Indiana tasked with stopping surging Michigan offense on Sunday

  • 02/01/2014 8:46 pm in

(Photo credit: Dustin Johnson,

Coming into Sunday’s game against No. 10 Michigan, Indiana is aware there might not be a hotter team in the country than the Wolverines.

After losing by two points at home to Arizona on Dec. 14 to drop its record to 6-4 mark, Michigan has not lost. Coming into Bloomington on a 10-game winning streak, the Wolverines went undefeated in January and will look to win their ninth Big Ten game in a building where they have not won in since January 2009.

“No question they are a high-powered offensive machine,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “They are a tremendous help defensive team. They’ve got very good one-on-one defenders, but their help defense is very good.

“You can see their experience of their front line, really almost like captaining the defense, so to speak, with what they do, and everybody kind of fills in accordingly and the help defense is outstanding. You can’t stand around, you have to be in movement, and they are an incredible challenge.”

Even after the Wolverines lost starters Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA last season and lost sophomore big man Mitch McGary to injury, they have found new life this season. Sure, the beginning wasn’t necessarily smooth — a loss to Charlotte stained the Wolverines’ early-season résumé — and come Big Ten season, the Wolverines were unranked.

But in Michigan’s first Big Ten game, at Minnesota, the Wolverines shot a 53.4 effective field goal percentage and squeaked out a 63-60 victory against the Golden Gophers. Since then, there hasn’t been a game in which the Wolverines have scored less than 71 points. In Big Ten play, they are shooting a whopping 60.0 eFG% and have the highest offensive efficiency in the conference.

They have beaten Michigan State at Michigan State. They have beaten Wisconsin at Wisconsin. A win at Indiana would be Michigan’s fifth straight on the road.

“They’ve just been shooting the ball extremely well all year,” Crean said. “They’ve been in a lot of close games, and they’ve been very successful in those close games.”

And leading the charge for Michigan this season has been sophomore Nik Stauskas, who is shooting 3-pointers at almost a 46 percent clip and is scoring 18.4 points per game.

Beilein has also surrounded Stauskas with veterans in sophomore Glenn Robinson III, junior Jon Horford and senior Jordan Morgan, and with the emergence of sophomore Caris LeVert and freshmen Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin, the Wolverines have clicked, offensively.

Crean, specifically, noted how Michigan’s spacing is “outstanding” and that “these guys do a great job of getting each other open.” And his team will have the assignment of stopping that, a force that no team has been able to solve in more than a month and a half.

“They’re very good at transition, I think we know that as a team,” sophomore Austin Etherington said. “They hit shots in transition, and we’ve just got to be there and find guys and find the open shooters.

“Obviously, we know that right now, they’re the best team in the Big Ten. We’ve just got to come out and compete and get the ‘W.”

Hoosiers moving on from Nebraska loss

Following Thursday’s 60-55 loss at Nebraska, Crean and his assistants sat his team down to review film of the loss.

He and his staff chose around 20 clips, offensively and defensively, from the first half, in which the Hoosiers outscored the Cornhuskers, 32-19, and then showed his team the entire second half, in which Nebraska outscored the Hoosiers, 41-23.

“The activity, defensively, and the movement, offensively, were probably the biggest differences in the second half,” Crean said. “But we did some really, really good things in the first half. So we tried to make sure that they saw that, as well.”

Over the past two days leading up to Sunday’s battle with Michigan, Crean and his staff have honed in that performance specifically — repeating the positives of the first half and avoiding the negatives of the second, in which the Cornhuskers shot a 66.7 eFG% — especially against a team as hot from the floor as the Wolverines.

“This was one of the first times that we had a lead like that, so some guys didn’t know how to handle it as well,” Etherington said. “We’ve just got to come out playing the game we played in the first half.”

“You learn from winning, you learn from losing,” Crean added. “You learn from success, you learn from when you’re not successful. We’ve got great spirit right now. We’re going to be ready to play.”

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  • Steve Fischer

    We lost so many games that we shouldn’t have, it’s time we win another game where we are the underdog. Even that Wisconsin win is tarnished as USA put wisc in the top 5 biggest collapses.

  • HoosierPat

    This team is so unpredictable. Anything could happen tomorrow. Although it would make sense for IU to win just because it wouldn’t make sense. That’s been the B1G season thus far.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    Just saw Cuse beat Duke. I thought the big 10 refs were bad, but the Dukies just got jobbed. I didn’t think I would ever feel bad for Duke but it just happened. Something needs to happen with the way games are called. It changes from game to game, half to half, minute to minute, and place to place. I can’t help but to think how frustrated someone like Noah V must be when he has no idea what a foul/charge is at any given point in time. Something has to change. It ruins the game.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea, how do three refs miss Hood getting hammered going to the basket? That was the ball game.

  • ILive4IUBball

    All this floppin s%&# is for the birds. It’s ruining college basketball! I agree, there were some pretty horrible calls/non-calls, like the dunk attempt at the end.

  • Ole Man

    Wisc lost again today, at home, to OSU.

  • Scooter

    Anyone catch Coach K calling a timeout on the road with 25 seconds left? It was Dukes last time out in regulation. Funny but Coach K doesn’t worry about in bounding the ball. Coach K is worried about drawing up a play to win on the road.

  • Scooter

    Well I must say I feel a lot better about Indiana’s chances to win tomorrow because we have great spirit in practice. Hopefully alertness is at an all-time high tomorrow. And I am hoping that the team now understands momentum. Spirit, alertness and momentum comprehension are the 3 keys to winning and success.

  • Wheatster

    Can we please limit turnovers. Taking my dad to his first I.U game, hope it’s a good one!

  • srhise

    Watching the Regional Final against Kentucky right now. I forgot how good we were. Cody just got Anthony Davis his second foul.. to the bench. Elston checks in.. Playing tough man to man.

  • Snookafly

    When they have the camera on our late game huddles Crean is never shown drawing up plays, so I guess calling a timeout wouldn’t help us anyway.

  • Geometry Hoosier

    I couldn’t figure out who was worse, the refs or Vitale.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    I used to love Vitale. Still do… but it hurts me to hear him call a game now. He still has his same enthusiasm, passion, and love of the game which is infectious, but he is flat out wrong with his analysis quite often. I’ll still listen to him bc he is so passionate about what he does

  • HoosierGrampy

    Three Blind Mice = a possible explanation…

  • HoosierGrampy

    Particularly when he tried to decide whether the foul on CJ Fair was a Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 and the refs did somehow manage to get that one right–w/the help of replay.

  • John

    Hate seeing IU lose but their losses aren’t looking as bad after seeing what Northwestern has done.
    Maybe us finally beating Wisconsin has something to do with their epic collapse. It was so shocking to them that they haven’t been able to recover (tongue in cheek).
    I wonder if Wisconsin fans are calling for Bo Ryan’s head.

  • NC Hoosier

    Yea, I hate to say it, but now it’s kind of hard to say we even have one signature win. Wisconsin victory losing its luster by the week.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Michigan will play very hard in this game.
    They are looking for revenge for their loss to us at home last season.
    We will have to be at the top of our game, and then some.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Incompetence or corruption?
    I vote for corruption, I don’t buy the incompetence argument.

  • IUJeff

    That one could have went either way. The other guy flat out shoved him in the lower back towards out of bounds. That is a flagrant.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Most coaches recruit players who can shoot, as well as other players who drive and rebound, it’s a ‘team’ sport.
    But Crean has played all kinds of people at the 5, including Etherington.
    He may be teaching lessons, HMP is a better 5 than Etherington, IMO.

  • SCHoosier

    If I was a great offensive player in H.S…UM is one of the places I’d want to play. Coach B’s system is designed to get good shooters good shots. They move the ball well with BOTH the dribble..and more often.. the pass. They love the 3 ball..including in the corner..but can take it to the hole. Only IU’s great defensive effort gave the Hoosiers two wins last year. U can always hope that the Wolves have an off shooting day..but there are sooo many shooters..that’s not likely to happen. IU will have to play its best game of the year just to have a chance of winning. Go Hoosiers.

  • David Macer

    As a high school official, I never comment about other officials. I did not see the Cuse-Duke game. But all I ask is walk a mile in their shoes. They assume a position they know that nobody likes them for the get go. These guys and gals are professional in every way. Do they make mistakes ?? Of course. all of us do. Sometimes the mistakes are glaring. All I ask is you need to be willing to slip on the uni and put a whistle in your mouth. Then and only then can you comment.

  • David Macer

    Not only Bo’s but Tad as well. Fans are not always so kind when you team loses a game. But it is a game.

  • calbert40

    Yes, but we were the ones that started their skid, so we get credit for that, I think.

  • calbert40

    If you read the umhoops write-up on the game, they are still feeling stung over those two games. I thought we had a better team than them last year. This year, they obviously are the better club. Still, I expect a good game today, but I believe they will come in with a little revenge on their minds too.

  • Eastwood88_2

    B’s Teams Always Have GreaT Shooters, My Knock On Him Has Been Defense. His Teams Seem To Always Get Lost. Easy To Score On. Great Run Last Year And Give Credit, But I Don’t See Any National Titles Coming From Him. Chalk Last Year Up To Thad Choosing Craft Over Burke. Moron

  • hoosier1158

    They shouldn’t be looking for revenge. UM hits their free throws they would have won.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    True enough hoosier1158.
    But I have friends in that program, and that loss still burns their butts, mostly because it was our first victory at Chrisler Arena.

  • MillaRed

    Dakich covered the OSU/UW game I think and I have to give him credit. Said something like,”these coaches live day to day by the outcome of these games and these officials just move right along without worries. And they are getting paid.” That game was officiated terribly.

    And yes, the Duke kid got absolutely hammered on that dunk attempt. Was such a good game too.


    Don’t quote DD a lot but thought that was a really good one. I’m thinking that the refs got caught up in Christmas’ name and thought they were supposed to provide gifts to him and boy did they ever. Hear Rakeem is being strongly considered for several acting awards after his performance in that game. That missed call on Hood driving for the winning dunk has to be one of the worst no calls I’ve seen in a long time. I know they don’t like to call touch fouls and the sort at that juncture of the game but that was a really bad no call.

  • Robert J Morgan

    5 unforced to’s in the first 9 min . At least they are working the ball , and moving to get open.

  • BeatWisconsin

    Were the fans booing because Crean had all the starters out at once? Crazy. Why does Crean play 5 reserves at once?

  • BeatWisconsin

    Ok, why switch to zone when is having trouble scoring?????

  • 4TheGloryOfOldIU

    Is it any coincidence that the momentum of this game changed at the 13 minute mark when Howard, Marlin, Etherington, and Perea were all inserted at the same time? And now it has shifted back? I just don’t understand the substitution patterns. I know guys need a breather, but we don’t need a full second string team on the floor when our momentum is starting to build.

  • HoosierFan76

    Stan was the only starter in that group – it was Robinson, Howard, Marlin, Mosquera-Perea and Etherington. IU started with a 10-7 lead when those guys came in and it was a 13-10 Michigan lead just a couple minutes later when CTC got a timeout to stop the bleeding. I don’t know what the rationale was behind that lineup, but it didn’t work.

  • 4TheGloryOfOldIU

    I think that’s why they were booing…and cheered so loudly when Yogi went to the scorer’s table.

  • Robert J Morgan

    The announcers said IU is turning the ball over on 22% of their possessions. If we cut this in half we would have so manny more chances to score. At least we are passing more instead or over dribbling . How many times have we travelled even before we dribble. This is alley ball.

  • 4TheGloryOfOldIU

    Yogi…en fuego. Nice to see a couple of those offensive boards from Gordon and Perea.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    More like 3rd string

  • Tucson Hoosier

    The whole point of this board is to post comments.

  • Devout Hoosier

    Give Crean some credit. Putting Yogi on Stauskas was brilliant.

  • kwehner

    You Must Be Using A Stupid Smart Phone To Post With As All Your Words Start With A Capital Letter. Hard To Read.

  • Hardwood83

    Abso-freakin-loutely! IU played crappy the second half against Nebraska, no question, but the unbelievably bad officiating set the tone. 6 fouls in first 4 minutes? That “Charge” call against Vonleh was the worst call I’ve seen this year. Worst part, it cost IU a basket and then immediately led to a NU 4pt play….and that was the ball-game. Granted a good team can overcome that, but you shouldn’t have to overcome multiple horrendous, game altering officiating screw-ups. It’s ridiculous.

  • HoosierFan76

    Yogi’s D on Stauskas, added to his amazing offensive output, combined to make the best game by any PG in college basketball this season, IMO. Vonleh was huge, too.

  • HoosierGrampy

    HMP is no bigger turnover machine than JH…and I would hold off commenting on Max Hoetzel’s game until you see him in candy stripes. JH was supposedly a stud in high school, but he ain’t making it in Bloomington. Hoetzel may turn out to be another JH, but let’s give him a chance. I believe we’re going to be in for a pleasant surprise!

  • HoosierGrampy

    So was his decision to start Williams-Sheehey-Vonleh-Ferrell-Robinson and miraculously letting them play AS A UNIT for what,,,12 minutes? Then the substitutions began, and the lead headed South. Why he chose to put four guys on the floor who don’t even look for a shot = mind-boggling…but the young men flat outplayed UM down the stretch. Good game.

  • calbert40

    “Their defensive gameplan was terrific. I hadn’t seen anything like it since I’ve been here.” – John Beilein referencing Crean’s game plan.

    Beilein is an excellent coach. He just admitted that he wasn’t prepared for what Crean implemented. That’s pretty high praise. Tom Crean is a much better coach than he is given credit, and people who know much more about basketball than either of us agree with that sentiment.