Indiana's unique defense frustrates Michigan

The Hoosiers used a defensive gameplan Michigan coach John Beilein had never seen before.

Many will talk about the big offensive numbers from Indiana's 63-52 upset win over No. 10 Michigan on Sunday. They'll mention Yogi Ferrell's seven 3-pointers and 27 points, Noah Vonleh's double-double, and Evan Gordon's big baskets at big times.

And while all of those things were important in Indiana securing another win that could help it make the NCAA Tournament next month, it was what the Hoosiers' did on the other end that was more responsible for the victory.

The Hoosiers (14-8, 4-5 Big Ten) used a defensive game plan Michigan wasn't ready for and had never seen before. They put Ferrell on leading scorer Nik Stauskas, and he worked to keep the ball out of the shooter's hands. They chose to put Will Sheehey on Michigan's center -- either Jordan Morgan or Jon Horford -- so the Hoosiers could switch every ball screen. And they put Noah Vonleh on Glenn Robinson III to limit his involvement inside and make him a jump shooter.

The result was exactly what Indiana coach Tom Crean and his staff had hoped it'd be. Michigan shot just 40 percent from the field, made only three 3-pointers, and Stauskas was limited to only six points on six shot attempts. He had been averaging better than 16 points per game. Robinson scored only nine points on nine shots.

"Their defensive game plan was outstanding," Michigan coach John Beilein said afterward. "We hadn't seen anything like it since I've been here. We ended up trying to adjust on the fly, and we've got to learn from it.

"They had different switches and they switched different screens than people normally do. What a great job by Indiana today."

Beilein said other teams have tried to take Stauskas out of the game in a similar way Indiana did on Sunday with a quick guy making his touches tough. But what the Wolverines hadn't seen was what Crean and the Hoosiers did with Sheehey guarding Morgan and Horford.

"We haven't seen when they put our primary screener with a switch guy, with Sheehey," Beilein said. "That's what changed a lot of things. Drawing that up in practice and in the huddle is two different things."

Morgan and Horford had been a big part of Michigan's success to this point in the season, but they were virtual non-factors for most of the game. Morgan had five points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes, and Horford was scoreless with zero rebounds in eight minutes.

Michigan had made at least one 3-pointer in every half of basketball this season. The Wolverines went without one in the first half on Sunday.

"We didn't get many good shots today," Beilein said. "They played really good defense, part plan, and part long, athletic kids that were very quick on us. There were a couple of shots we would like to have back. But I didn't see many easy ones today. They did a great job defensively."


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