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IU basketball game day: Hoosiers will try to save season against No. 3 Michigan

After a crushing defeat at Rutgers, Indiana finds itself at rock bottom, with all hope seemingly lost.

At a time like this, a team like Michigan is the last thing you want to see.  But in many ways, this is exactly who the Hoosiers need to face.

With a win, IU can completely change the direction of its season and the outlook for the program.  With yet another home loss, well, Indiana was exactly who we thought they were — and there is no need to question it any longer.

In the face of adversity, IU has a major opportunity.  It’s the Hoosiers and Wolverines in Bloomington for a Saturday matinee.


No. 3 Michigan (17-1, 12-1) at Indiana (12-11, 7-9)

  • Tip time:  Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
  • Television:  Fox (Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery)
  • IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, Joe Smith)
  • Series:  Indiana leads 107-63 (Michigan won last meeting 89-65 in 2020)
  • Point Spread:  Michigan is around a 9-point favorite
  • KenPom has No. 3 Michigan by 8 points over No. 34 Indiana, 73-65

Michigan is guided by Juwan Howard who is 36-13 in two seasons in Ann Arbor.

Note:  This is Indiana’s final home game.  The program will not hold normal senior day festivities since fans will not be in attendance.  Senior Day post-game speeches will be recorded and distributed later and the three seniors (Al Durham, Joey Brunk, Cooper Bybee) and six managers will be honored virtually.

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While widely thought of as a top-half Big Ten team coming into the season, Michigan is far and away the biggest surprise on the upside in the league this year.  They are quite possibly the biggest surprise in the country.

The Wolverines have not only been winning, they have been doing it dominant fashion.  Save for one strange blemish, an 18-point loss at Minnesota in January, Michigan has been on a roll.  And perhaps most impressive, they didn’t miss a beat after a 22-day layoff due to a school mandated COVID-19 shutdown.

Overall Michigan has won 12 Big Ten games by an average margin of 14.7 points including a 22-point rout of Iowa on Thursday night.  That quick turnaround will no doubt create a challenge for Michigan as they arrive in Bloomington for an early afternoon Saturday tip, but nothing has fazed them to this point.

The Wolverines are high-level on both ends of the floor, coming in at No. 6 at both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency according to KenPom.

Michigan’s 56.7 percent effective field goal percentage is No. 9 nationally and the best in the Big Ten.  The Wolverines shoot 55.7 percent from 2-point range and 39.1 percent from 3, good for No. 22 and No. 12, respectively.  There aren’t many weaknesses, but their 17.2 turnover percentage in Big Ten games is just No. 9 in the league, and Michigan is not a team that earns a lot of trips to the free throw line.

The Wolverines are also the top team in the league in defensive effective field goal percentage, holding teams to 44.2 percent in conference games.  They opt for being fundamentally sound and thus don’t gamble.  Michigan doesn’t force turnovers and instead tries to force teams into contested two-point shots against their length.  They are also the best in the league when it comes to keeping teams off the free throw line, something that is in direct opposition to Indiana, which is the Big Ten’s best in getting to the stripe.

7-foot-1 center Hunter Dickinson is an elite freshman who shoots 64.1 percent from the field and is top-100 nationally in offensive rebounding rate (13.5 percent) and block rate (6.4 percent).  KenPom currently ranks him as the No. 3 overall player in the country.  He draws a lot of fouls but is not a threat to score from 3-point range.

6-foot-7 senior forward Isaiah Livers is an elite shooter.  He has made 44.8 percent of his 96 3-point attempts and also converts at a 86.7 percent rate at the free throw line.  A modern versatile forward, Livers can score inside too, shares the basketball and is strong defender.

6-foot-9 sophomore Franz Wagner makes 61.2 percent of his shots from 2-point range and 37.9 percent from 3, making him another dual-threat long forward for the Wolverines. Wagner has made 8 of his last 14 3-point attempts and he is generally strong on the defensive glass.

6-foot-1 senior Eli Brooks is complimentary shooting guard to Michigan’s talented front court.  He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and shoots it well enough to command the attention of the defense.

5-foot-11 senior Mike Smith is the playmaker on the team at point guard.  His 27.8 assist rate puts him in the top-125 nationally, and although he doesn’t shoot a high volume, Smith’s 3-point percentage (46.5) is top-35.  The Columbia transfer scored at a much higher rate in the Ivy League and is capable of big games.

6-foot-5 senior Chaundee Brown is yet another high-level 3-point shooter, making 41.9 percent on 62 attempts.  He also shoots 57.4 percent from 2-point range and he has had six games of 13 or more points this season.

6-foot-10 senior Austin Davis fills in for Dickinson and brings energy and physicality.  He has the best offensive rebounding rate on the team and is an efficient scorer in the paint.

6-foot-8 junior Brandon Johns is a threat to score off the bench when filling in for the forwards but he has the highest turnover rate on the team.

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