Never again will I make a prediction in my game preview write-ups.
#3 Indiana (20-2, 8-1 B1G) upset #1 Michigan (20-2, 7-2 B1G) 81-73 before a sold out crowd in Bloomington on Saturday night, leaving themselves alone in first place atop the Big Ten. Trey Burke led the Wolverines with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists, while the Hoosiers were led by Cody Zeller with 19 points and 9 rebounds.
I’m pretty sure we saw this kind of game in Columbus a few weeks ago. The Wolverines dug themselves a huge hole early, which is something you just can’t afford to do on the road. Granted, they were able to get back in the game and had their chances to take the game over.
I’m going to be extremely blunt with this one. Ready? Here it goes.
OFFICIATING DID NOT COST MICHIGAN THE GAME. Let’s get that off the table right off the bat. I will concede, Indiana got some homer calls from the refs, but that is to be expected when you have a target on your back playing on the road.
I said it in the preview, the key to the game would be shutting down Cody Zeller. When you allow him to have his way, it opens up the offense for the rest of the Hoosiers. There were at least three put-back dunks that Zeller had following missed shots simply because nobody seemed interested in boxing him out. This is where Michigan missed Jordan Morgan the most. For as much praise as Zeller gets, he’s only as good as the defense against him is soft.
Also, cheap dunk towards the end or not, Victor Olidipo was fantastic tonight. He’s one of the most fun players in the conference to watch.
The key offensively for Michigan was getting everyone involved, meaning it was going to take a total team effort to get the job done. While Trey Burke scored 25, he was only 9-24 from the field. That being said, he was one of the only guys to make a significant contribution offensively tonight.
When the Wolverines are hitting on all cylinders, they are getting far more from Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III than they did tonight. Tonight they reminded us how young they still are. Stauskas simply didn’t have a good game, shooting 3-10 and 1-5 from beyond the arc. Robinson was the only player to be on the court for all 40 minutes and he was basically nonexistent. Not only did he have only two points tonight, but he looked totally disinterested out there.
The ball movement was poor tonight. When Michigan is successful offensively, they are making several passes and using much of the shot clock before kicking out to someone for an outside shot. This, in turn, opens up their post play. Give Indiana credit for the way they played defensively tonight.
There is no doubt Michigan will near the top of the Big Ten standings when the conference season ends, but tonight is evidence that there is still much work to be done, and it does not get any easier from here.
Tuesday night the Wolverines head back home to take on their biggest rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, where they will be looking to avenge their loss from a few weeks ago. What better way is there to right the ship and get some momentum back than against your biggest rival?
Hopefully they learned from their mistakes the first time around. It should be a very interesting game to watch.