The then ranked No. 7 Hoosiers defeated No. 13 Michigan State 75-70. Since that game, both teams have moved up in the rankings. IU is sitting at No. 3 (behind No. 2 Kansas and No. 1 Michigan) and MSU is No. 9.
IU didn't play a perfect game but they did just enough to win against a very solid Spartan team. There are a number of gripes I have about this game, but to start off this tough stretch with a win is nothing to complain about.
Here are the positives to take away from this game:
- OL-A-DIPO! *clap, clap, clapclapclap*. Victor Oladipo had an amazing game. He was a force to be reckoned with on defense and completely took any one he was defending out of their game. Early in the game he had a steal that turned into a big dunk and you just knew it was going to be a great day for him. Everything he has done this season is incredible. He has shown an exceptional amount of improvement over the past three years and his NBA draft stock has to be sky rocketing.
- IU played IU's game. We have seen a number of teams slow down the Hoosiers and get them completly off their game (Butler, Wisconsin). But against MSU IU was able to push the pace and get out in run quite a bit. Most of this was the result of Oladipo, but IU's offense never seemed to come to a complete halt. They still need to learn how to more effectively dictate pace to another team, but that will develop as the Big Ten season drags on.
Here are a few negatives from Sunday:
- Where in the world is Cody Zeller? He's had a few bad games in a row now, but its not just the bad statistics…it's more of how Zeller is playing in these games. He has a tendency to shrink away from physical play, which is simply unacceptable for a center who wants to play in the NBA (ESPN is currently debating whether Zeller or Oladipo is a better draft prospect). He has settled for far too many floaters, hook shots, and fade away jumpers to be taken seriously as a dominant center. He HAS to body up his defender and really muscle his way into the paint. He should be able to back down a defender, use a drop step and dunk the ball, all while drawing a foul. Simply put, Zeller needs to man up.
- Michigan State just picked off another IU pass. That's a joke, but not far from the truth. IU's passing was sloppy and lazy. MSU had 11 steals and the vast majority of them were picked passes. At times it looked like Cam Coffman at the end of a close football game with all the interceptions being thrown. IU was sharp pretty much every where else, but not when it came to transition passes.
- Michigan State hit far too many three pointers. IU needs to work on defending the three-point line, especially off a pick. Coming into the game, MSU was connecting on 33 percent of its three pointers but on Sunday they hit nearly 48 percent of those shots. This included 3-of-4 from center Adrien Payne (Zeller's man) who had attempted just four three's all season. IU also gave up a lot of easy baskets deep in the paint. Most came from passes from the outside that should have been deflected. Zeller and Christian Watford had trouble defending the passing lanes down low and it led to too many easy baskets.
Once again, it was a good win and IU is in a great position going forward. The Hoosiers will be at Purdue tomorrow and assuming they win, it will set up a showdown against No. 1 Michigan on Saturday.
This is a big week for IU because the Wolverines are a major rival, and it's a chance to take down the the top team in the nation (which if past weeks are any indication, it will probably happen).
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