The morning after each Indiana basketball games, we review each matchup's game-changing moments. Slightly delayed for National Signing Day activities, today's edition is simple and concise.
1. The timeout
That's it. The only game-changing moment from last night.
Michigan went on a 15-2 run after Indiana got on the board first, and led 15-4 after a defensive breakdown by Yogi Ferrell. Tom Crean, whose habit of not calling timeouts when they are needed most is low-hanging fruit for the coach's biggest haters, pulled the trigger quickly, meeting Ferrell at the three point line to scold the senior.
In the next minute and 38 seconds, Indiana went on a 10-2 run to climb back in the ballgame. Five minutes later, Colin Hartman went old man on Michigan and methodically worked his way into the lane for a layup to tie the game and Michigan never led again. Hartman's layup registered the third and fourth points of what would eventually become a 28-0 run that buried the Wolverines.
Crean's appeared to accomplish a few different things: It fired up Yogi Ferrell, who recorded two buckets and an assist on the next three possessions. It seemed to calm the nerves, as the Hoosiers, who committed five turnovers in the first five-plus minutes, only committed three in the final 14:12 of the half. And it gave Crean an opportunity to spell Troy Williams with OG Anunoby, and while it took one more benching of Williams to right the ship, the quick trigger with the human rollercoaster seemed to make a difference, as Williams was much better and looked like the Williams we saw during the first seven Big Ten contests from the under-four timeout of the first half until the end of the game.
What the timeout signifies beyond Tuesday night's game, though, is that Tom Crean is doing one hell of a job with this Indiana team. To be fair to the people who complain, it has in the past seemed like Crean was out of touch with his team, not coming to their aid with a timeout or not sitting a guy even though he can't seem to break out of a slump on his own. But that's not this Tom Crean. This Tom Crean has pushed the right buttons and pulled the right strings every night since December 3, even at the Kohl Center.
And that's why, if this team stays the course, he should be the Big Ten Coach of the Year. If he does, think back to this timeout as one of the moments that catapulted him to that honor.