When was the turning point in Indiana’s 69-55 loss to Michigan? The opening tip? When the Hoosiers arrived in Ann Arbor? When they boarded their plane? Do you have to go all the way back to their game against Duke? Perhaps they were a little too content with their ability to hang with the No. 1 Blue Devils?
Indiana started the game on their heels, and it wasn’t long until they were on their backs. An early round knock-out.
In all seriousness, it was clear at the outset that the Hoosiers didn’t have it on Saturday. Their energy was bad. Their shooting was atrocious. Their defense was soft and confused. Indiana just had the look of a team that wasn’t ready to play. Take a look at this chart for the start of the game, highlighting Indiana’s mistakes and Michigan’s baskets:
Game over. And we didn’t even illustrate all of Indiana’s misses. Before IU scored their first point from the field they opened the game 0 for 7. So collectively, that’s 5 turnovers, 0 for 7 shooting and 4 Michigan 3-pointers allowed. This Indiana team isn’t likely to survive that kind of start against anyone on the road.
There were intangibles too. On defense, Indiana lacked energy, lost Michigan shooters, and got confused on back cuts. On offense, Indiana rushed shots and struggled to get the ball in the middle of Michigan’s defense. Heck, IU was even struggling with the Michigan student section’s early version of the shot clock.
We understand that this was only IU’s second true road game. But the disappointment here lies in the fact that this team seemed to be rounding into form. And now they lay this egg and you’re left scratching your head. Right now it seems like the only reasonable expectation is a roller coaster ride. Hopefully that’s reasonable, because it might be worse. Could Indiana be sitting at 4-7 in a couple weeks?
Indiana fans expect Archie Miller’s teams to be tough, smart and efficient. Indiana was none of those in the first 8 minutes on Saturday. Was it a fluke? The good news is that we’ll soon find out. Indiana has 3 more difficult games coming up with Iowa, Louisville and Notre Dame. Or is that the bad news?