Deepak is a writer for the Big Ten microsite of RTC. Follow him on Twitter for more about B1G hoops at @dee_b1g.
If you tuned into ESPN’s Sportscenter last night or any sports channel for that matter, you would have seen “the roll” that gave Indiana its first outright Big Ten title in 20 years. After two months of arguably the most competitive regular season in recent history, Jordan Morgan’s tip-in rolled off the rim and the Hoosiers beat the Wolverines 72-71 to win the conference crown and probably lock up a #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. The game will be remembered for the final play and Trey Burke’s missed free throw on the previous front end of a one-and-one, but the first 39 minutes featured two competitive teams that had scouted each other effectively and showed that they were ready for postseason basketball. The following are three key thoughts about one of the best games of the season.
- Once again, the Hoosiers forced Burke to beat them with his jumper: After two games against Burke, the Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo has essentially written the book about how to make Burke one-dimensional — take away his dribble penetration and make him beat you with his jumper. Burke has averaged about 14 field goal attempts throughout the season but in both games against Indiana, he has taken 24 and 20 shots, respectively. Sure, Burke averaged 22.5 PPG in those two but he seems to be out of rhythm when he can’t drive to the basket to get his wings — Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas — active and involved in the offense. Oladipo and even Yogi Ferrell during certain possessions played excellent defense against the pick-and-roll, challenging Burke to drain shots from beyond the arc. John Beilein’s offense needs the wings to be more involved, but watching Burke hoist long-range shots is not part of the plan. It isn’t like the talented point guard is a ballhog, but Oladipo’s defense on Sunday never let him get into his normal rhythm because he took almost twice the number of shots than he usually does in a game. Read the rest of this entry »