Minnesota stuns Indiana, 77-73

WHAT HAPPENED: Minnesota dominated Indiana on the glass and claimed its first victory over a No. 1 team since 1989, beating the Hoosiers 77-73 in front of a crowd of 14,625 that stormed the Williams Arena court when the game ended.

Indiana led 34-30 at the break and was up by eight points with 15:42 to go in the second half, but Minnesota went on a 10-2 run — sparked by seven straight points by reserve center Elliott Eliason — to tie the game at 46. A 3-point play by Austin Hollins and a 3-pointer by Andre Hollins gave the Golden Gophers a 64-59 lead with 3:47 to go and the Hoosiers were forced to battle back the rest of the way. Minnesota twice held leads of seven points or more in the last 1:05 — thanks in large part to a foolish foul by Yogi Ferrell on a fast break that led to another 3-point play for Austin Hollins. Indiana’s Jordan Hulls hit a deep 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds to go to make it a one-possession game, but Andre Hollins hit a free throw and then stole an inbounds pass with the clock running out to clinch the game for Minnesota.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Minnesota sixth-year senior forward Trevor Mbakwe — who once upon a time was a Marquette freshman playing for Tom Crean — played his best game of the season against his old mentor. He posted 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 12 rebounds and effectively man-handled IU forwards Christian Watford and Cody Zeller who posted a combined 17 points and nine rebounds on 5-for-14 shooing between them. The 6-foot-8, 245-pounder controlled the paint and made it impossible for either to get much accomplished.

Andre Hollins scored 16 points and posted three assists. He was just 4-for-13 from the field, but hit several big shots when the Golden Gophers needed them.Austin Hollins was just 3-for-11 and 0-for-5 from three, but his eight points came at critical points. he posted five assists against one turnover and also had four offensive rebounds.

Two Minnesota reserves were also critical. Eliason scored all of his seven points in succession and also finished with five rebounds in just 14 minutes, giving the Golden Gophers needed relieve when Mbakwe came off the floor in foul trouble. Reserve guard Maverick Ahanmisi also hit two huge 3-pointers — which accounted for half of Minnesota’s total — and had three assists in 21 minutes.

Indiana senior guard Jordan Hulls drilled five 3-pointers and was 6-for-9 from the field for 17 points, but he was just 1-for-3 in the second half, struggling to get looks to shoot in large part because he had to handle the ball so much against Minnesota’s pressure. Junior guard Victor Oladipo had 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting and five rebounds. Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell had 10 points and five assists, but was 2-for-10 shooting and struggled to finish layups.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Minnesota controlled the glass in every way possible. The Golden Gophers won the rebounding battle 44-30. They grabbed 23 offensive rebounds to Indiana’s 20 defensive rebounds, meaning they kept possession after 53.5 percent of their missed shots. They scored 21 points off offensive rebounds to Indiana’s eight. They had 40 points in the paint to Indiana’s 22.

That paint domination had a ripple effect. Sophomore center Cody Zeller barely got anything accomplished for Indiana all night and senior forward Christian Watford was a virtual non-factor. Taking away two of what have become Indiana’s big three required a lot from Oladipo and more from the rest of the Hoosiers, and Hulls’ brilliant shooting effort wasn’t quite enough. Mbakwe only had one blocked shot, but he was still a presence every time the Hoosiers tried to go to the rim and Minnesota finished with a total of four blocks.

The Hoosiers struggled to get shots for Hulls when Minnesota was pressing, and even though they committed just 11 turnovers in the game, a few came at key times, including a pass by junior swingman Will Sheehey that went just wide of an open Hulls a possession after Minnesota took a 61-59 lead. The Golden Gophers would take a five-point advantage and Indiana would never be closer than three points the rest of the way.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Hoosiers had put themselves in a situation where they had a margin for error and could afford a road slip-up, but they would have assuredly rather had it happen at Ann Arbor in the season finale after wrapping up the Big Ten regular season title. Now, they could be in a fight to maintain it the rest of the way, and that rematch with Michigan might take on major significance. They could still clinch a share of the conference title with wins in their next two games — both at home against Iowa and Ohio State — but they certainly can’t afford a let down in those two games, and they would still need the win over Michigan to win the league outright. The Hoosiers haven’t done that since 1993, so that would certainly be an important goal.

The bottom line is that as it stands, the Hoosiers would still probably have the overall No. 1 seed, the top seed in the Midwest regional and the Big Ten title if the season ended today. But it doesn’t, and their margin for error to keep all of those things is now smaller.


Tom Crean

“There’s nothing more glaring than the rebounding. That was our biggest issue. Second-chance points, the fact that we got six offensive rebounds at half and got four in the second half. The fact that they had nine in the first half and got 19 in the second-half, that’s the difference. We weren’t nearly as good at the rebounding. They were shooting 20 percent from three. You think when you’re holding a team down like that, you’re going to be in alright shape, but we just weren’t physical enough on the glass. That’s the bottom line.”

On Trevor Mbakwe

“He’s a high-level, high-energy, tough guy that plays the game at a desperate level. Obviously, I’m biased, but no shame in that. He’s been in college a long time. He’s endured a lot. When we were at Marquette and signed him, I didn’t think we’d have him more than two, maybe three years tops. Then he got injured that first year, and then I left and he left, and one things leads to another and here he is. That’s a grown man that’s one of the best rebounders in this country and certainly in our league, and he was the toughest guy on the court tonight. We did not answer the bell there.”

“We weren’t physical enough. We didn’t create the first hit. There were just too many times that that shot went up and they were there before we were because we weren’t into their bodies. We picked a bad night to do that.”

On Zeller

“They were physical with him. Extremely physical with him. Cody’s certainly capable of a lot, and I think he’ll bounce back just fine.”

On preparing for Minnesota and whether or not they could get excited to play them after all of the Gophers’ losses

“We really didn’t spend much time on those games. We didn’t spend much time on those games. We focused on the Minnesota that was Top 10 in the country. They’re really good. They’ve got a great coach. I don’t know many people here have Hall-of-Fame votes, but when that time comes, he’ll get his share and he belongs in there. He’s a high-level coach. He’s got a really good team. They’ve had some tough nights, it’s a tough league. But they were great on that glass, they made big buckets.”

On Watford

“Christian wasn’t a a real factor in the game unfortunately. The fouls defintely brought that to a head. What I didn’t like was that Cody got that foul on Maurice Walker at the end of the half and all of the sudden it gives him two instead of one. It changes all kinds of dynamics going into the second half. Our post defense and things like that weren’t the issues, it was our lack of blocking out. … It can’t be 14-4 in the second half on second shots. It just can’t.”

Jordan Hulls

“We just didn’t rebound the basketball. We knew that Minnesota was a really good offensive rebounding team. We didn’t box out well enough. Guard rebounds, the guards didn’t get enough rebounds. We weren’t helping the bigs. That’s what killed us.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo

AUDIO: Tubby Smith


  1. In no way is Zeller ready for the NBA…no way, no how ready. I have been a proponent of the classic hook shot for Zeller to learn and employ but nothing ever happens except what we saw last night. Cody has difficulty getting his shot off against active, physical big men. I’d love for you to pose the question to the IU coaching staff about a hook shot. Think about this…Last night, how many time did Cody have his shot blocked or altered? Many times. IMO, he takes a while to get his shot off, he leans away from the hoop, doesn’t elevate, and doesn’t really have much of a low post ‘move’, plus he starts the ball way, way too low. A hook forces the shooter to keep the ball high. A running hook shot plays to Cody’s strengths…active, flowing, etc. and gives him a move to play off of for his normal repertoire of shots. A classic hook shot is nothing more than a layup technique exaggerated to emphasize the shooters strengths….again, Cody’s finese, movement, and athleticism. If Adbul-Jabbar is so lauded about his famous sky hook and the results it produced, I am incredulous as to why other big men don’t use it. It defies logic. If I were coaching someone with Zeller’s talent and potential but getting results, like last night, I’d certainly entertain this as a viable option. It would open up his offensive game, if not, what have you lost? My proof….Costello at MSU and Eliason of Minn both blocked Cody’s shots or altered them.

    Look at the film from last night and give me an argument why it wouldn’t work for him. I’d love to hear what the coaching staff might say.

  2. I thought Dakich was outstanding last night. Best analysis I’ve heard during a game all year long. It helps when you have an insiders understanding of IU and the conference.

    I agreed with every single thing he said all night, instead of the usual – “this clown didn’t do his homework before the game”

    I think Dakich got it right when he said that Cody got knocked back by Imbakwe’s physical play and was having a hard time adjusting. Not that he was intimidated, but just not ready early, and then couldn’t recover.

    Cody was the nail, Imbakwe the hammer, and before Cody knew what hit him he was already driven an inch deep into the court and couldn’t get out.

  3. I will post it again, Zeller has got to develop that 6-12 ft turnaround jump shot. He’s got to hit the quick turnaround or simply turn, face the hoop and shoot it. I’ve sort of kept stats on that, Once he started using it in the Big10, he is 5-25 except the Ohio State game which I think he was 6-8. This late into the season & teams having more film on him, he is simply to predictable, catch the ball & drive to the basket, & now it has digressed to the point he is simply trying to draw fouls. Last night may very well have sealed his fate for the NBA next year (which is sort of cool for us fans) of course he’s got some more conference games & the NCAA tourney to wipe his slate clean from last night. But, yea, I’ve not been impressed whatsoever with his play this year except for a cpl games.

  4. Wow, Larry, that’s a little harsh. Zeller has some deficiencies, but his positives still far outweigh his negatives. To say you have not been impressed with his play but for a few games this year suggests that you may have bought in to the pre-season hype and developed unrealistic expectations. He’s a sophomore with a huge target on his back, playing in a league where the refs allow him to be mugged on a regular basis. And yet I believe he is still one of the most efficient and consistent offensive players in college basketball.

  5. We are in good shape again after PSU beat MICH tonight. That takes MICH out of title contention. Plus the L happens, quite predictably, before their biggest game of the season in the MSU rematch. They’ll be pissed and have something to prove after they got blown out last time @ MSU & lost @ PSU tonight. Predict a W vs. MSU, which gives MSU 5 losses, amazingly, before WISC comes to MSU with 4 losses. Predict MSU @ home > WISC, giving them 5 Losses.

    All we need to do is hold serve at home folks. We’ll beat Iowa by 12+ & then comes OSU on Senior Night. Surely CWat shows up for that, wouldn’t you think? And as CWat goes, so goes IU. Plus Jordy, Elston, CWat & Dipo playing in their last home game??? OSU will make it close in the 1H, I predict, with revenge on their minds and emotion running super high in the Hall, but we win going away by 10.

    Then @ MICH we probably lose another close one & finish with 4 losses & the title in hand with the #1 seed in the Big 10 tourney, awaiting another matchup with MN on Fri. To prove who’s best.

    The above analysis is another example of “it’s not who you play but when you play ’em” sports psychology.

  6. So y’all are saying if Indiana manages to hold serve at home, they’ll win the Big Ten title? Are you saying last night’s loss was not the end of the world?

    I would be very concerned if IU lost to a Penn State level team. Michigan fans must be worried.

  7. For what it is worth, I thought MN looked like hell last night too. They didn’t look good at all, aside from a relentless pursuit of the basketball. Aside from the obvious ORB shellacking, I’m impressed by the stat that MN got 53.5% of their missed shots back in the form of a ORB. This is simply an unbelievable statistic. It’s truly a miracle we only lost by 4.

    Now onto another observation someone else made about over the back calls, or lack thereof. I do not remember one of those all night, which is just as absurd as the above stat. And at home or on a neutral court, the 3 Zeller knockdowns in the 1H would have been fouls for sure. At least Z tried, he just got manhandled….even by Elliason. That kid virtually matched Z’s performance, in just 14 min. I think Z responds in a big way vs. Iowa & OSU.

    As far as CWat…..he was just invisible. And I don’t want to hear about the 2 early fouls and all that (Crean). Truth is, MN was reeling and CWat just didn’t feel the need to show up. Had the game been on Sat. On CBS, I expect something else out of him.

    Yogi….still only 19 and a freshman. He still played good D, he just can’t close a layup. I was watching his technique and it needs to change. He kind of shorthands the ball near the hoop. watch him & you will see it. No follow through on short shots near the hole.

  8. I’ve got to check those little pills, whoooaaaa!…find myself agreeing with Geoff. Completely agree, was completely mesmerized and in tune wth Dakich’s analysis and laser beam on what won and lost the game; and, more important, what IU has to address…quickly!

  9. AZ, usually agree with you. Not tonight. No, this isn’t about Michigan, or MSU or even (though you are warnmer) Wisconsin.

    Last night was the rude awakening about US! We simply are not who we thought we were. Three of the teams who bet us, neat us the same exact way and have shown there is a road map. All three had the same virtue, a tough kid in the middle who could make ours uncomfortable and anxious. We also could not help him from the perimeter, so much so it has reduced his movement and it makes him more vulnerable to any Palooka defending the middle. That gets critical when our 6’9″ sniper has an off night or gets sentimental for an evening.

  10. Think about this, who’s doing the driving the lane to the basket?….Yogi “Beep! Beep!”, the Roadrunner.

  11. We’d have at least twice the losses without Yogi’s superb point guard play. I still say he’s one of the best freshman point guards in the country.. He’ll be the difference-maker at both absorbing opponent’s intense defensive pressure on the ball and cutting off lanes and points of attack on attempts at penetrations, creating our own defensive pressure, that was barely present on last year’s tournament team.

    And I find complete agreement with Seth Greenberg’s statements during halftime commentary/analysis a recent Hoosier game in which he proclaimed Yogi Ferrell as the dynamic piece of the puzzle that makes the Hoosiers a much more dangerous team than last year’s..Yogi makes us a Final Four team. And his level of poise is rare in a 3-year player taking on the level of responsibility he has been thrust as a freshman. Definitely the most undervalued point guard playing on a top-10 team.

    And recent entry from his Twitter page @SethonHoops:

    Seth Greenberg ‏@SethOnHoops Feb 26

    Hoosiers X factor Yogi Ferrell. Defensive efficiency 15th in the country. A year ago it was 147.His ability to defend at point of attack.

  12. I don’t pay attention to many on Establishment-SPN, but Seth Greenberg is one guy that knows his sh*t about college hoops.

  13. Often around here it’s hard to determine what is sarcasm and what is rational thought. Re Yogi; I think it’s way to early to call him superb. He is better than average, maybe much better. He is a major up-grade for the Hoosiers. By his Junior year he could be impossable to stop. But for now I think he needs to stop being Vic Jr. with his drives. When he releases the ball, it seems that the goal is to give Cody/CWat a dunk. It’s a strange shot but would fit in with Jordy’s and Cwat’s shot. They work but are not textbook.

    Another talking head yesterday said the first key to contol Indiana is take Jordy out of the game. After that than concentrate on Cody. I like the idea of a jump hook shot for Cody. Maybe next year.

  14. Geoff….the comment on the 26-60 RPI. Whoever it was was expressing concern that during the early NCAA tourney IU could be tripped up by such a team. Pretty sure that the players and Crean will be ready for any team during the tourney. If I remember the NM State game and the VCI game both fit these numbers and it was close…?

  15. I think Tubby took a gamble at home. Come out and foul the snot out of everyone, all the time, under the boards. It’s the old “they not gonna call all of them” gambit. If they call a foul complain that they’ve been letting that stuff go all night. If they don’t call any of them early, the pattern for the game is set.

    We’ve seen something similar in politics. Break all the laws all the time. They aren’t gonna come after you on everything and you then can say, “we’ve always done it this way so the precedent has been established”.

    Now, the down side is, if you have confident, experienced officials you’ll have three fouls apiece on all your big men 4 minutes into the game.

    But…it was Tubby’s only shot at a win as that’s the team he has. On that night, it was a great call.

  16. Where is Roth. Hulls can’t support this team alone. Last year Crean’s strategy was superb: sandbag half a game with Verdell running the point with his head down. Then ask for a miraculous injury. Then use Jordy as a secret weapon. This year is entropy, entropy and more entropy. (Also luck, luck, luck!) Still I have to hand it to him, he’s developed a pretty good formula for number of deflections based on the number of tickets sold and distance to the nearest bathroom. Crean is an absolute genius!

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