Posted March 10, 2013

Indiana Rallies Late, Wins At Michigan To Take Big Ten Title

March Madness, NCAA Tournament


(h/t @TheBigLead)

Let’s get the big-picture talking points out of the way, so we can discuss the juicy stuff:

1) Indiana rallied in the final minute from a five-point deficit to beat Michigan, 72-71, in Ann Arbor and claimed the solo Big Ten championship.

2) Indiana took a massive step toward landing the 1-seed in the Midwest (Indianapolis) regional, which would be a huge advantage for the Hoosiers.

3) Michigan gacked the game away by missing multiple free throws down the stretch (including two front-ends of one-and-ones), and its inability to rebound was a huge factor, as well.

OK, we good? Good.

Now for the major in-game talking point.

With 0:52 left and Indiana down by four, Christian Watford fouled Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III from behind on a breakaway. Watford chopped down on Robinson’s shooting arm with his right hand, ostensibly making a play on the ball (even though he wasn’t all that close to the ball). Watford’s left arm shoved Robinson in the middle of the back.

Per the NCAA basketball rule book, this should have been called a Flagrant 1 foul, which would have given Michigan two foul shots and possession. See Rule 4, Section 29, Article 2c (Here’s a link to the rulebook):

“A flagrant 1 personal foul shall be a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but not based solely on the severity of the act. Examples include, but are not limited to …

3. Pushing or holding a player from behind to prevent a score

Now look, the Wolverines clearly could have (and should have) won the game anyway, as Robinson missed one of the two free throws and Michigan clanked the front ends of two one-and-ones after that to aid Indiana’s comeback. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a poor (non)call by the refs, or had no impact at all on the outcome since Michigan “should have won anyway” but “choked.” That extra possession they didn’t get had huge value at that point and obviously would have changed the way the rest of the game played out. Now maybe Michigan simply would have missed even more free throws, or thrown the ball away or whatever, but to say the play didn’t matter is ridiculous.

So, Indiana was fortunate in the final minute, but you also have to be in position to be fortunate and make plays to cash that good fortune in. The Hoosiers did as Cody Zeller came through repeatedly down the stretch before they watched a Michigan putback roll tantalizingly around and off the rim in the final seconds. Thus, IU is the Big Ten champion. A solo championship in that league this season is a tremendous accomplishment. Today’s game was the latest evidence of the margin for error when the best teams squared off.

In another week, today’s win could be an even bigger development. Hello, Indianapolis? And hello, Atlanta?

29 comments
RJW22
RJW22

Wow, so many childish IU fans.  Go back and read the article again.  The writer gives Indiana plenty of credit, but any non-IU fan watching that game was fully expecting the refs to call the intentional, which could have been the dagger. 

DarranMosley
DarranMosley

I am a born and bred Hoosier fan but I try to be fair when assessing a game. That being said I do agree that the refs could have called that a flagrant. I think the word "push" is a bit much. I think Watford has his hand in his back but his elbow were pretty much extended to the point where "push" is a strong term. It was a hard foul. However considering they did not call a flagrant when McGary 100% ran into Cody  (and he fell) on purpose when they were coming back down the court, I think it was a consistent call withing the flow of the game. 

ddemuth16
ddemuth16

This guy really does not like IU. This is at least the second time he has written an article that IU did not win the game the other team lost it. Time for SI to give this guy the boot!

dak168
dak168

Just cancelled my SI subscription.  Never seen such an idiotic comment from a "serious" sports journalist.  You can argue all day about whether the foul was intentional or not, but it was definitely NOT the major "in-game talking point."  Maybe UM's missed free throws, ya think?  Maybe Zeller's 6 final points, ya think?  So many bad calls in that game (and EVERY B1G game) on both sides--it is ridiculous to focus on this---AND without having the guts to post a replay.  No other reporter on this game (ESPN, CBS Sports, NYTimes even mentioned it)--not even the freakin' Detroit Free Press, for god's sake.  This is just Bush League reporting at its worst.

HotRod
HotRod

Somebody call the "Wambulence" for our little cry baby Andy. 

PatrickPain
PatrickPain

Bottom line is that Michigan choked! They couldnt execute a simple layup under pressure, with all the time remaining those players shoulfd have set themselves and then put the layup in. Then when Zeller got the ball why didn't Michigan foul? There was time. Hats off to I.U. for keeping their composer. Where is the Hoosiers credit for the comeback?!

Beckirichards@yahoo.com
Beckirichards@yahoo.com

Have you never seen a Big Ten game before?   They are notoriously bad as far as refs are concerned.  Not so much the actual calls most of the time, but the fact they know and then "give" the other team a "make-up" call.  There was a flagrant committed on Zeller by the big ape on their team and it wasn't called.


OlavKrigolson
OlavKrigolson

I never thought a sports writer who I used to respect would come across as a Michigan cry baby. Games are decided not by a single place or no call. There were plenty of times throughout that game when Michigan gained advantage off of a no call, which if it had of been called, would have resulted in Indiana not being down in that situation and a win anyways. The bottom line is Michigan had numerous chances to score the ball at the end and they simply could not get it done.

dcorteziu
dcorteziu

Come on, Andy. You write for SI. You are better than this. And by the way, where is your think piece on the first IU-UM game, where Robinson punched Hulls in the face with a closed fist and nothing was called at all?

Crapahoola
Crapahoola

"That extra possession they didn’t get had huge value at that point and obviously would have changed the way the rest of the game played out. Now maybe Michigan simply would have missed even more free throws, or thrown the ball away or whatever, but to say the play didn’t matter is ridiculous."  

Didn't say it didn't matter, just saying it didn't effect the outcome.

metalhead65
metalhead65

the bottom line is the Hoosiers won the game and the Big 10 championship, it was a good close hard fought game and michigan having home court had the advantage but IU overcame it and won this should have sealed them as a #1 seed in tourney regardless of what happens in the stupid conference tourney. I say stupid because it makes no sense to me other than the money to have these. you play all season to prove who is the best team then say basically it means nothing so let's have a tourney to decide. so if 1 of the teams IU has beaten twice wins the tourney they get to say they are big ten champions to? they can if they want but we know the truth.

AaronGodfrey
AaronGodfrey

this author is unreal....he's gonna focus on one "borderline non-call"....because i'm SURE IU didn't have any calls go against them during the other 39 minutes of the game...give Indiana credit for pulling it out and move along

GSOFAN
GSOFAN

If "pushing . . . from the back" is the best argument in favor of Watford being called for a Flagrant 1, then the officials probably got it right (and properly did NOT insert themselves into the outcome).  Glockner should check the replay.

BADray
BADray

I stopped taking the author seriously when he said "Michigan gacked the game away".  Who the h3LL taught him how to write?

RyanMinniear
RyanMinniear

If you go back and watch, you can see Robison turn his head to look behind him while also slowing down. Watford made a play on the ball and did not hit Robinson above the shoulders. Basketball at the pro and college level are both getting too soft where players cannot make good, hard fouls.

jbrinks
jbrinks

It was a terrible call that should have been a clear path. The commentators knew it and said so in addition to most media outlets. Only ones who don't see it are the Hoosier stans commenting on this article. 

GunnarLovebone
GunnarLovebone

Glockner is sounding like a shill for Michigan. I don't think they need any more cheerleaders Andy, I believe Michigan will be just fine.  That wasn't an intentional foul, but you can cry as you want about it just to make yourself all about drama.Wolverines had a chance to put this away and Indiana took it from them, it's as easy as that.  Let the Madness begin and I h0pe all Big Ten teams go far.

just win baby
just win baby

well i saw watford's hand but i thought it was hardly a push.  he went for the chop swipe causing the miss.  his hand did not cause the miss.  glad you are the authority on such things

JuanH
JuanH

I've seen my grandma foul harder than that. Stupid article by a stupid writer, making it seem like the game depended on the foul.

gwe59
gwe59

One thing I learned years ago - there's no such thing as a well-officiated basketball game.  At any level.  I didn't see this game, but I knew before looking that many of the comments would be about the dozen other calls that went the other team's way.  That's always how it goes with this sport.  Good teams usually overcome the refs.  In one-and-done setting, of course, that may not happen in a given game.  But that's March Madness.        

Jordanlf3208
Jordanlf3208

@nature boy ric f. Seriously? How about show the 11 or 12 times Zeller got mobbed going up for a shot, Michigan got all of the calls and Indiana pulled it out also the foul hit his arm right by the ball and he didn't make contact with the back until Robinson was going up for the shot, it was a good foul. Not like your dumpy center that pushed down Zeller like a punk

dcanderson345
dcanderson345

it's a shame that you boil this game down to the "juicy stuff."  there were plenty of questionable calls throughout the entire game, but you want to focus on the one that happened late in the game.  it's like blaming the kicker for missing a last second field goal, ignoring what happened prior to that.  there were plenty of opportunities for both teams to win this game long before and long after that call.  michigan should have made their free throws.  indiana blew a 10-point lead the first half because of bad substitutions.  michigan missed a lot of open shots.  indiana grossly out rebounded michigan.  i could go on and on.  the watford call was one of many game-changing factors that happened across all 40 minutes.  that call did not decide the game, the timing just put it in the spotlight   

nature boy ric f.
nature boy ric f.

Why don't you post a video that actually shows the controversial foul by Watford on Robinson?  Having watched it several times I have to say that the push on the back was minimal to nonexistant.  Obviously the refs came to the same conclusion having reviewed the play.  His hand is on his back but you can't say to a certainty that there was a push hence the lack of a flagrant call. 

dak168
dak168

@RJW22   I am an IU fan, yes.  All the Crean rant stories today are fair game and don't bother me.  I don't even care if this guy hates IU, but he is SUPPOSED to be a serious journalist.  Defend the story all you want, but do you REALLY believe the no-call was the "in-game talking point?"  No one else who covered the game seems to think so.

RJW22
RJW22

Comment above obviously not directed toward DarranMosley.

Chizum
Chizum

@AaronGodfrey Like McGary's body check on Zeller? When Hardaway Jr looked like "Hey stupid, what are you doing?"

JerryO
JerryO

@jbrinks  

There is no such thing as 'clear-path' in the college game.  Watford made a play on the ball.  Period.  W @ Michigan, W @ Michigan St., W @ State Ohio ... read 'em & weep! 

CJ101
CJ101

@Jordanlf3208 @nature boy ric f. Zeller commits an offensive foul nearly every time he goes up for a shot.  On the defensive end, he and his teammates flop like b1tches.