Season leftovers: Minnesota uses same play twice against Wisconsin
In an early Big 10 matchup, Minnesota successfully used the same inbounds play with a very slight variation just two minutes apart against Wisconsin. Minnesota will show how to read the defense and take the option that the defense gives you to get to the basket.
Let’s look at the first play, that came with 18:40 left in the first half. Trevor Mbakwe fades to the top of the key and receives the inbounds pass. The inbounder, Blake Hoffarber, then sets a screen for Rodney Williams. This screen is designed to get Williams open at the rim. This is where Williams needs to read the defense and use the screen appropriately. If the defender, Mike Bruesewitz, is playing on the high side, Williams needs to run baseline. If Bruesewitz is cheating toward the baseline, the middle of the lane will be open for Williams.
As you can see above, Bruesewitz is playing on the high side of the screen. This is appropriate help defense, as he needs to be able to be in the paint to be in good position. This allows Hoffarber to set the screen on him and Williams makes the right read as he makes the baseline cut.
Sampson III is able to make the easy pass to Williams as Bruesewitz is caught in the screen and is trailing Williams. This allows Williams to get to the rim and slam home the easy dunk.
Let’s jump ahead two minutes into the half with Minnesota inbounding the ball from the same position on the floor. They run the same play as above, with the same players in the same spots as before. Bruesewitz makes a slight adjustment on defense so he does not get burned again but Williams makes the correct read again and gets another layup out of it.
Let’s look at the screens side by side (play 1 above, play 2 below):
As you can see, Bruesewitz was unprepared for the screen on the first play and although he was in good help position, this left him susceptible to the baseline screen. On the second play, he made the adjustment to take away the baseline cut, which left the middle of the lane wide open.
Bruesewitz was not stuck in the screen as much as the first play but the fact that he cheated toward the baseline left him a step of two behind when Williams cut to the middle. Williams could not quite handle the pass cleanly, allowing Bruesewitz to recover but Williams is still able to finish the layup.
Williams read the defense and acted accordingly perfectly on both plays. He saw how Bruesewitz was playing the screen and cut either to the baseline or the middle of the key. That is how Minnesota was able to score off the same inbounds play within two minutes of each other.