This is where it all started.
Not even three weeks ago, Indiana basketball was on top of the world, or at least seemingly on its way there. The Hoosiers stood at 12-2 overall, and 3-0 in league play. Bring on undefeated Michigan, right?
Not so much. Michigan won that game in Ann Arbor 74-63, and from more losses, to more injuries, to a suspension, nothing has gone right since.
It’s a long drop from the top of the world, and this Indiana team is rapidly spiraling to that metaphorical bottom.
Losers of five in a row since that early January meeting, the Hoosiers now get a second chance against the Wolverines. If they can win, it might just be a second chance at saving a season that once held so much promise.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
No. 5 Michigan (18-1, 7-1) at Indiana (12-7, 3-5)
- Tip time: 6:30 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
- Television: FS1 (Gus Johnson and Jimmy Jackson)
- Series: Indiana leads 106-62 (Michigan won the last meeting 74-63 in Ann Arbor)
- Point Spread: Michigan is a 3.5 point favorite in Vegas; KenPom has Michigan by 3.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
John Beilein is in his 12th season leading the Michigan program.
- Archie Miller previews the game.
- John Beilein previews the game.
- Indiana’s defense is not generating turnovers.
Indiana (KenPom No. 38)
- Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, senior
- Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds, sophomore
- Al Durham, guard, 6-foot-4, 181 pounds, sophomore
- Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, freshman
- Rob Phinisee, guard, 6-foot-1, 182 pounds, freshman
Key reserves: Zach McRoberts (G), Evan Fitzner (F), Clifton Moore (F)
Michigan (KenPom No. 6)
- Ignas Brazdeikis, forward, 6-foot-7, 215 pounds, freshman
- Jon Teske, center, 7-foot-1, 260 pounds, junior
- Charles Matthews, guard, 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, senior
- Jordan Poole, guard, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, sophomore
- Zavier Simpson, guard, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, junior
Key reserves: Isaiah Livers (F), Eli Brooks (G)
TALE OF THE TAPE
KEYS TO VICTORY
Is Michigan Vulnerable on the Road? The Wolverines got everyone’s attention in November when they went on the road at Villanova and won by nearly 30. Indiana fans know about November games that seem meaningless now.
Villanova was Michigan’s only true road game until a Big Ten contest at Northwestern, and they won that one by just two. The Wolverines have only played two more Big Ten road games since — at Illinois and Wisconsin. They beat Illinois by ten and lost by that same margin against the Badgers. Michigan is only +2 points on the road in the Big Ten, and they haven’t exactly played the cream of the crop.
Exit Green, Enter Phinisee. The Hoosiers will have a different look at point guard than what Michigan saw in the first meeting. In that first game, Rob Phinisee was still in concussion protocol. The Hoosier freshman is back and looks at or near full strength. Unfortunately Devonte Green, who started in Ann Arbor, has been indefinitely suspended.
Indiana’s defense on the ball wasn’t good in the first meeting. Phinisee is stout in that regard, but Zavier Simpson is one of the tougher covers that he will face. Indiana will need Phinisee at his best on both ends of the floor in this one. The freshman from Lafayette will need to push the tempo and look for his own scoring opportunities against a Wolverine defense that will be emphasizing Morgan and Langford.
Live Ball Turnovers. We wrote about this one extensively, so we won’t belabor it. Here’s the bottom line — Michigan had just three turnovers in the first meeting. A similar number on Friday night will almost certainly lead to a sixth straight loss. Indiana needs to create turnovers that lead to easy opportunities at the other end.
South Carolina is the only team to score more than 70 points against Michigan this year, and they did it by forcing the Wolverines into a season high 16 turnovers which led to offense for the Gamecocks.
Make Three-Pointers. Hello Captain Obvious, right? It is undeniably obvious, but it has to happen. Indiana is 10 for 55 from long range in its last three games. This losing streak may never end at that rate. Indiana was 5 for 14 (35.7%) in the first meeting. While nothing special, that is a number that IU could live with.
Pick up the Pace. IU was making a noticable effort to push the pace more on offense against Northwestern. Miller seems to be more comfortable with that approach with Phinisee leading the way.
Michigan is third in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom. That defense against IU’s struggling half court offense is a recipe for, well, loss number six in a row. Getting to the rim before the Wolverines get set up is one way to attack their defense. It’s also a way to get IU’s players out on the run, thinking less and just playing basketball more.
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