feed Morgan, and he does just that. Morgan has an easy shot gets two points off of the Montana State goaltend.
Morgan – Smith Give & Go
This is the exact same play that the Hoosiers ran in the video above. Because Morgan got such an easy hoop the last the time Indiana ran this set, the Montana State defense collapses on Morgan as Smith feeds him in the post. As Smith’s defender turns his head, Smith cuts to the rim and Morgan finds him for 2 points.
IU being able to get out in transition like this off of a missed shot is excellent to see. When coaches teach transition offense, they talk about staying wide to stretch the defense out, and the Hoosiers did just that.
Also look at Justin Smith SPRINT the floor in transition. He started this play behind the 3rd Montana State defender, but by sprinting the floor, Morgan found him in transition and he finished it off with a dunk.
Romeo Langford Lob
Because of IU’s ability to feed Morgan in the post, even against Montana State’s zone, Montana State started focusing on Morgan when he posted. If you pause this video at 0:02 seconds, you’ll see literally all 5 Montana State defenders have their eyes on Morgan.
Langford notices the Montana State defense’s eyes focused on Morgan and backcuts to the basket behind the zone. Devante Green did a nice job of recognizing Langford’s cut and threw him a lob. Langford caught the lobbed and slammed it down to bring the fans in Assembly Hall to their feet.
This Montana State game was another one for Archie Miller to get the end of his bench some experience, along with his team’s zone offense. What’s been great to see is that the Hoosiers haven’t been taking their opponents lightly, and they’ve been putting them all away handily.
The competition will ramp up quickly, and I’m looking forward to breaking down the film against more formidable opponents.
Be sure to check back for our next film breakdown against Marquette.