You've seen this movie before.
On the heels of a Duncan Robinson three with 41 seconds to go, Kam Chatman, a career 27% three-point shooter nailed a triple as time effectively expired to send the Wolverines into the semifinals and, possibly, into the NCAA Tournament.
Zak Irvin lead all scorers for Michigan with 17 points. Troy Williams led Indiana with 16. What did we learn?
1. What happened on that final play?Did Kam Chatman travel?
Oh, yeah. He definitely shuffled his feet. Here he is at catch position:
And first the left foot moves and slides in, establishing the right as the pivot.
And then the right foot swings forward as Chatman squares for the shot on Zeisloft -- though it's hard to see with the obstruction of Zeisloft's head.
Okay, it was a travel. But two things here: One, you can't expect to get that call in that situation. Ever. Two, it's worth noting how this play develops. Jay Bilas blasted Nick Zeisloft for being out of position on a corner three point shooter, but in reality, he had no choice but to be -- because Max Bielfeldt fell down on the play. Zeisloft shades over on the drive because Bielfeldt isn't there to hedge, causing enough hesitation in Walton's open lane to the basket to make him pass off to a career 27% three point shooter in Chatman. It's not a wide-open shot. He shuffles his feet slightly on the catch, Zeisloft contests, the shot goes in. It was a series of nearly fluke-like events for Indiana -- not a defensive breakdown. It happens, because, of course, this is March.
So, in sum, yeah, he probably traveled. But there were plenty of other things that shouldn't normally happen on that play for Indiana fans to be upset about.
2. Indiana desperately needs to get fully healthy before next weekend.
I'm not going to sit here and say "it was good for Indiana to lose this game." That would be untrue. My birthday is this weekend, and my plans included a good deal of libations downtown around a possible Indiana-Purdue matchup. That would've been incredibly fun, and a win there could've put Indiana nearing the two line. That, now, will not be happening.
But today, Indiana looked like a team that really missed Robert Johnson. Harrison Niego, who's filled in admirably in the rotation since Johnson's injury in the Purdue game on February 20, looked today like what he is -- a freshman walk-on. On top of that, the Hoosiers got little from Nick Zeisloft (6 points on 2-5 shooting) and nothing from Collin Hartman, who seemed to play through a shoulder or arm injury in the second half. Juwan Morgan played only 6 minutes after dealing with shoulder issues the past two weeks. Add to all that, Tom Crean's mentioned in press conferences that Indiana's been dealing with a flu-like illness running through the team for the past couple weeks.
The game was a disappointing loss. It costs the Hoosiers a chance at a possible top-8 seed come Sunday, and many Hoosier fans an exciting Saturday in a possible matchup with Purdue.
The upshot is a full week's rest nearly before their next game -- which will be significantly more important than this one. Remember: Indiana hadn't lost a basketball game in a month. If there is a such thing as a timely, heartbreaking loss, it might be this one.
3. Chill out. Indiana's seeding situation is not going to change much because of this loss. Period.
If you haven't looked at a bracketology projection or don't exactly understand the arduous site and seeding selection process super well, it's totally understandable to freak out about the fact that Indiana might plummet because of Kam Chatman's buzzer beater. Here's the thing.
They probably won't -- unless some other teams win multiple conference tourney games.
If you assume Indiana is the last 3 seed in Joe Lunardi's latest bracket, here are the other eight seeds directly on their tail:
4 seeds: Kentucky, Purdue, Texas A&M, Duke
5 seeds: Arizona, Maryland, Iowa State, Cal
The only Top-40 KenPom wins Kentucky or Texas A&M can pick up the rest of the way are over each other. Purdue's only chance at one would be in the Big Ten Tournament final against Michigan State or Maryland. Maryland would need to beat Michigan State and then hop two seed lines, including over a team they just lost to by 18. Arizona and Cal might have the best shot to do it, but both have Oregon and Utah standing in the way of a conference title. Iowa State and Duke have already lost.
See what I'm saying here? It's totally possible that Indiana wasn't even on the 3-line in the eyes of the committee before today, and they undoubtedly lost an opportunity to solidify things. But this loss doesn't mean they'll fall off such a line -- and it would likely take a lot to knock the Hoosiers all the way down to a 5-seed. Oh, and as for site selection? As long as the Hoosiers stay on the top 4 lines and stay ahead of Kentucky and Purdue, they'll likely be headed for Des Moines. No other team that is regionally protected would be placed in such a locale.
In other words: root heavily for Michigan State, the Pac-12 favorites, and the rest of the SEC tournament field. If those three things happen, Indiana likely stays on the 3-line -- if Lunardi is correct and they were already there to start the day.