Indiana Hoosiers v. Michigan Wolverines: IU looks to build on OSU win (preview)

Michigan Wolverines
Current record: 12-2 (2-0)
Current RPI: 33 (IU is #11)
Current Sagarin: 40 (IU is #4)
Current Pomeroy: 45 (IU is #9)
2010-11 record: 21-14 (19-9), lost to Duke in NCAA Tournament (round of 32)
2010-11 RPI: 52
2010-11 Sagarin: 32
2010-11 Pomeroy: 25

Series: IU leads 100-55
Last IU win: 1/15/2011 (80-61 in Bloomington)
Last Michigan win: 2/12/2011 (73-69 in Ann Arbor)
Last Michigan win in Bloomington: 1/7/2009 (73-66, OT)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 p.m. Thursday, ESPN2
Blogs:
mgoblog, Maize n Brew, Michigan Sports Center, UMHoops.com

As exhilarating as the wins over Kentucky and Ohio State have been, whether IU's season lives up to its current promise depends in large part on the outcome of games such as tomorrow night's home game against Michigan. So far, the team has handled success in stride (most notably by uglying out a win over Notre Dame a week after the Kentucky win), but this week, with a tough but should-win home game against the Wolverines and a road game against struggling Penn State, will tell us whether IU can remain sufficiently on-task to contend for a Big Ten title.

When Michigan last visited Assembly Hall nearly a year ago, the Wolverines looked to be in as poor condition as the 2010-11 Hoosiers were. IU's blowout win over the Wolverines dropped U-M to 1-4 in the Big Ten, and Michigan would fall to 1-6 before the bleeding stopped. Still, thanks in large part to a sweep of in-state rival Michigan State, the Wolverines finished the Big Ten season on an 8-3 run and made it to the NCAA Tournament, where they won their first round game over Tennessee and came very close to upsetting Duke in round 2. Now in their fifth season under John Beilein, Michigan has a pretty solid chance to reach the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years.

The human polls like Michigan much more than the computers do. The Wolverines are 16th in the AP Poll and 13th in the coaches' poll, but are 45 in Pomeroy and 40 in Sagarin. Michigan has played only one true road game to date and lost it (70-58 at Virginia). Since that November loss, the Wolverines have ventured away from campus only once, for win over Oakland at the Palace in suburban Detroit. Michigan's best win was a 73-61 win over Memphis on a neutral court.

This is very much a typical Beilein team. Michigan plays at a deliberate pace (64 possessions per game, about 5 behind IU), and is very efficient on offense, thanks mostly to excellent shooting (a nation-leading 58 percent from inside the arc and 37 percent from three) and taking care of the ball (18.9 turnover percentage). Michigan is extremely perimeter-oriented, taking 43 percent of its attempts from three point range, and so it is unsurprising that Michigan ranks among the nation's worst in offensive rebounding and in getting to the free throw line. On defense, Michigan to some degree offsets its few offensive weaknesses by rebounding very well (opponents manage only 28 percent on the offensive boards) and avoiding fouling (only .3 free throw attempts per field goal attempts). The Wolverines are fairly pedestrian at field goal defense, and are allowing opponents to shoot 34 percent from deep. Michigan doesn't block many shots or force many turnovers, either


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
Tim Hardaway Jr 14 31.1 5.6 12.4 45.1 1.6 5.6 29.5 2.8 4.0 69.6 0.4 2.6 3.0 2.8 1.6 0.3 0.2 1.8 15.6
Trey Burke 14 33.6 4.9 10.8 45.7 1.6 4.5 36.5 2.5 3.3 76.1 0.4 2.8 3.2 5.0 2.6 0.9 0.3 1.6 14.0
Evan Smotrycz 14 24.7 3.7 6.8 54.7 1.7 3.1 54.5 1.7 2.4 70.6 1.9 5.1 7.1 1.3 1.9 1.1 0.6 3.1 10.9
Zack Novak 14 33.6 3.3 6.6 50.0 1.4 3.6 38.0 1.3 1.6 81.8 0.9 3.5 4.4 2.6 0.8 0.7 0.1 2.4 9.2
Jordan Morgan 14 22.0 3.2 4.9 66.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.9 46.2 2.3 2.8 5.1 0.1 1.9 0.5 0.5 2.3 7.3
Stu Douglass 14 24.8 2.4 6.1 39.5 1.4 4.3 33.3 0.8 1.0 78.6 0.4 2.7 3.1 1.9 1.1 0.5 0.0 1.8 7.1
Jon Horford 9 10.8 1.0 1.9 52.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.8 85.7 1.4 2.1 3.6 0.1 0.6 0.3 1.0 1.1 2.7
Matt Vogrich 14 11.0 0.9 2.6 35.1 0.4 1.7 25.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.6 0.9 1.4 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.7 2.3
Eso Akunne 9 4.2 0.8 0.9 87.5 0.4 0.6 80.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 0.8 0.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.3 2.0
Blake McLimans 13 4.7 0.4 0.8 50.0 0.2 0.2 66.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.7 1.1 0.1 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.2 0.9
Carlton Brundidge 8 4.1 0.1 0.5 25.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.5 1.0 50.0 0.0 0.8 0.8 0.1 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.8
Colton Christian 8 3.4 0.3 0.8 33.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.8 0.5
Josh Bartelstein 5 1.6 0.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.2 0.0
Corey Person 4 1.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0


Tim Hardaway leads the way for Michigan, but the big story for the Wolverines has been freshman Trey Burke, who is scoring 15 points per game, shooting well, and averaging 5 assists to 2.6 turnovers per game. Of the Wolverines' top 6 offensive contributors, five (all but Jordan Morgan) shoot the three point shot with regularity, and all except Hardaway have good or excellent percentages.

This is a game that would seem to be in IU's favor on paper. Solid perimeter defense and a strong effort on the offensive boards would go a long way toward neutralizing Michigan's strengths. Further, IU has played better against Michigan than any other program in the Crean era. Michigan is one of only two programs IU has defeated twice in the post-Sampson era (Minnesota is the other), and Michigan needed a bounced-in three pointer to beat Crean's horrible first IU team in 2009. Still, as fans of the team with the #1 three point shooting percentage in the nation, we know very well the danger inherent in playing teams with Michigan's perimeter strength. As I said, we know that IU is capable of playing with anyone in the country. Tomorrow's game will tell us whether the team is willing to do the heavy lifting required to contend for a conference title, by winning a game that a truly elite team should almost never lose.
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