After exhibiting some enchancment in Archie Miller’s third season, Indiana’s offense took a step again in his fourth and ultimate season in Bloomington.
Within the offseason, there was discuss of a new-look offense that may house the ground higher utilizing perimeter gamers round Trayce Jackson-Davis or Joey Brunk and make the most of much more ball screens.
“I believe as soon as Khristian (Lander) joined the ground, it was inevitable we have been going to need to play Rob (Phinisee) and Khristian and Al (Durham) collectively,” Miller mentioned final summer time. “I don’t essentially know whether or not that combo works one of the best or probably the most, but it surely’s going to provide our perimeter guys far more alternatives to get on the market and play extra of a three-headed monster, three-guard lineup.”
Justin Smith’s determination to switch to Arkansas gave Miller an opportunity to make a reset when it comes to his lineups and rotation after enjoying Smith on the three, a detriment to this system’s flooring spacing.
There was additionally discuss of transferring Phinisee off the ball at instances with the arrival of Lander, a five-star level guard with the power to create for himself and others.
However by the point the meat of the schedule rolled round, it was clear that the offseason discuss of a brand new look was nothing greater than conjecture.
A preseason again harm for Brunk took him out for all the season, which promoted Race Thompson to the beginning lineup. And when Indiana’s season tipped off in late November, the Hoosiers went with three guards – Phinisee, Durham and Armaan Franklin – together with Thompson and Jackson-Davis.
Whereas the three-guard set did mark a change from the earlier season by which the Hoosiers trotted out Brunk, Jackson-Davis and Smith with two guards, going with two conventional bigs with out permitting them the liberty to make performs on the perimeter stored Indiana predictable on offense.
The bread-and-butter for Indiana’s offense remained getting the ball into the paint and drawing fouls. Jackson-Davis produced an All-America caliber season, averaging 19.1 factors and 9 rebounds in 34.3 minutes per recreation.
And earlier than his accidents, Franklin gave Indiana a guard able to carrying the crew offensively, as evidenced by 23 level outburst in an early-season loss at Illinois.
However outdoors of its capacity to attract fouls – the Hoosiers ranked eighth within the nation in free throw charge (FTA/FGA) – and enchancment when it comes to taking good care of the ball, the remainder of the offensive profile confirmed regression.
The first energy of the offense, attending to the road, was negated as a result of Indiana couldn’t make free throws reliably. The Hoosiers shot 66.5 p.c from the stripe for the season, which ranked three hundredth nationally. In Large Ten play, Indiana’s 67.6 p.c mark from the road was third-worst within the convention.
Indiana’s 3-point capturing share dropped barely from 32.6 p.c within the 2019-20 season to 32.4 p.c final season. Its 2-point capturing share dropped from 49.5 p.c within the 2019-20 season to 48.5 p.c final season.
After emphasizing the offensive glass within the 2019-20 marketing campaign, the Hoosiers have been agnostic to crashing the boards in yr 4 of the Miller period. After rating forty fourth within the nation in offensive rebounding share (32.4) within the 2019-20 marketing campaign, Indiana plummeted to 241st (25.5 p.c) final season.
With little to fall again on apart from the manufacturing of Jackson-Davis, Indiana’s offensive performances ebbed and flowed with its guard play. Thompson did present enchancment however struggled to capitalize on his major energy of drawing fouls and attending to the road.
Phinisee and Durham have been up and down for a lot of the season and Lander by no means actually received off the bottom when it comes to establishing himself within the rotation. Franklin was Indiana’s most dependable producer within the backcourt earlier than his harm within the Maryland win on Jan. 4, however he was by no means the identical after the harm setbacks continued to pile up.
Freshman guard Trey Galloway began seven of the crew’s 27 video games, however shot simply 6-of-33 on 3-pointers. Freshman Anthony Leal, a gentle shooter as a highschool participant, made simply 9-of-30 from distance.
By the ultimate stretch of the season, Indiana’s confidence started to dwindle and a 78-71 loss at dwelling to Michigan State was the primary of six straight losses to complete the season. Within the 5 video games that adopted the loss to the Spartans, Indiana’s offensive manufacturing cratered. Its confidence, which got here and went for a big a part of the convention season, was gone. The Hoosiers solely broke 60 factors as soon as in its ultimate 5 losses and didn’t rating greater than .897 factors per possession.
Indiana’s ultimate recreation of the season, a 61-50 loss to Rutgers within the Large Ten match at Lucas Oil Stadium, featured a few of its worst offensive numbers of the season. Indiana scored .791 factors per possession, its second-worst output of the season. It shot a dreadful 47.5 p.c on 2s, 12.5 p.c on 2s and 40 p.c from the free throw line.
It was the ultimate recreation of Miller’s tenure in Bloomington, an finish to an uninspiring tenure that was outlined by a middling offense that was typically painful to look at.
Backside Line: There have been vivid spots for Indiana offensively final season like Jackson-Davis, Franklin’s play earlier than the accidents, the advance of Thompson and Durham’s 3-point capturing, however its incapability to ascertain identification was a giant cause the crew underachieved. Taking pictures is a must have in at the moment’s school recreation and Indiana merely didn’t have sufficient of it in any of Miller’s 4 seasons. As opponents grew extra comfy with the truth that Indiana wasn’t going to make them pay from distance, they turned far more practical at taking away its major energy of feeding the ball to Jackson-Davis within the submit. One of many greatest challenges for Mike Woodson in his first season subsequent winter can be determining a strategy to maximize Jackson-Davis and that activity begins with with the ability to house the ground much more successfully.
Quotable: “We received gassed they usually took benefit of that chance there, however there weren’t very many clear ones. After which the clear ones that we did get we didn’t convert, whether or not it was a straightforward layup, baseline ending across the rim was robust. After which the free throw line, clearly late within the recreation the two-possession recreation there six to eight minutes to go. I believe we go two-for-eight down that stretch, or no matter it might have been.” – Miller after Indiana’s 50-point output in its season-ending loss to Rutgers in Indianapolis.