This team badly needed a strong defensive performance.
Tonight inside Assembly Hall, they brought just that — and more.
From the onset, the Hoosiers displayed intensity, emotion and aggression on both ends of the floor, all of which snowballed throughout the game to their eventual victory.
Indiana denied Michigan their first rebound until 10 minutes into the game. The Wolverines only managed 15 points in the first half. They only shot 36.4 percent from the field (20-of-55) and 29.2 percent from three (7-of-24).
The Hoosiers needed this game in so many ways. For their first Big Ten win. To snap their six-game losing streak, one that seemed like it never wanted to end at times. For pride.
But most of all, to prove to themselves, their coach and their fanbase that they’re better than they’ve been. That they are capable of contending in this conference, and capable of defending on their home court.
It’s been suggested this was perhaps a bit of a letdown game for Michigan after it played strong in losses to Kansas and Ohio State. Maybe there’s some validity to that.
Or maybe, for the first time in too long, Indiana finally put it all together for a victory.
Rules are here, for those unfamiliar. Standings will be provided after six Big Ten games.
Pool for Michigan: Jordan Hulls, Maurice Creek, Verdell Jones, Victor Oladipo, Will Sheehey.
Picks are due by 7:45 PM ET on Saturday evening.
A few reminders:
+ State the name of the player (not a nickname) that you’re picking. If you use a nickname, like “Home Depot” for Oladipo as was the case last game, your pick will not be counted. Also, please state who you are picking as the first thing in your comment. We’re tracking a couple of hundred picks per game. It’s more difficult to keep track of everyone’s pick if it’s not the first thing in your comment.
+ Please make sure you are using a valid e-mail address if you are not registered.
+ Please make sure you are using the same name each time to pick if you are not registered. We are tracking wins by the name you use to submit your pick. If your name changes on a game-to-game basis, credit for your pick will be given to the name used to submit the pick.
To help us with some perspective on Saturday’s opponent at Assembly Hall, the Michigan Wolverines, we reached out to Dylan Burkhardt of UMHoops.com with a series of five questions. Our Q & A exchange, via e-mail, follows. (Note: Zach and I also answered some IU questions over at UMHoops, which you can read here.)
Darius Morris looks like a totally different player this season. What’s the biggest reason for his rise to one of the league’s elite point guards?
There were high expectations for Darius Morris last season and for the most part he fell flat on his face. He was tentative offensively, turned the ball over far too often, and couldn’t hit a jump shot to save his life. This year, as you say, Morris is a completely different player. Just look at the numbers:
Morris has taken ownership of this year’s squad and, on a team devoid of playmakers, has created offense not just for himself but others as well. In conference play, Morris has accounted for over half of Michigan’s made field goals either by making them himself or assisting a teammate.
Darius has always had talent but now he is starting to adjust to the college game. He’s tall enough (6-foot-4) to shoot over most and crafty enough to get off an array of different shots in the paint and is shooting 56 percent on two point shots.
That’s not to say there’s no more room for improvement. Morris still throws away a few too many possessions by trying to do too much, turning the ball over, or taking bad shots. He also still has a ways to go on his perimeter jumpshot, as he’s shooting just 28% from 3-point range.
The Inside the Hall Podcast returns this week to discuss Saturday’s game at Assembly Hall with Michigan. Joining Zach: Michael Rothstein, the Michigan basketball beat writer for AnnArbor.com.
Among the topics discussed: The rise of sophomore point guard Darius Morris, the chances of Michigan getting out in transition against Indiana, freshman forward Evan Smotrycz and how his game compares to Luke Zeller, Michigan’s depth, how Christian Watford and Maurice Creek could impact the game and expectations for Saturday.
Listen in the embedded media player below: