Michigan Basketball (25-5, 12-5) will host Indiana (25-5, 13-4) on Sunday afternoon at Crisler Center. Tip is scheduled for 4pm and the game will be televised on CBS. The University of Michigan has declared the game a Maize Out, which means all fans are supposed to wear Maize. Fan clappers will also be distributed to add to what should be a crazy atmosphere at Crisler Center.
Both teams have been feeling the effects of an excruciating Big Ten schedule. Indiana has dropped two of their last three games and Michigan struggled through February with a 3-4 record. The Wolverines seem to have turned the corner with their recent wins over Michigan State and at Purdue.
This is not only a battle of two Top 10 teams, it also features the two best offensive teams in the country and two national player of the year candidates in Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo. With a win Indiana will claim sole possession of the Big Ten championship. Michigan can grab a share of the Big Ten title with a victory.
Speaking of the national player of the year award, I think Trey Burke will lock that up with another stellar performance on Sunday. He has been sensational all season long and been on an absolute roll of late. In his past five games, Burke has averaged 24 points, 7 assists and 2 steals. He has also gone 39-47 from the free throw line during that stretch.
There were a lot of a positive things that came out of Michigan’s win over Purdue on Wednesday night. It was a road win and the Wolverines battled back from 12 down late in the game to pull out a clutch win. However, the most encouraging thing might have been Nik Stauskas’ coming of age performance. One game after getting knocked out by an inadvertent elbow, that required 12 stitches, Stauskas was back on the court with a shiner and delivered his finest effort of the season. He scored 17 points and came up big in the closing minutes with a huge triple and some critical free throws. The freshman also played with aggressiveness, attacking the rim and not shying away from contested three-pointers.
Back on February 2nd, when Michigan lost at Indiana they only got 2 minutes out of the then injured Jordan Morgan. Since then Morgan has returned to the starting line up and his presence on the court is huge for Michigan. He’s their best low post defender, he is an efficient offensive player and a good rebounder.
For Michigan to win this game, they’ll need Tim Hardaway Jr to play with an edge. When he does that and gets that certain look in his eyes, the Wolverines are a very dangerous team.
Indiana is more experienced than Michigan and they can hurt you in a multitude of ways on the offensive end. They’ve become a much better defensive team this season and they are 6-2 on the road. Michigan is 17-0 at Crisler this season and 32-1 at home over the last two seasons. The crowds have been tremendous at Crisler this year and you can expect a revved up arena on Sunday. As a team, the Wolverines have grown a lot this season and their play has been trending upward, their resolve is strong and their fearless leader, Trey Burke, has never played better than he is currently.
Predictions: So far this season I am 26-4 and Joe is 25-5 predicting the outcome of Michigan Basketball games. We both like Michigan to win a thriller on Sunday.
Joe: Michigan 78-75
Rob: Michigan 76-74
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