Three Scenarios That Could Hurt Big Ten Teams This Weekend

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on March 16th, 2016

The spectacular odds of correctly predicting a perfect bracket during the NCAA Tournament has been well-documented over the years. Put simply, it is next to impossible. It is incredibly tough to predict the idiosyncrasies of 18-22 year olds during a 40-minute game multiplied 63 times, and any number of scenarios can tilt the game toward the underdog. In order to evaluate each Big Ten team’s chances of making it to the Final Four, it is crucial to understand what kinds of matchups can hurt them. Below, we examine scenarios that could be an Achilles Heel for Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State will be in trouble if Bryn Forbes slumps from beyond the arc.

Michigan State will be in trouble if Bryn Forbes slumps from beyond the arc. (AP)

  • Cutting Bryn Forbes out of Michigan State’s offense. At this juncture of the season, it is safe to assume that Denzel Valentine cannot be stopped in the pick-and-roll. A defense has to cover him no matter where he roams, but it can choose where to focus its help defense. Either it lets Matt Costello cut through the paint for easy layups or it allows Bryn Forbes to nail daggers from beyond the arc. A hot Forbes — currently shooting a whopping 48 percent from three-point range — takes Michigan State’s offense to a different level and allows Valentine to save his offense for crunch time. Costello (10.4 PPG) isn’t used to high levels of production so it is better to force him to carry the burden.

  • Force Jake Layman into foul trouble defending guards off the pick-and-roll. Maryland’s Melo Trimble will find a way to get at least 15 points per game, but the Terps’ confidence will suffer if Jake Layman is on the bench in foul trouble. Layman does Maryland’s dirty work on the glass (5.3 RPG), defends athletic wings, and stretches the floor with his shooting range (40.9% 3FG), so it will be a priority for opposing teams to send him on the bench. Because Mark Turgeon isn’t afraid to use Layman to cover players coming off screens, opposing wings will go hard at him to make him pick up a couple of early fouls.
  • Force Purdue’s guards to shoot by preventing the entry pass to the post. Feeding the ball to A.J. Hammons in the post is crucial to the flow of Purdue’s offense. The Boilermakers’ guards cut to the basket exceptionally well and Hammons is quite comfortable passing out of the post. That means that preventing the entry pass stagnates the offense because the guards have limited shooting range. Despite shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc as a team, the three-ball only accounts for 31.8 percent of the Boilermakers’ total offensive production.
Deepak Jayanti (270 Posts)

Share this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *