Friday, December 21, 2012

Butler's Winning Blueprint

Going into last Saturday's Butler-Indiana game, the question was how would Butler's shaky defense stop quite possibly the best offense in the country. Indiana scored 1.13 points per possession, a more than respectable number but still their 3rd lowest output of the season. The gameplan for Brad Stevens was pretty  obvious and discussed all over Twitter: let Freshman guard Yogi Ferrell take long jumpers. On the season, Ferrell is 35% from 2 and 25% from 3.

Stevens chose to put the stellar defender Roosevelt Jones on Yogi Ferrell. If the gameplan was to let Ferrell shoot, then Butler conceivably could have put someone like Rotnei Clarke on Farrell, saving Jones for a more efficient offensive player. However, Stevens purposefully put Jones on Ferrell  in order to more effectively stop the Ferrell-Zeller pick and roll. The video below of the opening play demonstrates this:  

Butler chose to switch screens and use Roosevelt Jones' versatility. Although only 6'4", Jones is a very good rebounder for his height and kept a body on Zeller at all times. Meanwhile, Ferrell felt compelled to go at the bigger/slower Andrew Smith. Smith did a solid job of keeping Ferrell in front of him while still baiting him to take shots. Of course, it should be noted Jones and Smith both fouling out can probably be attributed to at times playing defensively out of position. The results?

Yogi Ferrell: 3-9 from two, 2-4 from three, 6 turnovers, used on 30% of Indiana possessions (team high)
Cody Zeller: 4-9 from two, 0-0 from three, 2 offensive rebounds, used on 21% of Indiana possessions (4th highest)

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