Upon Further Review: Michigan

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 76-61 win over Michigan, IU's 11th straight win over the Wolverines and their 13th straight win at Assembly Hall dating back to last season. We name the game's MVP, look at what were some of the most concerning and surprising things to come out of the win, and hear what the players and coaches had to say afterwards...

Game MVP - Lance Stemler. The junior forward had fallen on hard times as of late. Not only had he been struggling with his shot – he was just 7-of-26 from 3-point range during Big Ten play entering the Michigan game – he had also seen his playing time dip as well thanks to some struggles and mismatches on the defensive end. But he was critical on both ends of the floor in the Hoosiers' win Saturday. Stemler hit a pair of 3-pointers in the game's opening two minutes to help IU open an 11-0 lead, a start that ultimately was too much for Michigan to overcome. After appearing hesitant to shoot in recent games, he was quick to pull the trigger each time he found himself with a clean look Saturday. Defensively, he held his own against a very long and athletic Wolverine front line. He was often matched up against Brent Petway who finished with only three points and four rebounds in 20 minutes before fouling out.

Biggest Surprise… Indiana completely neutralized Michigan's edge in length and athleticism. On the offensive glass, IU had nine offensive rebounds compared to Michigan's seven. Indiana also had five blocks compared to Michigan's three, and IU outscored the Wolverines in fastbreak points 10-6. Courtney Sims, Brent Petway and Ekpe Udoh comprise one of the Big Ten's biggest and most athletic frontlines, while 6-6 wings Ronald Coleman and Lester Abram are also excellent athletes with a decided size advantage over their men. But Coach Tommy Amaker's squad was unable to take advantage of IU in any of those categories – in fact, Indiana set the tone in each one. Afterwards, Stemler said the Hoosiers' strategy was to keep a body on the Wolverines to neutralize that athleticism – particularly on the glass – and it worked perfectly.

What I Found Most Impressive… The effort IU got from Mike White in the closing minutes. White didn't play for the game's first 32 minutes, but contributed six points, two rebounds, two blocks and a steal while playing the final eight minutes down the stretch. While Indiana did hold a 20-point lead at one point in the second half and eventually won by 15, White's contributions didn't come during mop-up minutes – when he entered Michigan had cut IU's lead to 12, and they'd eventually get within eight. But White immediately scored on a putback of his own miss, and moments later had a blocked shot that led to some more points for the Hoosiers.

What I Found Most Concerning… Michigan wound up with three players fouling out, but Indiana landed itself in some foul trouble of its own that could have played a big role in the game's outcome. The two players that Indiana needs on the floor the most – point guard Earl Calloway and D.J. White – both had to go to the bench for periods of times with foul trouble. For Calloway it was at the close of the first half when he picked up his third foul with 5:39 remaining. As much havoc as Calloway can create on the defensive end, he still has a tendency to pick up careless fouls at times when he's on the brink of getting into the foul trouble, and that happened Saturday. White, meanwhile, has to be on the floor for Indiana to have a legitimate inside presence, but he picked up his fourth foul with 12:22 remaining and had to go to the bench for nearly eight minutes. Their absences didn't have a significant impact on the game's outcome, but both need to do a better job of avoiding foul trouble if Indiana is going to finish strong during the regular season.

Turning Point: Indiana raced to an 11-0 lead in the game's first 1:46 and Michigan never recovered. The Hoosiers hit their first four shots – including a trio of 3-pointers – while Michigan missed its first three shots to fall into the early hole. Michigan was able to get the lead to single digits in both halves, but IU's quick start set the tone early and forced Michigan to fight an uphill battle the rest of the way.

Quotable: "We did a great job of monstering, post doubling. Offensively, great spacing, moved the ball, passed the ball, made shots. I can't think of one area we weren't pretty good in." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson

"We just wanted to come out and attack as a team. We thought to win the first four minutes was critical." – Lance Stemler

"The last couple of games they had given up a lot of dribble penetration, especially on the road, so I just tried to take advantage of that." – Armon Bassett

"There are some things in basketball that are correctable. And there are some things in basketball you try your best and sometimes you can't overcome it. Our performance the other night was what it was. Two days earlier we're great against Connecticut and we're great tonight. So I don't sit around and analyze them. I say we can be better than that." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson

"Michigan's post guys, Sims and Petway, they aren't going go to the 3-point line. Logistically, it's easier to monster a team that has two true post guys." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"I threw X (Xavier) in there and I think he was the most surprised person in the gym when I snatched him off the bench. He just came in and looked like a ball of fire that first 30 seconds. Nice pass to the Michigan kid, though. Hit him right in the hands, led him, and the kid finished well too…after that pass, I said are you ready now, or do you need to throw a couple more passes toward the guys in blue? We're wearing white, son." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson

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