Have you ever had to walk down an icy flight of stairs? You’re cautiously trying to survive while picturing your impending doom with every step you take?
That’s what it felt like to watch the second half of that Michigan game when Indiana started to make their run. If you’ve watched more than one U-M game this season, you unfortunately saw a collapse like this coming a mile away.
The Wolverines had more turnovers (10) than field goals (eight) in that second half, as Michigan was outscored 31-9 in the final 11 minutes of the game before losing to Indiana, 74-69.
Here are a few takeaways from that depressing game
A microcosm for Michigan’s season
That’s a word that gets thrown around too casually by sportswriters lately, but this game was a perfect representation of how the season has gone for Michigan.
The first half started out fantastic, as the Wolverines went on a 15-4 run and looked like they were going to cruise to victory. They stayed patient, moved the ball well and were able to thrive in transition off a few Indiana turnovers.
Michigan got its All-Big Ten big man involved early, with Hunter Dickinson scoring 13 quick points in the first half to get back into a rhythm after missing the Ohio State game with a stomach bug.
One of the few bright spots of this game was Moussa Diabate, Michigan’s other important big man, taking it himself in transition, making sound decisions and running like a gazelle on the break. This dunk would have blown the roof off of the Crisler Center.
MOUSSA DIABATE WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE pic.twitter.com/g8hgZEMnIU— The Dylan & Dylan Show (@DylanDylanShow) March 10, 2022
Combine those transition buckets with quality takes to the rim from DeVante’ Jones, Frankie Collins and Brandon Johns Jr., and the offense came easy for the Wolverines in that first half.
After Indiana got off to a great start to kick off the second half, Caleb Houstan made his only baskets off the game, as his three three-pointers over a four-and-a-half minute stretch helped counteract the hot Hoosier start, with an Eli Brooks layup giving the Wolverines a 60-43.
That’s when the wheels came off.
When the game was at it’s most intense, we saw Michigan crater, with the Wolverines turning the ball over so much while not being able to match Indiana’s impressive offensive output. You have to give credit to head coach Mike Woodson and the Indiana defense, as they smothered the Wolverines and were able to get so many easy buckets to kickstart their big second half run.
The Wolverines had no answer for Trayce Jackson-Davis, as the All-Big Ten second team forward lead the Hoosiers with 24 points, eight rebounds and too many big plays to count.
Indiana needed this win to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and Michigan looked fairly complacent after gaining its big lead.
When looking for the word “inconsistent” in the encyclopedia, it would be accurate to just put the team photo in the entry. One half, this team looks like it can win the Big Ten. The next half, well, you get the picture.
Where do we go from here
As our Dan Plocher has been covering the last few weeks, due to the Wolverines earning some big wins over Purdue, Rutgers and Ohio State recently, they likely have their spot in the NCAA Tournament secured. But this ugly collapse certainly doesn’t help their case.
It’s hard to be hopeful about Michigan’s tournament chances after a performance like that, but it has enough big conference wins for a solid tournament resume given the circumstances. It also significantly helps that the bubble is relatively weak this season.
Nevertheless, the Wolverine fateful will be clutching their pearls and praying to whatever higher power they believe in on Selection Sunday. If we’ve learned anything about the 2021-22 Michigan men’s basketball team, it’s to expect the unexpected.