Rewind - Rutgers

Feb 18, 2022

You have currently viewed 1 story this month.

IlliniBoard now offers two free stories per month, for more please subscribe.

OK - we all have a job to do. We have to get through this Rewind post. It's a necessary exercise. I had a work conflict with the early start on Wednesday so I went on a media blackout and watched the game on the DVR. Just when you all were trying to wash that disgusting taste out of your mouths, I was pushing start and brimming with optimism. Oops.

I gave it 10 minutes into the first half before the fast forwarding started. I didn't like our vibe at any point during this game. From like 24-11 you had the feeling we were swimming in quicksand. So after things got out of hand in the second half I put that baby on 4x>>>> and blew through the remainder. Didn't even pause intriguingly at our second half fake rally.

Then I realized I needed to hate watch this thing. I needed to isolate everything I hated about this game and get it out there for all to share. So I forced myself to not only watch but watch in depth so I could best capture the absolute worst moments from this game. I hated doing it - you're going to hate watching this - but again, you simply have to.

Now if things go equally wonky on Saturday in East Lansing, I'm not sure what we'll do, but for now let's roll (and then burn) tape on Rutgers…

For starters, I thought the shot selection was pretty shaky in the first half - especially from the arc and even more so for a team which came into tonight shooting just 33% (18/55) from three over the last two games. I trust a DMW shot whenever he is catching and shooting from a stationary spot on the floor, but when he is moving to catch the pass - not so much. In this clip he catches it in rhythm, but the better shot here would have been from Alfonso Plummer - who was just an extra pass away after his man hedged towards DMW on the catch...

It's fair to say the defensive rebounding against Rutgers had Brad Underwood vexed. Afterwards he posed a question out loud to himself - wondering if any of his teams had EVER before been outrebounded by 20. We remain a plus offensive rebounding team, but have evolved into a rather pedestrian defensive rebounding team. We were the best defensive rebounding team in the Big Ten last year - but have slipped to 7th in the league this year. We are smaller on the whole than last season - especially on the perimeter - but ask any basketball coach about what it takes to be a good rebounding team and the answer you'll get will be some variation of EFFORT AND FUNDAMENTALS! In this clip, Plummer demonstrates neither - completely declining to put a body on Geo Baker, and Caleb McConnell turns a brick into three points for Rutgers…

Even our most reliable offensive sets were off kilter. Here we tried our familiar horns look, but Rutgers' length blows it up. Cliff Omoruyi has enough size to discourage a quick three point attempt from Trent Frazier while Ron Harper, Jr. aggressively plays the throwback to DMW who is unable to make the high-low entry pass to Kofi. If you can't stomach the entire clip - the possession ends with one of our four first half air balls…

(For future reference, the play to be had here was for DMW to backcut on Harper, Jr.)

While not yet to the level of FREE TEVIAN JONES!!, the calls for PLAY MORE RJ!! have steadily risen in volume over the past two weeks. That said, Brad Underwood has a very high "trust" threshold - especially when it comes to playing a freshman over a veteran - and it's plays like these from RJ which still give Underwood pause.

RJ put up a valiant effort against Jaden Ivey in Mackey, but here he's simply no match physically for Harper, Jr...

Also, blockouts such as these aren't going to win many trust points…

That said, at this point I'm not sure how you justify keeping his offense off the floor if DMW and Grandison continue to struggle.

On the whole, I wasn't all that unhappy with the post touches we got for Kofi. He had 14 shot attempts and got to the foul line another 8 times, which I think is about right on most nights. However, on this play I thought he bailed out of what should have been him giving Dean Reiber the full Steven Crowl experience…

ANYTIME Kofi faces single coverage, he needs to eat. Also, there should NEVER be an offensive possession in which Kofi doesn't even get near the rim before the shot goes up…

That is the definition of motion without purpose. Let the record show, though, that a lot of that is on Kofi in this possession. His effort in rolling after he sets the ball screen is rather…what was that word Brad Underwood used in the post game?…

Despite all the above, the game was still there to be had coming out of halftime, and after a Grandison three to start the half, he got an absolutely pure look at another one and my mind immediately flashed back to his back to back threes which kick started the second half wipeout of Indiana. But for some reason…

And on the very next possession, Kofi has a clear path to the basket off the high ball screen. I mean this is probably a dunk if he rolls as the play is designed. But for some reason…

Pretty soon after that, things got fully out of hand. Especially on the defensive end.

There was zero communication between Plummer and Kofi on this back screen…

A similar communication lapse between Coleman Hawkins and Andre Curbelo on this BLOB from Rutgers leaves Harper, Jr. free for a putback…

I'm not even sure why Hawkins thought a switch was the right idea on that play. He was going to have Belo switch on to Harper, Jr.?

Hawkins was nothing if not persistent on his defensive switches though…

Who did he think he was switching with on this play?

We did manage a NET rank preserving late rally, but after cutting a 23 point deficit to 11 with 3:28 left to play, even that slight bit of hope was immediately extinguished with a defensive possession that pretty much typified the word of the night…

Yep. Lackadaisical. Let's say we leave that word in New Jersey.


ktcesw on February 18, 2022 @ 06:48 AM

I understand the point that you are making about Plummer boxing out but, have you ever seen Belo put a body on ANYONE to box out? I have looked for it every game since he was a freshman but, have still never seen it. I have seen the man that he is supposed to be guarding get a lot of wide-open shots after O rebounds. He just wanders into the paint and touches no one.

Walkon on February 18, 2022 @ 03:37 PM

From last year, I think that is probably more perception than reality. Curbelo was arguably our best rebounding guard last season.. His defensive rebound % was similar to DMW’s and better than Ayo’s. This year, he’s just been kind of a mess in all aspects. Still hoping he can integrate into the flow of this team but time is running out on that.

Chief4ever on February 23, 2022 @ 11:32 PM

He literally had a foul called on him (bad call) a couple games ago for a boxout. He’s had issues this year, but he is generally a fundamentally sound rebounder.

Dan Allen on February 18, 2022 @ 06:53 AM

This was painful to watch and read but I appreciate your putting it together. Let’s hope we wash that out of our mouths in East Lansing Saturday.

ktcesw on February 18, 2022 @ 07:08 AM

You seem to have that old coaches mentality that I hate. If you do A then you should have done B. If you do B then you should have done A. You criticize DMW, Hawk, and JG for doing certain things and then, criticize them, or others, for doing exactly what you just criticized them for. For instance, DMW should have made the extra pass to Plummer, and later when JG does that, he is criticized for making the pass to a wide-open Plummer. Hawk is criticized for switching onto a big man inside and then criticized for not getting out to cover a corner shot while a big man is roaming free inside.

Walkon on February 18, 2022 @ 07:32 AM

Allow me to retort. Everything in basketball is situational. With the first clip - yes by most any standard that was a good shot by DMW. I even noted it was in rhythm. However the metrics show that stationary shooting DMW is good but moving when moving to receive the pass he is not. In that particular situation I thought the better shot was for Plummer. For Grandison - after his side dribble he had forever and a day to shoot. For him - especially after he had just drained one - I thought he needed to shoot that.

In Coleman’s case I think you misinterpreted my narrative. In both of the “switch” clips he switched off Harper. The first time he switched on to Baker and the second time to Reiber. He needed to stay on Harper without switching in both instances.

Altgeld88 on February 18, 2022 @ 07:05 PM

Thanks for these. It has been 38 years since I played competitively and I really appreciate your clips and insight.

And yes... that play early on when Plummer just refused to fight through the screen, after that long rebound, to get a hand in the shooter's face caused me to go ballistic, too.

Speak Your Mind

Please login or register to post comments on the IlliniBoard.

Post Preview