Game Info/How to Watch
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (4-3, #80 KenPom) vs. Michigan Wolverines (6-2, #44 KenPom)
When? Saturday, December 2, 2017, 12:30 p.m., CBS
Where? Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Vegas? Michigan -7.5, O/U 141.5
Pomeroy? Michigan 73-65, 23% chance of victory for IU
Well, it seems safe to say now that these Indiana Hoosiers have settled into Archie Miller and his system. The Hoosiers put together their best performance of the young season on Wednesday night in a 91-81 loss to No. 1 Duke. Sure, the raucous Assembly Hall crowd played a role and that game is probably different if played in Durham. But still, there were plenty of things to take away from that game and feel good about.
First, De’Ron Davis was a man. Davis held his own against Duke’s monstrous frontline, and while he missed some free throws down the stretch, he turned in what may have been his best performance in an Indiana uniform. Add in the fact that the Hoosiers look poised under pressure and the fact that they went toe-to-toe with the best team in the country for 37 minutes, despite going just 5-for-21 from three, and you feel like Indiana actually may make some noise in the Big Ten.
But the question for today has to be whether the Hoosiers will build upon that Wednesday night action or whether they are out of gas and will get run on the road at Michigan.
Want some factors?
|INDIANA (#47 adj. offense)||54.4 (68th)||17.9 (105th)||65.2 (288th)||33.1 (224th)|
|IOWA (#132 adj. defense)||48.9 (122nd)||18.4 (223rd)||-||34.7 (173rd)|
|IOWA (#60 adj. offense)||55.1 (57th)||19.6 (188th)||66.4 (281st)||39.7 (46th)|
|INDIANA (#203 adj. defense)||54.4 (276th)||18.8 (188th)||-||40.7 (327th)|
There are some real similarities between Indiana and Michigan. Neither team can find the bottom of the net from 3-point range, ranking 216th and 236th, respectively, in 3P%. Moreover, neither team can guard the three. In that category, they rank 318th and 323rd, respectively. Both team are fairly effective from the field, in general, and neither team can keep their opponents off the board. And lastly, neither team can make free throws. Sound like an exciting game!
What this one may come down to is turnovers. Indiana has been much better of late, committing just nine turnovers in each of its last three contests. But the Hoosiers are still a middling club in committing and forcing turnovers. The Wolverines, on the other hand, are 10th in the nation with a measly 14.4% turnover rate. And Michigan is just outside the Top-75 in forcing opponents to give up the rock.
What to Watch
1. Can anyone make some long shots? As the factors above show, neither of these teams can make it rain from three. For the Hoosiers, it’s about Josh Newkirk, Rob Johnson, and Collin Hartman. Newkirk is shooting 38.5% from three and that number could be closer to 45% if he’d stop shooting from 30-feet. Hartman’s return to the lineup has provided a spark, and the three-point shooting should improve as his minute increase. As for Johnson, there appears to be a little hitch in his shot right now, and Wednesday night, every shot he missed was missed left. If these three guys get it going, though, Michigan will have their hands full.
2. Free throws. If this game stays close, somebody better make some damn free throws. Does anything more need to be said?
3. Energy. You’ll know early if Indiana has what it takes to play with Michigan on Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers have to bring energy to the Crisler Center if they have any shot of winning this Big Ten opener. If Michigan jumps out to an early lead and the Hoosiers don’t respond quickly and with intensity, turn on Memphis-UCF.
Commonsense says the Hoosiers are in for a major letdown today. But the way this team played on Wednesday is encouraging, and you have to imagine that Archie has let these guys know how critical two wins over Michigan and Iowa would be to start Big Ten play. For some reason, I feel like the Hoosiers do just that - start 2-0 in a bad Big Ten - and it starts with a win in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Indiana 78, Michigan 72.