Indiana lays claim for No. 1 with win over Michigan

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana won the most highly-anticipated college basketball game to date this season, staving off No. 1 Michigan 81-73 in front of 17,472 at Assembly Hall, which was hosting ESPN’s College GameDay. The combination of the No. 3 Hoosiers’ victory and No. 2 Kansas’s loss to Oklahoma State earlier in the day makes it likely that the Hoosiers will take back the No. 1 ranking for the first time since they lost it with their Dec. 15 loss to Butler at the Crossroads Classic

The Hoosiers opened the game on a 20-7 run and held a lead as big as 28-15. They made nine of their first 11 shots and 11 of their first 14. Michigan stormed back in large part to Indiana turnovers to cut the deficit to 36-32 on a 3-pointer by Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke right before the half, then tied the game at 40 early in the second half. The Hoosiers responded with an 11-0 run after that, but Michigan twice cut the lead to two points and trailed just 64-60 with 3:51 to play.

A 3-point play by junior guard Victor Oladipo got the Hoosiers some breathing room, however, and sophomore center Cody Zeller chased down a long offensive rebound that led to two free throws by freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, which gave the Hoosiers a 71-62 lead. Michigan made three 3-pointers in the final 39 seconds, but Ferrell also made six free throws in that time to put the game away.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Zeller re-inserted himself in the national Player of the Year discussion with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He was 8-for-10 from the field with four dunks, two of which came right after Michigan cut the deficit to 57-55. He also posted two critical blocks.

Senior forward Christian Watford also posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in one of his most physical performances. He was 4-for-7 from the field and also completely neutralized explosive Michigan freshman forward Glenn Robinson III. Robinson finished with just two points on 1-for-6 shooting and just four rebounds.

Junior guard Victor Oladipo had another stellar effort with 15 points, two assists and two steals, and also was part of the committee that forced Michigan’s Trey Burke to take 24 shots to get his 25 points. Oladipo was effectively used as a closer on Burke late in the game, and he was the most successful in keeping Burke out of the lane.

Ferrell was a perfect 8-for-8 from the line and also drilled two early 3-pointers to finish with 14 points and five assists. Senior guard Jordan Hulls knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 11 points. Freshman swingman Jeremy Hollowell also had his best performance in Big Ten play with three blocks in 10 minutes.

Burke still had a productive evening for Michigan with 25 points and eight assists. Junior guard Tim Hardaway had 18 points. Freshmen Nik Stauskas and Mitch McGary had 10 each.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: The Hoosiers consistently got to the rim throughout the game and hit outside shots early. They shot 52.0 percent from the field (26-for-50) and knocked down seven of their 18 3-point attempts, going 5-for-10 from beyond the arc in the first half. Against a Michigan team that fouls extremely little and came into the game ranking second in the nation in opponents free throw attempts to field goal attempts ratio, the Hoosiers got to the line 25 times and made 22 free throws. They won the rebounding battle 38-29 and even though they had fewer offensive rebounds than Michigan (nine to 12) the Hoosiers got 14 second-chance points to Michigan’s six.

Michigan got back into the game almost entirely because of turnovers. Indiana gave the ball away 16 times to Michigan’s eight and the Wolverines got 21 points off those turnovers. The Wolverines took 20 more shots than the Hoosiers in large part because of that, and were in the game even though they shot a significantly lower percentage (42.9 percent).

The Hoosiers cut down on turnovers from the first half to the second half, however, giving it away just five times in the second half. The Hoosiers’ rotation of defenders on Trey Burke also eventually took its toll. Ferrell defended him early and did a solid job, but Oladipo practically swallowed him up late. Burke made just three of his last nine field goal attempts in the game’s last nine minutes.

WHAT IT MEANS: This win answers any and all questions about the Hoosiers’ legitimacy, validates their preseason No. 1 ranking and will almost certainly earn it back for them when the polls come back Monday morning/afternoon. With their seventh win in school history over a No. 1 opponent, they have claimed a victory that will have implications all the way through March. The Hoosiers are now alone atop the Big Ten, and they have the edge in a series with Michigan that could very well determine who gets the No. 1 seed in the Indianapolis (Midwest) Region. Saturday’s game featured the highest combined ranking of opponents in Assembly Hall history and the Hoosiers’ victory could resonate as one of its most important regular season wins ever.


Tom Crean

“We were picked No. 1 back in April. We hadn’t done anything. So all of the sudden when you lose, it’s like, ‘Well, how did you lose? We picked you No. 1.’ That’s not what they play for. Those things are nice, but the playing to improve, the playing to be good enough to win a game like this, to be able to make adjustments, to be able to play through some mistakes and deal with some adversity and grow up in the games, that’s what’s most important. I don’t get the sense that our guys are locked into those rankings at all. When we weren’t No. 1 in mid-December, they know what was said. They could feel all of that. Were we any worse because we lost by two? We didn’t play that great that day. But it wasn’t like the sky was falling. We had to come in here and make sure that they understood that. That’s what’s most important. When your team loses sight of the most important thing as how they play together and how they work and improve together, then you have issues, and we don’t plan to have any issues.”

On Cody Zeller’s long rebound

“Cody’s loose ball rebound late on our end offensively was unbelievable,” Crean said. “He’ll have some SportsCenter dunks, but that loose-ball rebound, that’s why he’s such a special player.”

Victor Oladipo

On getting back to No. 1

“It’s a huge accomplishment. We started there, and we’ve had a hard road to get back here.”

“We played solid, We came together when things were getting tight. Yogi did a terrific job of stepping up and making free throws at the end. … Without everybody we couldn’t win. We know we needed everybody to step up and play today, and I think everybody did a good job of that.”

On Zeller’s dunks

“They were huge, That’s what he does. He makes big plays at big times. That’s why he’s the Big Fella. Hopefully he continues to keep making those big plays for us, because we need him.”

Cody Zeller

On his long rebound

“I was just trying to keep it alive and make a play down the stretch. I always pride myself on the hustle plays, all the little things that anyone can do. So it was a big play, I guess.”



  1. Yeah baby…#1 in the nation again!

    ‘Freshman swingman Jeremy Hollowell also had his best performance in Big Ten play with three blocks in 10 minutes.’ Yes this was JH’s coming out party – he outplayed Glenn Robinson Jr., and if he continues to improve his play then IU is going to have yet another reliable weapon that will make Indiana much more tougher on the glass and in the paint. Go IU!

  2. great game, whew!!!! played tough, played together, can still improve, let’s go hoosiers……

  3. ” and knocked down seven of their 18 3-point attempts, going 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.”

    What does that mean?

  4. Dumb Digger comment. DP was trying to make a case that the Big Ten was not the best basketball conference in the land. His argument? Well, he begins, Illinois was highly ranked earlier in the season but, now that conference play has begun, they’ve lost 6 games.

    Think about that, Digger.

  5. The most enjoyable part of the whole game was the crowd noise. Resulting in about 60% of what DV said I was not able to understand. Than and a win makes a big night.

  6. Whatever funk Hollowell was in after his little self imposed vaca has seemed to gone by the wayside…We are now starting to see signs of why some were calling this class the “movement”…JH is so athletic and seems to have that special instinct for the game that can’t be taught.

  7. IU earned this supreme subjective position in the mid-season point which is much more than having it bestowed upon the team when no game had been played yet. IU fields the best five basketball players on the court thru six in a rotation and that possibly could grown to seven of nine players. Now we will see if this team continues to develop their team and game where they become the best mental approach and recognition unit and best team coordinated play. They are already developing towards that level. All that is in the way is too much stuff getting in the way and believing the stuff people tell them about themselves.

    But they have played three very good games in a row against three good contests. Two more are up on the board, both teams who could take away this ranking on their home court next week.

  8. Here is the last 14s of the game log via
    0.0 – 2nd
    End Game
    14.0 – 2ndIND – Will Sheehey Defensive Rebound.
    14.0 – 2ndMICH – Trey Burke missed Three Point Jumper.

    Obviously Teddy Drama had seen enough. The Dipo dunk, an exclamation point on the night, was flat out missed….as were several insane over the backs over big Z & CWat, the obvious push-off by Burke on Dipo right in front of Teddy Drama, and 2 balls knocked out right in front of the other ref under the MI basket that went their way. The craziest call of the night might have been when Dipo carried Hardaway to the hoop with his arms wrapped around him from behind. It took 2 sec. And 2 steps to call it, then they allowed the hoop. The game in the paint was more like a MI / OSU football game.

  9. ” With their seventh win in school history over a No. 1 opponent, they have claimed a victory that will have implications all the way through March.”

    I had understood from ESPN that IU has played a number one seven times and won two of them.

    Also, what Chet asked about ”and knocked down seven of their 18 3-point attempts, going 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.”

    Great game!!

    Those unforced turnovers are driving me bananas but other than that this is sure a fun season!

  10. Rich, they’d definitely beat No. 1 more than twice. They beat Kentucky and Michigan in the last two years. There was Michigan State in 2001, Kentucky again in about 1992, North Carolina in the tournament in 1984, UNLV in the tournament in 1987. And I think there’s one more in there somewhere, but it’s definitely more than two.

  11. dustin,

    as long as you are being edited, a 20-7 lead is the same margin as 28-15. besides, we had a bigger lead than that.

  12. I think we will look back later and say,this was the week that was.3 terrific games in a row.We have showed flashes of brilliance earlier.The NC game,a half against Minnesota.It looks like CTC has gotten this team to gel.When we play like this ,with large contributions from many players,look out ,the sky is the limit.I’m going to sit back and bask in the joy of these 3 wins,and dream about what’s coming.

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