Indiana at Michigan: Hoosiers seek a key road win (preview).

Michigan Wolverines
Current record: 16-6 (6-3)
Current RPI: 16 (IU is #19)
Current Sagarin: 33 (IU is #11)
Current Pomeroy: 33 (IU is #10)
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 101-55
Last IU win: 1/5/2012 (73-71 in Bloomington)
Last Michigan win: 2/12/2011 (73-69 in Ann Arbor)
Last IU win in Ann Arbor: 1/8/2008 (78-64)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, BTN
Blogs:
mgoblog, Maize n Brew, Michigan Sports Center, UMHoops.com

Indiana's road game at Michigan is not a must-win, but this game and Saturday night's trip to Purdue will in many respects dictate the course of what is left of the season. As I said before this week, an 0-2 week, particularly an 0-2 week with two competitive losses, will not end the season by any stretch. These are the two toughest games remaining on IU's schedule, with the possible exception of a home game against Michigan State. My belief is that IU needs to reach 21 wins to feel good about the NCAA Tournament. With the North Carolina Central game a virtually guaranteed win, that means that the Hoosiers need three more Big Ten wins. I certainly want more than that and believe that the team has that capability, but there are plenty of opportunities for that. Still, I don't like the idea of being 5-7 and thereby erasing most of the team's margin of error.

IU is now 3-3 against Michigan in the Crean era, and won 5 of 6 in Ann Arbor from 2002 through 2008 (and won 11 in a row over Michigan overall from 2001 through 2007). Of course, the revival of the U-M basketball program under John Beilein made a trip to Ann Arbor a different experience than it was in the Ellerbe and Amaker eras. This year, the Wolverines are 12-0 at home, including 5-0 in conference (although that includes a close call against Michigan State and an overtime win over Northwestern. Michigan remains in the Big Ten race with a 6-3 record (a game behind Ohio State and tied in the loss column with Michigan State and Wisconsin), but after tonight the Wolverines play 5 of 8 on the road to finish the regular season, so tonight is a must win for the Wolverines' Big Ten title hopes.

IU's first game against Michigan, a 73-71 win in Bloomington, was the beginning of the "reality" portion of the schedule. IU improved to 14-1/2-1 with the win, and never trailed, but the Hoosiers, despite leading by 15 in the first half and by 10 with 7 minutes to go, allowed Michigan to tie the game with 3 minutes remaining and could have lost at the buzzer. IU's second half play in that game seemed to foreshadow the upcoming close call at Penn State and the losses to Minnesota and Nebraska.


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 22 33.6 5.3 12.4 43.0 1.6 5.7 27.8 3.0 4.1 72.5 0.7 3.0 3.7 2.5 1.8 0.5 0.2 2.0 15.2
Trey Burke 22 35.0 5.1 11.9 43.1 1.6 4.6 34.3 2.2 3.0 73.1 0.8 2.8 3.6 5.0 2.7 0.8 0.4 1.5 14.1
Zack Novak 22 33.5 3.3 6.8 49.0 1.5 3.7 40.7 0.9 1.1 83.3 1.1 3.6 4.7 1.9 0.9 0.7 0.0 2.4 9.0
Evan Smotrycz 22 22.9 2.9 6.3 46.0 1.3 3.1 42.6 1.5 2.0 73.3 1.6 3.9 5.5 1.0 1.6 0.9 0.5 2.8 8.6
Jordan Morgan 22 23.9 3.4 5.3 64.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.7 48.6 2.3 3.3 5.6 0.3 1.8 0.5 0.4 2.5 7.6
Stu Douglass 22 27.3 2.6 6.4 40.4 1.4 4.3 33.0 1.0 1.2 81.5 0.3 2.4 2.7 1.9 1.2 0.9 0.0 1.9 7.6
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 22 10.3 0.7 2.1 34.0 0.3 1.4 22.6 0.1 0.2 50.0 0.4 1.0 1.3 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.7 1.9
Eso Akunne 12 4.0 0.6 0.7 87.5 0.3 0.4 80.0 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.0 0.7 0.7 0.1 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.7
Blake McLimans 20 4.8 0.5 0.9 52.9 0.2 0.4 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.6 1.0 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.2 1.1
Carlton Brundidge 11 3.4 0.1 0.4 25.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.4 0.7 50.0 0.0 0.6 0.6 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.5
Colton Christian 11 2.9 0.2 0.7 25.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.5 0.4
Josh Bartelstein 6 1.3 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.2 0.0
Corey Person 5 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0

The story on Michigan is pretty well-known by now. Michigan is as system-oriented as any team in the Big Ten, with the possible exception of Wisconsin. Michigan plays at a deliberate pace, and after they have exhausted most of the shot clock, there is a 43 percent chance that the Wolverines will attempt a three pointer. The Wolverines' main offensive weakness this season is that while they love the deep ball, the deep ball does not love them. Michigan ranks #9 in the Big Ten in conference games in three point percentage, shooting only 31 percent, although Michigan is over 50 percent from two point range. Tim Hardaway, Jr. is a microcosm of this issue, shooting only 27 percent from deep but taking nearly 6 three pointers per game. The best defensive number for the Wolverines is that they have forced turnovers on 20 percent of their defensive possessions, so that's a concern. much like for IU, with Cody Zeller, a freshman has been the key to Michigan's season: point guard Trey Burke has been excellent all season.

I really don't know what to expect from this one. In its last road game, IU played solid defense against Wisconsin for most of the day, and had every opportunity to win the game. A similar performance, win or lose, would be heartening. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, I don't think this team has to get a bunch of great road wins for the season to be considered a success. But road wins against NCAA-bound opponents have been rare for IU not just over the last four years, but over the last two decades. It would be nice to end that trend tonight.

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