Game 21: Michigan at Indiana Recap

Dylan Burkhardt
Indiana 63, Michigan 52 - 18

Indiana 63, Michigan 52. Photo Gallery. Beilein presser. Player presser. Box score.

Sooner or later, every team plays a game like this. The shots don’t fall, the mistakes pile up and the breaks go the wrong way. Great teams can escape with a victory from time to time, but not at Assembly Hall and not when Yogi Ferrell knocks down seven threes.

Michigan’s 10 game winning streak was so impressive because the Wolverines avoided a performance like just like this. Michigan’s offense cruised along with relentless efficiency and it made timely plays down the stretch against Stanford, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Not in Bloomington.

Early turnovers, poor shooting, missed free throws, blown box outs and a career night for Yogi Ferrell doomed Michigan as Indiana handed the Wolverines their first conference loss of the season.

Nik Stauskas played his worst game since an early December trip to Durham, making just one field goal. Glenn Robinson III struggled and Caris LeVert was left to pick up the pieces and couldn’t do it for 40 minutes.

In the first half dreadful offense cost the Wolverines. Michigan made just two baskets in half-court offensive sets (one on a putback) and turned the ball over on 30% of its offensive possessions. While the offense improved in the second, Michigan’s defensive woes reared their ugly head as a steady first half defensive rebounding performance deteriorated and Yogi Ferrell kept raining threes.


Michigan’s offensive performance was very poor and Indiana’s defensive approach was unique. The Hoosiers went small on Stauskas (Ferrell) and Morgan (Sheehey) and went big on Robinson (Vonleh). Ferrell had the quickness to deny Stauskas, Vonleh had the length to bother Robinson and Morgan wasn’t a threat if Stauskas couldn’t touch the ball.

The Hoosiers didn’t quite play a box-and-one, but their no-catch defense on Stauskas was evident from the jump. Conventional wisdom is that you beat a box-and-one by playing a four-on-four game with no help – that didn’t work as Indiana’s length at the other spots caused Michigan some problems.

While the Wolverines shored up their early turnover woes, those empty possessions were an early gut punch. At the end of the day, Michigan just couldn’t find its typical offensive flow or any jump shooting rhythm – shooting just 47% on twos and 23% on threes. Late free throw shooting doomed any hope of a comeback as Michigan missed 5-of-10 second half free throws including two front-ends of 1-and-1s.

Defensively, Michigan really battled in the first half. The Wolverines held Indiana to .95 points per trip in the first half and controlled the defensive glass. Yogi Ferrell hit threes, but his teammates got very little going offensively. Ferrell hit more threes in the second half, but he got help. Indiana was 13-of-20 from the field in the final 20 minutes and managed to grab five offensive rebounds en route to 1.34 points per possession of scoring output.

The Hoosiers got to the line 15 times in the second half after failing to attempt a free throw in the first and Michigan just couldn’t get enough stops to put together a run. Indiana slowed the game down a lot – a smart move given its transition inefficiency – and was able to make Michigan pay with a number of late shot-clock baskets and free throws.

Michigan wasn’t going to make it through the Big Ten undefeated and a win at Assembly Hall is always a tall task. The loss is disappointing because so much of the execution and offensive precision that carried Michigan for the last month was painfully absent, but there are nine Big Ten games to play. The Wolverines have to regroup quickly to host a Nebraska team that’s surging before a road trip to face an Iowa Hawkeye team itching to get back into the Big Ten race.

Indiana 63, Michigan 52 - 4

Player Bullets

  • Derrick Walton: Walton led Michigan with 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting (including 8 free throws), but he had some bad turnovers after leaving his feet when driving the lane. Driving against Noah Vonleh will tend to do that to a 6-foot guard, but it’s something to work on going forward. Walton’s improving jump shot will be a huge asset for this team going forward.
  • Caris LeVert: Teams are going to game plan Michigan to make LeVert beat them. He did it against Purdue, but he really struggled in the first half. LeVert bounced back to start the second half (10 points on 4-of-8 shooting with 3 assists), but he missed a couple critical shots late. Caris walks the fine line of being great at attacking the basket and having the tendency to over dribble himself into trouble.
  • Nik Stauskas: I’m not sure that Indiana found some sort of magical defense to play against Nik, but it was eerily similar to Duke’s approach and the results were similar. The few times Stauskas got a screen (or hand off) he was very effective and I would have liked to see Michigan go more with the dribble handoff because Stauskas was finding the rolling big very easy. Stauskas missed a few shots right over Ferrell that he is more than capable of making and that threw off his confidence a bit as well. Stauskas played 12 straight great offensive games after that Duke loss, if he can rattle off 12 more in a row Michigan will be just fine.
  • Glenn Robinson III: This is what Robinson looks like without confidence. We saw the same thing earlier in the year and when he’s not locked in he struggles to do simple things on the floor. He was stripped multiple times driving, bobbled an alley-oop and took a number of questionable pull-up jumpers early in the shot clock. He had a great offensive rebound in the first half, but only grabbed two defensive boards on the game.
  • Zak Irvin: Irvin steps on the floor and starts shooting. He gave Michigan 7 points on 3-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes. He takes some off-balance heat checks, but when Michigan needs a boost offensively, he’s a nice weapon. On the downside, he continued his trend of struggling to close out on shoots and gave up a three to Ferrell (he wasn’t the only one) where he didn’t get his hand in his face.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan grabbed nine rebounds in the first half and just one in the second (0 defensive). He was very active on the offensive glass to open the game, but he either tired (he played 31 minutes to Horford’s 8) or lost his edge late as Indiana won over the battle for the boards. Morgan did a great job defending ball screens for the most part and I thought Michigan’s defense was much better with him on the floor. The free throw misses were crushing, especially because he’s been fairly solid at the line over the last few weeks.
  • Jon Horford: Horford was just 0-for-1 from the floor with a turnover and two fouls in eight minutes. He didn’t grab a rebound and gave up inside position to Vonleh a couple times.
  • Spike Albrecht: Ferrell is probably as difficult of a cover as there is for Albrecht and he was limited to 11 minutes. However, he did a great job of jumpstarting the offense in the first half by forcing the tempo and getting some easy transition opportunities.
  • P-nickel

    GRIII & Stauskas stay in school, you are not ready for the next level. Do not listen to these so called draft experts.

    • kam

      Honestly I’m a big fan of Nik, but if he cant get by yogi he’s prolly going to struggle getting by most good defenders in the NBA.. Because they’re just as quick and taller and stronger.. BUT i think Nik will leave unless he drops wayyy down

    • guestavo

      Nik won’t be the focal point of an NBA defense.

    • mazs

      By all means, don’t listen to genuine draft experts– instead listen to random internet postings. And you can’t seriously think they are basing any decisions on what Chad Ford or the like have to say.

  • Dr_ZC

    It appears that Mitch will come back for his junior year, and that his close friend Glenn is trying hard to stay for his junior year as well. I love Nik to death, but games like these give me hope that he is trying to stay for his junior year, as well.

  • kam

    Its clear they’re trying to make caris beat them at times. Which he can sometimes but it would be a huge help if Glenn played like he was hyped to play… People say not motivated.. I honestly just think he isn’t able to.. I mean who wouldnt be motivated to help your team, get drafted, make millions and play the sport u love? I just don’t think he’s much more than an elite athlete. He’s got a very nice looking jumper but it rarely goes in. Caris makes some dumb makes but i like that he’s always aggressive and seems to play hard. He needs to learn to get in the paint and find the right man if he doesn’t have the shot.. But he has time to learn that. Nik will learn from this that if he wants to score its not gonna be so easy.. He’s considered a star and teams will defend him like one. walton had a solid game offensively but struggled on D. JB once said PG defense if very hard for freshman. Many things to learn from this game.. Lets regroup and get the next one!

    • Dr_ZC

      We knew what Indiana was capable of. We knew Yogi was their star. You stop him, you stop them. Same as us. You stop Stauskas, you stop… Wait a moment… I thought we had more scoring options, and more players to even put the clamp on Yogi. We just let yogi loose, and we did not execute on offense. As simple as that.

      • kam

        its really not. He made tough shots… The part about other scoring option, sure. But do think Yogi will make 7-7 3’s? no

        • Dr_ZC

          Does not matter what I think. It only matters what JB thinks, which is “He’s running the team, he’s making big shots, he’s a go-to guy for them. He got a lot of minutes from us with USA Basketball. I think that helped as well. He’s really been impressive in all these games.”

          So, knowing that, do you challenge a good player to beat you hoping he will not make 7-7 3’s coach?

    • Mattski

      But you know that Glenn was more reliable from outside last year, right? And if he hits from there, then he has more working room to drive. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s hitting them in practice, trying to establish the shot, possibly with Beilein’s encouragement. As with Hardaway and some of his slumps, it’s a little more complicated then just dogging him when he misses–he’s open when he shoots. But I know that you know this, kam.

      • ChathaM

        Building on that, it’s important to realize that these guys who play at this level make everything in practice. It’s no different than any other sport. Guys go through slumps, and right now, Glenn is in the middle of a pretty big shooting slump. But, I’ll bet he’s hitting everything in practice.

  • MikeInOH

    Would like to see some more of spike and Walton together when the offense needs a jump start. Might be tough though….spike would have to guard the 2 or yogi. JB knows he’ll see this type of d all year. He’ll find answers (and players need to make plays)

  • guestavo

    I’m interested in seeing the defensive scoresheet.

    • kam

      do u think glenn should stay or leave

      • guestavo

        If people are going to throw him money then he should but he needs another year of skill development imo. His summer should be spent doing ballhandling drills from dusk til dawn.

        • Mattski

          I’m bummed that his outside shot has gone missing on him.

  • Mattski

    I thought they played almost too patiently in this one; would have liked a little more urgency down the stretch. Also don’t think the 1-3-1 often buys them much against these days; maybe a full court press?

    I think Dylan’s spot-on that this happens to lots of teams, that avoiding letdowns like this was the most remarkable feature of the streak. It’s how they respond that may prove the true test.

    • guestavo

      I don’t think Beilein is using 1-3-1 thinking it’s super effective at this point, but I’m thinking he hopes it will be by tournament time. Same thing with Caris bringing the ball up against pressure against Purdue.

  • guestavo

    Having time to cool off, I think going 4-4 was a good decision. We will see this again and I expect someone to step up to play come tournament time. If Caris can get an in-between game then he could fill that role. Glenn has the capability i.e. Stanford and Arizona but he is in a funk. Not sure Walton can get into the lane and create…

  • Wayman Britt

    Well UM was not going to win them all, sometimes things just don’t jell.

    I know it was not all GR3’s fault, but what NBA GM would waste a pick on him to come out early? It’s true the NBA likes players who can jump high, but nobody makes it in the NBA if they are timid, non assertive, cannot shoot and have few offensive moves. He is so frustrating to watch sometimes.

    • Chris De Sana

      I agree in large part but we have to consider that he is really still playing out of position at the 4 spot. Are we putting him in a position to be successful based on his skill set? Probably not.

  • Chris De Sana

    Such a frustrating game to watch, Michigan refused to change things up. Both Yogi and Gordon are 6ft max and they were only taken down on the block once by Nik and he missed an easy bunny. Basketball is a game of match ups and we let Indiana dictate them in this game. Coach needs to watch some tape on how Davidson got Curry the ball when everyone in the building knew he was the only threat, because sitting in the corner being denied the ball will rarely deliver best results.

    • cr

      it may have been easier when Davidson was playing Elon (rather than Indiana or Duke). Of course, Steph is a 1st team western conference all star, so is that really a fair comparison? Pray tell, coach de sana.

      • Chris De Sana

        Well lets use your Duke example, Steph got off 22 shots against them making 10 along with getting 9 free throws. Keeping in mind the fact that Curry was the only weapon Davidson had and Michigan does have far more and far better 2,3 & 4th options getting the ball to Nik should be easier if Michigan was more creative.

        Another example on what they should do to get Nik the ball is Reggie Miller, he was non stop motion coming of a series of picks in order to get the ball in his hands.

        The point is having your best player both scorer and play maker standing in the corner rarely touching the ball ended up being a losing strategy.

  • ChathaM

    Not a good weekend for top 10 level teams, with Arizona, Kansas, MSU, Ok. State and UM all falling. It’s frustrating to watch, but Dylan’s right; sooner or later, every team has a game like this. I’m not excusing the loss, but this is how college basketball works. I think we all recognized that UM was due for a stinker, and this was clearly a stinker. IU really isn’t very good, but they caught us on the right day, and Yogi happened to shoot lights-out. Even on an individual level, looking around the country, Marcus Smart, Sam Dekker, and Andrew Wiggins all had rough days. So did Nik, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t ready for the NBA, etc. It’s not that simple, and these days happen.

    I was surprised that we didn’t see much of the set where Robinson rubs off a screen on the wing to post on the opposite block. It’s run with players other than Glenn as well, and to run it for someone being guarded by one of the smaller IU players may have been effective. Just a thought.

    I do like the sprinkling in of zone, especially against teams that can penetrate with the dribble. As the players get more and more comfortable with the zone looks, we’ll be better suited to use it as matchups dictate moving forward. Of course it’s important that the zone looks “work” now, but it’s far more important that those zone looks can be comfortably used 4-5-6 weeks from now. The coaching staff is enabling progress, and I love it.

    • Champswest

      By my count, this is two bad games in a row. I thought the Purdue game let down would get out attention, but it didn’t.

      • Maybe they didn’t win by 30, but the Purdue game was pretty crisp overall — great shooting game.

  • nexttimedown

    I Felt like this game was where Michigan would come back down to earth, but we still could have won this game despite playing so poorly. I was expecting Beilin

  • nexttimedown

    I was expecting JB to make some adjustments at the half to how IU was defending Nik, but did not see it. I do not understand why they would not have tried to feed Nik the ball down in the post a few times given his height advantage on YF. My other observations were that Nik look fatigued, Walton still has a long way to go, and that our offense completely goes stale when Nik leaves the game for a breather. When Nik goes out, GR3 needs to become to become more assertive and take the ball to the rim. Glenn goes long stretches where he just disappears. He settles for jump shots far too often.

    • Chris De Sana

      Ditto to your 2 biggest points, have to find a way to get Nik the ball and GR3 has to be more active.

  • A2JD

    I had a bad feeling about this game so I’m not too stunned.

    One thing I do wonder about is: Why is Tom Crean allowed to get 4 or 5 feet out on the court while the ball is in play? He does it repeatedly and never gets T’ed up. There was a point when he was out there and called for Vonlay (sp?) to check into the game. Vonlay runs around the front of him so IU has 6 men on the court.
    In no way to I think that this cost Michigan the game. It’s just a source of annoyance for me that the refs let him do as he pleases.

    • Mattski

      He learned from the master. He needs to get some orthopedic tennies like Tom’s, though, so he can do it in real style.