Current record: 11-6 (1-3)
Current RPI: 77 (Michigan is #179)
Current Sagarin: 51 (IU is #114)
Current Pomeroy: 54 (IU is #78)
2009-10 record: 15-17 (7-11)
2009-10 RPI: 131
2009-10 Sagarin: 87
2009-10 Pomeroy: 63
Series: IU leads 99-53
Last IU win: 12/31/09 (71-65 in Bloomington)
Last Michigan win:
Last IU win in Ann Arbor: 1/8/2008 (78-64)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 8 p.m., Big Ten Network
Blogs: mgoblog, Maize n Brew, Michigan Sports Center, UMHoops.com
IU seeks its first Big Ten win of the season with a home game tonight against the Michigan Wolverines. IU is a slight favorite in this game, according to both Vegas and Pomeroy, and under current projections (always subject to change) that won't be the case again until IU hosts Iowa on February 5. In other words, this is a crucial game for IU. It matters quite a bit to Michigan, too. After ending their long NCAA Tournament drought with an appearance in 2009, the Wolverines backslid in 2009-10, finishing with a losing record and out of the postseason entirely. The Wolverines had a non-conference schedule that is somewhat comparable to IU's, and that accounts for the Wolverines' solid overall record. U-M's best win, by far, was a road win over #42 Clemson in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Michigan also has wins over #79 Oakland and #67 Penn State, both at home. Otherwise, Michigan's wins look quite a bit like IU's wins. Last weekend, the Wolverines played very well, forcing undefeated Kansas to overtime before the Jayhawks finished them. Michigan also played Ohio State much closer than IU did, losing 68-64 at home this week. Michigan's losses in the Big Ten have come to conference title contenders: Purdue, Wisconsin, and Ohio State.
John Beilein's teams are by now quite familiar to IU fans. Michigan plays a slow-slow-slow pace of 63 possessions per game, one of the most deliberate in the country, and is very perimeter oriented. Michigan shoots nearly half of its field goal attempts from behind the arc, doesn't put any particular emphasis on offensive rebounding, and takes very good care of the ball. On defense, Michigan has been solid, ranking in the top 100 in both categories of field goal defense and #30 in defensive rebounding percentage. As is typical, Michigan does not force many turnovers.
Here are the Wolverines' individual stats:
|Tim Hardaway Jr||17||27.4||3.6||9.9||36.1||1.5||5.5||28.0||2.6||3.2||81.5||0.9||2.9||3.8||1.5||1.1||0.8||0.2||1.5||11.3|
|Darrick Ervin II||3||1.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||0.0|
Darius Morris leads the way for Michigan with 15.4 points per game. Morris struggled last season as a freshman but has emerged this year. Tim Hardaway, son of the NBA great, is Michigan's other double figure scorer, but has some shockingly bad field goal shooting numbers (36 overall, 28 behind the arc). Indiana-bred guards Stu Douglass (Carmel) and Zack Novak (Chesterton) are two of the Wolverines' most dangerous three point shooters. Novak and freshman Jordan Morgan have posted some solid rebounding numbers as well.
As a general matter, IU has played well against Michigan at home the last two years. In 2008-09, IU built a big lead against Michigan, before a furious comeback, which was capped by a bounced-high-off-the-back-iron-and-dropped-in three pointer by Laval Lucas-Perry that will haunt me for the rest of my days, and led to a Michigan win in overtime. Last season, IU won the Big Ten opener against Michigan. This year's Hoosiers have struggled on perimeter defense. While Michigan's guards aren't the matchup nightmare presented by OSU's guards, it's still a huge concern. On the other hand, Michigan is the definition of team that lives and dies by the three pointer, and if IU can keep them in check from behind the arc, it will be tough for Michigan to win.
As I made clear earlier in this week, I'm still bullish on the future of this program. But if the present is going to be anything other than a nightmare and a step back, IU simply has to win today.