The most valuable aspect for Zeller on Saturday was his work on the offensive glass. He secured four offensive rebounds, three of which were put-back dunks by Zeller. Although that is just six points, these plays did so much more for Indiana. First off, the Assembly Hall crowd, who to be fair wanted to get excited, went bonkers after each Zeller dunk. This not only energized the Hoosiers, but also really impacted Michigan’s next possession. Michigan did not have great offensive flow all game, but when the entire stadium was shaking their offense turned completely to one-on-one dribbling by Burke. This led to inefficient contested jump shots for Michigan.
Zeller was really free to do what he wanted offensively much of the game. He was 8-10 from the field, able to get good looks all night. It was through this type of performance that Zeller was able to remind us how dominant he can be when he turns it on. Zeller scored in a bevy of ways, including put-backs, posting up, dunks in transition and even a fadeaway jumper. The best part about Zeller on offense is that he does not need a bunch off touches to get going. If you get him the ball he will likely score, but he can also get the ball himself. Indiana can run the offense through him, but does not have to for him to excel. Zeller reminded us why he came into the season as the player of the year favorite with his ultra-efficient showing tonight.
Michigan was missing their starting center Jordan Morgan, but whether or not that made any difference is unknown. Morgan is good, but I would say the difference between him and Mitch McGary and Jon Horford is more or less negligible. McGary actually had some nice moments on defense against Zeller, being able to deny the ball from Zeller in the post.
At the end of the day, nothing Michigan could throw at Zeller was going to stop him. He can beat you in too many ways, on both ends of the court and that is why Zeller can win player of the year.