Michigan won its first road game of the season with a 75-63 victory in Bloomington. The loss dropped Indiana to 15-11 overall and 5-8 in the extremely weak Big Ten, meaning the Hoosiers will likely have to win the Big Ten Tournament if they hope to get a tournament bid.
Indiana’s defense took too long to get locked in
Against a team as talented as Michigan, the Hoosier defense needed to play extremely well from the start. That didn’t happen. Even this late in the season, Indiana still struggled with basic concepts, such as how to rotate on the perimeter and when to double intelligently. Indiana gave Michigan wide open look after wide open look, allowing the Wolverines to shoot 6/10 from behind the arc in the first half. That early hole proved too deep for Indiana to climb out of.
In arguably the most important game in IU’s season, its guards didn’t show up
Both James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson didn’t score until the second half, and Johnson didn’t even take a shot in the first 20 minutes. While Blackmon is surely not at 100 percent, the Hoosiers could have used a lot more than a combined 4-14, 11 point, five turnover effort from its two leading scorers.
Defensively, the effort wasn’t much better. Derrick Walton Jr. won the head-to-head matchup with Josh Newkirk handily by dropping 25 points on the Hoosiers.
De’Ron Davis is a reason for optimism
Despite all the struggles that Indiana has had this season—both with injuries and on-court performance—the production of freshman De’Ron Davis has been fantastic. The best post scorer on the Hoosiers dominated Michigan’s inferior big men with a 13 point performance off the bench. With his skill set, it’s not difficult to envision Davis developing into an All-Big Ten performer.