there is nothing you can do to prevent me from using this picture [Bryan Fuller]

Hoops Preview: 2018-19 Indiana #2 Comment Count

Brian January 25th, 2019 at 12:23 PM


WHAT #6 Michigan (18-1) vs
#38 Indiana(12-7)
WHERE Assembly Hall
Bloomington, Indiana
WHEN 6:30 PM
LINE Michigan –3 (Kenpom)


The long and beautiful Summer of Basketball has hit a wintry, icy bump in the road. (This metaphor brought to you by The Weather™.) Michigan's 18-1 but suddenly wondering if they're, you know, really 18-1 or just kind of 18-1 after consecutive dismal offensive performances. One of those was a win because Michigan's defense brings its Ben Wallace afro every game, but when you're relying on a buzzer-beater to take out Minnesota at home you get simultaneously relieved and worried.

Michigan now travels to one of the most ominous arenas in sports, the Any Big Ten Road Game Center. In this particular ABTRGC the Indiana Hoosiers await. Said Hoosiers are flailing, having lost five straight. This will be an opportunity to get right, or another face-clencher.


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Click for big.

Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 13 Rob Phinisee Fr. 6'1, 182 80* 17 104 No
Composite #136 FR missed first game w/ injury. Low usage NJAS hitting 42/41 with A rate (19.7) near identical to TO rate (19.4). Going to get huge minutes w/ Green out.
G 2 Aljami Durham So. 6'4, 181 59 16 106 No
Another NJAS hitting 52/40. Another 19 TO rate as well.
G 44 Romeo Langford Fr. 6'6, 215 82 27 109 Yes
#7 composite FR has cooled off from two but is still at 60% while creating almost all those shots. Has added a few % from three... and is now at 22%. Giant FT rate.
F 11 Justin Smith So. 6'7 227 64 20 97 Yes
Is Brent Petway in disguise.
C 24 Juwan Morgan Sr. 6'7, 232 75 25 120 No
Has lost 8 percentage points on twos since last matchup, still at 67%, but B10 has been much tougher. Hitting 56% on big usage. ORTG in league play barely over 100.
C 21 Evan Fitzner Sr. 6'10, 225 32 15 108 No
St. Mary's grad transfer can't find minutes because he's a shooter who's  3/18 from floor in B10 play.
C 5 Clifton Moore So. 6'10 230 7 20 100 Yes
7/11 from the floor this season. O/U on minutes is 5.
G 0 Damezi Anderson Fr. 6'7, 215 24 14 91 Meh
Composite #125 FR was briefly of interest to M. Just A Shooter so far; 3 shots at rim on season and one FT.
F 35 Zach McRoberts Sr. 6'6 210 33 6 84 Yes
6% usage! 28% TO rate despite that! Now in the starting lineup! Playing 20 MPG over last 6!

[hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]


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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The first time these teams met, Indiana was perfect in league play and maybe on track for a protected seed after 12 wins in 14 tries, including Ws over Marquette and Louisville.

Fast forward three weeks and Indiana still has 12 wins. They've lost five in a row, with only the most recent L against Northwestern in single digits. This is a veritable free-fall. Injuries and suspensions have had something to do with that: Rob Phinisee missed the first Michigan game, De'Ron Davis has been extremely limited, and Devonte Green just got indefinitely suspended. Both Davis and Green are definitely out tonight.

This has forced Indiana to do a thing unprecedented in the history of these previews: start someone with 6% usage. Zach McRoberts is still listed as a bench player above because we go by minutes, not who steps on the court first, but even still... I mean, dang. IU's started McRoberts their last two games; he had 4 points in 29 minutes against Purdue and 0 in 19 against Northwestern. Both of these outings upped his average usage.

The other major change from the previous, er, preview is subbing out Green for Phinisee. Phinisee is a more efficient player but is about 5 points short of Green's usage. He's got a 20 assist rate and a 19 TO rate; he's shooting 42/41; he's not getting to the line. Swapping him for Green is a wash, unless it's actually Green with a slight edge:


Where Green's absence hurts IU is in the lack of Green/Phinisee lineups, which look pretty good on Hoop Lens. When one of the two PGs is gone even more usage gets heaped on the two stars, and even stars get tired.

Without Davis and Green IU's bench gets super short. McRoberts is the only guy playing much; in the last game Evan Fitzner got six minutes, Damezi Anderson three, Jake Forrester and Clifton Moore two each.

As with Northwestern, the personnel breakdown from the original preview is close enough to on-point that I won't replicate it here. In summary, Indiana has their two star players dominate the ball, a leapy guy who can't play with the ball in his hands at the four, and guards who are good when given a catch and shoot opportunity and not so good at everything else. 

Adjustments three weeks later:

  • The resumption of Big Ten play has been a bit of a reality check for Juwan Morgan. Morgan is still producing on a consistent basis but his shooting has gone from absurd to very good. He's still hitting 67% from the floor, but that's down from 74%. In eight conference games he's hitting 56%. That's still great for a 6'7" center who creates almost all his own shots. It's no longer superhuman. Morgan has shed another point or two from his FT% and is now at 59% on the season.
  • Unlike Morgan, Romeo Langford's efficiency has held steady against the increased level of competition. This is still in the "meh" zone because he's shooting 27% from three in Big Ten play, an improvement from 22% against the whole schedule.
  • I'm upset with myself that my entire section on Justin Smith wasn't "is Brent Petway."

And while we're at it here's a Jordan Sperber video on the last M-IU matchup:

You can feel some of the burden on Morgan come through in that video where his defense fails in part because he doesn't have the energy to do the things Clifton Moore is doing.


Indiana's offense (51st) and defense (34th) have both lost about ten spots on Kenpom since the last meeting but retain their broad outlines. The offense's two-point shooting is great; they take relatively few threes and are slightly below average at hitting them; they get to the line a lot and suck once there.

The defense tries to keep people in front of them in a manner similar to Michigan: relatively few FTs allowed, good to decent shooting D. They're merely average at shot volume stats.

The concern for the Hoosiers is what happens when you click the "conference only" checkbox: IU is 10th on offense and 9th on defense. Three point luck may be buoying that D, as well. They're third in the league, ceding only 31%, but they're 10th in two point D and allow a large number of threes to go up. Meanwhile their offensive twos, the strength they must rely on, are just fourth at the league at 51.5%.


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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Make Morgan work for it again. Morgan had 25 points but on 25 shot equivalents and his enormous 56% usage took a toll on the defensive end despite playing just 28 minutes due to some foul trouble. This was the game where Davis had four fouls in three minutes and Teske was limited to 25 minutes with some trouble of his own. Brandon Johns had the best game of his career to date, which included an impressive block on Morgan.

Teske's been on a rampage on both ends of the court over the last couple weeks and will seek to establish his bonafides as the best C in the league by making Morgan inefficient for a second time. I wouldn't expect Michigan to double. Northwestern was able to get the ball out of Morgan's hands by doing so but was fortunate that Indiana went 4 of 21 on largely good looks from three.

Either enjoy the luxury of a team that doesn't want to switch or attack some dang switches. Indiana did not switch, so Michigan ran a bunch of offense and got their third-string C 8 points on 5 shots. Teams that have switched put the iso-and-post-up averse Michigan offense in an uncomfortable spot, leading to a lot of telegraphed step-back jumpers. The jumpers are so telegraphed that many are heavily contested despite being step-backs.

If Indiana changes its approach and Morgan's on Simpson and a guard is checking Teske in the post, please do something with that. Attack the basket, please. Even if you have to pass the ball if you draw help now IU is rotating and Iggy and Matthews can attack in their wheelhouse.

Contain Langford. Langford had 17 points on 14 shot equivalents and just one TO; he hit one of two threes to do so and went 6/6 from the line. His efficiency was built on a couple of switching screwups in the second half and attacking in semi-transition. Matthews did his usual work when in one-on-one coverage. It would be nice to see that reflected in Langford's ORTG.

Don't forget to score in the last five minutes. A suggestion.


Michigan by 3.



January 25th, 2019 at 12:31 PM ^

Since we'll be playing 5 vs 8 with the home cooking at Indiana I'll not watch this game to save myself some aggravation and chalk up a loss by 8 points.  Hope I'm wrong.


January 25th, 2019 at 1:47 PM ^

I'm guessing you've never seen a Michigan game at Indiana, then.

Michigan has three wins in Bloomington in the last 30 years. (3-22 since the '89-90 season).  They have 6 wins in the last 50 years (6-38 since the '69-'70 season).

Michigan has lost the last 11 times they've gone into Bloomington as a ranked team, including thrice when Indiana was unranked.

They've lost 5 straight, yes, but four of those have been on the road.

Michigan may win tonight, and I certainly will be cheering for them.  But it's nowhere near the certainty you're making it out to be.


January 25th, 2019 at 1:54 PM ^

Yeah, this is going to be a difficult game.  I like the look of this game more than I did the Wisconsin game but am still not boiling over with confidence.  Assembly Hall is very weird.  It looks weird, it sounds weird, the TV angles are weird.  It's like a basketball game being played in the Overlook Hotel.  It just always feels "off."


January 25th, 2019 at 5:16 PM ^

That is a crazy number: 11 times in a row as a ranked team they've lost at IU.

M did win its last trip to Bloomington.  Unfortunately, the roster has almost entirely turned over since then.

Simpson played 12 minutes and did have a nice game.  2 pts on 1/1 shooting.  2 assists, 2 DREBs, a steal and no TOs.

Teske played 1 min.  That is it for current players on the roster playing in that game.  A reminder of how young this team is.  Every player could (should even) be back next year except Matthews. 

A Lot of Milk

January 25th, 2019 at 1:14 PM ^

Definitely going into this game with the expectation of home cooking, frustration, and more poor offense. Really hoping we can get more offensive production from at least a couple of players and that the defense stays salty. A win by one counts the same as a win by fifty


January 25th, 2019 at 1:37 PM ^

Surprised at Indiana's skid. I really thought that we'd lose this game after we beat them in Ann Arbor.

I still think that, but now it's gonna feel worse. I'd be happy to be wrong.

A Lot of Milk

January 25th, 2019 at 1:56 PM ^

Obviously that was months ago. They have the potential to play that well, but that doesn't mean they're playing anywhere near that level right now. It would be like saying that the Michigan team that lost to NW last year is the same that was in the national championship game. Teams change over the year and it goes both ways


January 25th, 2019 at 5:50 PM ^

I've mentioned this a couple times recently, but Michigan actually has been playing near that level, at least in a few games, recently.

They covered the spread against PSU IU, Illinois, and Northwestern at home.   Those are spreads that included expectations created by those Nova and UNC games.  So we played better than a top 5 team was expected to play, which is....quite good. Games scores for those four game were all 96 or higher out of 100 on Torvik.

The IU game was Michigan's best offensive performance of the year by raw points per possession (1.263) and adjusted ppp (adjusted upwards to 138.2 because IU is a much better than average defense).  The Northwestern game was Michigan's second best offensive performance by points per possession (1.246) and adjusted  ppp (133.4).

Yes, Michigan scored more points per possession against good IU and Northwestern defenses in January than they have against any other team.   ANY OTHER TEAM!

Now let's do it on the road. Take good shots and make some of them.


January 25th, 2019 at 1:55 PM ^

While I like the idea of putting stars on uniforms to signify national championships, I don't know about putting them right above your butt.


January 25th, 2019 at 4:32 PM ^

I get using the pic of Crean, but what about the pic of Archie, that looks quite a bit like his brother Sean?

We're trolling Capt. AZ-Cash?

I'm in.


January 25th, 2019 at 4:45 PM ^

"Don't forget to score in the last five minutes. A suggestion." Seconded!

Praying that Beilein's Boyos prove me wrong and win but I have a terrible feeling we're going to lose and I'm going to doubt pretty much everything about Michigan basketball and my life.