Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Wolverines: IU seeks first road win.

Michigan Wolverines
Current record: 15-10 (5-7)
Current RPI: 54 (IU is #152)
Current Sagarin: 46 (IU is #90)
Current Pomeroy: 52 (IU is #65)
2009-10 record: 15-17 (7-11)
2009-10 RPI: 131
2009-10 Sagarin: 87
2009-10 Pomeroy: 63

Series: IU leads 100-53
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 BrewMichigan Sports Center, UMHoops.com

After several disappointing losses, the Indiana Hoosiers have left themselves no margin for error.  As I have said before, to ensure postseason play, IU needs a total of 8 Big Ten wins (including regular season and the Big Ten Tournament).  With six games remaining, the Hoosiers are in a situation in which they must will all of their plausibly winnable games.  IU is 3-9 in conference and has six remaining Big Ten games.  Three of them, against Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin, are at home.  Three more, against Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois, are on the road.  Had IU pulled out even two wins in the games against Northern Iowa, Colorado, Penn State, Iowa (x2), or at Michigan State (a game that didn't look winnable on paper but one that IU could have closed out), then the Hoosiers would have a bit of breathing room. 

It comes down to this: IU must win all of its home games.    IU likely will be favored against Northwestern, but Purdue and Wisconsin are, in no particular order, the second and third-best teams in the conference.  I think IU has a decent chance in both of those games, but to win both, when either or both school may be in a position to make a run at Ohio State for a share of the Big Ten title, will require IU's two best performances of the year.  In addition, IU must win a road game.  Of IU's three remaining road games, tomorrow's game against Michigan at Crisler Arena is by far the best chance.  IU has odds approaching zero in the game at Ohio State, and Illinois will be itching for revenge on Senior Night.  A loss to Michigan won't mathematically eliminate IU from postseason contention, but it will take it into the realm of fantasy.  Absent a win at Michigan, an NIT bid will require a win at OSU, a win at Illinois, or an upset of one of the top three seeds in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Tournament.  And again, all of this assumes running the table at home and winning the 8-9 or 7-10 game in the Big Ten Tournament. 

IU has won only one road game in the last three seasons, at Penn State last year.  The Michigan game, I suppose, provides as good a chance as any.  IU has won 7 of its last 12 in Ann Arbor, and IU's 80-61 win over Michigan on January 15 was the Hoosiers' most dominant Big Ten performance of the last three years.  Michigan's loss to IU came in the midst of a six-game Wolverine losing streak, but since that streak ended, Michigan has won 4 of its last five, including road wins at Michigan State and Penn State and comfortable home wins over Iowa and Northwestern.  The lone loss for the Wolverines has come in a respectable road game at #1 Ohio State. 


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Darius Morris 25 34.8 5.8 11.7 50.0 0.6 2.2 27.3 3.1 4.3 72.9 0.8 3.0 3.8 6.9 3.0 1.2 0.0 2.0 15.4
Tim Hardaway Jr 25 28.6 4.0 10.5 37.8 1.9 5.8 32.9 2.3 3.0 78.4 0.9 3.2 4.1 1.6 1.0 0.9 0.2 1.8 12.2
Zack Novak 25 34.6 2.8 6.6 41.6 1.9 4.7 40.2 1.8 2.2 85.2 0.9 5.0 5.9 1.4 0.8 0.5 0.2 2.4 9.2
Jordan Morgan 25 24.1 4.0 6.4 62.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.1 2.0 52.9 2.2 3.3 5.6 0.6 1.6 0.6 0.4 3.0 9.2
Stu Douglass 25 28.4 2.9 6.9 42.2 1.6 4.1 38.8 0.1 0.4 30.0 0.5 2.5 3.0 1.7 1.3 0.5 0.2 1.6 7.6
Evan Smotrycz 25 18.8 2.2 5.4 39.7 1.3 3.5 37.5 0.4 0.6 73.3 0.7 1.7 2.4 0.8 1.0 0.3 0.2 2.4 6.1
Matt Vogrich 24 14.0 1.3 3.1 40.5 0.8 2.2 38.5 0.3 0.4 66.7 0.5 1.0 1.4 0.3 0.5 0.3 0.1 0.8 3.6
Jon Horford 22 8.2 1.0 1.9 50.0 0.0 0.3 14.3 0.5 0.8 70.6 0.8 1.7 2.5 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.5 1.5 2.5
Blake McLimans 19 6.0 0.6 1.9 30.6 0.1 0.8 6.3 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.5 0.4 0.9 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.7 1.3
Eso Akunne 13 2.5 0.2 0.4 40.0 0.1 0.2 50.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4
Josh Bartelstein 10 1.8 0.1 0.7 14.3 0.1 0.5 20.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3
Corey Person 4 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.0 25.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3
Colton Christian 20 5.2 0.1 0.6 18.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.6 0.9 1.5 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.5 0.2
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


 

As I noted when previewing the Michigan game last time, the Wolverines were in a tough spot, as a heavily three point reliant team that wasn't shooting very well from behind the arc.  That has changed.  In three of the Wolverines' last four wins, they have shot at least 40 percent from behind the arc.  IU played reasonably good perimeter defense against Michigan in the first game, but Michigan also was having a horrid shooting night.  Perimeter defense again will be essential against the Wolverines.

There had been reports that Christian Watford might be available for this game, but nothing has been announced for certain.  According to Kent Sterling, both Tom Crean and Watford told Dan Dakich earlier in the week that they thought he would be able to play.  I suspect that we will not know until game time but that we definitely will see him a week from tomorrow against Northwestern.

This is a big game in a season in which the Hoosiers have shown some flashes of brilliance but haven't been consistently good.  Let's hope they can turn the corner.  

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