Michigan led for 34 of 40 minutes against Indiana on Saturday evening but went home empty-handed again. The Wolverines have seen this script before with backbreaking late losses to Iowa and Virginia, and once again failed to get over the hump against a quality opponent in a game that they had every opportunity to win.
The Wolverines only allowed four points after the final media timeout, but they didn’t score in the final five minutes of regulation before leaving the building with a 62-61 defeat. The Hoosiers stonewalled the Wolverines for eight consecutive possessions that illustrated the good, the bad and the ugly for this Michigan team. Those possessions were:
- An unguarded Terrance Williams 3-point attempt derived from a Hunter Dickinson post-up
- A single-coverage post-up look for Dickinson directly in front of the basket
- Good action to get Dickinson a post touch and a double before Kobe Bufkin passes up the open three and ends up dribbling into a much more difficult shot
- Michigan’s post-up action is stuffed, Dug McDaniel drives off of a ball reversal and gets blocked at the rim
- Jett Howard overdribbles on a ball screen action (and another) and then Terrance Williams tries to force the ball to Dickinson on the block against a switch, but against multiple defenders. Turnover.
- Michigan runs a pindown for Jett Howard, and he misses badly on the free-throw line jumper.
- Michigan dials up a ball screen look for Bufkin and Dickinson. There’s no lob threat for Dickinson and Jackson-Davis does a great job guarding two. Everyone stays home on shooters, Bufkin kicks it out to Jett Howard late, and he creates a tiny bit of space for a missed stepback three at the buzzer.
You can see how some of these actions compound down the stretch in a close game. There were plays where Michigan ran good stuff to get looks for its best players: Dickinson’s post-up shot, Howard’s pin down, but they didn’t score. Then you have problems that have been an issue all season — Kobe Bufkin (passing up) and Terrance Williams (missing) threes — that ramp up the pressure elsewhere. Once they cost U-M points, Indiana becomes more comfortable throwing bodies at Dickinson in the post. That’s how you end up with Williams throwing a post feed into two defenders.
It was a missed opportunity for a Michigan team running out of chances to miss opportunities. The loss moves the Wolverines to 14-11 (8-6) on the season, needing at least four more victories with four of the final six games on the road.