It sure was quite the roller coaster of a senior night at Assembly Hall, as the Hoosiers squeaked out a win against a surging Michigan Wolverine team, 75-73 in overtime. IU has also now clinched either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament next week in Chicago.
Indiana was able to come back being from down double digits, thanks to a lot better effort on the defensive end. On a night where IU didn’t shoot it particularly well from beyond the arc, the Hoosiers still found a way to get it done at home and come out with the win. Here’s what else I took away from Sunday’s game.
The overall energy was much better
The Iowa Hawkeyes stormed into Assembly Hall on Tuesday and dominated the Hoosiers in convincing fashion. The energy in the building was completely gone as the Hawkeyes quickly got a double-digit lead. The Hoosiers struggled to come back and find motivation to bring themselves back to life.
However on Sunday, IU found itself down double digits at home, but was much more motivated and therefore came back to win. Big shots down the stretch from guys such as Tamar Bates, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Miller Kopp, as well as Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson doing a better job on Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson, helped fuel Indiana’s comeback. However, IU’s consistency is going to have to improve in order to accomplish what the team wants to in March.
IU’s shot selection has to improve
There were many moments the Hoosiers took extremely questionable shots. Some of these shots felt rushed, as it seemed like an attempt to try and get the home crowd involved more. This was a huge reason Michigan was able to go on the kind of run that it did in the second half.
When IU came back, the players took their time in moving the ball around and turning good shots to great shots. The Hoosiers did a better job of mixing up their shots inside and outside the 3-point line, keeping the Wolverines on their heels defensively. But again, keeping that shot selection consistent will be key for the Hoosiers in March.
Race Thompson’s value to this team is very underrated
Sure, Jackson-Davis had an incredible 27 points in his final game at Assembly Hall, but don’t discount how good Race Thompson was on Sunday. Yeah sure, he missed some crucial free throws at the end that could have absolutely changed the game, but his play on both sides of the ball cannot be overlooked. Thompson ended his senior night with 16 points, but also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Thompson’s defense and ability to get the 50/50 balls is a huge reason Indiana has had the success it has had this year, and Sunday night was no different. Dickinson is a tough task for anyone in college basketball to guard, given his size and ability to shoot the 3-ball. When Thompson was switched onto him, he did a good job of holding his ground against the big guy. It’s no question that defense will be the difference for Indiana and its season when tournament season arrives.