Michigan blows away Indiana, 90-60

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Whatever heart Indiana showed last weekend was broken by halftime.

Sloppy and uninspired, this one of the worst performances of the Hoosiers’ season — and of Tom Crean’s IU career.

The Hoosiers fed poison to whatever mid-season momentum they generated during the past week, coming out flat in a 90-60 blowout loss to Michigan on Thursday at the Crisler Center.

Indiana never recovered from an awful start against the Wolverines, looking far removed from the type of connected, focus effort that it used to earn an impressive victory over Michigan State on Saturday.

“There’s no excuses,” IU center Thomas Bryant said.

Not that anyone would dare make one after a game this bad.

During the past four years, Indiana has typically matched up and played well against Michigan, winning five of the last seven meetings entering Thursday. Even the two losses in that span were close ones.

The latest meeting completely bucked that trend.

The 30-point margin of defeat was the third-largest in Big Ten play during nine seasons under Tom Crean, and the worst since a 32-point loss to Wisconsin in February 2010.

“At no point in the game was our aggression defensively ever enough to stem the tide,” Crean said. “It wasn’t the offense when we shoot 54 percent. It was defensively a lack of aggressiveness and there’s no excuse for it. I don’t have one.”

This wasn’t a must-win game for the trajectory of IU’s season, but it was a great opportunity for the Hoosiers to claim another important road victory entering Sunday’s game at surging Northwestern.

Thursday’s result came nearly a year after IU authored a program-record 28-0 run to score a valuable win in Ann Arbor. That run — that game — was squarely on the mind of the Wolverines, who built their lead to as many as 37 points.

“I think you don’t even have to talk about that with the guys who were here,” Michigan forward Mo Wagner said. “The guys who weren’t here saw it, and remember it. It’s something as a player you take personally at some point, so we wanted to get out there aggressively and not give them easy shots.”

The Wolverines (14-7, 4-4) found their points in nearly every possible way against the Hoosiers (14-7, 4-4). They hit 11 3-pointers, got to the rim early and often and scored 28 points off Indiana’s 16 turnovers.

After committing a season-low nine errors on Saturday against Michigan State, Indiana had eight through the first 19 minutes.

At times, Michigan sliced through IU’s transition defense, while a couple other careless Hoosier backcourt passes led to free throws and another easy basket for Michigan.

Indiana offered another lifeless start, a trend the Hoosiers are finding hard to shake. IU trailed 14-4 five minutes into the first half, as offensive stagnancy coupled with some careless plays on both ends of the court put the Hoosiers in an early hole.

It was so bad at one point, IU couldn’t even keep track of the shot clock coming out of a timeout.

Consider a turnover charged to Devonte Green, who was caught not paying attention to the shot clock moments after subbing in — and immediately following timeout instructions from his coach.

“Our starters weren’t ready to play, obviously, but we had guys go in the game who were not even close to ready to go in and defend,” Crean said.

By the second media timeout, half of Michigan’s first 20 points came from the paint.

Wagner, meanwhile, had little trouble getting to the rim and getting his points. He finished with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, winning matchups against Zach McRoberts and Thomas Bryant.

That was one of six double-digit scoring performances for the Wolverines, who were paced by Derrick Walton’s 21 points.

Robert Johnson, in part, kept a 15-point IU halftime deficit from spiraling into something far worse after 20 minutes. The junior guard scored eight of his eventual team-high 14 points in the first half, grabbing a team-best four rebounds in that span.

Indiana was outrebounded 23-20, grabbing only five offensive boards — none of which came from the Hoosiers’ starters.

After missing the past two games with a left foot injury, Juwan Morgan was the first Hoosier off the bench on Thursday. He played 11 minutes, recording two rebounds and scoring three points.

While Morgan continues to recover — and OG Anunoby remains out for the season with a knee injury — IU has needed to lean on junior guards like Johnson and James Blackmon Jr. to fix the course of the season.

Blackmon finished with four points and didn’t attempt a single 3-pointer. He also didn’t get a shot off in the second half.

Crean said that was less a product of Michigan’s approach than it was IU’s inability to spring Blackmon free.

“He put himself in some bad situations in the corner, but our screening (was poor),” Crean said. “We shoot 54 percent and our screening was a joke. It was more us. I’m sure they’ll feel good about it and all that type of stuff, but it was more us than anything else in the sense of not getting him free. The game was also giving us other things.”

Nothing, however, that Indiana ever took to its advantage.

36 comments

  1. James Blackmon was a 5 Star recruit. Thomas Bryant was a 5 Star recruit. Robert Johnson, Davis and Jones were 4 Star recruits. How do you lose to a mediocre Michigan team by 30? Watching this team play defense is painful. Watching a lineup with McSwain, McRoberts and Newkirk is painful. Morgan and Green looked lost tonight. Folks, where does it go from here?

  2. This is exactly what Tom Izzo said to be wary of. The first game (Michigan State) after you lose a key guy to injury is easy to play. After that, it gets much more difficult. This team was sleepwalking tonight. And to think, at one point we were No. 3 in the country and considered a Final Four threat. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t win another road game this season.

  3. A big concern here is the lack of leadership. There isn’t a single guy stepping up and owning this mess.

    Also, there’s no one taking any pride in playing defense.

    If it wasn’t for Grant “the Microwave” Gelon, we would have lost by 40.

    Btw, how bad is Michigan state?

    1. That’s what I’m seeing, too. No leadership. Colin is done. JBJ, for all his offensive talent, couldn’t lead this team to Mother Bears. I actually hoped TB would channel his emotion to be more vocal, in a positive sense, this year. He seems more immature than he was as a freshman. OG showed flashes of leading by his play. Newkirk is…Newkirk. RJ is the closest thing we have to a floor leader.

      I honestly think there are a couple freshmen out there who give it a shot but…they are freshmen.

      These guys are lost. Put them in a footrace with another team who wants to run and let them get into a rhythm and they can look pretty good. Force them into a half court offense against a determined defense and they are toast.

      It’s awfully late in the season to be finding your floor general.

  4. Another song for the Hoosier Morning. My first choice was ‘Hit the Road Jack’, dedicated to whom ever is left over/not needed next year. But maybe a better choice, the Kingston Trio 1959 song ‘Hang down your head Tom Dooley’. The IU edition would change name to Crean..

    I chose bed over the game last night after watching the first 10 minutes. Blackmon did not take a shot in the second half and with 4 TOs? One rebound for Bryant?

  5. I have held out hope for the program as long as anyone, but the time to cut your losses is becoming very apparent. Barring an unexpected turnaround the end of the season should be appropriate. If this trend continues and it bottoms out before season end, then a quicker action may be necessary.

    Hate to see it come to this but maybe a change would be better for all parties. You have to give Crean credit for bringing the program back from almost the worst situation a program could be in. In other ways, he reminds me of Joe B Hall at Kentucky, could recruit great, but weak on the x’s & o’s. This is also my concern, Coach Hall finally recruited a team so talented it won it all in spite of Coach Hall’s deficiencies.

    The question is if this is the time to change, can IU win it all before TLC might go some else and win. Before anyone thinks this is way too far fetched, let me give you a scenario. I have a long memory when it come to IU basketball over the last 50 years. A few years ago it was rumored Alabama was interested in TLC at a time when there was a lot of discontent with him at IU. Why would this be of concern? For those who have a long enough memory, they will also remember the perfect season that almost wasn’t.

    The closest call the vaunted 1976 championship team had during the tournament run was to . . . Alabama. Had a very athletic and talented center by the name of Leon Douglas not fouled out, history could have been very different. What this should tell everyone is that Alabama didn’t have a basketball tradition, but they accumulated enough talent to nearly end the dream season. This tells you that it is possible at the right program to pull off the unexpected. Alabama’s Coach Wimp Sanderson pulled a lot of talent from the south and don’t look down on it. Denny Crum won two national championships at Louisville pulling talent out of the deep south.

    Do I think this is a likely scenario today? No, but before you pull the trigger on a change think about unexpected consequences. Nothing would be more embarrassing to IU’s proud tradition than to let a coach go and him win a championship before IU could. If he were to land in a situation where he, like Joe B Hall, were able to recruit so much talent he couldn’t lose in spite of himself.

    Been around long enough to learn to never say never. After all how many predicted the outcome of the 2016 elections? The responses to this one ought to be fun.

  6. After last night’s nightmare, I think it is time to play “what if”. So, what if, at the end of the year, Glass gets smart and fires Crean. Who are the first 3 coaches you call outside of Alford and Stephens? I exclude them because unless Alford gets fired this year, he isn’t going anywhere. Secondly, Stephens is doing a helluva job in Boston and after being out there last week talking with Celtics’ fans he is reaching near “God” status with that fan base.

  7. I U men’s basketball needs a new coach, I only saw one head coach last night and that one was on the Michigan bench. Folks, we are in Tom Crean’s ninth season and we still aren’t a top tier program anymore. Leadership starts at the top, look at Tom Allen that man is an example of leadership. Excuses are a dime a dozen, we need tangible results. Every person has a fear of change but change is necessary to achieve better results. If the worry that TC has better results somewhere else, than I U shouldn’t keep that from occurring for him and his family.

  8. IU Meatchicken
    Points off Turnovers 4 25
    Second Chance Points 5 17
    Fast Break Points 0 5
    Turnovers 16 6
    Add in defense so poor, lacking effort and without passionate energy that even at my age I could have gotten off quality shots.
    Regardless of who will step forward to take IU to the next level the state of this program cannot stay in place and continue into the 2017-18 season.

  9. Last year the UCLA fans would have paid us to take him. This year, not so much. California may be a crazy place, but exciting, interesting and until the ‘big-one’ earthquake hits sure has a lot going for recruitment. As long as he’s successful, just can’t see Bloomington being a option.

  10. How about Randy Wittman…. Washington has let him go. Question is whether Randy would want to travel to due the recruiting.

  11. IU is not an elite job anymore nor is it an elite program. So if you can’t get the Stevens or Alford…..Wichita State coach because they win and he can coach. He is kind of like the Butler mold. A good coach at IU should be able to recruit Indiana and mid west. Players should be clean and stay out of trouble and this coach is good at Xs and 0s. Players play hard for him. I think he has an ego and would bring discipline to the team. They would run plays cut, screen and pass plus play defense. It would definitely be done his way from what I have noticed from the Shockers.

  12. H4H USC coach is a hot property now and beat Alford and UCLA this past week and has the California talent pipeline going for him . I U AD needs to step up, the season ticket holders are losing interest in I U Men’s basketball at a fast rate. Yes, I am a season ticket holder and hear these comments at the games and the receptions at Cook Hall.

  13. ….’hot property’. That reminds me, Coach Enfield’s wife was an international model…She probably fits in with Southern California…I would guess if she had to relocate, she would rather return to Ft. Myers and Florida Gulf Coast than Bloomington & IU…Just a guess.

    And good song choice HH

  14. Northwestern will beat IU by 7 to 10…a marked improvement for the Hoosiers. It’s way past enough is enough.

  15. t, Got to agree 1000% with you about WSU’s coach Gregg Marshall. I’ve observed him from afar for several seasons. His teams play team BB and in many cases do it with BB players not just with athletes. As you stated he has firm control of that program. I read somewhere his record over the last 6 seasons with the Shockers he has achieved the highest % of wins in D1 coaching. That tells me his squads play energetically and efficiently at both ends of the court. + he absolutely does it on a budget less than presently wasted at IU. So he is no doubt a solid recruiter in a much sparser area of HS talent. Can you imagine what he could do in the state of Indiana? He would make Hoosier HS ballers central to recruiting. He’s never seen $ like Crean is paid. He would make good BB chemistry in Bloomington. Somebody is going to snatch him. He is the real deal in my opinion.

  16. Gregg Marshall…?

    Downside:
    Could be another ‘Curse of the One Final Four’ coach.
    Another hire that looks a lot like Crean. Fans may boo my mere association.
    NCAA violations/trickiness? And with Allen already fulfilling a very suspect lookalike role, the NCAA could initiate a ‘Just for Men’ 3-way receding hairline investigation(Rule 762-a.20 paragraph 4) of the fetish variety against Fred Glass.

    Upside:
    Played for the ‘Knight’s’ in high school. He has Knight bloodlines.
    1-0 vs Crean in March Madness. He’s met the baseline clown standard.
    Has it out for Blue Devils. Probably would like some tournament vengeance against Duke for a 84-37 shellacking his Winthrop team took in 2002.

  17. Could we get the Dayton coach…..? My goodness.

    Downside: Price & Miller may face pay cuts….or could even lose jobs as HT is flooded with applications.

  18. Big 10 Standings, Positions 5 thru 13:

    Indiana 4-4
    Michigan 4-4
    Michigan St. 4-4
    Minnesota 3-5
    Illinois 3-5
    Ohio St. 3-5
    Iowa 3-5
    Penn St. 3-5
    Nebraska 3-5

    Can’t remember this sort of parity in the middle for a very long time. There is no way that the NCAA only takes 4 or 5 teams from the conference for the Dance. Indiana is very fortunate that many of the traditional upper echelon conference teams are off to terrible starts. The Hoosiers still have an excellent shot to be part of the 6-7 teams to get selected.
    I’m not even sure if some of the teams in the upper 4(Maryland, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern) aren’t completely dislodged from the top before all is said and done. The final two weeks could see nearly every spot still up for grabs…..I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if MSU or IU are battling for a top 3 spot down the stretch.

    Some great games on today…Enjoy the madness.

  19. He’s probably a good bet but bear in mind WSU is playing a step down. CTC looked pretty good from a distance, too, and they were playing in the Big East not the Missouri Valley Conference. You can’t assume that a coach can transfer success to another level. WSU recruits probably don’t plan on playing in the NBA. Indiana recruits do.

    But he deserves a look, for sure.

    CTC can’t afford to drop this game at Northwestern. The torches are lit and the pitchforks are being sharpened. He’s running out of time to save this season and his job.

  20. Ben Lammers sorta moves and plays like the reincarnation of Jason Collier. Simply dominating the inside against ND.

    Wow….Florida State is lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng. The entire team looks like Bobby Wilkerson meets Ralph Sampson.

  21. Chet, a step down, would include Matta, Wright and Alford, just to add contrast. Through his coaching career whether as assistant or HC, Marshall has recruited and developed a handful of players(if researched no doubt more)who’ve signed NBA contracts. To centerpunch the topic, watch IU play under Crean and watch WSU play under GM and evaluate whose style is geared to consistently take success the farthest. It is no contest.

  22. Greg Marshall @ Wichita State is confident and competent what he does in his way that transfers to players. He is the type of coach that players believe in. I have seen players (not often) but players have to control him. They know and have to play to his expectations. Wichita state has a winning self image program. They also know he has their back. Wichita State is fun to watch because even when they play the likes of Louisville or whoever in March madness they are no push over and are extremely well coached.

  23. Yes, H.C. Wichita State and G.M. operate on an altogether different (meaning much much higher) basketball team IQ level than does IU and T.C. For that matter that goes for several coaches in big ten and across country and yes he has a little Bob Knight type basketball knowledge and know how in him but controls himself much better so he is not Bob Knight but his own Greg Marshall.

  24. Hey, I’m on board. How about this afternoon? I’m just cautioning about thinking someone ‘can’t miss’.

  25. I think Gregg Marshall is a good fit for IU….Also does anyone else think Matta is on the hot seat at Ohio State? If so Really serious thinking and consideration needs to be done before IU loses out by dragging its feet.

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