Current record: 6-5 (0-0)
Current RPI: 190
Current Sagarin: 133
Current Pomeroy: 100
2008-09 record: 19-12 (9-9), lost to Oklahoma in second round of NCAA Tournament
2008-09 RPI: 44
2008-09 Sagarin: 34
2008-09 Pomeroy: 50
Series: IU leads 97-52
Last IU win: 1/8/2008 (78-64 in Ann Arbor)
Last Michigan win: 1/7/2009 (72-66 in Bloomington, OT)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: noon Thursday, ESPN2
Blogs: mgoblog, Maize n Brew, Michigan Sports Center
Indiana attempts to move past the Maurice Creek injury and hosts Michigan at noon on New Year's Eve in the Big Ten opener for both schools. Of all the indignities suffered by the IU basketball program in the last two years, at least for me the 2009 Michigan game might be the most gut-wrenching. After a rough pre-conference but a surprisingly close loss at Iowa, last year's Hoosiers stormed to a 20 point lead against the Wolverines but gave it all back, the last three points on a bounced-in three pointer by Laval Lucas-Perry. The Hoosiers threatened in few other Big Ten games last season, and the Wolverines, after avoiding what would have been an RPI-busting loss, qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eleven years. This season, after being ranked in the top 15 in the AP poll to begin the season, Michigan has backslid. The Wolverines are 6-5, their best win is against Pomeroy #121 Creighton, and they have lost to unremarkable Utah and Boston College (yeah, but better than Boston University). As you can see above, the computers absolutely hate these guys (Pomeroy projects a 6-12 Big Ten record), and it will take a remarkable Big Ten performance for Michigan to avoid the NIT or worse. Pomeroy gives IU a 55 percent chance to win this game. Of course, Pomreoy's ratings don't take injuries into account.
What has caused the slide? Michigan's Pomeroy tempo-free stats reveal strengths and weaknesses pretty similar to last year's team, but the three point shooting has slid to 28 percent, among the worst figures in the nation. Really, besides that, there isn't a tremendous difference between the two seasons statistically. This is a typical John Beilein-coached, perimeter-oriented team. Accordingly, they get a bunch of their production from behind the arc, they don't get to the line, and they don't rebound well. On the other hand, they take very good care of the ball and play good perimeter defense. These things were true in 2008-09, and are true today. I suppose the lesson is that Michigan has little margin for error, and even a 5 percent dip in three point percentage for a team that shoots so many threes is enough to move them from the NCAA bubble to the NIT bubble. Michigan is #311 in three-point shooting percentage and is #11 in the percentages of its shots that are three point attempts. That is not a formula for success. The bad news for IU is that if the Wolverines have a hot shooting night, their problems are solved for the day. And hey, it's not like we just lost our most athletic guard for the season.
Former IU recruiting Target Manny Harris leads with way with over 20 points per game. He is shooting 45 percent from the field, but only 27 percent from behind the arc. Still, thanks to nearly 8 free throw attempts per game, he remains a fairly efficent scorer. Harris's overall shooting percentage has steadily increased since he shot an abysmal 38 percent from the field as a freshman, but this is his worst season as a three point shooter. Also, Harris averages a team leading 5.1 assists per game. Obviously, he is the key to Michigan's offense. Note, however, the bad three point shooting all the way down the column through the Michigan players who play a lot. Zach Novak of Chesteron, at 36 percent, has the best three point percentage of any Wolverine who plays meaningful minutes.
After all that, I have no idea what to expect. IU will field a completely different team today. Michigan certainly is capable of a three point explosion. Will the press that debuted against Bryant become a staple of IU's defense? I really have no feel, but this will be one of IU's better opportunities for a Big Ten win.