Snapshot: IU’s defensive breakdowns at Ohio State

“We had the defensive mistakes that allowed easy looks. It’s one thing if they’re making tough shots, it’s another thing if we’re breaking down,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on his weekly radio show Monday night.

After re-watching the game, there were more breakdowns than I can possibly chronicle here. And most disconcerting, there were breakdowns of all varieties — on the ball, off the ball, inbounds plays, zone, transition, etc. Here’s just a few examples.

(1) The trouble starts early for Indiana, even while the offense is on fire. Troy Williams fails to hedge a ballscreen for D’Angelo Russell at the top of the key, as Yogi Ferrell trails over the top of the screen, letting Russell get quickly to his favored left hand.
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The Hoosiers are in trouble, as Russell is in the middle of the lane before anyone reacts, and Collin Hartman has no chance of making a block or taking a charge.
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The result is that Hartman ends up on a poster.
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(2) The next failure comes on another ballscreen for Russell, but this time Indiana overreacts the opposite way as Emmitt Holt hedges hard.
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Jae’Sean Tate rolls to the basket, but no Hoosiers are in position to cut him off, not wanting to leave Kam Williams in the left corner or Marc Loving on the left wing. James Blackmon Jr. even sticks with Shannon Scott, a 25.5 percent 3-point shooter on the season, in the right corner.
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By the time Zeisloft tries to come help, he’s too late to do anything but foul and give Tate a three-point play opportunity.
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(3) Things don’t get any better in the second half for Indiana, which gets beat in transition by Ohio State’s Sam Thompson, top, despite having numbers back.
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As you might have noticed in the first shot, Thompson inexplicably has inside position on Troy Williams and makes a rim run to take advantage. Meanwhile, Hartman is trying to fight around Loving in the post, making for a convenient screen for Thompson.
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And it’s time for another poster, this time featuring a half-hearted effort by Williams.
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(4) Then there’s this memorable in-bounds play, which starts out innocently enough with three Hoosiers taking up real estate in the paint.
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But Stan Robinson wasn’t cutting off the passing angle to the rim, while Max Hoetzel rides Tate off the block, Robert Johnson follows Loving to the corner and Yogi Ferrell floats to the top of the key with Thompson, who suddenly backcuts.
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That leaves a wide-open lane for Thompson, who takes the pass from Russell and flushes it for, that’s right, another poster in front of some crimson-clad spectators.
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(5) Lastly, we see the aftermath of an inbounds play on which Ohio State did not score, and Indiana switches from man to zone, as Shannon Scott dribbles toward the left wing.
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The Buckeyes get the ball to Thompson at the left elbow in the middle of the zone, and that’s where things go wrong. Both Williams and Hoetzel step to the ball, forcing Stanford Robinson to drop down to cover Tate on the opposite block, while Blackmon is focused on Scott at the top of the key, leaving Russell alone on the right wing.
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Thompson finds Russell with the skip pass, and the freshman drains the wide-open 3 to stop Indiana’s run, and the Hoosiers never got closer than seven again.
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