Michigan basketball travels to Indiana for Big Ten bragging rights

Michigan basketball, ranked #1 in the AP poll, has been on a collision course with their enticing early February schedule since the opening tip of the season, and it’s finally here.  A much ballyhooed matchup with #3 ranked Indiana will kick things off. The game will air on ESPN with a Saturday night tip scheduled for 9 pm eastern.

Michigan (20-1, 7-1) has played but one poor half this entire season, and it cost them their perfect record a few weeks ago in Columbus. They will be out to prove that winning a high profile road game is just a part of who they are. Indiana (19-2, 7-1) is tied atop the Big Ten Standings with Michigan. The Hoosiers lost an overtime thriller to Butler back in mid-December and dropped a home game to the Badgers by 5 points 2 weeks ago.

Michigan has won 3 road games in the Big Ten thus far (Northwestern, Minnesota, and Illinois) and the average margin of victory in those matchups is 16.7 points per game. In other words, Michigan is comfortable outside of Ann Arbor.

Michigan Basketball's Glenn Robinson III

Glenn Robinson III takes flight

On the other hand, Indiana has historically owned Michigan at Assembly Hall, winning 14 of the last 15 contests. With a 9 pm start time and the bright lights of ESPN in the building it’s safe to say the place will be rocking all night long. Trey Burke will have to do his best to calm things down and operate their game plan with efficiency from the get-go.

Michigan and Indiana’s attacks are similar in many ways. They can both kill you in transition and from beyond the arc.

Some key stats to consider:

  • Indiana leads the nation in scoring at 84 points/game. Michigan ranks 13th at 78 ppg.
  • Michigan is 3rd in the nation in field goal % (51%). Indiana is 5th at 50%.
  • The Hoosiers shoot it at a 42.3% efficiency level from three point land, which is 3rd best in the nation. Michigan is 5th at 40.8%.
  • One key differential is the turnover game. Indiana turns it over 13.3 times/game. Michigan is 2nd best in the nation at not turning the ball over. They give it away just 9.4 times/game.
  • Indiana makes up for some of that with their athletic and aggressive defense led by Victor Oladipo. The Hoosiers get 8 steals per game while Michigan manages just 5.6. Oladipo himself had 6 in their game last weekend against the Spartans.
  • At 11.8 fouls/game committed, nobody is stingier than Michigan at keeping their opposition off of the free throw line. Indiana plays a more gambling style of defense that results in 16.8 fouls/game.

The bottom line that you can take from all of this is that it should be a fantastic basketball game. This is the stuff that makes college hoops so special.

Each team features a slew of marquee players. Michigan is led by National Player of the Year candidate (frontrunner?) Trey Burke. He averages 17.9 points/game and 7.1 assists to just 1.9 turnovers. Together with Tim Hardaway, Jr. (15.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) they form the nation’s most elite backcourt.

Indiana will look to counterpunch Michigan’s star power with Cody Zeller and Oladipo. Zeller averages 16.1 ppg and 8.2 rpg while shooting 58.5% from the floor. Oladips has stepped into a starring role this season. He scores 14 ppg, grabs 6 boards, swipes 2.5 steals, and dishes out 2.3 assists.

Look for IU coach Tom Crean to occasionally stick the 6’5’’ Oladipo on Burke to try to slow down the Michigan attack. The Wolverines will need to find a way to neutralize Zeller. Usual starting center Jordan Morgan is nursing his way back from a sprained ankle. He is arguably one of the best post defenders in the Big Ten and could certainly be of use on Saturday night. Maybe the late start will give him just enough time to heal up and give it a go.

In Morgan’s absence, John Beilein will call upon Jon Horford and Mitch McGary to battle IU’s bigs. Horford was brilliant in his first start of the season on Wednesday against Northwestern. He logged 10 points, 8 boards, and 3 blocks.

And if the star power that this game brings to the table isn’t enough, there are other studs just a step behind. Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Yogi Ferrell, et al.

This game has all of the makings of an instant classic.

Prediction

As Rob and I always do, we offer our predictions for this big matchup. Rob is 20-1 predicting the outcome of Michigan games this year and I am 19-2. We disagree on the outcome of this one as Rob has them losing and I have them winning. The last time we disagreed was the Minnesota game. Rob was right and I was wrong. Let’s hope we flip the script this time around.

Rob: IU 83-82

Joe: Michigan 86-81

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Comments

  1. says

    ^Craig Coxen^,

    ESPECIALLY WITH #2 RANKED IN THE AP POLL (BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, FOR THIS POINT, #1 RANKED IN THE COACHES POLL)–Kansas losing AT HOME to UnRanked Oklahoma State (snapped a 33-Home Game Winning Streak that Kansas had)!!!!! With a win tonight we would be the CONSENSUS AND UNDISPUTED #1 RANKED TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THANKS AND PEACE!!!!! ****^^^^GO MAIZE, GO BLUE!!!!^^^^****

    –WOLVERINE

  2. says

    ^Rob White^ and ^Joe White^,

    ha!!!! I LIKE IT . . .****^^^^REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY!!!!^^^^****

    ^Joe White^, I agree with you and will make one further comment regarding the Big’s. If I am John Beilein I use Max Beilfeldt and Blake McLimans in this game as well as Jon Horford and Mitch McGary!!!!! THERE IS NOTHING MORE FRUSTRATING, DEMORALIZING THEN CONSTANTLY HAVING A FRESH BODY (“BIG”) ON YOU DEFENDING YOU, BUMPING YOU, WEIGHING ON YOU, BREATHING ON YOU, LOUNGING ON YOU, BEATING YOU UP PHYSICALLY ON YOU. IN OTHER WORDS, WE HAVE FRONTCOURT DEPTH, WE SHOULD TRULY UTILIZE IT IF FOR NOTHING ELSE USING, SELECTIVELY, HACK-A-ZELLER, AND HAVING BLAKE MCLIMANS (UNDERRATED SHOT-BLOCKER PLUS CAN STEP OUT AND HIT THE 3 AND WE KNOW WHAT MAX “THE PUNISHER” BIELFELDT CAN DO/BRING [A.K.A. "MAD MAX"]) AND MAX BIELFELDT PICK UP FOULS SO AS TO TAKE AWAYS FOULS GOING TO/COMMITED BY JON HORFORD AND MITCH MCGARY.

    I THINK ONE OF EITHER TREY BURKE OR TIM HARDAWAY JR. IS GOING TO HAVE TO SCORE 30 OR MORE POINTS (WE HAVE A SIGNIFICANT EDGE IN THE BACKCOURT BATTLE [WHILE INDIANA HAS A SIGNIFICANT EDGE IN THE FRONTCOURT BATTLE]) AND THE OTHER ONE SCORING AT LEAST 20 OR MORE POINTS — DON’T CARE WHICH IS WHICH, BUT IF I HAD MY PREFERENCE I WOULD RATHER HAVE TIMMAY SCORE 30 OR MORE POINTS (HE DID THIS ONE TIME BEFORE ON THE ROAD IN A BIG TEN CONFERENCE GAME IN HIS FRESHMAN AGAINST IOWA AND MICHIGAN WON THIS GAME) AND HAVE TREY SCORE 20 OR MORE POINTS. ALSO, WE WILL NEED AT LEAST TWO (PREFERABLY THREE) OTHER PLAYERS TO SCORE AT LEAST 10 OR MORE POINTS!!!! FURTHERMORE WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE 3 TYPES OF SHOTBLOCKING (SUCCESSFULLY EXECUTED): STRONG-SIDE ON THE BALL SHOT-BLOCKING, STRONG-SIDE OFF THE BALL SHOT-BLOCKING, AND WEAK-SIDE OFF THE BALL SHOT-BLOCKING. SHOOT A DECENT % FROM 3 AND FINALLY WORK THE REF’S THERE LIKE IT IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS, SO TO SPEAK (AND THIS FALLS ON ALL OF THE COACHES, NOT JUST JOHN BEILEIN — TO A LESSER EXTENT, THIS MIGHT BE INCUMBENT ON THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES TO TALK TO THE REF.’S AND/OR WORK THE REF.’S. WE MUST ALSO WHEN THE 1ST QUARTER, THE 1ST 5 MINUTES (OF THE 1ST HALF), THE 1ST 2 MINUTES (OF THE 1ST HALF), THE 1ST 4 MINUTES (OF THE 1ST HALF), THE 1ST 8 MINUTES (OF THE 1ST HALF), THEN REPEAT THIS (NEXT ORDER OF IMPORTANCE) FOR THE “3RD SERIES”, THEN (NEXT ORDER OF IMPORTANCE) FOR THE “4TH SERIES”, AND FINALLY FOR THE “2ND SERIES”. KEEP IN MIND THAT IT TOOK AN ENTIRE HALF (THE 1ST HALF) FOR WISCONSIN TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS/TO ADJUST TO DEFEND (SUCCESSFULLY AND PROPERLY i MIGHT ADD) CODY ZELLER (WHO WAS NEUTRALIZED THE ENTIRE 2ND HALF) AND MICHIGAN SHOULD FEEL THEIR WAY OUT WITH ZELLER (BEST-CASE SCENARIO == 1ST 10 MINUTES OF THE 1ST HALF; “WORST-CASE SCENARIO” == ENTIRE 1ST HALF). THAT IS ALL, EXCELLENT ARTICLE/ANALYSIS AS ALWAYS, ^ROB^ AND ^JOE^!!!! I HAVE TO GO NOW, I HAVE SOME ACTUAL STUDYING THAT I HAVE TO DO NOW BEFORE I COME HOME TO WATCH THE ESPN GAMEDAY HOUR LONG PREGAME (AND THEN OF COURSE THE OBVIOUS: THE ACTUAL GAME ITSELF)!!!! ****^^^^THANKS AND PEACE!!!!^^^^****

    VERY SINCERELY,
    W-O-L-V-E-R-I-N-E

  3. Craig Coxen says

    Time to find out if they’re as good as their #1 ranking. I think GR III will be the difference maker in this one and Michigan wins. Not that they NEED to win this game, but it would really cement them as the #1 team in the nation.

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