Role Reversal

by Dave Spahn

The one thought that continued to run through my mind during the first half of this Big Ten battle was “Is this the same Michigan team that took Kansas to overtime last week?”

I have never been a person of moral victories, but Michigan took two of the top three teams in the country down to the wire in the past week — Kansas fans sat on pins and needles the whole game and Ohio State had to put up a fight to walk away undefeated.

You might expect a hungry and battle-tested Wolverine team to charge into Assembly hall with a chip on their shoulder. Instead, the Wolverines let Indiana impose their will for basically all 40 minutes. From the moment the ball went up in the air until the final buzzer sounded, Assembly Hall in Bloomington was  rocking all night long. The Hoosier faithful sent a barrage of cheers and jeers out for all 40 minutes, making the Michigan players feel about as wanted as Donovan McNabb at Mike Shanahan’s birthday party.

Indiana vs Michigan basketball. The Wolverines shot an abysmal 23.8 percent from the field in the first half and visibly showed their frustration after missed shots, turnovers, and blown defensive assignments. Simply put, the Hoosiers manhandled Michigan in every aspect of the game. Stud freshmen Tim Hardaway Jr. picked up two early fouls, which largely contributed to his lack of offensive production, and All Big Ten selection Darius Morris did most of his damage when the game was already out of reach.

On the other end, Indiana played arguably their best ball of the season. Verdell Jones shot a near perfect 9-10 from the field en route to a game high 24 points. Christian Watford added 17 points, and Jordan Hulls hit three big time threes down the stretch as part of his 13 points outing.

“They came at a great time… Jordan played the most minutes of anyone on the team. That’s the kind of Jordan hulls, quick trigger, get it up…that’s exactly what we need and that’s exactly what his teammates expect from him,” added Crean on Jordan’s clutch baskets.

The Hoosiers only missed 14 shots all game, severely limiting the Wolverines’ rebounding numbers. The energy, focus, determination, and hunger were visible the entire game. It was almost as if the Hoosiers let out six games worth of frustration all in one night. A win like this could be the building block for a struggling Hoosier team.

Will the Hoosiers look to build on their momentum against a hostile Wisconsin Badger crowd on Thursday? Only time will tell, but I do believe one thing: the Hoosiers are sick of being pushed around, and they won’t go down without a fight.