“Defense is what won us a lot of games last season, and I'll never get away from that.”
Those were the words of Mike Woodson last May when giving an early preview of the IU men’s basketball 2022-23 season. The Hoosiers were projected to be atop the Big Ten this season because of their freshman talent and defensive infrastructure.
Fast forward to today. Indiana is unranked, 1-4 in the Big Ten and has one of the worst defenses in the conference. IU has given up 1.098 points per possession and 77.6 points per game in Big Ten play. Both of those marks are the second-worst in the conference.
Indiana has given up 80 or more points in its past five Power 6 games, all of which were losses. The Hoosiers are clearly lost defensively, and the blunders go beyond the injuries to Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson (although that’s part of it).
So let’s look into the issues that have caused IU’s defense to fall off a cliff.
A quick look at the stats shows that the most notable difference in Indiana’s defensive performance has been 3-point defense. Indiana’s opponents shot a mediocre 33% from downtown last year, but they’re making 35.2% of their 3s this season.
Teams have scorched IU from beyond the arc lately because the Hoosiers are too aggressive defensively. The Hoosiers constantly send overambitious help around the foul line and allow opponents to shoot open jumpers. Overhelping has been a theme throughout the Woodson era thus far, and offenses are exposing it this season.