John Beilein Archive

Defense earns Indiana win over No. 1 Michigan

IUUMITH0004Like it did last year, Indiana took down No. 1 at Assembly Hall on Saturday night. Only this time, no court storming was necessary.

While it will go down as an upset by the rankings, these are the kinds of games the Hoosiers are expected to win these days. That’s a credit to Tom Crean, who has rebuilt this thing from nothing.

No. 3 Indiana 81, No. 1 Michigan 73.

“Indiana is a heck of a team,” star Michigan guard Trey Burke said. “I’m glad we got an opportunity to play them tonight.”

I’ve been critical of Crean in the past for his occasional failure to make adjustments (See: Wisconsin), but he came up with a masterful game plan against the Wolverines. He figured Burke would get his, but Crean devised a defensive game plan to keep any other player from going off.

The Hoosiers almost completely took freshmen Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III out of the game, holding them to a combined 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting.

“They were locking down on Glenn and Nik, not letting them get the ball, and then putting good pressure on us,” said Michigan coach John Beilein.

Added Burke: “They kind of made us win the game just from the point guard and the center position. Indiana did a good job of denying them. It was tough getting them the ball.”

This is not the same team that so often won games because of its ability to outscore teams. With Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell leading the charge, this Indiana team now prides itself on its defense.

When shots stopped falling as they occasionally did Saturday night, the Hoosiers’ defense kept a Michigan team full of offensive firepower from claiming the lead.

“We felt that the Indiana defense they saw last year was what they remembered,” Crean said, “and we wanted to give them something different because we did not guard them as well as we should have a year ago. We really wanted to prove to ourselves tonight that we were a much better defensive team against a team that’s that good.”


For Hoosiers and Wolverines, defense will be key Saturday night

IUMinnITH0012Indiana and Michigan are two of the best offensive teams in the country. They can run as well as anybody, and each team has several reliable scoring options.

Both coaches are well aware of that fact. As Indiana coach Tom Crean and Michigan coach John Beilein addressed the media on Friday, each spent the majority of the time talking about the challenges their teams will face on the defensive end.

The consensus? Neither team is ranked in the top five because of only one guy.

When looking at the No. 3 Hoosiers, Cody Zeller’s name comes up most often. Beilein fielded numerous questions about the Indiana big man on Friday, but was quick to point to Zeller’s supporting cast.

“It’s not like you throw it in there and he’s got a bunch of stiffs running around him,” Beilein said. “He’s got a great team around him. … They are playing at a high level.”

And for No. 1 Michigan, the main man is point guard Trey Burke, one of the leading early candidates for the player of the year award. Burke is averaging 17.9 points and 7.1 assists per game.

“I’m sure they’ve thought this out,” Beilein said. “Last year, they put [Christian] Watford on Trey a little bit in that game, [Victor] Oladipo is an option. We have other options as well besides Trey Burke, as everyone knows.”

Yes, the Wolverines most certainly do. They have several other scoring options, including Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. Crean put Oladipo on Hardaway Jr. for the majority of the time in last year’s two meetings, and the matchup favored Indiana. Hardaway Jr. shot just 11-of-33 from the field and 2-of-15 from the 3-point line in those games.

But Hardaway Jr. is a much-improved player this season, due in large part because of the Wolverines’ additional depth. He’s shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc and is hitting two per game after knocking down only 28 percent of his 3-pointers a year ago.

“He’s got an incredible first step. He can score off the dribble, he’s hitting 3s,” Crean said. “He’s one of the better players in the country. What makes him good, what makes Trey Burke good is the same thing that makes our better players good – everybody else on the court can play too.”

Oladipo will likely start the game against Hardaway Jr. again, leaving freshman Yogi Ferrell to guard Burke. Ferrell has had a terrific year on the defensive end, but he hasn’t yet faced a player as talented and as skilled as Burke.

While the Hoosiers will likely throw a number of players at Burke throughout the game and also play help defense, Crean said it’s especially important that they play good 1-on-1 defense.


Big Ten power rankings: Week 8

A delayed version of the Big Ten power rankings this week. We’ve waited long enough — and more importantly, we’ve made you wait long enough, so let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 8

The CBI is On Line 11. Indiana – NR; 12-14, 3-10; 33 total points

Christian Watford is back, though he’s not going to be 100 percent through the rest of the season. Indiana needs his aggression to be all there, however, with an even chance at grabbing at least a spot in the CBI with a couple more wins.

The Because We Beat No. 11 No. 10: Iowa – NR; 10-15, 3-10; 30 total points

There’s really no other reason for Iowa to be here. Consider that if you take away the two wins against IU, the Hawkeyes are basically atrocious. But we won’t, because the Inside the Hall rankings are too nice. We also have a soft spot in the old heart-ski for Melsahn Basabe.

The We Weren’t Moving In This Direction Before No. 9. Northwestern – NR; 14-10, 4-9; 27 total points

Northwestern had better make the most of its next two games (home to Iowa, at Indiana). After that, the sledding to win another game could get tough. Bill Carmody has an NIT appearance reputation to protect, daggum!

The In Its Rightful Place No. 8. Penn State – NR; 13-11, 6-7; 22 total points

One of the lowest point totals we’ve ever had at No. 8. The Nittany Lions are an exercise in proving the theory that you can’t just sail through your non-conference. Chalk back a home loss to Maine and Penn State is feeling a lot better about its NIT chances than it does right now.

The Some Sweet Day We’ll Be in the Tourney No. 7. Michigan State – Still NR anymore; 14-11, 6-7; 21 total points

Everyone kept waiting for the Spartans to right their own ship. After losing two of their last three (at Wisconsin, at Ohio State) to the conference elite of which they were supposed to be one, perhaps it’s time to recognize that this just isn’t Tom Izzo’s best crew. As it is, everything is a must-win from here on.

The John Beilein Memorial No. 6. Michigan – NR; 16-10, 6-7; 17 total points

Instead of me writing something insightful (unlikely) or hilariously funny (even more unlikely), I would simply ask you to read this incredible story by Mike Rothstein from Thanks.

The Bruce Weber Memorial No. 5. Illinois (tie) – NR; 16-9, 6-6; 15 total points

Does Illinois deserve to be No. 5? Probably not. Does anybody else? Oh no. The Illini won their first three Big Ten games this season. They promptly lost six of their next nine. Never did a team need to beat Michigan, Iowa and Indiana at home in a worse way. And we’re not even sure that’s enough to impress the committee.

The How Far Has the Big Ten Fallen No. 5 Minnesota (tie) – Receiving votes in both polls; 17-8, 6-7; 15 total points

The weekly Big Ten press release is kind to point out that the Big Ten has as many teams (3) in the country’s top 11 as any conference in the country. What it neglects to mention is that those three teams, which coincidentally make up Nos. 1-3 in this poll, are the ONLY three teams left in the Top 25. Minnesota ain’t one of ’em, just like Illinois or Michigan State. Oof.