Welp, that went about as expected.
No. 3 Michigan came into Assembly Hall and breezed through a 73-57 win over Indiana on Saturday. There’s not much to say here, so we’ll be brief.
Here are Three Things:
Michigan is really good. Saturday was yet another reminder that Indiana isn’t close to that level.
OK, so IU wasn’t awful here, which feels notable after Wednesday’s debacle in New Jersey. The Hoosiers played hard and had a couple good moments (yay multiple Khristian Lander 2-point field goals!), but quickly found themselves overmatched by maybe the best team in the country. So it goes.
Beyond Michigan being an exceptional team, Indiana just wasn’t sharp — and the Hoosiers had to be sharp to have a shot in this one. It wasn’t turnovers, it was just a lot of little things that added up to become crippling things for a middling college basketball team. Take, for instance, a telling sequence midway through the second half:
After a ridiculous turnover by Trey Galloway, the Wolverines took the ball the other way, slowed down, set up their offense, and eventually let Austin Davis work in the low post. As the shot clock approached its expiration, Davis missed a look through traffic, but was able to rebound the ball because IU literally just stopped playing. Michigan worked the ball around the outside and found an open look for Franz Wagner. Although Wagner missed, the Wolverines retained possession thanks to another O-board by Davis. Once again, Michigan worked the ball around and found Chaundee Brown open in the corner. Brown’s shot also missed, but Isaiah Livers swooped in for an emphatic put-back slam that put the Wolverines up by 17 points with 11:22 to go.
It was that kind of day for Indiana, which lost its 10th league game in 17 tries and sealed the program’s fifth consecutive non-winning conference season.
Finishing at the rim
Indiana missed 15 shots at the rim on Saturday, some of which were well defended, some of which were … well … not defended at all.
Part of the problem was Trayce Jackson-Davis losing his matchup against Hunter Dickinson. Jackson-Davis started the day going 1-for-8 from the field before ending up with three baskets in 12 attempts, supplying further evidence of his struggles against players with more traditional, physical approaches to post play.
Jackson-Davis had a tough day, but he wasn’t solely to blame for the issues up close. You might recall some open looks that were botched by Indiana’s guards, as well. As a team, IU just doesn’t finish very well, often looking like a group that is content with merely drawing contact rather than forcefully putting the ball where it needs to go. It’s been a season-long point of frustration with this team, and yet another detail that the Hoosiers couldn’t master on an afternoon where they needed to be clean.
Free throw discrepancy
By the end of the first half, Michigan was 16-for-18 at the line. Indiana, meanwhile, was 5-for-8. It was an annoying discrepancy for the Hoosiers, who had one more field goal than the Wolverines at the intermission and yet found themselves trailing by nine.
The free throws evened out across the second half, with Michigan shooting just one more and Indiana going 7-for-8 at the stripe over the final 20 minutes. But the early opportunities provided all the runway Michigan needed to create separation and do what it typically does to lesser opponents.