The Big Ten Conference released the annual All-Big Ten teams this evening live on the Big Ten Network and several Indiana players were among the honorees.
Michigan’s Trey Burke was named the conference’s player of the year, edging Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. But Oladipo was named the defensive player of the year and was also on the all-Big Ten first team, along with Zeller, Burke, Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. and Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas. On the media’s first team, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft replaced Hardaway Jr.
Oladipo and Burke were unanimous picks for the all-conference first team. Oladipo and Craft were unanimous selections on the all-defensive team.
Indiana’s Will Sheehey was named the sixth man of the year, Christian Watford was on the all-Big Ten third team, and Yogi Ferrell was on the all-conference freshman team and also an all-Big Ten honorable selection by the media. Jordan Hulls was named all-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches.
Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan was named the league’s coach of the year by both the coaches and media.
Derek Elston was IU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Many voters for the Big Ten player of the year said this week they would wait until after Sunday’s game to make their decision on who should win the award. The consensus seems to be that it is down to Michigan’s Trey Burke and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, who matched up against each other at times in Indiana’s 72-71 win at Michigan.
Burke finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting, four assists, three rebounds, three steals and four turnovers. Oladipo had 14 points on 7-of-18 shooting, 13 rebounds (seven offensive), three assists and two turnovers.
Indiana’s Cody Zeller outplayed both Burke and Oladipo on Sunday, finishing the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
So who’s the player of the year?
“I’ve been saying all year long he should be the player of the year,” Oladipo said.
“Who should?,” he was asked.
“Cody, Cody, Cody Zeller should be the player of the year,” Oladipo said. “If you guys don’t give it to him, no disrespect, but there’s something wrong with y’all.”
Zeller wasn’t so sure.
“If the team wins, hey, we’ll see what happens,” he said.
The winner will be announced tonight on the Big Ten Network.
Indiana’s defense held Michigan’s most efficient offense in the nation to 1.06 points per possession in its 81-73 win on Saturday night. It was the Wolverines’ second lowest output of the season on a per possession basis. In the second half, the Hoosiers often forced Trey Burke and company into contested looks out of the paint and away from the rim. The normally-efficient Burke would finish just 4-of-14 in the final 20 minutes of the contest.
A look at four second half plays highlighting what the Hoosiers did to keep the Wolverines out of their comfort zone in the latest edition of Film Session:
I. HOLLOWELL BLOCK
With 13 seconds expired and Michigan passing around the perimeter, Jon Horford passes to Glen Robinson III on the right wing.
Robinson III passes back to Horford and makes a move left. This gets Jeremy Hollowell leaning towards the corner as Robinson III gets a handoff back from Horford:
But Hollowell is able to recover and Robinson III decides against the 3-pointer:
Like 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.”
Indiana 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.