With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Michigan Wolverines.
The 2013-2014 campaign was expected to be one of retooling in Ann Arbor. John Beilein had lost a pair of first round picks in national player of the year Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., and although the Wolverines returned a talented roster, it’s never easy to replace that type of production.
But when the dust settled on the Big Ten race, Michigan had distanced itself from the rest of the conference pack and in doing so, earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Led by Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas, the Wolverines reached the Elite Eight, falling to national runner-up, Kentucky.
This year, Beilein will once again have plenty of production to replace if Michigan plans to compete again for a conference championship. Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are all now in the NBA, Jordan Morgan is playing professionally in Italy and Jon Horford transferred to Florida.
In most circumstances, a program that lost three NBA draft picks and two valuable frontcourt pieces would be expected to take a step back. But it’s a credit to Beilein that Michigan is still being projected as a probable top 25 team and one that should compete for a top five finish in the conference.
So why, exactly, is there optimism about this Michigan team?
Yogi Ferrell dished out a season-high eight assists in IU’s 84-80 loss to Michigan on Saturday night. The sophomore did a great job of breaking down the Wolverine defense off the dribble and finding teammates for scores.
Freshman Troy Williams (16 points) was often on the receiving end of those passes, as he was smart in movement off the ball for buckets.
A look at four assists from Ferrell to Williams in the latest edition of Film Session:
The Hoosiers quickly bring the ball up the court and it looks as if they’re getting into their weave action on the perimeter with a handoff from Ferrell to Stan Robinson:
Ferrell ends up keeping the ball on the sneak and all Derrick Walton can do is point for someone to pick Ferrell up. Glenn Robinson III slides over to cover up the rim and stop Ferrell’s drive:
Indiana wrapped up the regular season on Saturday night with an 84-80 loss to No. 12 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. The Hoosiers are 17-14 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten and will play in the 8-9 game on Thursday at noon in the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Wolverines:
· An offensive showcase: Michigan finished with 1.28 points per possession in the win and Indiana finished at 1.22, its best offensive output this season in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers also posted an effective field goal percentage of 66.3, its highest mark in a Big Ten game, but it wasn’t enough as Michigan made a few more plays down the stretch to hold off a late rally.
So why was Indiana so good offensively? Balance.
The Hoosiers had four players in double figures and a fourth, Devin Davis, had nine points. Will Sheehey set the pace with 17 points, with Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell adding in 16 points each. While Indiana can usually count on a solid performance from Ferrell, he hasn’t gotten help consistently this season which is why the Hoosiers have been so hit and miss offensively. On Saturday, IU shared the ball (17 assists) and got dribble penetration consistently, which is a big reason they were able to score 80 points.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The same script has played out over and over for Indiana this season: build a lead on the road and watch it slip away into a loss.
It happened on Saturday, once again.
After the Hoosiers built a 10-point lead in the first half at the Crisler Center, a 12-turnover second half saw the Hoosiers’ lead evaporate. And in the regular season finale, the Michigan Wolverines (23-7, 15-3) emerged with an 84-80 victory over the Hoosiers (17-14, 7-11) in front of an announced crowd of 12,701.
“There’s times this year, hence our record, that we haven’t been as consistent,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said following the game. “Even though we lost the game today, we did a lot of good things that we can build on.
“But it’s still the same things.”
Throughout Saturday afternoon’s game, though, the Hoosiers’ offense clicked. Against the conference’s No. 10 defense in league play, Indiana averaged 1.23 points per possession — its most since a 102-84 win over Washington on Nov. 21.
Check out 19 photos by Dustin Johnson of UMHoops.com from Indiana’s 84-80 loss to Michigan at the Crisler Center in the embedded photo gallery after the jump.
Thoughts on an 84-80 loss to the Wolverines:
In their final Big Ten contest of the 2013-2014 season, Indiana showed exactly what it was this year: A talented, yet flawed team that just never showed enough consistency to make it to the Big Dance as an at-large squad.
Indiana’s offense was terrific in this one. John Beilein never tossed a packed 2-3 zone at the Hoosiers, and so Indiana was able to play with confidence and to its strengths. It was easier for Yogi Ferrell to move around in the half court. He scored at the rim and from beyond the arc (4-of-8) and the attention he drew helped him set up his teammates (eight assists, tied for a season high) en route to 16 points. Troy Williams and Will Sheehey cut off the ball for scores as Ferrell found them. Sheehey chipped in two from distance for six of his 17 points, as IU shot 38.9 percent from 3-point range. Williams had a number of highlight dunks, none more emphatic than a first half slam over Jordan Morgan. He finished with 16 points. It was another strong game for the freshman, adding to his late-season offensive surge.
Stanford Robinson, who’s struggled at the line this season, hit all nine of his attempts for most of his 13 points. The Hoosiers notched an effective field goal percentage of 66.3 percent and scored 1.21 points per possession. In most games, this is enough to grab a victory. But Indiana also did what it’s done pretty much all season: turn the ball over in wild, silly ways. After just three turnovers in the first half, the Hoosiers coughed it up 12 times in the second half and ended the game with a 22.7 turnover percentage. There were bad passes, poor dribbles, travels — no good, horrible decisions abound. They played too fast and without poise.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Just over a month ago, then-No. 10 Michigan came into Assembly Hall on a 10-game winning streak. It left with a 63-52 loss, its third straight defeat at the hands of the Hoosiers and one of Indiana’s four wins over ranked opponents in the 2013-2014 season.
Since then, the No. 12 Wolverines (22-7, 14-3) have gone on to win the outright Big Ten regular season title. The Hoosiers (17-13, 7-10), meanwhile, have continued their up-and-down season — most recently losing by 10 points, at home, to Nebraska on Wednesday.
That 31-game regular-season slate ends today at 6 p.m. in the Crisler Center, as both teams face each other, once again. But the Hoosiers don’t expect a similar matchup to that on Feb. 2.
“They’ll adjust and we’ll adjust,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Friday. “That’s part of it. They’ll have different things and we’ll have different things. We’ll just see what happens when the game comes.”
During that February game, the Wolverines’ first loss of the Big Ten season, the Hoosiers held the nation’s No. 3 offense to its lowest-scoring output of the season. In fact, it’s the only time this season the Wolverines were held below 60 points.
That game, the Hoosiers employed certain switches on defense that baffled the Wolverines — that according to Michigan coach John Beilein.