Good, Bad and Ugly: Michigan

  • 12/31/2009 2:52 pm in


Oh baby, what a win. With Mo Creek out for the season, and Indiana fans a bit down, a bit defeated, IU proved this afternoon inside Assembly Hall that your leading scorer does not an entire team make. Sure, Michigan isn’t that great a squad right now, and some dumb fouling kept Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims off the court for some time, but when Harris was in the game, Jeremiah Rivers did a good job keeping him in check.

Devan Dumes filled in great for Creek in the first half, hitting 3-of-5 threes for nine points, and flashing some defense as well. He was a big reason IU lead at half. Jay Bilas had the line of the afternoon when giving Dumes props for his first-half performance: “Sometimes a kid just needs to be needed.” Incredibly fitting for a player like Dumes.

And then there was everyone else filling in their roles as well: Verdell Jones continues to be a rock, and hit some big shots in both halves when IU needed them. He finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He played with purpose. He wanted this game. Bad. And Watford was right there with him, as he went 7-for-12 for 19 points this afternoon. If those two, along with Dumes can continue to lead the way on offense with guys like Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and Rivers picking their spots and contributing as well, IU might be OK.

And how about Hulls? Kid wanted to be on the line at the end of the game when it counted. He’s been there before. He’s a winner. IU had an advantage because they went into the bonus with around 15 minutes to go, but after Rivers missed two straight free throws with just over two minutes to go and a chance to extend the lead to five — and Hulls fouling Zach Novak on a three and him making all three free throws (why is IU always doing this?) to tie the game — the Hoosiers turned their hopes over to Hulls on the line in the final minutes of the game, and he hit all four of the crucial ones. Those other two he hit at the end were just an added bonus with the game all but decided. I don’t want to pick on Rivers too bad, because he was otherwise great, with no play more important than when he saw an opening in the middle of the lane, slashed through, hit the athletic layup, was fouled and made the free throw — finally! — to put IU up three with 1:12 to go. That should not go unnoticed; it was huge play at a crucial time in the game.

Even more crucial was the way these Hoosiers took care of the ball this afternoon. In the second half, they only had one — one! — turnover, and it was from Tom Pritchard. No ballhandler turned the ball over. They only had nine for the game. Impressive stuff.

Simply put: the Hoosiers executed at the right times late in the game. They showed poise. It just looked like they wanted it more. And with the home crowd behind them, they pulled through for the win. This was the first game I found myself really feeling like the outcome was life or death; I hung on every play. That’s what Big Ten season will do to you. It seemed like the crowd raised their intensity level up a bit today, too.

Great day to be a fan of the Hoosiers, eh?


It’s New Year’s Eve, the Hoosiers just picked up a nice win, and I’m feeling lazy. No bad or ugly today inside Assembly Hall, just a feel good win all around. Happy New Year’s everyone.

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  • CutterInChicago

    A solid G/B/U post that sums it up nicely. Happy New Year to the ITH team

  • jgongora86

    Excellent victory. I was down and out, but these kids show that they have heart. Dumes and Verdell are not driving down the lane without thought. They are pulling back when the advantage is not there and the results are showing. Hulls will be da man by the time he is a senior. Rivers needs to work on free throws but he did play great D. As long as we don't draw up in bounds plays were he would receive the ball we will be fine. I also heard a bunch great recruits were there. Is this true?

  • generalrmk

    I really liked Crean's enthusiasm and great gestures to get the crowd really buzzing in the second half, but I look forward to the day (maybe soon) when he can concentrate solely on coaching. He's really done a lot for this program, and anyone on this blog or others that have called for his demise should take the time, first, to bury me upside down and carry out my final wish.

  • aceman07

    The Good: Jordy Hulls, Jeremiah Rivers, Christian Watford, Devan Dumes, and VJ3 baby!!! I love that VJ the 3rd has quieted all the early season IU faithful that were ripping him! I said early in the season (after PR) that VJ3 was playing well despite a lot of comments that seemed to portray him as a letdown! 20 pts, 8 reb, 5 assts, and 2 TO's in the Big Ten opener and I doubt there's anyone left who thinks he's unimproved from last season! He's the team leader and proved it today. He may not look like the most boisterous kid out there but he leads with his play, his grit, and his coolness in a big game. Ball Control – 10 Steals and only 9 TO's – that's not good, that's great for a young team!!! Defense – 46.9 shooting % while holding MICH to 39.3 % is also very good. And last but not least, the “W”!!!

    Jay Bilas – that guy is great. His game analysis is great and he's not scared to say, “That's not a foul. That's just good defense,” when it needs to be said!!!

    The Bad: Um, we were outrebounded by 4 boards? Lack of production from what should be consider our “bigs” considering TP and DE combined for 3 rebounds and 6 points. Good thing Watford played more like a big man today but we can't survive now or in the future if our three leading rebounders are Rivers, Jones, and Hulls . . . did anyone catch that those guys are all guards??? We have to get more production (particularly on the boards) from our big men now and we desperately need to recruit some aggressive, athletic, power forwards!!!

    The Ugly: No Mo Creek and that is sad!

  • JerryCT

    A beautiful team effort as everyone stepped up what they do best. I thought Rivers showed why I have always said he is worth 8 pts difference w his D and ball control . TP had a great game on D . Prior to the game I wondered how we were going to contain Sims but you cannot just move TP around and his hedging out on screens was vital.

    To me however Dumes was the key to the game. We were down 13-5 when he entered and up 22-21 when he first sat. In that span he completely shut down Novak and DOuglas when he guarded them. He hit 2 – 3pt shots, fed Watford for 4 -5 pts and had some steals plus fouled Sims on a bunny who only hit 1 of 2.

    W/o Dumes we do not get back in the game and we lose.

  • MillaRed

    By my count IU had at least 5, if not 6 TO's in the first 8 minutes. To finish with 9 is impressive and really something to build on.

    Truly a team effort because it took contributions from everyone, to include Danny Moore.

    If Dumes can chip in with the 13 ppg he is capable of, we might be able to stay on track. Strangely enough, when Mo was doing his thing I'm not sure Dumes ever would have gotten on track. Life can be funny sometimes.

  • cooper

    To keep with the theme:

    Pretty much everything. Rivers played great D, Dumes played under control on both ends, VJ played excellent on both ends, Watford played a great game and did well on D. The D was much better this game, the guards did a great job doubling Sims. Hulls hit free throws when it counted

    Bad, Ugly:
    You'd really have to nit pick but if anything transition D lead to some open shots for them, rebounding struggled the 2nd half.

  • marsh21

    Great team effort today! A factor was strong FT shooting by Hulls and VDIII in the final two minutes and two good stops. We did not put JR in a position of shooting FT at the end of the game which
    was smart and we learned from a previous experience.

    Go IU!

  • HoosierSmitty

    Good – Several guys stepped up and played well. Obviously Jones and Watford had solid games, but Rivers and Dumes did great defensively and had some timely offensive plays. Hulls was cool as can be at the end of the game from the line.

    Dumes was a huge factor to IU pulling this one out, but Jones was the rock all game long. Watford played like a kid with his height and athleticism should.

    Even Elston and Pritchard had some strong moments. For Pritchard to stay out of serious foul trouble was great. Some nice hoops late in the 2nd half by each.

    Daniel Moore knows his role and he doesn't go beyond that when he gets on the court. Good spot minutes.

    Bad – The Start and Closing out on 3 pointer shooters

    We have to start games better. A stronger team takes advantage of our lackluster beginning and buries us.

    I don't see how we don't adjust to guys like Novak, etc. We left too many Michigan players open. Thankfully Michigan missed a lot of wide open 3 pointers.

    Ugly – Free Throws.

    You can just pencil that one in the entire year. Rivers reminds me of Eric Snow because he was a terrible FT shooter at MSU. Even Watford missed some FTs. We shouldn't have had to put Jordan Hulls in that position. BUT, at least Hulls stuck his FTs down the stretch. Great job from him.

  • iumarine

    Good: Devan Dumes! I have been a harsh critic of Dumes since last seasons high jinks, but he stepped up today to fill the void left by Creeks injury. Don't get me wrong, the whole team stepped up. But, I was impressed that Dumes kept his attitude in check, played within in himself on O and D, and made shots within the offense. From a team aspect, the thing that impressed me most was the way the biggs keep their eyes on the ball. This resulted in many assists and reduced turnovers.

    Bad: Some of the calls from the Refs.

    Ugly: Lack of defensive intensity to start the game. They turned this around though.

    Go Hoosiers!

  • Walton

    Definitely a good day to be a Hoosier fan. The defense came up big for the most part at the end of the game. With close games like this at home the defense will be a big deciding factor at the end of a game. Impressive turnover stat – all games will be close if you only turn the ball over 9 times! Go Hoosiers – Happy New Years.

  • GFDave

    Do any of you see a little bit of Mike Woodson's game in VJ3? I do. He has the ability to kind of slink around the lane and find a way to get his shot off over bigger and stronger guys. Both are/were skinny kids.

  • soulsnipes

    I heard the A Hope kids were there and …….. Teague was there

  • HoosierSmitty

    I have to admit, the whole game I was just waiting for the “screw up” There's always that stretch when we find a way to lose in any way imaginable.

    Let me be clear. I hate feeling that way. HATE IT…but that's just how it's been the last few years…always feeling like we won't be able to have the positives outweigh the negatives in 40 minutes of basketball.

    It was nice to have that feeling FINALLY be wrong!

    Thank you Hoosiers! You have already made the end of my 2009 a great one and I still haven't made it to the party!

    Happy New Year everyone! Go Hoosiers!

  • Hardwood83

    Count me as one who was down- I thought IU was going to drop this game even before Creek got hurt. I am very gratified to be wrong. There are still a lot of young/dumb mistakes but even without Creek the pieces are there for this to be a solid team. I think the Big 10 may not be quite as tough as previously thought. Several things to nit-pick (free-throws, defensive rotation) but I'm thrilled to see VJ3 is developing into a real player, that Pritchard can actually jump,and Dumes re-emerging. A huge win for IU.

  • It is a GREAT day to be a hoosier! Was at the game, first time in Assembly Hall and will never forget the experience. I now know for myself what TC is always going off about with the crowd, sure hope there were a bunch of recruits there today because you won't find this good of a crowd in too many places.

    Great win boys

  • GFDave

    Congrats on your initiation. Keep it up.

  • Good: The “W”. The poise of this young team. Devan Dumes. Also Rivers made # 1 on the ESPN Top 10 with the 3pt play.

    Bad: Alot of wide open shots were taken beyond the arc by Michigan thank goodness their shooting slump continued (besides Novak I was screaming at my TV “Would someone cover that guy!”).

    Ugly: Nothing really comes to mind. That's what impresses me most.

  • pedro4

    How about Hulls never touching the rim on any of his six free throws! What a stroke.

  • MikeinNC

    Have lurked a bit, but haven't had a chance to comment in ages. I was really impressed with the great assist to turnover ration, the solid free throw shooting and rebounding, and the ability to hold on down the wire and get the win. If they can sustain this kind of teamwork, effort, and good decision making consistently over the course of the conference schedule, we could end up with a very encouraging season. I didn't see the game but I saw it was short of a sellout, how was the crowd?

  • Crowd was 15,000 +

  • Good: The “W”. The poise of this young team. Devan Dumes. Also Rivers made # 1 on the ESPN Top 10 with the 3pt play.

    Bad: Alot of wide open shots were taken beyond the arc by Michigan thank goodness their shooting slump continued (besides Novak I was screaming at my TV “Would someone cover that guy!”).

    Ugly: Nothing really comes to mind. That's what impresses me most.

  • dabig

    Good man defense with nice help and recover. Not sure how well it would work against bigger teams, but it's good to have that in the arsenal. If Dumes simply comes to accept that he should be playing a role in a larger team effort, he could become a huge factor. For the most part he played that way yesterday (Good Dumes), but there were times when Bad Dumes showed up, too, like those 28-foot threes. All in all, the most fun game in the last year and a half.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Awesome! Glad you had a great experience your first time in the Hall!

  • pedro4

    How about Hulls never touching the rim on any of his six free throws! What a stroke.

  • Kelin Blab

    I was very happy to see:
    + the recruits at that game and see IU win, with a nice crowd, against a good team.
    + I saw some character built in this team as they could have sulked with the loss of mo creek
    + Crean shortned the bench and made some right moves. Saw him coach Rivers through is F/T miss and into a make
    + Jordan Hulls is just the type of kid you want on your team for 4 years because while he is on the court he just makes you feel comfortable.
    + Crean's emotion on the sideline, the former IU players, and Mo Creek's mom…the guy gets it far more than people give him credit for …….

  • Kelin Blab

    One more good…..

    At times I have knocked Devan Dumes, but this kid gets a ton of credit for finding his role on this team and on both ends of the court doing what he can to help this team win…..congrats Devan.

    And VJ3 is a BALLER! His mid range game is deadly, and his knack for scoring is smart

  • BaseballBuc

    Any word officially of what recruits were at the game? I know Peter Jurkin attended?

  • Kelin Blab

    I do like the fact, IU had 3 big kids at the game last night and somehow still involved with Teague…stranger things have happened. L'ville hasn't been in limelight much and hopefully kids are starting to see the IU fanbase growing stronger, the style of play being established, and some frosh success…..

  • silkyslimforIU

    Knew Dumes & Hulls had to step up and did, but I did not expect VJones to rise up too!!! Rivers “D” was awesome and super team effort by all! Also, loved the LOW tos. Well done Hoosiers!!!



    Totlally agree with you on VJ3. He seems to have made the mid-range jumper a permanent part of his arsenal which seems to be a lost art these days. Anyone that says “well he should be making shots like that since he's that close to the basket ” has played little or no bball. Anyone that has played any amount of bball will tell you it is also some of the hardest shots to make which is why so many of today's players seem to shy away from it I think.

    In the past some say I have been kind of hard on Dumes and IMHO rightly so and so I will now give him the credit he deserves also. I felt like he turned the game around when he entered the game and not just by hitting some 3's but just as importantly with his defense, passing and taking care of the ball. While everyone seemed to have stepped up their game Devan coming off the bench and doing what he did was very big key to us winning. Great job Devan !!!


    While there were other players that scored more points or had more rebounds or assists This game could have very possibly gone the other way without Jordy's free throw shooting and no one would have remembered who had how many of what after the game. The end of this game almost felt like something out of a movie. Kid from right there in Btown that alot of people said did not have what it took to play upper level Div. 1 bball signs with the rebuilding and young home town team and goes to the line in his very first B10 game with the game still far from decided and makes both shots not once but twice and not with a shot that rolled around and then dropped in but rather with a perfect stroke and pretty much nothing but net all four times ( I know it was 6 but the last two were after the game was in the bag). The fact that he WANTED the ball in his hands at the end says alot as far as I am concerned. This is the beginning of the development of the kind of mentality that CTC has says is so important and that we do not have right now. Players that want the ball in there hands in situations like this AND can deliver are not a trait you find in just any recriut. Another good thing was that had he not gotten fouled I would have felt confident that he would have made the right decisions any way. It has to make you feel good about our future when you can say that about a true freshman. Sure every team needs the big highly recruited player to help win big games but they also have to have the Jordy Hulls type players also. Each one needs the other to truly stand out.This kid is excatly the kind of player and person that we have to have to help put IU back to where we all want to be.

  • Kelin Blab

    Mike that is a great poing about Hulls 'wanting' the ball at the end of the game. I think he brought that with him to IU from South. That is a rare trait from a frosh but I love it.

  • Joshua

    Wow, good victory 😀 Great gestures to get the crowd really buzz!