For more than a month now, Big Ten teams have been searching for an answer to slow down Nik Stauskas.
Tom Crean discovered the answer: Yogi Ferrell. The 5-foot-11 Indiana point guard gave No. 10 Michigan’s superstar fits, holding him to six points on 1-for-6 shooting as the Hoosiers knocked off the Wolverines in Bloomington on Sunday afternoon, 63-52.
Stauskas is a big, athletic and talented guard, and while he’s much improved in his ability to make plays when he puts the ball on the floor, he’s not the kind of 1-on-1 talent that can beat any defender off the dribble. He’s not incredibly quick and he doesn’t have a great first step. He also lacks a post-game which would allow him to take advantage of a smaller defender in the post, which is why Ferrell was the perfect defender to put on him.
Yogi is as quick as they come at the point guard spot, and he as able to swarm Stauskas every time he touched the ball. It frustrated Stauskas, to the point that he almost appeared to be sulking during the second half. I’m not sure he even took a second half dribble until there were less than eight minutes left in the half, and on one possession around the 12 minute mark, he stood in the corner with his hands on his hip the entire time.
That’s not good.
And neither is the fact that Stauskas’ kryptonite may not be on tape for every Big Ten coach to watch.
Overall, Ferrell put on one of the best all-around performances that we’ve seen from a point guard this season. In addition to stifling Stauskas, Ferrell scored 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting, hitting 7-of-8 from beyond the arc and handing out a pair of assists as well.
The enormity of the win for the Hoosiers cannot be understated, either. They entered the weekend just 3-5 in the Big Ten and on the verge of missing out on the NCAA tournament. Knocking off a top ten team will do wonders for your profile, however, but what may be more important is what this does for Indiana’s confidence. They still have to play at Minnesota, Iowa, at Wisconsin, Ohio State and at Michigan this season.
I don’t know if this win gets Indiana on the right side of the bubble, but they will have more than enough chances down the stretch of the season to make a bid possible.
Might this be the win they needed to get that ball rolling in the right direction?