Game Info / How to Watch:
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (15-10 (5-7), #42 KenPom) vs. Michigan Wolverines (15-9 (5-6), #30 KenPom)
When? Sunday, Feburary 12th, 1:00 PM, CBS
Where? Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
Pomeroy? Indiana by 3, 60% chance of Indiana victory
Last night's game against Purdue was deemed to be a victory Indiana "had to have" and I disagree. It's not as if Indiana needs good wins to bolster their résumé, what they need are wins period. They'll play at least seven games before the NCAA Tournament and they're sitting on 15 wins. The magic number for a stress-free Selection Sunday is probably 5. They could possibly squeeze through with less, but you never want to to leave your fate in the hands of other teams. The 2015 squad made the field (even clearing Dayton) after going 20-13 (9-9) and their best wins were #20 Butler and #19 Ohio State, with losses to #132 Eastern Washington and #122 Northwestern.
When you live the illustrious life of a bubble team, it's always extra helpful when you can rack up a win against a team sitting there with you. Michigan has been swinging wildly up and down the KenPom rankings, dropping eight spots after losing to #60 Ohio State at home and then rising ten spots after thumping #58 Michigan State by nearly 30 points. They currently sit at #30, which makes them the third-best team in the conference in that metric.
That's probably important to note going forward, as well. Indiana (and Michigan) probably aren't going to get the B1G-Bonus when they're evaluated by the committee. The league is, quite simply, not very good this year. There are a lot of decent teams, and even the bottom of the league has more of a pulse than it has had in the past couple of years (hey Rutger!), but after years of having four or five teams near the top of the efficiency ratings, they have only two in the top-30 this year and zero in the top-10. Going 9-9 in the league this year is not good, and without a historically bad bubble nationwide, it'd likely mean a trip to the NIT.
Anyway, the last time we played the Wolverines it was arguably Indiana's most embarrassing performance of the season and THAT'S SAYING SOMETHING. Can we hope for a better result the second time around?
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (#21 Adj. Offense)||56.2 (16th)||21.3 (315th)||37.6 (10th)||36.3 (149th)|
|MICHIGAN (#131 Adj. Defense)||53.0 (284th)
||28.5 (137th)||28.1 (32nd)
|INDIANA (#119 Adj. Defense)||47.4 (56th)||16.2 (312th)||28.3 (124th)||35.7 (179th)|
|MICHIGAN (#10 Adj. Offense)||56.1 (18th)||14.8 (6th)||26.6 (266th)||31.0 (289th)
Since that Michigan game where Indiana surrendered an astonishing 1.53 points per possession, the Hoosiers have knuckled down and turned in some pretty decent defensive performances. They held Northwestern to 1.08, Penn State to .99, Wisconsin to 1.03, and Purdue to 1.01. The Boilermakers, in particular, are a tremendous offensive unit and the Hoosiers played them better than most. Caleb Swanigan had one of his most inefficient performances of the season, and Purdue's deadly three-point shooters never found their rhythm, finding little room to get shots off as their three point attempts made up only 28.6% of their field goal attempts, over 10% lower than their season average.
Michigan is a similar animal, as we discussed in our last preview. The floor is flush with great shooters and any lapse on the perimeter is pretty much a guaranteed three points. Indiana will have to continue to defend the way they have recently to have any chance. The Wolverines will work clock to get their shot, and they're supremely comfortable working with 10 seconds or less.
On defense, Michigan is a one-trick pony, either they turn you over or you're probably getting a pretty good look. This was evident in the last game as Indiana shot 54.8% from 2, 53.8% from 3, but turned it over on 27.1% of their possessions and lost by 30 as Michigan managed to shoot 69.0% (nice) from 2, and 55.0% from three. Which is, quite frankly, absurd. They did the same thing to Michigan State on Tuesday.
STUFF TO WATCH FOR
Derrick Walton vs. Josh Newkirk: Both point guards, Walton in particular, have been on a run of pretty good form recently. Walton just dropped 20-5-8 in their rout of Michigan State while Newkirk had 8-8-3 against Purdue, and is 10-17 from behind the arc in his last three games. It was astutely pointed out by a few folks last night that Newkirk could finally be turning the corner in his recovery from microfacture surgery, which takes a long time to fully come back from, and there are plenty of cases of guys never being the same afterwards. Hopefully Josh can keep up his play and be a fully healthy, key cog for next year. Speaking of coming back from surgeries ...
- The Arrival of Freddie McSwain: Are we finally catching a glimpse of the player McSwain can become at IU? As a JuCo transfer, we all expected a learning curve for the guy, but offseason surgery seemed to put him further behind the eight-ball and it's fair to say he looked overmatched in a lot of his appearances. He's looked more and more capable in the past few outings, tipping in a couple of buckets and grabbing four offensive rebounds against Purdue. Should De'Ron Davis miss any time, McSwain is probably the next man up to defend the post after Bryant and Morgan.
- The Freshman Guards: Been awhile since either Devonte Green or Curtis Jones had a really good outing, eh? Green was hurt prior to the Purdue game (but who wasn't?) and did have a double-double in the three overtime marathon against Penn State. The kids are definitely talented, and you like them as building blocks for a backcourt that is going to be losing James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson in two years or less, but there have been several instances where IU has needed them to step up in conference place and just haven't received the production. They'll need all hands on deck for the stretch run, and the freshman backcourt getting into a groove could be key to that.