Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Michigan

  • 03/09/2014 2:15 pm in

Indiana wrapped up the regular season on Saturday night with an 84-80 loss to No. 12 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. The Hoosiers are 17-14 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten and will play in the 8-9 game on Thursday at noon in the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Wolverines:

· An offensive showcase: Michigan finished with 1.28 points per possession in the win and Indiana finished at 1.22, its best offensive output this season in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers also posted an effective field goal percentage of 66.3, its highest mark in a Big Ten game, but it wasn’t enough as Michigan made a few more plays down the stretch to hold off a late rally.

So why was Indiana so good offensively? Balance.

The Hoosiers had four players in double figures and a fourth, Devin Davis, had nine points. Will Sheehey set the pace with 17 points, with Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell adding in 16 points each. While Indiana can usually count on a solid performance from Ferrell, he hasn’t gotten help consistently this season which is why the Hoosiers have been so hit and miss offensively. On Saturday, IU shared the ball (17 assists) and got dribble penetration consistently, which is a big reason they were able to score 80 points.

· This game had a different feel than IU’s other road losses: Indiana went to Ann Arbor as a decided underdog and just as it looked like the Wolverines would pull away late, the Hoosiers reversed course on some of its previous Big Ten road efforts and made a game of it late.

In fact, Michigan needed a 3-pointer from one of its worst shooters, Glenn Robinson III, in order to stave off an IU rally that tied the game at 75 with 1:25 to play. Rather than Indiana folding late, it was Michigan that was just trying to hold on down the stretch.

“Even when we got down there was no fear and our guys have great confidence that they would be able to come back and be able to get baskets,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “We just had to get stops and unfortunately we got one or two less than we needed.”

· Defense, turnovers prove costly: On the flip side of Indiana’s offensive performance, its defense against the Big Ten’s best offense was an uphill battle.

Unlike the first game in Bloomington where IU was able to turn Michigan over and force them into uncomfortable looks for most of the afternoon, the Wolverines were able to find driving angles for easy baskets at the rim and also limit their turnovers (9.2 turnover percentage). Michigan’s 1.28 points per possession were a Big Ten high against Indiana’s defense and the Wolverines also had a free throw rate of 51.8, the third highest mark against Indiana in conference play this season.

Indiana only turned it over three times in the first half, but 12 second half turnovers were too much to overcome despite the late run to close the game.

· Freshmen continue to improve: Ten of IU’s 15 turnovers on Saturday came from Ferrell, Sheehey and Evan Gordon, which is a sign of progress from Stanford Robinson, Williams, Noah Vonleh and Devin Davis, who combined for just five in 102 minutes.

The play of Davis (nine points, six rebounds) and Williams (16 points, two rebounds) in particular has been impressive over the last two games and a sign that IU’s young players are beginning to figure out what it takes to be effective in the Big Ten.

“You look at the other teams that are playing any type of young people that are freshmen, and sometimes even sophomores but especially freshmen, it is inconsistency,” Crean said. “You want to have a consistent team because you can’t win without it, but at the same time you’ve got to go through the growing pains of getting it.”

· The Big Ten tournament will have plenty of intrigue: After a Big Ten regular season that had plenty of surprises and upsets, the conference tournament should take center stage of the college basketball landscape beginning on Thursday. Indiana’s opponent, which is dependent on the outcome later today of Penn State vs. Minnesota, will be either Illinois or the Golden Gophers, with the winner moving on to face top seeded Michigan.

But a look around the rest of the conference provides plenty of other storylines to follow. Among them:

— Can Minnesota and Nebraska’s make the conference a seven bid league?
— Can Michigan State, the league’s preseason favorite, get on a roll heading into the NCAA tournament?
— Can Iowa rebound from a disastrous finish to the regular season?
— Can a sleeper team make it to Saturday or even Sunday with a chance to steal a tournament bid?

Filed to:

  • Gregory Spera

    “Can a sleeper team make it to Saturday or even Sunday with a chance to steal a tournament bid?”

    Yes. Yes, we can.

  • SCHoosier

    All that is fair enuff..but the 6th takeaway is ” IU still can’t guard the three point shot when its critical “and the 7th :”Indiana is the best bet to beat Indiana.” Anybody know why Hanner has been put in the deep freeze? Yes..Devin played well..but Morgan (who did nothing in B-town) had a double-double..mostly against our shorter line-up. Go figure. IU fought and then gave it away with TO’s that/s what so hard to take

  • Brklynhoosier

    We can. We can also flame out in the 1st round. The only constant has been this team’s maddening inconsistency.

  • Gregory Spera

    Very true.

  • Southport65

    But who gave it away our 2 seniors and our point guard. The freshman are playing better Troy,DD and Stan along with Noah if he stays will make a good lineup with some Freshman sharp shooters and Yogi next year. The freshman have made progress the last 4 or 5 games.

  • BMusic

    Got nothing but pride for these guys. Those who call the game, the season or any particular player a “disappointment” clearly had unrealistic expectations, that’s all.

    My advice: cheer for your team instead of trying to gauge how well you think they’ll do; leave the expectations to the coaches and staff who know them personally and watch them in practice every day.

  • HoosierHysteria5

    Great post!

  • HoosierHysteria5

    Ok, so question. Last year, there was a lot of hype about this year’s freshmen and what they were going to bring to IU. I realize we lost a lot in those who graduated or went pro last year. What is being seen differently in next year’s freshmen that is making fans believe that next year we’ll be back near the top, or at the top? Is it the combination of this year’s class and next year’s?

  • SCHoosier

    Depends on how you define “the top.” IU is not an elite program..the kids coming in next year will improve it..but there’s a lot of work to do and positions to fill on a consistent year in and out basis before IU is again considered “elite.” What the recruits next year bring is outside offense..pure and a back up for Yogi at point. However, if NV leaves which is likely…the lack of a good post player (unless TC turns one up)…will be a major setback.

  • Jonny McClain

    this sounds crazy to say but the only team i do not want to see in the b10 tourney is Nebraska – this team looks like the best in the conference of late. call me crazy but i am sticking to that. Let’s beat Illinois / redemption against Michigan / hope buckeyes can take out Nebraska and roll the dice sunday and see what happens. i realize we could be done on Thursday but we could easily be playing sunday… can’t wait – one last grasp for our chance to go dancing! get your tickets hoosier fans – $20 for uppers on stubhub for thursday

  • b_side

    I mentioned this in the forum earlier, but I don’t see Vonleh’s absence as being a major setback from this season. We’ll still be a improved team year over year by the simple fact of gaining experience and the presence of JBJ/RJ.

    Two games stand out which make me feel like we’ll still be tournament team: UCONN and OSU. With Vonleh, perhaps we have a shot being Top 10-15 as opposed to fringe Top 25 (obviously we won’t be ranked pre-season w/o Vonleh which to me is a good thing in terms of expectations).

  • inLinE6

    Great seeding for the b1g tourney. We should be no problem handling Illini, and we haven’t lost to Michigan twice straight for a long time. So we’re good until semi-final I guess.

  • Brian Goodman

    Assuming we get past Ilinois (which isn’t at all a given), I’m really looking forward to getting Michigan again. I think we can take them on a neutral court with a fully healthy Noah

  • KSHoosier

    Expecting a lot of improvement on outside shooting from the returning class. That combined with great length and two freshmen who can already shoot will hopefully make this a good defensive team that can score at will from the outside and open driving lanes. Can’t wait to see Troy operate in that offense!

  • Ole Man

    Whoa! IL is always a tough out for IU.

  • Outoftheloop

    I totally reject the attitude that “the freshmen are finally understanding” what it takes to play in the B1G. It is all about the minutes that the coach gives them on the floor! Since February every time Devin, Troy, Stan, and Hanner (yes I know that he is a Sophomore) got 15 minutes or more to play in a game, each has showed that he belongs and deserves the minutes. In many of IU’s losses, you look back and say “if only we could have stopped the second chance points, the opponent’s dominance in the paint, gotten that key stop…etc. But not once in 31 games did Coach Crean even try Hanner WITH Noah on the floor together. Yes, TO’s were the cause of most of Indiana’s demise this season, but it could not have been worse with two Bigs playing together some of the time!

  • Outoftheloop

    Four wins in four days against great competition requires a team to TOTALLY come together AND have real talent! IU has the latter.

  • Outoftheloop

    AND the current Sophomore class, including Peter Jurkin, playing as they were projected to play when they were recruited!

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong! If Noah returns, Indiana is back to the Sweet Sixteen next season! That would be 3 out of 4 Sweet Sixteens, and that IS elite in anyone’s book!

  • William Hagenmaier

    all other team has to do is play a zone Iu is dead in the water