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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

COLUMN: Indiana men’s basketball hungover in loss to Michigan, Johnson led team’s energy

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There was no doubt Hoosier fans were looking forward to seeing Indiana men's basketball beating another high profile program like Michigan after Indiana’s win against Purdue Thursday night. 

Indiana had a tough time getting shots to fall from the start and struggled to build momentum. Indiana ended the game 25 for 55 from the field, shooting only 31.3% from 3-point land. Indiana’s starting five was nowhere to be found, lacking drive and emotion to carry their intensity from the win Thursday night. 

The exception was found in senior guard Xavier Johnson playing with a chip on his shoulders, showing why head coach Mike Woodson wanted him in Indiana. Johnson put up 14 points, along with six assists and six rebounds. 

Johnson produced the most energy for Indiana, showing his toughness and grittiness offensively to keep Indiana above water in the first half.  

Junior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis had a quiet night against the Wolverines with 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocks while struggling to find his touch around the rim. Michigan started to heavily enforce defensive pressure on Jackson-Davis, who is a big piece of Indiana’s offensive play this season. 

Indiana’s defensive pressure was non-existent, like its offense, showing no sense of urgency to stop anyone from Michigan. Indiana had a hard time closing out on shooters, rotating late on defensive switches and failing to hedge screens harder to disrupt Michigan’s penetration kicks for shooters. 

Indiana even had a handful simply containing Michigan’s starting sophomore center Hunter Dickinson with his poise and efficient offense throwing Indiana off. Dickinson ended with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists, dominating every big man Indiana threw at him. 

Michigan’s overall production Sunday afternoon was well-balanced, making efficient reads to get high quality shots. The 2-3 zone of Michigan served the team well, considering how much Indiana has struggled to play against zone defense this season.

Not only is zone defense a weakness for Indiana, but Jackson-Davis struggling to use his opposite hand to score could be a potential problem moving forward. Teams will continue to pick up on his weakness, finding every way to pick him apart to knock off his game. 

Imagine how dominant Jackson-Davis would be if he was able to create using both of his hands. It would be a nightmare for teams going forward, but Indiana still needs more scoring power to be a threat. 

Without a doubt, Michigan played tournament-level basketball, while Indiana earned their way right back out of the top 25 conversation. Indiana was too comfortable with the win over Purdue, leaving the team too hungover to put away Michigan and further extend its reign at home.  

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