IU’s relentless defense led to their offense. Crean wants Indiana to try to score 100 points a night, and the only way that’s possible is by running. IU forced just 12 turnovers, but UNC was clearly out of rhythm as a result of the pressure and raucous environment at Assembly Hall, which translated into quick, forced shots, defensive rebounds, quick outlet passes and easy buckets.
Zeller did a remarkable job of running the floor last night; he consistently beat every player on the Tar Heels into the paint on the offensive end and made a few spectacular catches before dunking. Former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg made the point that transition basketball “Is all about the first three steps,” and Cody’s power on those steps is magnificent.
IU was hitting outside jumpers early, but once they opened up the interior through their fast break and unselfish interior passing, even more easy looks opened up. Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehy went 6-for-9 from behind the 3-point line while Victor Oladipo took full advantage of the open floor style of play.
Perhaps Will Sheehy summed this win up best for the Hoosier faithful. “It’s a huge statement,” the junior forward told Inside the Hall. “I mean, you saw the score. We played hard, we played well, we played together.”
Oladipo added these words: “I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface. I feel like we can be so much better, I feel like we can accomplish so much more.”
With two 6-8 forwards and a 7-0 center yet to play this season and more time to settle in with one another, the sky is truly the limit with this Indiana Hoosiers team.
Michigan Wolverines (6-0):
Nick Stauskas. Get used to hearing this name for this season and many more to come, whether it’s at the college level or in the NBA.
This kid has deep range on his jump shot, the ability to carve through a defense and finish with slick spin on his shots, excellent awareness, playmaking abilities and, most importantly, the attitude to back it up. Michigan relied on its 6-6 freshman swingman off the bench last night, and he came through in a big way, shooting 6-for-10 from the field, 4-for-7 from distance (and I mean distance) within the flow of the offense.
“That’s probably the best shooter I’ve ever played with,” said teammate Trey Burke. “He shoots like a pro. You have to be honest.”
Stauskas has come off the bench and been a sparkplug so far, but who knows whether he’ll be inserted into the starting lineup at any point this season. “He likes me coming off the bench and he gives me the green light to shoot, so you can’t ask for anything more than that,” Stauskas said in regards to his comfort level through six games.
You can’t discuss the flow of the Wolverines offense without mentioning their leader, Trey Burke. Burke didn’t score a single point in the first half against the Wolfpack (he took just two shots), but the sophomore lead guard moved the ball from side to side against NC State’s zone (bad decision against Michigan), penetrated the gaps when the opportunity presented itself and hit the open man for either an open 3-point jumper or a layup around the hoop.
Burke does a very good job of letting the game come to him and not forcing the issue; he can burn you as a scorer, but it’s clear he understands the value of getting his team going before himself, hence his 10 first-half assists last night. Burke scored all 18 of his points in the second half.
“I was getting deep into the paint and guys were kind of shading to the perimeter,” said Burke. “That’s when I can get to the rack or get a guy up and drop it off.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled from beyond the arc (1-for-9), but it wasn’t like he was taking bad shots. I noticed that his release point on his jumper seemed to be changing from shot to shot last night, which certainly plays a role in consistency. Hardaway had some good reads on drives to the rim and overall played within the flow of the offense. It seems as though he’s been programmed to be this teams shooting guard instead of facilitating the offense, the result of Burke coming into his own and welcoming new playmakers to the team.
As Rob Dauster pointed out in his recap for NBC’s College Basketball Talk, coach John Beilein’s team is especially dangerous in their 1-3-1 zone defense schemes. Stauskas, Hardaway and Glen Robinson III, who had a quiet yet effective 11-point 7-rebound performance last night, will thrive in this defense thanks to their length, mobility and instincts on the perimeter.
Some highlights from around the NBA: