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Survive and Advance: Ben Ball Gameday Roundup

Happy St. Patty's Day BN.

Looks like I wasn't the only one who had that 1992 tourney game against Indiana on mind. Dohn leads off his game day report by starting with those bad memories courtesy of Don McLean. The game in 1992 perhaps was a bigger deal because it was an Elite Eight match-up between a number 1 (UCLA) and number 2 (IU). However, that doesn't mean today's game between two glorious basketball programs has any less significance to BN or the legions of Hoosier fans all across the country.

BBR has the preview up featuring the match-up between two defensive oriented teams:

Whereas last year, the Hoosiers won games by purely trying to outscore teams while playing very little defense.  This year's squad plays solid, in your grill man-to-man defense.  Similar to UCLA,  Indiana focuses on good fundamental position defense and try to make it difficult for teams to get into any rhythm on offense.

The No.7 seed Hoosiers allow opponents only 70.8 points a game on a meager 42.0% shooting from the field.

While the Hoosiers spread the court on offense, they are primarily a three-point shooting team rather than one which tries to take opponents off the dribble from the perimeter.  With big D.J White in the middle, the Hoosier try to take advantage of his presence by going inside-out to find shots.

UCLA will undoubtedly counter the Hoosiers by doubling down on White any time each touches the ball in the post, forcing him to either beat the double or by passing it out - a wise plan considering White averages just 1.3 assists but 1.9 turnovers a game.

Indiana plays a three, and sometimes four guard alignment on offense.  They are an excellent three-point shooting team averaging 38.4%, making almost 8 per game.  Expect a lot of three-point shot attempts from the Hoosiers - almost 37% of their shots in a game are from beyond the arc.
Dohn zeroes in on the matchup in the middle:
The Hoosiers said quick decisions by 6-foot-9 big man D.J. White is the key to adding to the win total because UCLA, under coach Ben Howland, is notorious for double-teaming in the low post.

And the Bruins do it well because of the aggressiveness of 6-9 center Lorenzo Mata and the length and quickness of chief double-teamer Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a 6-8 power forward.

"I really don't see any difference in anybody's double team," White said. "It's just a matter of me being patient and just getting the ball to the right people at the right time.

White regularly faced double teams in the Big Ten, and was competent in passing out of them. He has 40 assists, compared to 11 of the rarely double-teamed Mata, and had four assists and no turnovers in the first-round win against Gonzaga.

"He hasn't seen a double team like ours so, hopefully, ours will bother him more," Mata said. "I think we're so quick and long. We're going to have to pressure him, and hopefully get some turnovers."
Well, when the Bruins are playing up their potential, their defense is, uhm, a little better than what the Zags can put up. I think if Mata, AA2, and Luc can play the prototypical Ben Ball defense, they will able to make DJ's life interesting.

As I wrote yesterday, DJ is not the only guy the Bruins have to be weary about. The Hoosiers also have Senior Guard Rodrick Wilmont. Dufresne from the LA Times has more on the streaky shooter:
Indiana is 12-2 in games in which Wilmont has made at least three three-point shots. He has scored 15 or more points in 14 games this year ... and five points or fewer eight times.

Wilmont scored a career-high 31 points against Northwestern on Feb 28. He also was scoreless against Duke, had four points in 29 minutes against Indiana State, and was "PU" against IUPUI -- two points in 28 minutes.

What he'll do today against UCLA remains anyone's guess.
Well, if the Bruin guards bring their defensive intensity, and make sure Wilmont and rest of his team-mates in the IU backcourt are not getting any open looks, they should be able to continue the pattern of Wilmont being down following an up game against Gonzaga. For more takes on the Hoosiers coming from a Bruin fan pov who lives out in MidWest make sure read this post from LA Seitz.

I am anxious about today's game. I think it is going to be another battle like the one we had against Alabama during the second round of last season. As usual though, if the Bruins bring their intensity on D, and stay smart and patient on offense, I think they will able to survive and advance. It's really as simple as that. Let's hope they get it done.  A will have the game thread up later today.