The Michigan Wolverine’s stunning 80-62 win over Indiana on Sunday afternoon could prove to be a pivotal turning point for this team. The win pushes the Wolverines to a 9-7 overall record and back to .500 in Big Ten play. More importantly, it finally gave Michigan a quality win on a schedule.
Head coach Juwan Howard discussed the big win in his postgame presser, and one of the main points that hit home was how well the Wolverines shot the ball from deep against the Hoosiers.
Howard was asked what the root cause for the change was and he said, “Our defense is really getting the job done for us. Defense sometimes creates the offense. But it’s great when you see the ball go through the net. It definitely builds confidence for the players and it also helps on the road because it takes some of the energy out of the crowd. We had some runs that were thrown at us and the beautiful part is that we were able to respond to those runs.”
Howard was asked specifically about the turnaround he’s seen in freshman forward Caleb Houstan, who has struggled mightily all season. Howard stated, “He’s always been rock solid. Every time, all the time he comes to practice and gets his work in watching film, learning the game, and staying dialed in mentally. It’s beautiful for a young man who’s wired that way. Special things are going to happening to him in this game of basketball. I admire being around him because I see so much growth in him.”
Houstan scored 19 points and hit a career-high five three-pointers.
Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson also talked about the long-term impacts of this win and what this Michigan team could become.
“I think this is starting to become the Michigan that everybody ranked us in the top 10 and chose us to win the Big Ten in the preseason,” Dickinson said. “I think this is the team that everybody expected when the season started. We’re young. We made young mistakes early on in the season. We had a couple hiccups. I think now we’re starting to finally play the Michigan basketball that coach Howard has instilled in us each and every day in practice.”
Michigan has now won two games in a row and has somehow climbed back up to No. 24 in the KenPom rankings, although it should be noted KenPom weighs preseason expectations quite heavily. Next up are the Northwestern Wildcats in Ann Arbor on Wednesday.