Michigan Men's Basketball Obliterates Indiana, What it Means
Let's Start With The Facts
Holy cow, I am not sure that I have ever seen Michigan dismantle a decent Big 10 team like they dismantled Indiana last night.
Yes, Indiana's best player and several other good players were hurt, but I think the smart money all felt that Indiana would still beat the Wolverines.
Didn't happen, not even close, as our beloved Wolverines rolled to a 90-60 rout of the Hoosiers.
But let's not get too crazy, that was about as great an offensive performance as Michigan will ever produce. We were hitting EVERYTHING.
What Does The Indiana Win Mean?
The good news, Beilein's best teams weren't great defensive teams (he is known as an offensive genius).
The bad news, the good teams were capable of getting stops when they needed them.
This season, the offensive production has been consistent with Beilein's best teams while the defense has statistically remained the worst of any Beilein coached team since his arrival at Michigan. Michigan's adjusted defensive efficiency stands at 102.8 which is still awful.
But, and I cannot believe I am saying this, we don't need to be great on defense, we need to win more possessions on offense than we lose on defense. As I just mentioned, Michigan's offense is just a tick below where it was in the year that we reached the NCAA final.
They have been better the last three games, particularly at the 4 with our swiss army knife DJ Wilson (heck, last night, DJ was even a credible rim-protector). Michigan still allowed Indiana to shoot 54 % (which is awful but, believe it or not, it was a major improvement) but they had 16 steals and turned those turnovers into points. Michigan also deployed Muhammad Ali Abdur Rahkman to hound the most dangerous opposing player (a role Zak Irvin used to fill).
I feel like it is about effort and aggressiveness on the defensive end (Michigan is never going to be a great defensive team) combined with a more attacking style from the PG position. Derrick Walton Jr. has always been a confounding player, I can remember thinking 100 times that he had finally turned a corner only to see him revert back to extremely passive play.
Look, there has been a lot of improvement and a lot more effort over the last four games, so let's hope that things continue to trend in the right direction. The offense is going to be good (to great) on most nights, a defense that generates steals and blocks (and which doesn't stink at rebounding) could get us into the tournament and maybe to the Sweet 16.
Sunday we play at Izzo's place (1 p.m. CBS) and we have been mostly bad on the road in the Big 10, so let's see if this new found intensity travels.