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COLUMN: Slow starts need to become a thing of the past



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Senior forward Collin Hartman passes the ball against Duke on Wednesday evening in Simon Skodjt Assembly Hall. IU lost its first Big Ten Conference game of the season to Michigan Saturday afternoon. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

It took seven minutes and 32 seconds for IU to make their first field goal of the game against Michigan.

Seven minutes and 32 seconds.

The Hoosiers have endured bad stretches from time-to-time this season and had an abysmal second half against then-No. 22 Seton Hall. Nothing this season could’ve compared to the start that this team had on the road against Michigan, though.

Coming off a smart and efficient performance in a loss to No. 1 Duke, it seemed like the Hoosiers were improving under IU Coach Archie Miller, and more hope emerged for the remainder of the season.

That was cut quickly by Michigan, who asserted their dominance early on when IU struggled to get anything going offensively.

When they did finally make their first field goal of the game, IU relied heavily on junior forward Juwan Morgan to produce down low in the post, having five of the Hoosiers first six made shots.

He was the leading scorer for the Hoosiers at halftime with 12 points and ended being the only double-digit scorer for his team throughout the entire game with 24 points as well.

By the time he did make his two-point jumper, the Michigan lead was already at 16-4, forcing the Hoosiers to play from behind for pretty much the entirety of the game. That isn’t the formula for winning, especially with this season’s squad, who doesn’t have that one player who can carry a team back into games.

IU’s deficit grew to 16 at one point, and it was a game that felt like the lead was never in reach for them by the way they moved the ball on the offensive end.

The Hoosiers settled multiple times for long two-pointers, just inside of the three-point line in what is considered the worst shot in basketball, and had multiple quick possessions that ended with a quick three or an off-balance jump shot that never seemed to go in.

It didn’t pay off for them either.

Today’s performance and the one we saw Wednesday night against Duke was night and day. It looked like a completely different team stepped on the court in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the only player who managed to stay consistent throughout the week was IU’s leading scorer in Morgan.

Other than the Hoosier forward, nothing else could be deemed as a bright spot or success. It was just that bad of a performance. Once again, an IU opponent thrived off of the three-pointer with Michigan making 11 of them, and once again, IU had no answer.

Defensive rotations hampered IU in this one, like we’ve seen time and time again, and the result proved the same for the Hoosiers.

It was a loss, and a bad one, to open up Big Ten Conference play. The sad part is, if IU would’ve played any similarly to that of their performance against Duke, they would’ve beat this Michigan team by 20.

Gone were quality possessions and smart passes. Good shot selection followed out the door, too, and the Hoosiers have a lot of adjustments to make before their next game against Iowa on Monday.

The one adjustment above all, though, is fixing slow starts because it spells a recipe for disaster, no matter how talented your team is.

If not, you’re going to see the same exact performance every single time.

@michrami_

michrami@indiana.edu

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