[Patrick Barron]

The Pick and Pop with Ignas Brazdeikis Comment Count

Alex Cook February 8th, 2019 at 10:33 AM

In Michigan's win over Rutgers the other night, Ignas Brazdeikis had one of his best games as a Wolverine. Even though he had to defend the physical (and much bigger) Eugene Omoruyi all game, Iggy scored efficiently, putting up 23 points against Omorouyi, Rutgers's top defender. He knocked down five threes, a season-high. Rutgers clearly wanted to isolate Iggy in the post and did so frequently. Over a quarter of Rutgers's possessions ended with an Omoruyi shot, free throw, or turnover, and many of those were post-ups on Iggy.

Michigan was a little more creative in trying to attack the matchup at the four. Iggy, more of a miscast wing, and Omoruyi, a traditional power forward, each had strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. Iggy got a variety of looks: spotting up and either shooting or driving against the closeout, a couple of ball screens with him as the ball-handler, and the 1-4 pick-and-pop. Michigan likes to have Isaiah Livers set a screen and then pop to the wing when he's playing the 4 or the 5, and they got Iggy some similar looks in this game against Omoruyi.

On this play, Michigan looks like they're going to run a Zavier Simpson - Jon Teske pick-and-roll.

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Iggy comes to set another screen — a good one — after Teske settles towards the baseline.

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Omoruyi has to contain Simpson and try to recover, but Iggy is open for three.

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...and he airballs it.

[After THE JUMP: Iggy gets wide open threes, makes them.]


Rutgers went on an 8-0 run to cut into a huge Michigan lead late in the first half, and John Beilein called a timeout. He drew up a play that started differently, but had a similar action: Teske pick-and-roll into an Iggy pick-and-pop. He's open again.

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... and misses again.

Undeterred, Michigan went with the same action again in the second half. Omoruyi and Geo Baker blow a switch, giving Iggy a wide open shot.

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Iggy hits it.


This is a clever play that starts like one of Michigan's common looks, a little bit of motion into a wide pindown screen for Livers on the left side of the floor.

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The Wolverines quickly pivot into a 1-4 pick-and-pop.

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Omoruyi tries to contain the Simpson drive as Baker recovers, and Iggy's wide open again.

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He hits another.

It looks like Michigan wants to run something similar, but Iggy doesn't seem to get the play call. Teske helps him in the right direction, and the play eventually winds up in a 1-4 pick-and-pop. Iggy gets a good screen on Baker; Omoruyi — who knows what's coming this time — defends the pop well; Baker, who's expecting Simpson to pass it back to Iggy again, hesitates even though he had already been beaten by a step. Simpson has a path to the basket with the big rotating over to help.

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Simpson could dish it to Teske for an easy dunk as Teske's defender commits to helping, but decides to go with his badass hook instead.

It's so beautiful.

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Rutgers is a decent defensive team, but Michigan was able to create terrific looks with the Simpson - Iggy pick-and-pop. It might not work as well when Iggy's guarded by a quicker defender, better teams probably won't blow those switches, and defenses will prepare for it if Michigan runs it successfully often enough. We haven't seen it a ton this year, though it looks like Beilein already has some wrinkles — the Simpson - Teske pick-and-roll and the wide pindown — to disguise the action. Situations where Iggy can catch and shoot or attack a recovering defender in space from the top of the key are pretty ideal, given his skill set. Iggy has thrived this season without needing plays called for him, but this is an that we could see more of down the stretch — it was great against Rutgers.



February 8th, 2019 at 10:40 AM ^

The hook on that last play also works because, if he misses, it's a likely Kobe assist because Teske is left alone under the basket (and is in better position/taller than the late Rutgers help).


February 8th, 2019 at 11:15 AM ^

"It might not work as well when Iggy's guarded by a quicker defender, better teams probably won't blow those switches, and defenses will prepare for it if Michigan runs it successfully often enough."


But to that point, Michigan has options no matter how this is defended. If they are like Rutgers and slow getting to Iggy, he can knock down the 3. But if it's a better team like Wisconsin this weekend who is really really good at preventing 3's, then this play will allow Iggy to do what he honestly does best. He can attack the hard closeout from the defender to get by and drive to the basket.

As has been pointed out by a lot of people, Iggy isn't the quickest and sometimes needs the advantage to get by players. Well, having him pop after a screen will force defenders to be off-balance running to guard him, opening up the drive to the lane where he is a great finisher and good at drawing fouls.

I'll be looking for Michigan to run this action against Wisconsin tomorrow for that very specific reason. Especially with Happ or Reuvers on him.


February 8th, 2019 at 1:29 PM ^

Some of my concerns with this Iggy pick and pop against Wisconsin is there's a good chance they play this way: 

1) switch it to prevent the three off the pop

2) When they do switch it, it'll be Trice on Iggy and Iggy is going to put a forearm into Trice as he tries to go by him, and Trice is going to hurl himself backwards 7-10 feet and the refs are going to have to do something with that and I don't trust B1G refs but maybe at home they'll be better.  I'm sure Beilein has been harping this week about not getting that forearm out to clear space.

3) Putting Teske down near the block on this play doesn't spread the floor like when he's the screener and it leaves Reuvers, who is an excellent rim protector, in prime help position should Z beat Happ or Iggy beat Trice.

4) Iggy has a hard time looking for teammates so if he is successful at driving into Reuvers help, he's probably going to need to finish or draw the foul, which again, is really tough against Reuvers.

It looked like Rutgers was poorly prepared for this play.  I expect Wisconsin to be much better prepared (again, likely by switching but if not, they'll play it more like Rutgers did on the hook shot by getting back to Iggy more aggressively and forcing Z to make something happen over or around Reuvers - something the D would prefer to an open three from a 40% shooter).

Beilein's challenge will be anticipating this and staying one step ahead.  I think we see a lot of Simpson with bigs guarding him up top after switches like against Purdue last year or the second half of the first meeting (when Reuvers blocked a three by Simpson after a switch).


February 8th, 2019 at 2:37 PM ^

I definitely agree on #2. But if Trice is coming to guard Iggy, he can't flop every time because the refs will not call it every time. Iggy might get hit with a charge or two, but the B1G has noticeably decreased the number of charges called that Wisconsin draws.

And if Wisconsin decides to switch everything, I'm hoping Simpson is aggressive and it takes it right at Happ for a tough layup or his hook. 

If they put Happ on Iggy again, run some screens with him and Poole. Then you can get Poole going up against old man Happ and that should be a matchup you win.


February 8th, 2019 at 4:01 PM ^

One charge would be survivable.  TWO would be potentially fatal, because that'd mean two TOs and worse, foul trouble for Iggy.  He absolutely cannot get two offensive fouls tomorrow.

Simpson will take it at Happ if he gets switched onto him.  And his ability to hit that hook or find open guys if help comes will be critical.  Returns on doing that in the first game were...eh, up and down.


February 8th, 2019 at 12:55 PM ^

 Hoping to get the Wisky preview and game thread started a little sooner...

Admittedly, I occasionally forget and rely on the board for start times, to jog the memory banks.