The Minute After: Michigan

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Thoughts on a 81-73 win against the Wolverines:

There were Michigan runs to keep it interesting, some sloppy missteps by Indiana, but the fact was this: The Hoosiers owned this game. They owned it because they were at home, and when you come at the king on Branch McCracken Court, you best not miss. They owned it because they never trailed. They owned it because Christian Watford and Cody Zeller, who have been labeled soft, played so big and so strong, overpowering Mitch McGary and the rest of Michigan’s frontline.

Zeller had three putbacks dunks; his array of post and offensive moves were in full effect. He chased down a loose rebound all the way out to the perimeter late in the game to keep the possession with Indiana and further seal the victory. He finished the night with 19 points on 10 shots and 10 rebounds. This is not the time or place to go the rabbit hole about Zeller’s declining draft stock or the criticism he’s taken of late or whether he’s better or more important to this team than Victor Oladipo, but this is the time and place to say there was clearly more fire in his humble spirit tonight and Indiana needs it the rest of the season. Watford looked more confident and coherent around the rim and quietly put up a great night: 14 points, 10 rebounds.

Yogi Ferrell further cemented himself as an emerging defense rock, doing great work on Trey Burke. When he went out with his second foul in the first half, the frustration he showed when he took a seat on the bench showed how much he was looking forward to this matchup, how much he wanted to be out there sliding and shuffling and keeping Burke from turning the corner and getting into the lane after the high ball screen. Speaking of Burke, Michigan’s offensive second half mostly lacked him getting into the lane and creating easy looks for his teammates. Burke would get his buckets and looked filthy on a couple of stepbacks and treys. But he was also nowhere near his hyper-efficient self tonight: He needed 24 shots to score 25 points. It was a collective effort at times with Oladipo, Ferrell, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford seeing some time on him.

And there was Jeremy Hollowell, in maybe his best performance of the season. Hollowell aided in Indiana’s defensive effort, recording three blocks. He would also score four points in 10 minutes of action. Michigan would try to get back into this late off the strength of some quick 3-pointers, but Indiana would continue to hit free throws down the stretch and have now had back-to-back strong performances at the line dating back to the Purdue win on Wednesday. It hit 22-of-25 including an 8-of-8 performance from Ferrell. (Michigan shot only seven.) This is an encouraging sign as the Big Ten schedule continues to give Indiana challenge after challenge.

And there was Oladipo, too. Oh me, oh my, oh my. That near alley-oop from Jordan Hulls was, as John Gasaway put it: “If Oladipo dunks that it’s the play of my lifetime.” Dick Vitale — a man no stranger to hyperbole, granted — was comparing the unheralded DeMatha product to a college Michael Jordan. Oladipo continues to solidify himself as one of the better players in college basketball, making a number of moves to the rim on both the break and in the halfcourt tonight that made you stand up and cheer. He finished the night with 15 points. Oladipo had a weird end to the game: An ill-advised 3-point attempt that missed when Indiana was better served draining the clock and a windmill dunk at the buzzer that well, you just don’t do. He would later apologize for it in his post-game comments. Oladipo also got into Burke’s ear a bit as Indiana shot free throws in the waning minutes of the game, and so this was a big game on a big stage where Oladipo got a bit nasty.

For now, the Hoosiers appear likely to regain that No. 1 ranking in the country. It’s nice and it’s fun, but as Michigan found out tonight, the Big Ten’s road does a team no favors, and Indiana’s time back on top has no promises beyond February’s first full week.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, we hit like 16 FT’s down the last 1:30 stretch where they were putting us on the line on purpose. That leaves a 9-8 IU advantage. That’s ridiculous on our floor. Anyone who thinks it won’t be the exact opposite in Ann Arbor (without the late fouling!) is nuts!

  • RainCityHoosier

    Hollowell played a great game, but c’mon, the game ball has to go to Watford. He’s really the X factor for this team and how far it’s going to go; b/c he has in the past been inconsistent. I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been the last five games or so. He’s really been on it. He was a total stud last night.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Did you miss the first 35 minutes of the game. I specifically watched to see how Jordy would do (since my pre-game analysis was that Jordy would have to lose minutes because of the D match ups) and I saw TWO plays where he was burned. Stauskus for the dunk and Hardaway for a floater. Other than that he got screened off shooters a couple times but that’s normal and so did other players. His late game strip after what should’ve been an offensive foul on Burke was one of the defining plays of the game.

    Try as you may (which most the time I would agree), but this game you can’t complain about Jordy’s D because he played as well and as hard as he’s played in his career on the D end and didn’t hurt IU during the main portion of the game. That being said, I still prefer the O for D substitutions CTC made for him the last few minutes!

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Yep the alley-oop was a good play. The three shot, although he has been knocking them down, was not good because we had 27 more seconds on the shot clock we could have used.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think the pre-game concerns about the D Jordan would play was understandable. I questioned who he could guard on MI’s team as well but he did an admirable job. Everything about this game on D surprised me (except Vic and Yogi’s D). I was surprised to see us come out exclusively in man and I was surprised it worked when Jordan was on the floor matched up with Stauskus!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That CWat dunk brought me out of my seat because I didn’t think he’d go up like that after hesitating and getting fouled on the one before it! Very nice to see!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree. He’s still a young coach and will get better as well. I say it all the time, but even though he’s not the best in-game coach, neither is Roy Williams and he’s been there, done that!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Many people have said it all year, but Yogi’s defensive slides are a thing of beauty! He possibly has the quickest feet in the NCAA.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I actually think IU matches up well with MI and could possibly beat them on their floor. The calls went their way on our floor and if it just gets called evenly (especially charge/block calls) we will be in the game. We controlled the game start to finish on our floor and I’m not sure they can do that to us at their place!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I still would’ve loved to have that Wisconsin game back!

    I really hope we don’t overlook Illinoying because they’re a wounded animal! I think this team will be primed and ready for OSU at OSU because of the beatings they’ve took there the past few seasons, so I hope we don’t take Illinoying lightly!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Completely agree. That’s the one substitution decision I just don’t understand!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s okay because Hollowell is a more athletic version of CWat and when he gets his confidence back in his shot he’ll be able to shot fake then take the ball to the goal for the dunk!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You know, honestly, I hope they put Florida at #1 and us at #2. #1 seems like the place you don’t want to be this year!

    It’s funny because I’d be pissed because there’s no way Florida should ever deserve to be #1 this year when there’s teams with an equal record since they play in the weakest power 6 conference in the nation, but I’d still be happy we aren’t the targeted team!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Theo Pinson may be a done deal for the Hoosiers at this point! 2014 needs to get rolling soon!

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Yeah, I thought it was a difficult matchup for Hulls going in and said as much to you in the “What To Expect.” Turns out after watching it twice now that they had a much tougher time with defending us. Watford was too strong for Robinson. Zeller too quick to body for any of their bigs. Nobody had a chance of stopping Oladipo. And Yogi got separation from Burke to start the offensive advantage. All of those mismatches freed up plenty of shooting opportunities and Hulls delivered some big shots.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Yeah, I thought it was a difficult matchup for Hulls going in and said as much to you in the “What To Expect.” Turns out after watching it twice now that they had a much tougher time with defending us. Watford was too strong for Robinson. Zeller too quick to body for any of their bigs. Nobody had a chance of stopping Oladipo. And Yogi got separation from Burke to start the offensive advantage. All of those mismatches freed up plenty of shooting opportunities and Hulls delivered some big shots.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    One day? I wish I knew when my enlightenment will come. First it was we cannot play Jordy against Michigan State. Then it was, just wait until we play Michigan. Now, it’s “one day” we will see. Maybe you’ll get this right some day?

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree, and sometimes it gives them the idea that, rather than it being a bad shot and it going in anyway, it was not a bad shot cause it did go in and it’ll be OK to shoot another one just like or similar to it.

  • IUMIKE1

    Well I guess we’ll just have to get really big leads later in games so that we can practice that kind of play….there….. problem solved.

  • IUMIKE1

    and not just one every now and then either, hell he’s evidently still eating them as ate up as he is.

  • IUMIKE1

    I’m sure the credit limit on the credit cards of the people he works with now is considerably higher than on the last ones he procured.

  • IUMIKE1

    click…click..click, hey what the hell’s wrong with my mouse it won’t make the like button work after the first one click.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    yeah, but with a straw he had two points of entry……

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I can’t stand Mr. Vd…but his first half calls were pretty good, second half he seemed to let them play and give back I’m pretty sure we shot more then they attempted.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I can’t stand Mr. Vd…but his first half calls were pretty good, second half he seemed to let them play and give back I’m pretty sure we shot more then they attempted.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Aceman, If you have been a fan for that many years…don’t you think Hightower was an IU fan years ago when Bobby was there? I totally agree though, there are several that are getting a little too old for the game. What’s that saying “go back to HS”. I also heard what they get paid a game and it is ridiculousness….

  • IUMIKE1

    Yea, I feel you, didn’t know who I should apologize to first after the game, the people that owned the house and invited me over (in my defense they know me & I reminded them again of how big of a game it was when they extended the invitation), their other guests or their poor dog cowered over in the corner.

  • IUMIKE1

    Came out of my seat as well. I have been somewhat of a CW critic at times this season so it’s only fitting that I give him his just due for his play over the last few games. Good job CW, when you play like you have been we are, for sure, capable of beating anyone on any floor.

  • sloan screen #45

    Now wait a minute Aceman, I distinctly remember you saying IU couldnt matchup with MU on the perimeter recently. Ha Ha had to call you on that one. All jokes aside I believe we matchup well with them. I said IU goes 9-3 over the last 12. 10-2 if we beat OH ST on saturday which is very winable. I said we beat MU twice and still believe it.

  • IUMIKE1

    Are you sure that was McGary’s dad giving the finger in the background ? I’m not disagreeing, and if I would have had 5 guesses his dad would have been one of them cause there did seem to be a resemblance, but I was just wondering if that is an established fact.

  • marcusgresham

    The play wasn’t a bad decision, the pass was just poorly executed.

  • marcusgresham

    Jeremy averages at least 12 a game next year.

  • marcusgresham

    Don’t be so hard on Gottleib’s ability to evaluate talent—he knows what a college player who doesn’t have the skills to make it to the NBA looks like.

  • marcusgresham

    Vic’s a far more willing passer.

  • marcusgresham

    Here Comes Teddy Boo Boo

  • IUJeff

    Jordy WAS taken out late last night when we absolutely needed a stop. Will was put in. Indiana Mr. Basketball Jordy Hulls is gonna start. Get used to it.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    I bet, if someone had the individual stats, IU wins all games the last 2 years when CWat shoots 50%+.

  • Kenneth234

    One of my friends, (before his dog past away), used to run out of the living room the first time he heard the Indiana’s fight song. He never was much for the yelling. My dog, waits until the first yell, then bails to another room.

  • Kenneth234

    I said the same thing after the loss at Wisconsin last year…but after the performance that they got from their senior forward from behind the arc in Indianapolis left me even more angry, I have decided to not want revenge for losing a regular season game; especially if getting that revenge involves a Bo Ryan team. I hate that coach with a passion now a days.

  • Kenneth234

    They only talk about Florida because they are tired of saying that a Michigan, Duke, Louisville, or whomever is the best team in the country because they have other teams that are capable of winning a game against them. Since Florida is in the SEC, they have far less risk of sounding stupid.

  • Kenneth234

    This is true, however, the gap between Yogi and Burke is a closing awfully fast. By our next meeting, Yogi could be schooling Burke or simply playing even with him.

  • HoosierKen73

    Jeff..That is so much BS… Every coach gets out-coached at times. You think Izzo hasn’t been out-coached this year even? The best ones do make mistakes sometimes..and when the other guy makes a correct move at that time…I mean NO ONE IS PERFECT.. Crean is as good as any coach in the country.. No, I’ll say he is better than any coach in the country, when you consider the whole package.
    True you did thank him.. But I would also say.. I don’t know of a coach in the country, that would’ve been able to take IU from the shambles the program was in..and get them to where they are today..as well as CTC has done. I would rank Crean as certainly being in the top five coaches in the country right now…and possible the top one.. There’s not one other coach, I’d rather have at Indiana than Coach Crean. .I think we all owe him a real debt of gratitude.. And, I also think you owe him an apology for implying he has been routinely out-coached by those other guys. You honestly thin Bo Ryan is out coaching every one he faces this year????… BS…

  • HoosierKen73

    I’m thinking that part of this is.. We are now getting used to playing against the top competition. We blew away so many ‘cupcakes’ early in the season… and now, yes there’s room for us to improve…but were getting used to playing when every possession can mean the difference between winning and losing… I like the way we seem to be gaining confidence and even maybe getting a little swagger to us… Just hope we can carry this into Champagne against the Illinoy team…lol… and then put a beating on OSU. AND, then go to E. Lansing and win another from Sparty.. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could go through this next stretch and finish up the B1G season with no more than one more loss or even no more losses.. After seeing then play at Purdue and now against Michigan.. I think it just maybe possible. Gosh, I love this team…

  • MillaRed

    Classy post man nice work

  • MillaRed

    That CWat play out of bounds was really, really terrible.

  • RB

    That might have post-poned the game by starting the first in game riot at Assembly hall

  • Kevin Tolliver

    thank you

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