The Minute After: Michigan

  • 01/06/2012 12:09 am in

Thoughts on a 73-71 win over the Wolverines: 

Christian Watford wagged his head from side to side, his eyes peering to the left before he put his arms around a smiling Verdell Jones.

His body language said it all: “We escaped.”

Just when things started to get comfortable for the Hoosiers — they pushed the lead to 10 with 7:20 to go in the second half — Michigan kept finding ways to hang around. The Wolverines were recipients of some fortuitous buckets off loose balls; it seemed the ball would bounce around and land in Michigan’s possession and it would have an open look. Credit also goes to Michigan’s defense. The Wolverines mixed in a little 1-3-1 at times in the last few minutes and even when flashing man-to-man, Indiana struggled to get anything going. Cody Zeller, who dominated for a long portion of this one, stopped getting the ball. Victor Oladipo had four fouls and was falling in love with the three. Verdell Jones was turning the ball over. Jordan Hulls was silent.

The Hoosiers, since that aforementioned 10-point lead at the 7:20 mark, only managed eight points the rest of the way. But it was enough. Barely. If it wasn’t for Jones’ step-in deuce over Tim Hardaway Jr. — who had his moments, but needed 19 shots to score 19 points and probably could have shared the ball a bit more at times tonight — with 25 seconds to go to put Indiana up four, this one may have ended differently. Because Michigan would not go away. Stu Douglass nailed a three to cut it to one, Watford missed the back end of a one-and-one, and Zack Novak had a prayer half-courter to win the game as the clock expired.

It banged off the backboard.

The Hoosiers remained undefeated in Assembly Hall and have now beaten three Top 25 teams in the building. Assembly Hall and #iubb trend on Twitter. Everything continues coming up Hoosiers.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

+ We often talk about Cody Zeller as an NBA prospect, and deservedly so, but Dan Dakich starting banging that gong for Christian Watford tonight (as did Alex), and well, it’s not that far-fetched. I think Watford still has a ways to go and is far from a lock at this point, but if he continues on this trajectory for the next season and a half in Bloomington, his name being called on draft night isn’t out of the question. He’s been playing with more passion and aggression this season, which has helped. And well: The dude can shoot the rock. Watford scored 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting (3-of-4 from three), to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. There were times this evening, particularly that through-the-legs stepback he hit, where he looked like he was on another level. And it was needed, as outside of Zeller (18 points), no one on Indiana cracked double-digits in scoring.

+ Though they didn’t shoot a lot of them, Indiana had its best 3-point shooting effort of the season, knocking down 8-of-11 (63.6 percent). Michigan a did a nice job in the turnover department (17.6 TO%) as it turned it over just 12 times to keep them in this one. That tied the Wolverines with Notre Dame for the least turnovers an opponent had against the Hoosiers this season. Alex tweeted both these stats not too long ago. Hey, it’s late. And that’s all for me tonight.

Filed to:

  • I was only kidding. Sort of. 

  • It was 7-of-11. Just make the fix. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • deedubbadoo

    Where the beer flows like wine.

  • deedubbadoo

    Where the beer flows like wine.

  • deedubbadoo

    I don’t think anything was confrontational about Tom agreeing that it was indeed a good showing for VJ, at least that is how I read it.

  • MillaRed

    If VJ wouldn’t have sucked so bad late, we wouldn’t have needed his “clutch” jumper in the end.

  • Whitnkr

    I agree with your first statement cant wait for our new guards to show up, I like Hulls and VJIII but too inconsistent. However this team seems  to have a lot of heart, Go IU

  • MillaRed

    You saved me a little time Ace. I had the same thoughts.

    Hulls – It is no coincidence that Hulls has disappeared in 2 out of 3 games. The 2 he struggled with the officials let them play. When they called it tight he went off. Do the math.

    This is the first game I saw where CZ and CWat played through each other. It should be a staple in our game plan.

    VJ should have been benched immediately after the last terrible turnover. He was giving away the game. Leaving him in there under these circumstances makes CTC look bad. Then he uses him for the final in-bound play? Good grief!

    In the last 2 1/2 years, how many double digit leads have we given up without calling a timeout? I continue to be perplexed by this (lack of) strategy.

    I’ve reached a point with Verdell where  I realize “The Movement” is not officially in motion until he graduates. I can watch 100 different games in any conference and not once see a kid throw the ball away like an 8th grader consistently. I’m just done with it. It is borderline unbelievable.

    This game should not have been that close. Two terrible three’s from Burke clanked in and the ball seemed to bounce their way on many occasion. When the officials let them play anything can happen. Just another game we need to learn from.

  • MillaRed

    It hasn’t been mentioned a lot but we really need Will back. I think he’s more valuable to the team than VJ and Hulls as an all-around player. We barely got by last night and I think Will would have been a match-up problem for UM.

    Matt Roth needs more PT. He hits big shots consistently.

  • MillaRed

    I must have been watching ice dancing or something. Because we were not watching the same program.

    He gave them 2-3 transition buckets. Even the missed free throw he clanked turned into a dunk.

    Good showing? I am dumbfounded!

  • Anonymous

    In Hull’s defense, he is short and has to create shots for himself.  For a guy that shoots 55% from 3pt I would like to see Crean run a set or two for him to get looks.  As for Verdell, I agree with you on how he is a big part of this TEAM.  I would just like his minutes shortened,   He leads the team by a large number in TO’s (44) and in the end you have to agree that will cost you some games down the stretch.  I like his off the dribble 12 to 15′ jumper, he needs to stick to that.  His free throw shooting is extremely inconsistent, I understand him having confidence and holding the ball at the end to be fouled, but GIVE IT TO HULLS!!   He’s only shooting 90% from the stripe.  Overall the Hoosiers won, but the way Michigan shot the ball, we should have won by ten.  I’m trying not to expect too much out of this team but it’s hard when they play so well at times.    

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    And the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    And the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    That’s a clever way of looking at it — hadn’t thought of it that way.

    The B1G season is very young, but VJ3 and Hulls have yet to string together back-to-back good games. Watford, on the other hand…

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Using your formula, I should be 12/20ths of a Purdue fan. Yuck.

  • Anonymous

    It’s Hulls’ defense not his O that is keeping him on the bench. But bro..u are right on about Jones…and Hulls having the ball in his hands at lead protection time . Jones on that play you singled out could have easily moved the ball back..but he chose to hold it and take the foul..wrong decision.

  • Anonymous

    It’s Hulls’ defense not his O that is keeping him on the bench. But bro..u are right on about Jones…and Hulls having the ball in his hands at lead protection time . Jones on that play you singled out could have easily moved the ball back..but he chose to hold it and take the foul..wrong decision.

  • MillaRed

    Maybe the most dominating game of CWat’s career. He got help from Zeller but that was pretty much it. The degree of difficulty on his shots were high. The guy is top 3 in the BT right now.

  • KnightEraCurmudgeon

     I think its the “sweet birds of San Juan Capistrano.” Salmon go to Lake Erie.

  • DeeLyle

    Haha…this thread is one of the many reasons I continue to visit this site. 

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    And Zeller benefited from Wat’s passes, which is great to see because of how they struggled to play with one another those first few games.

    Vic had an off shooting night, but I thought his D was crucial. And how about Elston?  Good D two games in a row!  And Remy was great in his limited minutes.  But, as I’m sure Jerry would argue, the key to the game was Pritch. 🙂

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    And Zeller benefited from Wat’s passes, which is great to see because of how they struggled to play with one another those first few games.

    Vic had an off shooting night, but I thought his D was crucial. And how about Elston?  Good D two games in a row!  And Remy was great in his limited minutes.  But, as I’m sure Jerry would argue, the key to the game was Pritch. 🙂

  • DeeLyle

    Totally agree with this.  We hit a slow point in the second half and could have really used Sheehey.

  • Anonymous

    I was at the game and noticed one play (and only one play) where we set screens to free up a shooter.  Roth was freed up for his three-point bucket by a double screen at the free throw line, which was obviously a set play.  Watching it develop I couldn’t help think, why don’t we run plays like that more often?

  • Anonymous

    Hulls had the ball as he dribbled over halfcourt and then HE passed it to Victor who then passed it to Jones.  Hulls should NEVER have given that ball up.

    I do agree Jones should have found an open CWat or Hulls, but Hulls make the original mistake by giving the ball away first!

  • CreanFaithful

    If it’s not motion offense, it’s “street ball.” That is hilarious.  9th in the nation in PPG and 5th in FG%.  Pretty impressive for the “primitive sets we run… 

  • Anonymous

    Yeah and rounding up that’s basically 100% Purdue fan.  Booooo

  • CreamandCrimson

    The turnovers were bad and extremely frustrating, the missed free throws were crippling.  However, you can’t completely overlook the defense he played on Burke.  Burke was extremely inefficient from the field, only scored ten points and turned it over six times.  Verdell was guarding him for the majority of the game.  That can’t be ignored.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I need a “dislike” button.

  • Anonymous

    Completely agree about Will.  He might be the most complete player on the roster.  I hope he can get back to being able to play 25 a night soon. 

    I may be in the minority, but I am not a big Roth fan, but the way Jordy and VJ3 played last night, I agree.  Roth and even Abell need to get more minutes.  I was not impressed with Jordy or VJ3 last night at all.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I hate being in the position of defending VJIII and CTC because they don’t need me to do it but I feel like I kind of need to speak up.  Several of your points are valid but Verdell’s defense on Burke is being completely overlooked.  Burke was very inefficient on offense, scored 10 points and was forced into 6 turnovers.  Verdell played him for the majority of the game. 

    I know the missed free throws were bad and the turnovers were frustrating but we can’t ignore his defense on Burke.  It was a key to the win.  You are right, another game we can learn from but for all of the frustration on here, we are 2-1 in the conference after the toughest 3-game stretch of our schedule without Will and we didn’t play at that well against Michigan.  I am happy learning after wins instead of losses.  Again, I agree with a lot of points being made about VJIII, just don’t ignore his work on defense. 

  • CreamandCrimson

    You are correct Milla.  His turnovers were costly.  His defense on Burke was good though.  I am not saying he played a good game or had a good showing but his defense on Burke can’t be ignored.

  • MillaRed

    They all contributed to the win no doubt. Roth’s 3’s were huge.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Let me clarify a little bit CandC.

    What upset me last night was it seemed like the only time that CZ and CWat played together in the last 10-12 minutes of the game was that short run that put them up 10 and then the last couple minutes after Mich had already made it a game.  I thought they were working through each other brilliantly (like Milla says below) and they should’ve been on the court together as much as possible.  It seemed he was doing the thing where when one would rest the other would play.  I understand the reasoning there but I’d rather give them both 1-2 minutes rest together before a TV timeout so they get an extra 3 minutes and then get them both back on the floor together because they were feeding each other.

    I think the lack of Sheehey actually hurt sub patterns during this game and made it harder to keep those guys together.

    I’ve cooled a little since last night, but I still think it was a questionably coached game.  Too many times we had lineups with Elston, TP, VJ3 out there together and too few times down the stretch did we have the 2 studs (CWat and CZ) out there together.

  • MillaRed

    I will give him credit, as I will the entire team for defense this season. But everyone else is playing good defensive and not serving up dunks to the opponent. But your point is well taken C&C.

  • MillaRed

    Not sure why but it’s easy for me to root for Roth. He really doesn’t make many mistakes on O or D. His D isn’t great but it is much improved. He hits big shots at a high %. I just plain like him.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Milla on this.   Verdell seems to make mistakes in bunches.   He will play great for 20 minutes, but then he will commit 4 TOs in 6 trips down the court.  It’s as though he tries to make up for the mistake by doing something special, which usually ends up with another TO.  He is a senior not a Freshman.  This shouldn’t be happening consistently.  And the FT shooting has to be better too.

    I thought he played well at times, but his bunched up TOs helped lead to the late run UM put together.

  • IUJeff

    I told my son that VJ is the one player that can make me happy and make me  curse at the tv in the same game. A polarizing figure for sure.

    I have said before that VJ is always net positive though. Good, bad, or ugly. I am sure there will be more of the same during has last 20 or so games as a hoosier. 

    HUGE jumper towards the end VJ. We’ll miss him when he is gone but be glad about who comes to replace him. So a shout out to VJ and go IU !!

  • IUJeff

    I told my son that VJ is the one player that can make me happy and make me  curse at the tv in the same game. A polarizing figure for sure.

    I have said before that VJ is always net positive though. Good, bad, or ugly. I am sure there will be more of the same during has last 20 or so games as a hoosier. 

    HUGE jumper towards the end VJ. We’ll miss him when he is gone but be glad about who comes to replace him. So a shout out to VJ and go IU !!

  • Anonymous

    Dan Dakich said yesterday on his show that IU fan is turning into Purdue fan.  Come on Mtns, we’re better than that.  JK.  I was also a little extra jazzed by the PU loss, but the IU win comes first.

  • Anonymous

    I was anti-VJ last night as well, but to be fair, I think his missed free throw attempt which turned into a dunk was Cody’s fault.  Wasn’t that the play where he threw the ball toward the top of the key while falling out of bounds?  Michigan grabbed the loose ball for a breakaway.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Gotcha and again, you make a lot of sense.  They played through each other really well last night and Watford is really dialed in to how he can help get Cody get the ball. 

    I could definitely see the benefit of resting them together.  Crean was probably worried about a total dropoff with them both on the bench but I see your point.  I also completely agree that Sheehey’s absence has made it more difficult to substitute effectively.  His defensive versatility makes him so valuable and he is a guy that can give Watford a breather, guard his man and create his own shot.  Good point.

  • CreamandCrimson

    You are right, the overall team improvement on defense has been remarkable.  The staff and players get a ton of credit for improving across the board on that end of the floor (both ends really) and dropping the foul rate dramatically.

  • CreamandCrimson

    You are right, the overall team improvement on defense has been remarkable.  The staff and players get a ton of credit for improving across the board on that end of the floor (both ends really) and dropping the foul rate dramatically.

  • Anonymous

    It definitely wasn’t the prettiest game but it was a win over a very good team. This team is showing the ability to survive and conquer. They have to be able to survive the bad games and come through at then end.

  • Anonymous

    As I said Milla. The turnovers were big and led to transition buckets yes. However I have to give him credit for at least trying to feed the post. 

    IU has a very big problem, where at the end of the games we forget that we have Cody Zeller down low. Hulls is very bad at this. Verdell looks for them and at the end of the game was trying to get the ball to our best players. He could’ve passed it to someone who was having a dysmal night shooting, or he could attempt to get into the hands of our best two players: Cwat and Zeller.

    That is exactly what he tried to do late, and exactly what he did earliar in the game. Yes he turned the ball over when he tried, but I would rather see our Point Guard try and get the ball to our best player and turn it over, then settle for a terrible shot and turn it over anyways. 

  • IUJeff

    We will not have consistent guard play until next year. That is the only reason IU is ranked as low as they are. Win at Penn State on Sunday and IU will be ranked in the top 8 IMO.   

    I agree with your back court frustrations and offer these explanations:

    Hulls is smart but not athletic to do what he wants against good defenders.

    VO is athletic but not high enough bball IQ yet to facilitate a good screen and roll or create good angles to feed the post. He is a 1:1 iso machine though.  

    VJ is VJ. He puts us IU fans on an emotional roller coaster almost every game.  

    Remy and AE are young and inexperienced. Moore won’t see much PT in B1G play.

    Need Sheehey to run some point and that will limit Roth’s PT even further in the future.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else wish they’d run that high-low with Watford and Zeller a little more?  They have good chemistry and Watford’s length and patience make him one of the more effective post entry passers.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else wish they’d run that high-low with Watford and Zeller a little more?  They have good chemistry and Watford’s length and patience make him one of the more effective post entry passers.

  • Anonymous

    I know Alex tweeted this, but did anyone see Hardaway do the “VO hand over the face” thing.  I knew that someone was going to take that as a slight and throw it back at him at some point.  When I first saw him do it, I thought, “that is a mocking type thing.”  I realize he does it as motivation.