I wasn't sure how IU would respond to Maurice Creek's devastating injury, and according to the announcers, the Hoosiers were mentally down in practice. Still, they hung in when Michigan shot well early, didn't fold after they gave up the lead late in the second half, and played pretty well. And hey, 1-0 in the Big Ten! I don't have time for a full review today, but that will come later, probably tomorrow or Saturday. A few random thoughts:
- Here are the stats.
- Awesome performance by Jordan Hulls. If he can stand in as a freshman and make free throws like that, how tough is this guy going to be as a junior or senior?
- Verdell Jones was everywhere: the line, the boards, five assists, etc.
- I know Michigan isn't exactly Illinois or Purdue when it comes to pressure defense, but IU had only one turnover in the second half. One!
I'm not sure this necessarily a sign that IU will win more Big Ten games than expected. Michigan's style of play really isn't a physical Big Ten style, and I think Watford is going to get pushed around as the season progresses. Still, Dumes, Jones, and Hulls all picked up the slack in Maurice Creek's absence. In terms of ultimate progress, IU now has eclipsed last year's win total, matched last year's Big Ten win total, and doubled last year's win total against major conference teams. It's not where we want to be, but it is progress.