Indiana’s first made three-pointer came with 13 minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the game.
“We’ve led the BCS in the last five years in 3-point field goal percentage,” said Coach Tom Crean. “It doesn’t look like that right now.”
After a tight loss to rival Purdue, Indiana was left with the perfect opportunity to respond with a victory over another conference opponent in Michigan. With tournament hopes in the balance, and the 78th best RPI ranking in the country, Indiana entered today’s matchup with plenty of reasons to play with intensity from the very beginning.
Just because you have a reason, doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Indiana never had the lead today, and with 11 points from Robert Johnson and James Blackmon Jr., IU lost to Michigan 75 to 63.
Indiana struggled from beyond the arc in a similar fashion to their struggles against Purdue, as the team shot 4 for 19 from three.
“I have to watch the film,” said Crean. “But bottom line is we’re not making enough shots to win. We’re not making enough jump shots. We didn’t make enough jump shots the other night.”
Indiana was unable to gain control of this game at any point thanks to 20 points off turnovers. When looking at those turnovers, Coach Crean pointed to an inability to create offense.
“And so all of a sudden we get it in and we stand like we’ve never played basketball before rather than cut, space, fill, go cut, fill in behind it, get a crown on the backside,” said Crean.
To start the game, IU opened with a clear goal of establishing the post to set up kick outs.
“We try to take inside-out threes and whether it’s feeding the post and getting it kicked out because we have a bunch of bigs that like to pass the ball, or if you drive and kick, guard shots in the lane and kick out.”
With Thomas Bryant and De’Ron Davis working the post, Indiana tried to allow their inside game to set up their outside, but that simply didn’t work.
Indiana was held to 0 for 6 at half from beyond the arc and both Robert Johnson and James Blackmon Jr. were held scoreless.
“I just think a lot of it is not being prepared to shoot before you get the ball,” said IU guard Robert Johnson. “A lot of it is not hitting guys on time and on target with passes. And I think it just comes from confidence as well within the game.”
To counter, Michigan found themselves in the opposite situation. Michigan shot 6 for 10 from beyond the arc in the first half and Tom Crean was well aware of that after the game.
“End of the day our ball screens were not nearly what they needed to be and we didn’t put enough pressure on the shooters,” said Crean.
Coach Crean wasn’t done there, as he continued to discuss the team’s defensive effort.
“It’s just absolute remedial nonsense,” said Crean.
Indiana went into the locker room down 35 to 25, and although the team made some clear adjustments, they never got within six points after that.
In the 2nd half, IU improved their perimeter defense, but still struggled to establish themselves offensively.
The Hoosiers held Michigan to only two three-pointers in the 2nd half, but still couldn’t find the shooting stroke as they ended the game shooting 21.1% from beyond the arc.
One individual that didn’t show up too often in the box score was Thomas Bryant. Bryant found himself in various double teams, but Coach Crean said there was more to it.
“It’s a 19-year-old guy trying to find his own game and trying to lead a group of guys that really he should be getting a little more help and I’ve got to give him more help, obviously,” said Crean.
The Hoosiers ended the game just as they started. Still without a pivotal resume building conference win. After losing to Michigan 75 to 63, Indiana will be going on the road to try and find one.