Indiana 70, Michigan 67 Comment Count

Ace February 8th, 2015 at 3:44 PM


Oh, the faces you'll show. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]

Just short.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman's last-second attempt to tie from the corner summed up this Michigan team of late. Indiana looked like they'd win comfortably for most of the game, at times threatening to break the game wide open, but the Wolverines clawed back into it late, overcoming their porous defense with timely buckets.

The final possession played out similarly. Zak Irvin, whose hot hand brought M within striking distance, was clearly the first option, but IU wouldn't allow him a decent look. As the clock wound perilously close to zero, Michigan swung the ball around the arc, and suddenly there was MAAR, standing alone in the corner.

His try caught only iron, and we're once again left to commending Michigan's effort in a narrow loss against a better team.

This team, in its current form, just isn't talented enough to overcome too many mistakes. The first half featured Indiana jumping out to a lead in part due to too many Wolverine turnovers. The second half featured a couple critical missed layups—including MAAR blowing a breakaway that would've pulled M within two—and too many offensive boards for IU.

Michigan struggled throughout on defense, failing to keep Yogi Ferrell (18 points, six assists) out of the lane whether in man or zone; Ferrell did most of his damage in the paint, either swooping in for layups or creating open looks when the defense collapsed. Troy Williams posted 20 and 8 in an impressive performance highlighted by a couple thunderous dunks.

The failings on the other end meant Zak Irvin's 23-point output (9/16 FG) went in vain. Ditto Michigan's most productive performance from a big man in a long time, Ricky Doyle's 15 points on 5/5 FGs and 5/6 FTs. While the offense clicked in the second half, the hole dug in the first proved too deep to escape.

Facing their most difficult stretch of the season ahead, Michigan has a lot of positives to take from the last couple weeks. To actually start recording some signature wins, however, they must start shoring up the mistakes.

Comments

Generic MGoBlogger

February 8th, 2015 at 4:09 PM ^

Same caliber opposition... Same result... It's hard to watch us go down to the wire with teams that are "far ahead of us" in terms of progress and talent, but it is comforting watching this team grow.  These guys have lost major offensive production in Walton and Levert but keep on trucking and finding ways to get the ball in the hole.  Irvin has made huge leaps in making his game more 3 dimensional as seen today in his dribble drive penetration.  Not to mention Donnal, who looked like a lost cause just a month ago, is giving us big key minutes and playing with so much more aggression.

I don't even think JB needs to pull in Jaylen Brown for this team to be highly competitive in the B1G next season.  However, if he does by chance, this team could be insanely good.  2017 seems to be the target year for most for another deep tourney run, but I think we could be there as early as next season depending on how much we continue to grow the rest of the season and going into the off season.

TL;DR: JB's crew is closer than we think; it's been fun watching them grow; I am a firm believer that next season, this team will be competing for another B1G Title

Yo_Blue

February 8th, 2015 at 3:56 PM ^

The three missed layups were killers. This team can't afford those missed opportunities. Irvin needs to stop going to the hole if he can't lay it in. All around decent, gritty effort.

umumum

February 8th, 2015 at 4:13 PM ^

Like everyone else, Zak is trying to expand his game.  I am sure he is being encouraged to do so by the coaching staff.  That is how one gets better.  It will pay off next year.  But thanks for focusing on what he didn't do well in a game in which he was our best player.

victors2000

February 8th, 2015 at 4:22 PM ^

too much allowing the Hoosiers to drive the lane, lapses in the defense. The rebounding was poor at times as well. Hopefully most of the errors were to youth and inexperience versus any ceiling of the talent on the team. Coach B is playing several guys who wouldn't normally be seeing much playing time.

BlueUPer

February 8th, 2015 at 5:02 PM ^

I know we are are a young team, but we must be able to defend better. I love Coach B but not sure that defense has ever been his thing.

Do we need to defend at 25'? 30 '? Or when Yogi has the ball, can we gett off the player we are defending at all?

Same old .....can't score in and can't defend the paint!

I do not question the effort of these guys! Love em! good things ahead for UM hoops!

champswest

February 8th, 2015 at 7:25 PM ^

on the very first play, Doyle left his man to try to block a driving Hoosier and his man got the rebound for a slam dunk. The same thing happened at least one other time. Late in the game, Yogi's defender backed off to prevent him from driving and Yogi hit a 3.

umchicago

February 8th, 2015 at 11:22 PM ^

yes, you have to defend IU at 25 feet. they are about the best 3 pt shooting team in the country.  they have 4 guys that are very good from out there.

also, yogi is one of the best PGs in the country.  sag off him, nails 3s, get in his chest and he has a great cross-over and can dribble drive or pass.  it appears blackmon is pretty solid at driving too.  IU is a very tough team to defend.  but maar, dawkins and doyle will surely get better.

to me it's finding guys to box out that's more important right now.  those second chance opportunities really killed us today.

alum96

February 8th, 2015 at 8:34 PM ^

We can lack anyone to inspire fear interior on defense.  Last year we had Morgan.  If you blew by our guards sometimes you still go to the hole but at times Morgan at least provided help defense.  I watched the Illinois - MSU game and Illinois has a few super athletes inside (not superstart basketball players) and you see a few of those guys on Indiana and a lot on OSU.

I know John has been going for some top recruits inside but it like if he misses on a top 30 players inside he immediately goes for the unathletic 5 who is a good shooter.  That's fine on offense one day when donnal or doyle or both develop more but in the meantime an athletic big could be playing above the rim, swatting shots, getting defensive rebounds even as a true FR or true SO as he develops an offensive game.  We look so unathletic up front outside of Dawkins it is frustrating to see team after team just go inside at will and get so many rebounds off misses.

Illinois does not have great shooters but when they missed shots vs MSU they actually had a prayer of getting rebounds.  For us we are so often "1 and done" time after time down the court.  When you have a Nik S, Caris, Zak (in limited role doing nothing but shooting 3s at 43%) and GR3 it compensates a bit but with us its pretty much go down the court, take your shot, and forget about getting 2nd chance points 95% of the time. 

umchicago

February 8th, 2015 at 11:25 PM ^

may be that guy.  6'9" athletic guy with long arms.  i think he and doyle will be a great combo at the 5 next year.  i just really hope donnal/chatman improve their outside shot enough to be effective at the 4.  it's that position that's really hurting this team on both ends of the floor.

Blue Bunny Friday

February 9th, 2015 at 11:35 AM ^

There are a lot of trade-offs in basketball, and Beilein has most definitely thought more about these things than you.   Your athletic big is getting out of position contesting shots.  If he doesn't get the ball his man is dunking any missed lay-up.  Beilein doesn't routinely coach guys to crash the offensive glass because he'd prefer to not give up transition opportunities.  

Lastly, I think any Michigan fan being jealous of Illinois needs to reconsider some things.  Who's got it better than us?  Illinois?

Stringer Bell

February 8th, 2015 at 4:06 PM ^

That was a frustrating game.  Missed layups, missed free throws from one of our best shooters, the inability to keep IU out of the lane.  All that contributes to yet another close loss.  

ppudge

February 8th, 2015 at 4:11 PM ^

Northwestern has lost a lot of close games as well. I wonder if their fans think that they'll be good next year because of all the close losses. Maybe. Just saying that it's no guarantee that all these close losses with young players this year means that they will be wins next year. When we got Coach B, I think most folks thought our ceiling was competitiveness, making the tournament more years than not and an occasional Sweet 16. The last two years have spoiled us.

BigBlue02

February 8th, 2015 at 4:51 PM ^

If northwestern were starting 3 true freshmen with another one coming off the bench as well as a redshirt freshmen all while getting their 2 best players and a highly rated freshmen back from injury, then their fans are probably on to something. Unless you think a team that has one available scholarship next year won't get better under a coach that has put 5 guys early into the NBA the last 2 years

Bambi

February 8th, 2015 at 4:12 PM ^

I honestly am having more fun watching this team than I could have ever imagined. After NJIT and EMU I thought I wouldn't be able to watch another full game all year long, but losing LeVert and Walton has honestly made it more fun.

There's just something to be said in watching a lineup full of freshman and walk-ons on the floor at times. Seeing all these young guys play is just awesome. There's moments where you can tell they're freshman and they make some annoying mistakes, but you can definitely also see the talent there.

This team isn't making the tourney which sucks, but the experience these guys are getting is huge. Playing Wisconsin as close as we did, and then taking MSU and Indiana down to the wire on the road are huge growing points for this team. It might not show this year, but next year in these types of games we can definitely expect some wins.

If LeVert comes back next year, I think we're going to be in for a treat. We could be really damn good if he does.

MGoClimb

February 8th, 2015 at 4:15 PM ^

This team, in my opinion, is showing a lot of promise. Hopefully they can get a couple signature wins before the season ends and go into next season armed for bear.

This team is exciting to watch right now. I can't wait (.gif) to watch them going forward.

Bando Calrissian

February 8th, 2015 at 4:19 PM ^

If there's one thing in my basketball-watching life that has consistently left me scarred, it's watching Michigan play at Assembly Hall. It's the worst kick in the nuts arena on earth. 

Pinky

February 8th, 2015 at 4:21 PM ^

This team is improving as quickly as teams in the past few years.  It's just that the ceilings are so much lower.  Next year looks very promising.

Michigan9

February 8th, 2015 at 4:23 PM ^

This team is playing with some guts and heart.  We still have silly turnovers but we do not quit.  The playing time and expereince for this group will do wonders for the program over the next few seasons.  We just have to battle the rest of this season.

#GOBLUE

SDCran

February 8th, 2015 at 5:20 PM ^

These past few games the team has looked more like a coach B team. They are really running the offense the way the past teams have.

Hard to tell how much is a point with 10 good toes, how much is not having a #1 option holding the ball vs. How much is due to the young guys getting it. Or having the 4 able to contribute.

Which of those is the real answer will tell how much they can improve next year.

UM76

February 8th, 2015 at 6:14 PM ^

I thought I saw a Michigan team playing offense today with an unusual (for us) priority on playing in the paint. Kellogg commented on it, noting that UM is dead last among power conferences in points in the paint at 21 ppg. At 10:00 in the game we had 24, and we didn't let up at all from there.

Is Coach Beilein pushing them in a new direction? Any others notice this?

Nothsa

February 8th, 2015 at 7:37 PM ^

This was the first game back for Hanner Perea, the only center-like object on IU's team. He's been out a month with a knee injury. He was rusty and didn't play much. Consequently Doyle was the biggest and tallest guy on the court. IU also switched on high screens, leading to people like Yogi Ferrell trying to guard Doyle in the post.

So, I'd say Beilein intended to make interior offense a priority in this game do to the mismatches evident there, and it worked. It'll be interesting to see if Michigan continues to work on that in future games.

As an IU fan, I found it pretty painful to see the Wolverines score as effectively as they did on the inside. This Hoosiers defense needs a lot of work before Purdue and Iowa come to town.

bronxblue

February 8th, 2015 at 7:40 PM ^

It's another rough game because of how close it was, but this team is learning for 2015/2016, and right now it looks like a team that will be able to hang with anyone when they get their players back.  They still need to figure out the 4 and 5, but you have to figure one of Donnal, Doyle, Chatman, Wilson, and (maybe) a late 2015 commit will solidify those positions with an off-season.

Still, hate losing to IU like this.

champswest

February 8th, 2015 at 8:04 PM ^

It is hard to figure out who the real UM team is. The one getting blown out by OSU and Iowa, or the one taking Wisconsin, MSU and IU to the wire. It is great seeing us hang with the good teams but also frustrating coming so close but not being able to get over the top.

I hope the team can stay together and keep learning and improving so that we can take a huge leap next year.

alum96

February 8th, 2015 at 8:28 PM ^

Troy Williams is exactly the type of player I wish Beilein would recruit one of.  I have no idea if he can shoot the 3 or has any range but a guy who can jump the hell out of the gym and punishes you in zone defenses that break down or when your PG can dribble drive and dish is so needed.  A guy who plays above the rim and causes headaches in rebounding.  He was not a top 30 player - more like top 50-70 so more in Beilein's wheelhouse.  Maybe that is supposed to be DJ Wilson but he looked really overwhelmed in his limited time this year and never showed this kind of hops.

Nothsa

February 8th, 2015 at 8:32 PM ^

but he has the rest of the offensive package. He was a step quicker and a foot higher than anyone else today on the court. When IU is clicking, there are 3 or 4 guys who can nail the three and Troy Williams lurking inside waiting for a feed. It's a very dangerous offense. 

alum96

February 8th, 2015 at 10:34 PM ^

GR3 played above the rim but not as a pseudo PF - he was truly a 3 who was forced to play the 4 out of necessity.   I think Williams is more like Chatman if Chatman was much more athletic... and well (at this point) good.

I imagine Walton in the Yogi role and Caris in the Blackmon role and when they dribble drive and drew defenders to them you had a Williams type who could sky for dunks and rebound their misses in traffic and get easy putbacks.  We just don't have that player right now unless maybe a Dawkins develops into one but even Dawkins is not that body type.  Willaims is 6-7 220ish, Aubrey is 190ish.

I am just amazed how few guys we have that play above the rim on the frontline.    Even a crap offensive player who was 6'8 220 and did nothing but do Dennis Rodman stuff at the 4would put up 10 pts and 8 boards a night from all the misses. And actually cause someone to worry about getting blocked in the lane on defense.  No one fears getting blocked at all.  I'm still getting over the fact we made Matt frigging Costello look like a pogo stick last week. 

We have 41 blocks as a team all year - 7 by Caris.  Donnal has 8 - but 3 in Big 10 play when he actually goes up against guys his size and not Bucknell.  Doyle has 8 - 2 today which is solid but 3 were v Rutgers. So all other games only 3 blocks. 

Steve in PA

February 9th, 2015 at 10:29 AM ^

Wasn't hyped about him at all coming in but man, that kid can play.  I notice him running the point more.  I wonder if it's out of necessity or they are looking at that for the future?  He seems quite comfortable with the ball in his hands but also willing to give it up for someone else to have a better shot.