Indiana Basketball: 3 ways to jumpstart the offense

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BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JANUARY 23: Joey Brunk #50 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots the ball against the Michigan State Spartans at Assembly Hall on January 23, 2020 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Avoid long backdowns from Joey Brunk

While I think coaching has a lot to do with it, it’s become pretty clear Indiana can’t rely on guard play to carry them the rest of the season. They will need to live and die by the frontcourt identity that was touted during the preseason.

But for goodness sake, don’t ask your players to carry a team under these conditions. Poor Joey Brunk is being asked to do more than he’s ever had to do in his collegiate career. He’s a decent low post player, but not in these circumstances.

Brunk is forced, by the fault of poor offensive execution and play design, to catch the ball and back his man down from 15 feet out constantly. 

He hits that particular shot, but it’s a, “no no no… oh… okay,” type of shot. Kaleb Wesson is actually mid-contest when he puts his hand down and turns around to get the rebound.

On that play, Brunk is asked to post up Wesson, one of the strongest and most physically intimidating players in college basketball, from halfway to the three-point line and make something out of it. That is not a high percentage look, but the entire offense conceded to let Brunk take it, almost like it was a mismatch in their favor for some reason.

The shot clock is often drained on IU’s possessions because Brunk has to take 3-5 seconds just to back down his man before he’s even in a position to be able to take a low post attempt, and at times a double-team comes over and forces Brunk into an even more difficult position.

Archie Miller needs to find ways to get Brunk the ball on the low block, where he can just catch it and do his work quickly. It’s an easier shot for Brunk and it takes less time off the clock so that if he needs to kick it out, it isn’t with three seconds left on the shot clock. It happened one single time against Purdue on Saturday and turned into two points for the Hoosiers.

While Joey Brunk has had very good moments this season, the majority of them do not start from a post up at the three-point line.

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