Losers of five in a row, many hoped a return to Bloomington would help alleviate some of the Hoosiers woes. With the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines coming to town, it looked like the perfect opportunity for Indiana to send a message and get back on track.
Those hopes were quickly dashed just minutes into the game.
As Indiana has done throughout the season, the Hoosiers got off to a painfully slow start, trailing Michigan 20-2 just nine minutes into the game. Michigan never looked back for the rest of the contest, cruising to an easy 69-46 victory. Indiana’s final point tally represents the fewest points a Hoosiers squad has scored in a game since the 2010 season.
So, what went wrong for the Hoosiers? Well, pretty much everything offensively. Indiana continued their shooting struggles, converting just 3 of their 20 three-point attempts along with just 11-of-20 from the free-throw line. The Hoosiers weren’t much better inside the arc, finishing just 13 of their 38 attempts. Their shooting problems have been a story for much of Indiana’s losing streak; Indiana has now converted just 13 of their previous 75 attempts from behind the arc, a stunningly bad 17% rate. The reality is simple: Indiana won’t be able to beat good teams shooting that poorly from 3-point range. If Indiana hopes to break this streak anytime soon, they’ll need to find some shooting touch from the perimeter.
Yet, not all of Indiana’s woes can be pinned on their lack of shooting.
As Archie Miller put it, “Our team right now is soft. And to be honest, we are scared. There’s nothing we’re doing well.”
Coach Miller hit the nail on the head, this team is playing soft and scared. The lack of confidence has become infectious for this team and the group is routinely taking the first punch, game after game. At some point, this team will need to step up and enforce their will on the opponent, not the other way around, a job that has proven easier said than done for the Hoosiers.
Indiana will now head on the road for their upcoming two games against Rutgers and Michigan State next week; this Indiana team currently lacks confidence and is being forced into hostile road environments which could prove disastrous. A Rutgers game that was once looked upon as a “should-win” on the schedule suddenly looks daunting for this struggling Hoosiers squad. Indiana has now run out of room for error on the season; a campaign that was once promising continues to spiral out of control.