Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst, February 6, 2016

It's time for my latest "Three Takes," and this week I'm offering my thoughts on Indiana's 25-0 run to close the first half at Michigan, Illinois star Malcolm Hill and Rutgers true freshman Corey Sanders.

Get my latest thoughts below.

So, that Indiana run happened

Indiana?s 25-0 run at Michigan to end the first half was an explosive outburst that only a few teams in the country are capable of pulling off. This is how the 19-4 Hoosiers can dominate when everyone is playing hard and smart together. Indiana trailed 15-4 early in the contest, and for a few minutes it looked like the Wolverines were going to continue their stellar play. But then Indiana locked in defensively, and the rout was on. Indiana, amazingly, outscored Michigan 41-9 the rest of the half. It reminded me of my trips to the Indianapolis 500 when it would take a few pit stops for Rick Mears, Al Unser Jr., or Emerson Fittipaldi to adjust their cars property. Indiana?s defensive adjustments were subtle, yet effective. Yogi Ferrell did a better job staying with his man instead of helping off of Michigan's shooters. Thomas Bryant and Max Beilfeldt stayed with the basketball on ball screens and trusted that Robert Johnson would have their back on the help side. Troy Williams moved his feet and took an impressive perimeter charge. And how impressive were OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan at guarding Michigan?s quicker guards? They used their length to block and alter several shots, and their footwork, at times, was textbook. Yes, Michigan missed a few open shots, but most of the time there was a hand in its face. If Indiana can defeat Penn State on Saturday, and Iowa wins at Illinois on Super Bowl Sunday, we will get the matchup in Bloomington on Thursday night that we have been craving.


Malcolm Hill continues strong individual season

Over the last two seasons, Illinois head coach John Groce rarely knows 24 hours before tipoff who is going to be in his starting lineup. Injuries and suspensions have devastated his teams and damaged the proud Illini program. But as long as Malcolm Hill is in the lineup, Illinois has a chance to win games. In a triple overtime thriller at Rutgers, Hill made clutch shot after clutch shot to keep Illinois in the game. Every point counted, and his 8-of-8 free-throw stretch in the third overtime sealed the victory. Hill was a monster at the charity stripe throughout, actually, knocking in 17 of 20 attempts, en route to scoring a team-high 32 points. Another losing season is hard on everyone in Champaign, but Hill continues to fight on every possession. The fifth-ranked Hawkeyes come to town on Sunday, and Hill will have to be at his best.


Don't forget about Rutgers' freshman Corey Sanders

Rutgers freshman guard Corey Sanders has yet to win a Big Ten game, but he is a ?franchise player? the program can build around. He is almost impossible to keep out of the lane, his step-back jumper is almost mastered, his no-look passes are sometimes hard for his teammates to handle, and he can hit cold-blooded shots that only great players make under pressure (you see that double-OT clincher?). We saw Sanders at his best in Wednesday night's triple-overtime loss to Illinois, as he scored a career-high 39 points and flirted with a triple-double (12 assists, eight rebounds). The Big Ten Network released Rutgers? Mt. Rushmore team earlier this week, and if Sanders continues to improve, he might end up replacing one of the deserving legends.