Film session: Northwestern – Inside the Hall

Northwestern averaged 1.14 points per possession against the Hoosiers on Sunday afternoon, his best against a high-profile opponent this season. Indiana has made its share of mistakes and is looking for answers on defense with Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson absent from the lineup.

But the Wildcats also perform zoom action, one of the most popular actions in college basketball, while going 5-out. It’s a type of set where pindown screens for guards are set up in the corners, resulting in dribble handoffs on the wings. With all that spacing and constant movement and shielding, it’s a style that can be difficult to guard. Northwestern’s ability to hit out 3s early in the game gave the Wildcats a 34-17 lead. And as they ran other 5-out sets with high-ball screens near the hash mark, they defeated Indiana’s freshmen on the strong side, resulting in even more 3-point marks.

We’ll look at how Northwestern pulls off several good 3-point looks and takes on the Hoosiers in the first half in the latest installment of Film Session:

Here is our first zoom set from the Wildcats. It runs down the right initially, with Boo Buie setting the pindown for Ty Berry. Matthew Nicholson then hands over to Berry. The Wildcats then begin the zoom on the left, with Robbie Beran setting the screen for Chase Audige. This is where they start to gain an advantage. As Berry dribbles to Audige on the left wing, Bates switches from Berry to Audige. He has to do a 180 his way when he hits a high ball screen from Nicholson.

Bates goes over the ball screen, a typical philosophy for Indiana’s guards against a slot ball screen. But it’s harder to stay with Audige because of the change and change of direction. It seems Jackson-Davis expects Bates to bounce back to Audige, so just doesn’t stop the ball. With Miller Kopp marking Nicholson’s role and Jordan Geronimo coming over from the weak side to help with Audige’s drive, Berry has room in the weak side’s corner. Audige makes the pass and knocks down the 3-pointer.

Textbook ball screen stuff zoomed in here by Northwestern and Audige here. Break down the defenses, pull help and kick out to the open shooter.

In our next game, Northwestern starts again with action on the right side of the court before moving to the left. Since there is nothing to do on the right side, we see a variation of zoom on the left side. There’s no pindown this time, but it’s still Audige coming out of the corner and receiving a dribble handoff from Berry as Berry then moves into the corner.

From there, Bates switches back and walks over the screen from Nicholson. But this time the left side is emptier with one less wildcat. So when Kopp tags Nicholson again, Berry is wide open in the corner. Audige whips the pass off the perimeter and Berry drops another 3-pointer.

You can see Kopp raise his hand just before the pass comes and seem to know what’s about to happen.

Here’s our first high ball screen near the left hash mark. Nicholson comes and hires it for Audige. Trey Galloway goes under the screen this time, allowing the Hoosiers to stay in front of the ball handler this time. But Beran jumps from the bottom right post to the right wing. Malik Reneau does not follow immediately but watches the action, although Galloway has held Audige in front of him and Kopp is on the first assist line.

As Beran gets space on Reneau, Audige fires the pass down the right wing while Berry shields Kopp to give Beran even more space. Beran rises and hits the 3-pointer.

Reneau’s unconsciousness, albeit short-lived, was exploited by the Wildcats here.

On our last game, the Wildcats again run a high ball screen near the left hash mark between Nicholson and Audige. Galloway goes under again, preventing Audige from making a first drive.

But CJ Gunn finds himself out of position. While he seems to be following Indiana’s philosophy of helping off the wing to stop drive on high-ball screens, there’s no drive here and he’s pretty far away.

So Buie just pulls off the wing to the corner and Audige hits him with the pass. It’s another 3-pointer from the Wildcats.

Freshman stuff from Gunn here.

Filed by: Northwestern Wildcats