Game MVP - D.J. White. There wasn't much doubt about who the best player was on the floor Tuesday night as White turned in the most dominating effort of his career. White finished with 21 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. The Hoosier big man has now recorded double-doubles in nine of his last 10 games, nearly equaling his career total of 10 entering the season. After the game, IU Coach Kelvin Sampson applauded not only White's effort, but the way the 6'9", 251-pounder has been able to transform his game from someone who liked to face the basket earlier in his career to a bona fide back-to-the-basket, low-post weapon. Michigan had no one who was able to contain White, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the premiere big men in the nation. White has now upped his rebounding average to 10.9/game, ranking him ninth nationally and third among players from major conference schools (Kansas State's Michael Beasley – 13.5; Washington's Jon Brockman – 11.4).
Biggest Surprise… White's 22 rebounds. White has either set or matched his career-high in rebounds in each of the last three games, but 22 rebounds is a total that's been eclipsed by only eight other individuals in IU basketball history – Walt Bellamy, Alan Henderson, Steve Downing, George McGinnis, Dick VanArsdale, Kent Benson, Archie Dees and Dick Neal. White did his damage in just 31 minutes, pulling down eight offensive rebounds and 14 on the defensive end. In the last two years Indiana has gone from a very mediocre rebounding team to a squad that ranks eighth nationally in rebounding margin, and White is the biggest reason why.
What I Found Most Impressive… Road victories are hard to come by in the Big Ten, and Indiana has a pair of them after one week of conference play. While Michigan and Iowa aren't to be confused with, say, Michigan State and Wisconsin, Indiana still managed to be into a pair of hostile environments and dominate their foes. In Iowa City, the Hoosiers took command in the second half and led by double digits for most of the way before a late barrage of Justin Johnson 3s made it closer than the game actually was, and in Ann Arbor the Hoosiers dominated the Wolverines throughout before settling for a 14-point margin. With the league appearing more top-heavy than it's been in some time, the Hoosiers will likely need to win at least five or six Big Ten road games to contend for a regular season championship, and they're now well on their way to doing that following their effort Tuesday night.
What I Found Most Concerning… It didn't come as a surprise, but sophomore point guard Armon Bassett spent the evening on the bench with bone chips in his ankle. His absence hasn't hurt the Hoosiers yet – they've won their first two Big Ten games on the road with him playing a combined three minutes – but even Sampson admitted Bassett needs to be on the floor for the Hoosiers to be as good as they can be this season. While IU has plenty of capable guards, Bassett is the closest thing it has to a true point guard on the roster. In his absence, Jordan Crawford has been pressed into the starting point guard role, and he's turned the ball over 10 times in the last two games, including seven against Michigan. In Crawford's defense, he's only a freshman and is better suited to split time between the point and the wing. But if Bassett is out for an extended period of time – which remains a possibility – Crawford may have to run the offense in his absence. Bassett has been extremely limited in practice since originally injuring the ankle Dec. 29, and the staff is hopeful they can get him back on the floor soon. But the bone chips aren't going away, so Bassett will be limited whether he's able to come back or not.
Turning Point: After Michigan cut the Hoosiers' lead to five a minute into the second half, the Hoosiers responded with an 18-6 run that put away the Wolverines. Eric Gordon got things started with a 25-foot 3-pointer followed by a step-back, fadeaway 17-footer to get the lead to 10. D.J. White then picked off a pass in the Wolverine backcourt and converted a conventional 3-point play to push the margin to 13. White added another putback basket minutes later, while Gordon ended the run with thunderous fastbreak dunk after a Crawford steal followed by a driving layup that gave the Hoosiers an 18-point lead, 55-37.
"Indiana is a good team. They do a good job executing their plays and recruiting good players. They came out and competed with all 15 of their guys today." – Michigan forward DeShawn Sims
"I knew the way we started the second half was going to be the key to the game. One of the things we did Sunday was watch the first 10 minutes of (the second half) Michigan's game with Purdue. I think Purdue was up 34-20, and then the game was tied at 38…that's why it was important to come out and play tough in the second half." – Kelvin Sampson
"(White) takes a lot of pride in (rebounding). He did something tonight that I've never had a kid do – sign the bubble twice…I'm proud of D.J. he's grown up a lot, and he's gotten tougher. Big kids that don't rebound are either non-aggressive or have no feel for it. Last year, I felt at times D.J. wasn't aggressive. That can be solved. He's just been really good." – Sampson
"I thought (Gordon's) decision making in the second half was a lot better. You sit him down and say, E.J., when it's 1-on-3 – the thing is he thinks he can score one on three. Most of the time he probably can." – Sampson
"I think our best basketball is ahead of us. We haven't been able to practice with all our guys. Like AJ, he was practicing with us for a while, and then for a while he wasn't practicing. Now he's back in there, and Armon is out, and now Jordan is playing solely at the point. He probably didn't play a great floor game tonight, bu the experience of being out there will help him for the next game." - Sampson
MICHIGAN: Upon Further Review
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