Hoosiers fall flat in 69-46 loss to Michigan

Everything was broken.

The offense. The defense. Even the shot clock above the south goal.

The latter issue was the first source of frustration inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, delaying the start of Friday’s game for several minutes as officials looked for a fix. Eventually, they settled on one. Public address announcer Chuck Crabb agreed to count down in lieu of a shot clock, calling out: “15 … 10 … 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,” while each team took its turn shooting at the south goal.

It was an unconventional approach, but it worked — and it felt like the only solution anyone had for anything.

On a night full of embarrassing moments for Indiana’s basketball program, the Hoosiers found a new nadir in Friday’s 69-46 loss to No. 5 Michigan. IU no-showed the first 10 minutes of the contest in an empty-hearted effort that sent the team to its sixth straight loss — Indiana’s longest skid since the 2010-11 team lost its final nine games.

The Hoosiers earned the boos that cascaded onto the court early in regulation, falling behind 17-0 in a nationally-televised contest that showed Indiana at its worst. Afterwards, IU coach Archie Miller walked into the Assembly Hall press room with a crumpled box score that told the tale of his team’s latest defeat in cold, unforgiving numbers.

Now, Indiana (12-8, 3-6) has to determine what it wants out of the season from here.

“Our team in general right now is soft,” Miller said, “and we’re also, for whatever reason right now, scared, and you can just tell by the way that we played. The fight isn’t there right now, and the confidence isn’t there on either end of the floor to be able to capitalize on any type of opportunity that we have, to be honest with you. There’s nothing we’re doing well.”

At some point, this team’s personality changed. No one can pinpoint exactly where — or, maybe more importantly, why — it did. But in a matter of weeks, Indiana has devolved from a team that took pride in its toughness to a squad that lacks it entirely.

Fatigue is taking its toll. Injuries are, too.

But those factors alone don’t entirely explain how a team with talent and a capacity to play well falls behind 17-0 and offers merely a whimper in return.

“It’s embarrassing,” senior forward Juwan Morgan said. “You know, in my mind I don’t think any team is 23 points better than us. I think we have a lot more fight in us than that. I think there’s a lot of talent in that room. I’m angry about it. I know every guy in that room is. I saw the looks on their faces. I know how to read the room. Nobody is happy about that. Everybody is embarrassed.”

Michigan (19-1, 8-1) commanded control by making seven of its first eight shots, facing little resistance in the process. On the other end, IU started the night 0-for-10 from the field and didn’t pick up its first points until Al Durham went to the line at the 12:57 mark.

The Hoosiers didn’t score their first field goal until Durham converted on an acrobatic layup two and a half minutes later. For a time, Durham looked like the only player that cared. Or, at least, the only one capable of making a difference.

That raises another problem with this Indiana team. Although the players need to play better, they could use some help from their coaches, too. Right now, Miller’s approach isn’t resonating with this group.

The offense is a mess, and it’s only getting worse. It’s not clear exactly what Indiana wants to run on that end of the floor. At the same time, it doesn’t seem that IU’s players are being put in positions where they’re confident.

By halftime, Michigan led 33-18. At that point, the Hoosiers were shooting merely 5-for-25 (20 percent) from the field, 1-for-10 (10 percent) from beyond the arc and 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) from the free throw line.

The Hoosiers finished by scoring a season-low .696 points per possession.

“It’s just an inept offensive. Inept,” Miller said. “I mean, you can’t get down 20-2 at home against Michigan or anybody for that matter, and it’s — it’s not good.”

IU used an 8-3 spurt out of the intermission to cut its deficit to 10 points and prompt a quick Michigan timeout. But every time IU tried to cut deeper into Michigan’s lead, the Wolverines had a response.

At the 16:47 mark, Rob Phinisee drained a 3-pointer that got IU within single digits for the first since early in the first half. Yet, on the other end, Ignas Brazdeikis dropped in a 3 of his own that put Michigan ahead 41-29.

By the end of the night, Michigan had its walk-ons on the floor. Indiana, meanwhile, was left to take one long, silent walk back to its locker room.

Now, the Hoosiers have to decide whether they care enough to play angry and fix their issues, and redirect their season from here.

“We just can’t keep taking punches,” Morgan said. “We can’t just keep laying down whenever we do get punched. We have to be able to fight. I just keep telling the guys that whenever you get hit, you can’t just give up. If one guy is fighting, all five of us are fighting, and that needs to be the way it’s going from here on out.”

44 comments

  1. What a disaster! So many problems that it is hard to see IU finishing better than .500 this season. For a team to start Justin Smith and Zach and expect a great result, then that would be very wishful thinking. I am starting to wonder if Phinisee really is the point guard of the future. He lacks the quickness to break down a defense. Archie needs to have a Plan B for next season regarding the guard positions. Maybe Hunter would have made a difference this season but it is hard to find silver linings right now.

  2. I can’t remember a worse effort or performance by an IU men’s basketball team. Perhaps on par with Crean’s last game at IU when his players quit in the first round of the NIT, but I did not watch that game.

    Archies has a serious problem on his hands. This season is turning into a disaster and several players look as if they’ve quit.

  3. ‘several’, Podunk? It appeared to me that the entire team has quit. It should be quite clear to all that this team simply hates each other. Dysfunctional drama on display…darn. I don’t like to be correct on this kind of observation but I saw it early and called it clearly.

    Does anyone think the trip out to Rutgers is going to be one in which this group of disparate individuals coheve? (that’s my new word for the adverb form of cohesive). Or will then “coheave” like they did tonight. Disgraceful.

    (Still, and in order to be “looking half full”, had not been for that late 3 by that sub, if we would have been allowed to re-start the game after they got up 17-0 we would have only lost by 3.)

  4. Maybe a positive – nobody joined the injured ? Kind of surprising when they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

    Sounded like the crowd did their best,

  5. The season ticket holders are really losing intertest in attending the games, I am a season ticket holder.

  6. Well, if these players don’t like each other, that’s on the coaching staff. The coaching staff is supposed to bring these guys together and get them to play for each other. You don’t have to be best friends, but you have to have enough respect for each other that you can play together on the same court.

  7. it was mentioned a LONG TIME ago this team couldn’t shoot..it was pointed out that the shooting would come around….well the shooting from the FT line OR the field. Their shooting stinks so bad even the Skunks avoid this team by 50 yards. Justin Smith has NO CLUE where his shot is going. McRoberts and Fitzner just refuse to shoot. Romeo’s shot is so “hit or miss” defenses want him to shoot from outside and then again just to see if he can hit 2 in a row. Podunker ..it may not be a case where they don’t like each other but more of a case ” God I wish I had someone to pass to that I could trust could do more than “be like a statue” and do something with it

  8. I warned of this 10 years ago when we made the worst hire in the history of our program…(if we want to really discuss “I’ll take PROPHECIES for a 1000, Alex”).

    In many respects Crean had an advantage….He could clean house.. There was that much hate at Indiana for Kelvin and anyone associated with his name on a Hoosier roster. And Crean did clean house . He made no genuine effort to salvage anyone. All were deemed irredeemable. None were worth embracing….not even Jordan Crawford.

    I hope Archie keeps his head on straight. Many Crean apologists still remain. This is their new sort of sacrifice.

    I commend Archie for not treating any of the kids who Crean brought to IU as irredeemable. I commend him for not cleaning house …and not gently pushing off those he knew had very little basketball IQ….or fulfilled a fit into what he wants to eventually build.

    And when I heard Archie with Don Fischer in the postgame tonight, he simply owned it all. he solely owned this embarrassing loss. How refreshing to hear a coach own something and be a man. Maybe some of his players will have a light turn on and be men, albeit young men who have flaws just as Kelvin’s had their own sorts, and follow the example of owning the jersey.

    I am not embarrassed of my Hoosiers at all. I have never been more proud. It is their choice to be as decent and genuine as their coach….or to simply grow into older adolescents. Losing can be a beautiful thing in its potential to teach …given the right example.

    1. I heard the postgame too & he is really, really pissed. Whenever a coach takes the blame, you’re in big trouble.

      I’d just as soon he benched the non-factors & started to develop the bench. Because this, my friends, is going nowhere. Not even the NIT at this point.

      1. Agree. Might bench Romeo for the beginning of Rutgers too…I don’t care how young, you simply can’t let the refs make you pay for your dumb fouls.
        Start the entire bench against Rutgers…..Maybe allow Durham to start. He did show an ounce of moxie.

  9. I sure don’t see any of ‘they’don’t like each other’. What I do see is a Senior who has very soft leadership skills playing out of position, 2 pretty talented Sophomores who would not be starting except for no upperclassmen with seasoned skills and 2 Frosh, 1 exceptionally talented, trying to survive the B1G. A list of injuries as long as both your legs on a bench that has no chance this year to be any kind of support. I’m not even going to start into the confidence factor. Optimism over took my good judgement before the season started. GO HOOSIERS!!

  10. Wow you make excuses for Archie Miller but Crean might as well have been the worst coach ever born to some of you hypocrites this these are mostly all his recruits if he didnt want Creans recruits last year all he had to do was say thanks were movin in a different direction but kept them so this is his mess but…oh i forgot he can recruit indiana so all is forgiven even if he cant exactly coach them to play any offense,i do hope for his sake he gets it right soon or he’ll be fired by the end of next year

    1. No, I don’t believe Crean “might has well have been the worst coach ever.”

      Crean is the worst college basketball coach ever. Completely perplexed and subbed out kids right after they would begin to make shots.
      Archie is doing his best with two cuts of his own decent steaks and a whole refrigerator of tasteless leftovers. Mostly soft jello. No dishes and nobody to “dish’ to.
      It’s not that complicated. He’s a decent man who wanted to honor scholarships….but some don’t even know how to stay out of trouble when a team is struggling. Sound familiar, Hanner….Stan, Troy, Emmit, convenience store parking lot?

  11. I think I know when/why this season really took a turn for the crapper….

    I blame ‘Juannita’s Authentic Mexican Food & Drink’ ….Juannita is no Sister Jean and I demand her ads appearing at the top of Scoop end. Her food may be delicious but her bad karma must go. Since her ads started appearing on Scoop at nearly the exact time this losing streak began we’ve been flatter than a tortilla ….and our effort on the court has been looking like overworked refried beans stuck in our candy stripes.
    Sorry, Jaunnita. Hasta la vista. Romeo is Italian!

  12. Sorry guys…but I saw highlights of Davis tonight. Overrated. That was not a kid who looked like a McDonald’s All-American. His team also got their butt kicked. Given, my viewership sample size was very small…but his effort and mannerisms looked as absent of fire as our team tonight.

    I’d go after the big boy at Ben Davis (I think he wore #54)….He’s about 50 lbs too much Burger King, but he’s got skills. He can move bodies and take up the middle. We need space creators for Romeo next year.

    1. Ben Davis kid is Dawand Jones, the 6-8 offensive lineman whose final five schools are USC, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida and Indiana. He’s not playing college basketball, although he could if he’d give up football.

    2. The good news with Jackson-Davis is that while he has talent, he’s not really a one-and-done. To have him at least two, maybe three years, at IU provides a chance to really build something.

      1. True….But there are McDonald’s All-Americans…and McDonald’s All-Americans …as we learned with Thomas Bryant.

        I should have been a recruiter….

  13. Never mind on the Ben Davis kid….Dewand Jones. Looks like he’s going to play football for OSU. Damn! Bad decision, Dewand.
    I could make you into one hell of a basketball player and…you could save your brain. You looked very natural with your footwork in the paint.

  14. I like TJinTexas’s comment (and ALL others, what a fascinating thread!). And to be clear, I do hope this team comes together like they were doing early in the season with those close wins. Somewhere along the line they stopped acting like a Team and started posing as Individuals.

    I really like Harv’s comment that regarding learning from losses. Thanks to everyone.

  15. Thanks, Rock. My basketball insights are pretty basic.

    I would like to see Archie start thinking a bit outside the box. With all the early foul trouble Romeo has put himself into over the last few games(and probably some others I can’t remember as well), what’s amazing is he’s yet to foul out.

    Outside of rest, I’d let this young man play through his fouls. There is really nothing to lose at this point. Holding him out of games likely just adds to his frustration. Every game should be treated as a Final Four game…He needs to learn how to play with three or four fouls. Many of our guys are not getting any rhythm.
    You can’t be expected to hit shots as your playing time minutes dwindle (especially if your confidence is already waning). If your superstar can’t even get into a rhythm, don’t know how you can expect others to just light it up when they enter into a game with top BigTen competition.
    Archie is searching…but within that searching(and protecting Romeo), he may be micromanaging guys out of any chance to get confidence on the floor.
    There are guys who are pure shooters and don’t require five minutes of getting into the flow of a game(getting a bit out of your own head and out of the rest of the noise). We don’t have any of those guys.

    Take the whole team to a bowling alley…Get their minds off basketball for a while. Let them be together doing something else. There are more ways to build a team than just running lines on McCracken. Most of these guys are pretty skilled. The skill sets aren’t going to increase much at this point of the season no matter how hard you work them on the maple.

    Change things up…Think outside the box. Keep Romeo in when he’s in foul trouble. Substitute a little less frequently. Build relationships. Take the pressure off…the pedal a bit. People tend to press the gas harder when their stressed behind the wheel. Get them out of the car for a while.

  16. Jackson Davis is a home run. 5 star recruit. However, you can’t just have a big guy 5 star and that’s it. In order for it to make a difference at least two more bigger than he is 6’9”+ ( that means 6’9”, 6’10”, 6’11”, 7’0”, 7’1”, 7’2”) at least high 4 stars or 5 stars recruits to go with him and they need to be able to score and shoot the ball well. This is along with what is going to be their. Plus a high 4 star or higher wing and a high 4 star or higher shooting guard. Stars do matter. Development of 3 star players gets you competitive with Northwestern in long run. If IU can’t up its recruiting game then expect more of the same year after year after year highlighted by a third place big ten run and no big ten tournament championship and NIT final four and a NCAA march madness sweet sixteen.

  17. This team is a Flat Tire. All four tires flat. Once scouted some and competition level increased day to day and IU was figured out, no talent to adjust as in things already noted and is now very well known.

  18. At 17-0 and the home crowd booing voicing their disgust should have been the moment to sit all 5 starters [ forgive me for saying starters], wouldnt matter if these guys dont want to play the bench should be their destiny. Appears Miller doesnt have that button in him.

  19. Steve W “having the button” may not be the problem…the REAL problem is numbers on the bench. Davis is shut down, Race cleared but obviously not ready to throw into the mix. Moore 2 years into program and still cant “crack” the lineup. Forrester has foot injury…then the walkons Blackmon and Jaeger. the REALLY BIG ELEPHANT in the room is THIS team gets NO RESPECT for ANYTHING from opponents because they cant shoot. The TEAM knows they cant shoot and they know they cant run the offense because teams meet them at3-pt line then pack into mid to block drives and where are the trips to FT Line when you cant drive to basket?? Just look at past 2 Romeo’s games tells you all need to know how teams will defend against IU. Romeo isn’t getting the drives he did earlier

  20. Two key things should’ve happened last night that are on Archie;
    1. Refresh the floor with 5 new players when he called a TO down 12-0. (As has been posted & I agree.)
    2. Got a technical foul. There was ample reason s.a. when Simpson clearly threw it out of bounds & the nearest ref called it correctly, but the ref across the court at the time line over ruled him. And if that wasn’t the time to do it, how about when Livers stepped in bounds to inbound the ball?

    The T would’ve been warranted, a flurry of calls had gone against us, and it would’ve shown the fire this team needs to compete.

    Another point worthy of mention; this group could easily be 1-8 in the league. NW could’ve hit the half court shot & beat us & PSU also had a chance with the last possession. Add that to possible losses to L-ville & Butler, and a required and ferocious 5 min. comeback at home vs. UC Davis, & we ‘could be’ 7-13.

    The only consistent 40 min stretches I’ve seen were vs. Marquette & Montana St. In every other game, there have been flat-lining heartbeats for long stretches.

    Here’s what I’m doing to fix it. I threw all of my IU stuff in the washer today. Literally.

  21. I think taking the whole team to a bowling alley is a better idea.

    a. Maybe they can play in a different gutter for a while.
    b. Build relationships while getting the mind off basketball.
    c. Romeo gets even more needed rest because he can’t put his injured thumb in a bowling ball. Maybe he can keep score and pad other guys stats.
    d. It’s on maple…and within NCAA rules.
    e. Phinisee finally takes it down the lane.
    f. Should be able to score more than 46…Seeing a higher number will build confidence.
    g. DeRon gets to look at more pins than what’s in his ankle.
    h. If Justin Smith throws a strike he finally becomes an X-factor.
    i. Bowling in January? Might be a nice gesture to ask Tom Allen along.
    j. Jeremy and Mike don’t have to feel deceitful when they “spin” the coverage of the bowling basketball team.
    k. Knock down things in position and never get a charging call.
    l. Miller finally has a team that plays with big balls.
    m. In a shot clock, there’s always time to spare.
    n. If the coach calls you a “one hell of a pinhead” it’s a compliment.

  22. I don’t really care about the injuries. Don’t really care about their lack of shooting ability. Don’t really care about which coach recruited them. Don’t really care how young or inexperienced they are. Don’t really care if they played at home or on the road. Don’t really care what opponent they played. I really only care about the effort they make and the fight they display, and I didn’t see either effort or fight in the recent Michigan game. I didn’t see any pride.

    Earlier this season, in spite of their obvious deficiencies and challenges, I celebrated this team’s “fight,” in their close wins and after two of their losses. For reasons I do not understand, this team lost their fight and did not make a good effort against MI. That’s what disturbs me most. I mean, if you go down, at least go down fighting. This team didn’t show any pride in themselves or the team that they are a part of, that’s what troubles me most about this team right now.

    1. Archie is in a world of hurt. The BigTen is a lot different than Dayton.

      It was a deep-seated dysfunction in terms of recruiting pipelines and mindset of roster. Individualism over team pursuits were the order of the day. Breaking the dysfunction amidst rebuilding a roster(a roster suffering through numerous injuries) is not something cured in one recruiting class

      But at the end of the day, the job could become too big for Archie. It’s a brutal conference and a lot of coaching newcomers are getting their teeth kicked in.

      1. Newcomers (a.k.a. “Teeth Kicked In” Group) / 0-3 years in the Big 10:

        Holtmann (47 years old) / OSU / 3-5
        Underwood (55 years old) / Illinois / 2-7
        Miller (40 years old) / IU / 3-6
        Pikiell (51 years old) / Rutgers / 3-6

        Nobody over 3 wins (Avg Wins = 2.75) Avg. Losses = 6

        ___________________________________

        Semi-Newcomers / 4-7 years in the Big Ten:

        Gard (48 years old) / Wisconsin / 6-3
        Pitino (36 years old) / Minnesota / 5-4
        Collins (44 years old) / Northwestern / 3-6
        Miles (52 years old) / Nebraska / 3-6

        Nobody over 6 wins (Avg Wins = 4.25) Avg. Losses = 4.75

        _________________________________________

        Experienced / Senior Members 8+ years in the Big Ten:

        Izzo (63 years old) Michigan St / 9-1
        Beilein (65 years old) / Michigan / 8-1
        Painter (48 years old) / Purdue / 7-2
        Turgeon (53 years old) / Maryland / 7-3
        McCaffery (59 years old) / Iowa / 5-5
        Chambers* (48 years old) / Penn St / 0-9

        Outside of one outlier(Chambers) Avg. wins = 7 Avg. Losses = 2.4
        (Top 4 Senior Big Ten Coaches = 7.8 Avg. wins Avg. Losses = 1.75)

        1. You may have noticed Pitino is the youngest coach in the BigTen @ 36 years old (Hired by Minny at age 30).
          Archie is the 2nd youngest @ 40 years old (Hired by IU at age 38).

          Pitino is in his sixth season at Minnesota. Archie only in his second.

  23. I’m thinking of spreading all of my IU gear across the bed, calling in a priest and having multiple exorcisms performed.
    The DVD player subjected to ‘Hoosier Rising’ has been stuck on rewind and is also a candidate….
    This job is far too big for a washing machine. Everything hinges on top-loaders!

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