Monday, November 27, 2006

What it all means, and especially against Duke

Tomorrow night, IU plays Duke at Cameron Indoor, and the Dukies will be pumped to attack.

Duke is not the Final Four contender that beat IU last year, and should not be ranked in the top ten. However, they are a solid top-25 team, which is better than Indiana.

This said, Indiana has a shot, even if Wilmont and Stemler aren't on fire from beyond the arc. If they're totally cold, it could get ugly, tho.

Personnel notes on Duke:

The Dukies are shooting very well from 3, but only Okay from the free-throw line. That's good news for IU, as Duke will probably be shooting a lot of FTs tomorrow night. Not to implicate the Refs, but Duke's strategy is always to shoot more FT's than their opponents attempt, and this Hoosier squad is a little foul-prone so far.

The Devils' inside attack isn't particularly scary, as Josh McRoberts and Lance Thomas tend to get a lot of their points in transition, but 7-1 frosh Brian Zoubek is not only scoring efficiently (57.6% shooting, 79.2% FTs), but rebounding very well in only 12.5 minutes/game at 4.7 rpg.

For the Defensive strategy, I think DJ shouldn't be going after shots nor should IU's guards be doubling down given the hot outside shooting of Duke thus far. Just prevent the penetration of Paulus and Nelson (foul Nelson if needed, who only shoots 55% on FTs), and let our frontline just stand tall without fouling, and then go get the boards. Our guards have to come back to get the ball, tho.

Offensively, I think Calloway and Bassett ought to go at the Duke defense and pass out for jumpers (particularly to Stemler on high pick-n-rolls). DJ should get touches early to see if he can get McRoberts in foul trouble, as that's Duke's only real shot-blocker. But I wouldn't be surprised to see DJ (and/or Wilmont and Calloway for that matter) get whistled for two fouls during the lay-up drill. So, I hope Sampson has prepared to surprise the Devils with Mike White, who can score very effectively inside, and is probably the only other player outside of DJ who has that capability. Ben Allen might be able to exploit McRoberts' shot-blocking proclivities on high pick-n-rolls as well.

For IU's line-up, I would probably go with DJ White in the center of course, Stemler and Wilmont at the forward spots (if they get hot early, great!), and I would start Calloway at point (extremely efficient scoring, good outside shooting hasn't even been showcased yet, and he's never been afraid of anyone--see the UConn game last season) and Joey Shaw at the other guard.
I know Shaw is only a freshman and likely to get rattled, but he can shoot from outside and Duke might leave him open. Also, Shaw (IH .586/AH .234) is probably the player, besides Calloway (IH .620/AH .372), who the HPER rating system shows a definite need for more PT. And in addition to rebounding, Shaw can definitely help on Duke's bigger guards. On the flip side, the big loser in the HPER system is AJ Ratliff (IH .221/AH .144), who gets a lot of minutes and shots but just doesn't produce. It might also be good to be able to bring AJ off the bench as he might be able to calm down the Hoosiers if Wilmont or Shaw are getting whistled for PFs and/or TOs, or just aren't showing good shot selection.

If in a crunch, Sampson might be well advised to utilize a two point-guard backcourt with Calloway playing the off-guard, who as I said, hasn't shown his outside shooting this year (0 for 1 n threes), but last season hit 13 of 35 treys (37.1%). Armon Bassett's HPER rating (IH .403/AH .181) certainly surpasses AJ's.


Post a Comment

<< Home