"Fullcourt Offense" Filling the Stat Sheet

BLOOMINGTON-You've heard of fullcourt presses and halfcourt traps, but IU Associate Head Coach Kerry Rupp has new name for an Indiana offense that's averaging 100.3 points/game – the fullcourt offense.

BLOOMINGTON-You've heard of fullcourt presses and halfcourt traps, but IU Associate Head Coach Kerry Rupp has new name for an Indiana offense that's averaging 100.3 points/game – the fullcourt offense.

Truth be told, it's not a newly-unveiled offensive scheme that the Hoosiers have unleashed on its first three non-conference foes, but a phrase that represents the fact this year's Indiana team is going on the offensive as soon as they collect the carom off the defensive glass.

Instead of relying exclusively on its halfcourt sets to produce points as it has in recent years, Indiana is attacking, trying to push the pace and get easy baskets in transition. If there's nothing there, then Rupp wants the team to be just as dangerous when it does slow things down and tries to be productive in the halfcourt.

"We want to be able to flow into our offense," said Rupp. "You want to come up from your push off the fast break, and if you don't get something, you want to flow right into your halfcourt offense. So it becomes, by virtue, a fullcourt offense."

There's no denying its productivity during the Hoosiers' 3-0 start. Indiana is averaging 100.3 points/game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The Hoosiers have shot better than 50 percent from the floor in each of their three games, something they did only three times during a 2004-05 campaign that saw IU shoot just 42.5 percent from the field as a team, ranking them ninth in the Big Ten.

Indiana has five players averaging double figures, it's had five players score in double figures in each game, and its 110 baskets this season have been accompanied by 85 assists – or 77.2 percent. A season ago, only 53.7 percent of IU's field goals came courtesy of an assist.

While the level of Indiana's competition in its first three games has been a factor in the team's offensive prowess, there's no mistaking the fact Indiana will present a lot more problems for opposing defenses than it did a year ago, starting with No. 1 Duke, which comes to Bloomington Wednesday night.

Indiana's offense starts with its new-found success in transition. Whether it's Lewis Monroe or Earl Calloway or Marshall Strickland, the Hoosier guards are taking the initial outlet pass and trying to attack teams before they can get matched up defensively.

"With the personnel we have we really want to push the ball," said Rupp. "It's an organized push, though. We want to run hard in transition, we want our wings to run wide, and we want to get a push on the rim with our first big (man) running and looking for the ball. So we're putting pressure on the defense immediately.

"With guys like Monroe and Calloway at point guard, we want those (wings) to really sprint and separate themselves and give those guys a lot of room to make plays."

If there isn't an opportunity to get points in transition, though, Rupp wants the team to be every bit as dangerous in the halfcourt. One of the biggest keys to that success is the same as it is in transition – proper spacing.

"You almost have to have extreme spacing and you have to have great ball movement," said Rupp. "We're getting better at that. At first it seems like everyone wants to dive in and go get the ball and kind of clog up the middle, and we don't want to do that…You don't want to have things packed in the post, where one guy can really defend two players.

"We want to have great spacing, give our post a lot of room to play, and then when they bring someone else in there to double the post or dig into the post, you want to have movement around the post, but not lose our spacing.

"With ball movement, we want to get that ball moving, make the defense chase you, and now it feeds into your drives and your kick (outs)."

The results have been extremely positive in the early going, and Rupp says that the team has bought into the style that the coaching staff implemented in the off-season.

"I think everyone is excited about this year and the direction they've come," said Rupp. "We have a good, committed, core group of guys who have bought into what we want to be about and how we want to play."

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