What The Hoosiers Need to Do To Beat Michigan


The Indiana Hoosiers are heading into a must win game when Michigan comes into Assembly Hall on Sunday. Earlier this week, Bo Ryan put on his annual coaching clinic to Tom Crean as the Hoosiers once again lost on the road. It wasn’t just the weather that was ugly up in Madison as Indiana looked like an NIT team.

The young team doesn’t have the road moxie to win outside of Bloomington, but that is alright as long as they can win at home. When Michigan comes to town it will be a true test for the Hoosiers. Although Joe Lundardi has IU at a 6th seed and Michigan not even making the tournament in his latest Bracketology breakdown, it is never a sure thing playing against a John Beilein coached team. (Pre-Season Joe had the Wolverines as a #7 seed)

So what does IU need to do to beat the Wolverines on Sunday?

Cut Down Turnovers

That sounds easy, but it hasn’t been for the Hoosiers this year. When a team gets on a run in it is usually because of good defense. Not always the case, but it has been for teams playing Indiana this year. Timely turnovers. This includes all Hoosiers, but Sunday I want to see Troy Williams stop turning over the rock.

Troy looks unstoppable at times, but other times he looks like a one armed pirate with the basketball. Against Wisconsin, Yogi Ferrell was trying to do too much. It was obvious his reasoning was the same as why Michael Jordan was called a ball hog early in his career. Both players just didn’t trust their teammates. Which leads me to my second point.

Yogi Ferrell Needs Help

IU can score with anybody in the country, but when their offense is really ticking it’s because other players are stepping up. The less Yogi dribbles the better. Yogi isn’t quite Chris Paul, but he is the college remix. When he is playing as a true point, IU is at it’s best, but if he is looking for his shot first, forgetaboutit.(Italian Mafia Voice)


This is the number one thing that IU has to do. I could write an encyclopedia entry on the team’s D this year.

The Hoosier’s defense has never been great under Crean, but this year has been a low point. Crean doesn’t coach the zone like a Coach Bohiem or Temple’s former coach, John Chaney.

Crean packs in the 2-3 because he doesn’t have a big guy. I get it, but the 2-3 zone isn’t that difficult to figure out. Unless you are one of Crean’s teams playing against it so maybe Tommy should try something else out? Crean doesn’t understand the 2-3 on either end.

The Hoosiers briefly used the 1-3-1 against Maryland, and it was just enough to throw the Terps off for a turnover. I haven’t seen it since. Crean uses the 2-3 for a few reasons, but one of them is to throw teams off with a mix of looks. I think Crean would have more luck with an extended 1-3-1 then with a 2-3 that teams see a lot through-out the year.

Indiana has to stop the ball. As my old man always says, ‘You can’t score without the ball,” yet the Hoosiers seem to only focus on their man on defense. If a player blows by for a layup, they seem to look at their man like “well, it wasn’t my guy.” Watch the ball and stop the ball. Help out on defense.

This is a must win for the Hoosiers, but it is also a game they SHOULD win. Michigan isn’t the same team it was last season when they were a few calls away from a second Final Four in as many years. The 2013 team that did go to the Final Four and lost in the Championship game against Louisville was a lot better, but so was IU.

This game won’t be as rememberable as it was when was these two teams met in 2013 with the Big Ten title on the line. Indiana pulled off a remarkable comeback down five with 45 seconds left in the game. Cody Zeller, who would be a senior this year, made some great plays late in that game. Michigan still had a chance to win at the buzzer, but the ball hit every part of the rim before falling off.

Let’s hope IU has some of that luck on Sunday and down the stretch of the season.

But we all know luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity….and defense. The Wolverines are 13-10 this season and 6-5 in the Big Ten. Indiana is 16-7 and 6-4 in the Big Ten. Four of Michigan’s players are from Indiana: Zak Irvin, Spike Albrecht, Andrew Dakich and Sean Lonergan. Andrew is the son of Former Indiana interim coach, Dan Dakich. 

Indiana vs Michigan is on CBS with a 1 pm tipoff on Sunday.