The Minute After: Michigan

  • 01/06/2012 12:09 am in

Thoughts on a 73-71 win over the Wolverines: 

Christian Watford wagged his head from side to side, his eyes peering to the left before he put his arms around a smiling Verdell Jones.

His body language said it all: “We escaped.”

Just when things started to get comfortable for the Hoosiers — they pushed the lead to 10 with 7:20 to go in the second half — Michigan kept finding ways to hang around. The Wolverines were recipients of some fortuitous buckets off loose balls; it seemed the ball would bounce around and land in Michigan’s possession and it would have an open look. Credit also goes to Michigan’s defense. The Wolverines mixed in a little 1-3-1 at times in the last few minutes and even when flashing man-to-man, Indiana struggled to get anything going. Cody Zeller, who dominated for a long portion of this one, stopped getting the ball. Victor Oladipo had four fouls and was falling in love with the three. Verdell Jones was turning the ball over. Jordan Hulls was silent.

The Hoosiers, since that aforementioned 10-point lead at the 7:20 mark, only managed eight points the rest of the way. But it was enough. Barely. If it wasn’t for Jones’ step-in deuce over Tim Hardaway Jr. — who had his moments, but needed 19 shots to score 19 points and probably could have shared the ball a bit more at times tonight — with 25 seconds to go to put Indiana up four, this one may have ended differently. Because Michigan would not go away. Stu Douglass nailed a three to cut it to one, Watford missed the back end of a one-and-one, and Zack Novak had a prayer half-courter to win the game as the clock expired.

It banged off the backboard.

The Hoosiers remained undefeated in Assembly Hall and have now beaten three Top 25 teams in the building. Assembly Hall and #iubb trend on Twitter. Everything continues coming up Hoosiers.


+ We often talk about Cody Zeller as an NBA prospect, and deservedly so, but Dan Dakich starting banging that gong for Christian Watford tonight (as did Alex), and well, it’s not that far-fetched. I think Watford still has a ways to go and is far from a lock at this point, but if he continues on this trajectory for the next season and a half in Bloomington, his name being called on draft night isn’t out of the question. He’s been playing with more passion and aggression this season, which has helped. And well: The dude can shoot the rock. Watford scored 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting (3-of-4 from three), to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. There were times this evening, particularly that through-the-legs stepback he hit, where he looked like he was on another level. And it was needed, as outside of Zeller (18 points), no one on Indiana cracked double-digits in scoring.

+ Though they didn’t shoot a lot of them, Indiana had its best 3-point shooting effort of the season, knocking down 8-of-11 (63.6 percent). Michigan a did a nice job in the turnover department (17.6 TO%) as it turned it over just 12 times to keep them in this one. That tied the Wolverines with Notre Dame for the least turnovers an opponent had against the Hoosiers this season. Alex tweeted both these stats not too long ago. Hey, it’s late. And that’s all for me tonight.

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  • MillaRed

    It really wasn’t anyone’s fault. But if Verdell hits the FT it doesn’t happen. When it rains it pours I guess.

  • MillaRed

    Forgetting Zeller. I hear you. It is a problem.

    Verdell does feed Cody better vs Hulls but guys I really think that is physical. Verdell is taller and longer and get get over his defender. Jordy just can’t fit it into that window and isn’t quick enough to get around for a good look.

    I think he wants to get Cody the ball but just doesn’t have the body to do it well.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree, this is exactly how we won games last year.  Build a lead, try to blow it, other team doesn’t make plays to take the game and runs out of time.

  • Anonymous

    Wish they would learn how to put teams away, but it’s the same story every game the last 8 minutes.  Lazy offense that ignores Zeller leading to bad shots at the end of the shot clock or turnovers that lead to easy transition buckets for the other team.  They also left 5 points at the free throw line in the final minutes.

    Respect to Michigan for continuing to battle, we were fortunate that they couldn’t make the plays needed to win the game and mercifully the clock ran out.It’s counts as a win, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

  • MN Tom

    Verdell bashing is off the charts. The number one culprit for IU not cruising to victory in this one was Jordan Hulls. He hit a three early & then might as well have been on the bench for the rest of the game.

    As for getting the ball to JH at the end, he had & gave it up like a hot potato. Once Verdell got the ball he did what Hulls should have done & held the ball until he was fouled. Hulls never did much to get the ball back after giving it up. Hulls shrank from this game. I do expect him to light up Penn State for about 20 on sunday.

  • pdog

    Pur whoo?

  • Anonymous

    If Pat Garrity could make a 10-year career out of being a tall 3-point shooter who didn’t rebound or play defense then I think Christian should at least get one contract.  Christian should be at least as good as Garrity.

  • You forget who made the shot to put secure the win for us?

  • You forget who made the shot to put secure the win for us?

  • randy

    why in the world did verdell have the ball in closing seconds when indiana knew michigan would foul? hulls is deadly at the line and was in the game. i would hope it wasn’t crean’s decision. it looked like verdell hovered over the ball awaiting a foul, rather than passing, as if he was the most desirable ft shooter on the court. that baffled me.

  • Anonymous

    Dude, you are L’ing your FA O a lot.  Perhaps you should see someone about that.   

  • Anonymous

    that’s right on!!  its so discouraging… its like they forget what to do on offense when they’re up 9 or more points.  So many times last night i would say “now lets put them away.”  It’s 8 to 10 minutes left almost every time, which is the most important time in the game

  • Tom S

    So you’re idea is finish the game with no one on the floor?

  • Anonymous

    No, of course not.
    It’s 1993!

  • Anonymous

    Was thinking the same thing last night re:  Watford.  And, while some would want him to stay, I would wish him well.  Not because I want him gone (far from it obviously), but because he deserves it – just like EJ, JJ and Haston before.  If his dream is to play in the NBA, you have to leave when your stock is at its highest.  Not that he’d be a first rounder, but even being a late second round selection with his athletic limitations would be phenomenal.  He won’t be relied on as much next season, so this is his chance to shine.

    Pretty sure I saw Trey in the stands too, maybe a few seats down from Yogi.  Still thinking Trevon over Jaquan?  Feel like its going to be one or the other, but if Jaquan matures during high school, I’m leaning his way.

  • Sal Amadeo

    8 of 11 is actually 72.7%

  • Anonymous

    We…uhhh….didn’t win games last year.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s leave political bias out of this please.

  • Anonymous

    Totally not trying to bash VJII there, I actually don’t believe he had as bad a game as some others are saying especially defensively. I do agree that it certainly was not one of Hull’s better games but others stepped up, like Verdell at the end or Watford during the entire game. And like Tom Crean said we have found 14 different ways to win 14 games which is certainly encouraging.

  • Verdell Jones IV

    I think the most shocking part of Watford’s performance was the fact that this may have been the first time I’ve ever seen Watford drive to the basket with a pass first mentality. Way to draw the D from Cody in the first half CWat.

  • Dleefinance

    To all the people that praise Verdel Jone’s D on Burke (which was definitely solid), I think Remy can give you the same quality D or better.

    He may not be able to create a shot like Verdel (not a jump shooter), but I think he has the potential to get to the basket more and turn it over less. My X-factor before the game started was Remy’s minutes against UM’s guards and I stand by my statement that he is easily our 2nd best perimeter defender and has played fine offensively in the limited minutes he has had this year.

    IMO when IU plays teams with really quick guards, this kid has to be in there.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Glad his three ball wasn’t as successful as his dunk. I think Novak could have hit more half court shots in as many attempts.

  • Ran into another IU fan last night doing the same thing. He insisted on buying my girlfriend and me a victory shot. Boiler fans had nothing to say, just dirty looks at our cream and crimson attire. 

  • It was…I enjoyed it a little too much! 

  • Anonymous

    And who gets credit on the assist to iCwat on the trey that beat UK?


    what irked me more than anything I think is at the end of the game when everyone else was dribbling away from the UM players and then getting rid of the ball before UM could commit the foul and stop the clock VJ3 catches the ball and just stands there waiting to be fouled so he can go to the foul line and be the hero. I don’t care if someone is a 95 % free throw shooter ( of which VJ3 is not) get rid of the ball if the shot clock is not a factor then there is no way a missed free throw becomes a factor like it did when he missed the hero shots.

  • IUalum2009

    I dont understand why people are saying that the refs played that much of a roll in IU’s wins over Ohio State and Michigan. We were tied with OSU down the stretch and the only reason that OSU had more fouls called on them was the last minute fouls to stop the clock. Michigan was whistled for on 2 more fouls than IU the other night as well. The officiating lately has been horrible, but it has been horrible all around. To be, there has been no favoritism shown to the Hoosiers by the referees and it just makes me seven shades of ticked off every time I see comments saying there has been. OSU and Michigan got beat by a legitimate team that deserves the wins.

  • Kawaters

    It’s 1972