Poor offense, turnovers doom Indiana in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Mich. — To be fair to Indiana, the final score was not reflective of the closeness of the game through the first 35 minutes. To be fair to Michigan, it still wasn’t that far off after the last five.

On this night, it was the familiar blend of turnovers, poor shot selection and an overall lack of offensive rhythm that doomed Indiana in a 69-45 loss. The Hoosiers were just 1-of-15 from behind the arc, shot 36.5 percent from the floor for the game and committed 19 turnovers, leading to 21 Michigan points.

“We got a lot of good looks, but they just wouldn’t fall,” Verdell Jones said afterward, referring in particular to the 3-point shooting.

Indiana fans can take heart in the Hoosiers’ defensive effort, which the final score probably doesn’t do justice. The visitors forced 16 turnovers and never let Michigan find its 3-point shot, one of the Wolverines’ preferred scoring methods. And it wasn’t until late in the second half that Michigan truly pulled away — cued, unsurprisingly, by Manny Harris’ 17 second-half points, most of which came in the final minutes.

“Credit Indiana, they did a wonderful job,” Michigan coach John Beilein said after the game. “I was really impressed with how they played defense today.”

Christian Watford continued to prove a bright spot for Indiana, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds. As a team, in fact, IU finished with a 32-28 advantage in points in the paint and pulled down 12 offensive rebounds.

But even in their statistical victories, there were flaws. Too often, Hoosier guards drove the baseline only to fall to traps and subsequent turnovers. And Indiana’s perimeter players struggled to get the ball inside to Watford and other big men on several occasions, forcing bad passes into double teams, leading to more giveaways.

“We’ve got to swing it and drive so that we can get the defense rotating and then try and throw it in there,” Jones said of Indiana’s attempts to feed the post. “I think we were doing one pass or no passes and trying to throw it in, and they were reading on it.”

Again, Indiana fell short of the kind of signature conference win its fans would like to see, but this performance was not so listless as the first road loss this season, a 79-54 loss at Ohio State. But the one-two punch of DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris — good for 41 points and 14 rebounds by night’s end — was too much for the Hoosiers.

“At the end of the day, two of the better players in the country — two of the very best players in this league — were too much for us to handle,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “When we’re not clicking on all cylinders defensively, we don’t have enough guys that can make plays individually to keep people from going where they want to go. And (Michigan) just did an excellent job with it.”

“We kind of came unglued at the end, after playing a very, very strong game for so long, and never letting ourselves get rattled. But we did get rattled at the end, and it was because of the abilities of Manny Harris and the abilities of DeShawn Sims.”

  • Hardwood83

    That was tough to watch. There will be games when the jumpers & 3's aren't falling so you need other ways to score- either running, drives or post-up game….none were evident last night. It's obvious they miss Creek- but now someone else has to step-up or there will be more ugly messes like this.

    FT's (both lack of opportunities & % made) and TO's continue to hurt a lot too, the former a result of this developing into a jump-shooting team. I think the biggest offensive issue is the lack of any semblance of an inside threat. Pritchard needs someone else to drive & dish to open him up, he can't (or least hasn't been) creating his own shot. IU needs a big man that can score.

  • GFDave

    I think the whole team lacks confidence right now. Pritchard won't shoot 8 foot bunnies. Neither will Elston, who also is very shaky at the line. Hulls is not comfortable shooting 3's and is hurrying to get them off. Capo doesn't even look for offense and only came up with 2 boards. Rivers wasn't looking for his shot either.

    On the other hand, Jones has way too much confidence in his 3. He needs to stop taking those and concentrate on his excellent mid-range game.

    A few positives that I saw:

    Dumes was under control and generally made good decisions.
    Capo gave us good effort.
    Hulls drive to the rim was nice
    Watford's scoring was the only thing we had going

    A few questions I have:

    Does anybody think Elston and Watford are really 6'9'? They sure do play under the basket a lot for guys that are supposed to be that tall. They have almost no explosion to the rim. Passed up numerous dunk opportunities to put soft shots off the glass.

    Same question with Capo. I think he might be as short as 6'6″

    Nice to see Zach on ScoopTalk. Good job.

  • IUMIKE1

    I'm wondering:

    Was our defense one of our bright spots or is UM not nearly as good as some think or a combination of both I am inclined to think it is a little of both.

    When is the time going to come when are leading rebounder is not a guard. With the exception of Waterford (8 boards) front court was MIA on the boards,Capo only 2 boards in 15 minutes, Elston only 1 board but only 10 minutes and then there is TP's board work,0, yes 0 boards in 21 minutes WOOOW how does a player as tall as him not get even 1 rebound better yet has does someone play that many minutes and not get at least 1 board, regardless of how tall they are. 3 rebounds from the combination of those three in 46 minutes of action does not, will not and can not get it done.

    Do we miss Creek so bad that we shoot 6.7 % (1 for 15) from behind the arc. If we cannot shoot better than that it is going to take more than his return to right the ship.

    When Watford will have that kind of a game when the other team is as big as he is. Yes he had a good game but then again he should have had that kind of game against the kind of team that UM puts on the floor.

    And lastly I'm wondering if after getting back to Btown the coaches went straight to the gym with Bawa. This fan certainly is hoping so as he inches his way back off of the ledge.

  • Kelin Blab

    GFDave….I have never seen so many guys who are allegedly 6'9 or so, get their shots blocked. Bobby C cannot shoot over ANYONE without getting it blocked. I have to say the same with Elston who apparently is a good athlete.

    I heard Kareem on the radio yesterday say something that sticks out in my mind alot….He said in response to a question of why no one uses the sky hook anymore…..his response….”Big kids don't want to play center anymore, they all want to have guard skills and not center….”

    That may be the problem where we don't see a decent post move anymore…..

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    I've figured out how to guarantee IU's success! From now on I am going to choose Tijan Jobe as my Pick to Click player. Why will that guarantee success? Because every game (with the exception of three) I choose a player and he does atrociously. I'm responsible for VJIII's poor performance in the last couple games. I pick Watford, he scores 6. I pick Creek, he gets injured. Thus, If I pick Jobe the rest of the way, a player who doesn't score anyway, IU is golden!

  • IUMIKE1

    Kreigh:

    I hear you. Seems like I'm the same way maybe if we both take the same approach it will have a better chance of happening. I'm willing to try almost anything at this point.

  • marcusgresham

    No kidding—George Zidek was the only player in the last 30 years I can remember using the sky hook in college; AND IT GOT HIM TO THE NBA with marginal talent. It's virtually impossible to defend and no one uses it.

  • MikeinNC

    No credible inside offensive threats=defenses cheating out on our 3-point shooters. So we live and die with a young team launching heavily contested 3 pointers, which will make for a roller coaster year.

  • Dirk

    Kirk Haston used the sky hook, but I think it was his 3-point shooting that made him a 1st round pick.

  • marsh21

    I've read a few comments about our guys being 6-8 or 6-9 and getting their shots blocked a lot. Well there are some reasons for all those blocks. Watford, Prichard, Elston and Capo all do the same thing and that's consistantly lean into their shots with defenders in front of them who have equal size. It's easy to block when the offensive player doesn't jump up but into you. They developed poor habits in high school making that move to the bucket as few defenders had that size.

    When making that move they should stop and pop a 5 to 8 footer off the glass unless they have the angle or free lane to the bucket. I've been yelling at the TV since the start of the season because of this and I'm more frustrated as the coaches clearly are not working with them on this fundamental part of the game for low post moves.

    I've seen Elston, Prichard, Capo and Watford all hit medium range shots and further but they have all stoped looking for those shots which must be coming from the staff? Once the defenders get burned on the shots a few times then those lanes will become open as they will take chances to stop those shots.

    I believe if they would just change this one item on their offensive style we would see a huge improvement in this team.

    By the way, congratulations to Crean for the team's GPA! Very impressive and much improved. This should not be taken for granted.

  • IUBB

    At this point we are still playing Division II BB. We should be farther along.

  • CutterInChicago

    Haston's shooting (both his 3s and that lovely little hook he developed) PLUS his size were the reasons he went to the NBA. I often imagine how much more interesting that IU team would have been had he stayed another year for the 2001-2002 season….

  • Uncle Joey

    On another note, did anyone read Tom Crean's twitter updates? ( http://www.twitter.com/TomCrean )

    He almost seemed apologetic for the team's performance against Michigan. I'm sure he's starting to hear criticism from fans.

  • ronb

    Unless you have an elite freshman player it will be difficult to break some bad habits if they were formed in high school. That is why most in coming freshman fail to become instant stars. On this team Creek was as close as we got. Coaching young players who have bad habits takes time to correct. They will make you proud for a while and disappoint you when you need them the most.
    They come into college as stars from high school and all on a sudden their height is matched and the opposing teams defend their 3 point shots. First you have to teach them to play as hard as they can when they are in the game and this team is starting to understand why. They realize they need each other on defense now by the statements they are making. Fans don't get down on them and the coaches. They need us and their families for support right now. IU has never been in this shape before with only 9 teams out of 347 in all of D1 with less experience. They need wisdom from all not patience. Time together in defeats will make them stronger as a group to fix their weaknesses. They want to win just as badly as we do, maybe more. It will get better!

  • cooper

    Its the reason bball isn't fun to watch anymore. Everyone things they should be shooting, no one plays with any toughness. I watched an old Celtics game on ESPN classic and it was great to watch McHale and Parish actually use post moves. Basketball was so much more fun to watch in the late 80's.

    I'm only 30 and I'd rather watch games on classic than the games played today

  • cooper

    Your right. Its pretty bad when the best rebounder, defender and toughest player is your PG.

    As for all the blocked shots its pretty simple. The small guys love driving to the baseline where they get cut off and can't pass or shoot out of it without being blocked. The big guys get the ball down low and instead of going straight up or passing out of it, they hold the ball, get doubled and throw up a weak shot or pass.

    Team needs to stop getting stuck along the baseline and the bigs need to either go straight up or pass

  • MillaRed

    I'm beginning to believe this lack of a big man theory. We have so many other problems but this has been the case for two years. Pritchard and Capo are not athletic at all. They both really lack in footwork thus all the awkward fouls. These are not scoring centers.

    I see Watford getting a decent amount of flack. I think when this kid gets that 15-20 pounds of muscle he will be a monster. Call him shorter than 6'9″ etc I don't think it matters. The kid is smooth as silk for his size. I know he is soft around the basket but he can shoot and defend. Furthermore, it seems he is the only kid that looks pissed out there when we are losing. The rest of the team look like they are feeling sorry for themselves.

    The opinion seems split on what Hulls should or shouldn't be doing. But if you think about it, all Jordan is from being solid is hittting 2-3 more of those three pointers a game. And I think he can do it. Now you're looking at a 11 points a game. I would be surprised if he isn't hitting them consistently next year if not 2012.

    Say a prayer for Bawa. Because if our centers can't score I at least want them to rebound and defend. Zero rebounds for Pritchard? Good grief.

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