||Michigan v. Indiana
December 31st, 2009
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
The Wolverines took a couple hits yesterday, with Ben Cronin being ruled out at least for the rest of the season, and assistant coach Jerry Dunn taking an indefinite leave of absence from the squad. The Cronin news doesn't have a tangible effect on the team, but both pieces of bad news together can be a downer for the players.
The Wolverines are going to be stuck playing somewhat small for the rest of the year, though that problem can be eased by potentially removing a redshirt from Jordan Morgan or Blake McLimans. It remains to be seen whether either of those will happen.
If the Wolverines are entering this game on a downer, the Hoosiers might not be in a much better emotional situation, losing one of their key players, freshman forward Maurice Creek, for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Taking that news in tandem with an interesting comparison from The Crimson Quarry:
Indiana stands at 5-5 and must win two non-conference home games to enter Big Ten play with a winning record. I hate to mention it, but it was at this point last season where the wheels came off.
Shortly after that post, Indiana feel to Loyola Maryland, a middle-of-the-pack MAAC team. Is it 2009 redux for IU? They'd better hope not, but the trend is downward. Indiana has since beaten down Bryant University, but they lost Creek in that game.
Indiana has a chance to head sharply in one direction or another, and Michigan needs to capitalize and make sure the trend starts going downward.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Indiana: National Ranks
|Mich eFG% v. IU Def eFG%
|Mich Def eFG% v. IU eFG%
|Mich TO% v. IU Def TO%
|Mich Def TO% v. IU TO%
|Mich OReb% v. IU DReb%
|Mich DReb% v. IU OReb%
|Mich FTR v. IU Opp FTR
|Mich Opp FTR v. IU FTR
|Mich AdjO v. IU AdjD
|Mich AdjD v. IU AdjO
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
This is one of the closest matchups MIchigan has had all year. The overall advantage in 4 factors goes to Indiana, with 3 more advantage letters, though Michigan is dangerously close to a third letter of advantage in forcing turnovers. In Overall efficiency, it's a dead heat when Michigan has the ball, and they have a slight advantage on defense.
Indiana's gameplan has to completely change without Creek, as he was one of the most important Hoosiers. He led the team in offensive rating and % of shots taken, as well as being the best shooter and ball-handler. Losing him will be bad. Verdell Jones, Jeremiah Rivers, and Christian Watford will have to step up their games.
Michigan has the slight advantage even before removing Creek from the opposing squad, so they should be able to control the game at times. They won't rebound as well as the Hoosiers do, but without Indiana's best player in holding onto the ball, there's a chance it's turnover city. If Michigan can avoid fouling the Hoosiers, they should be able to keep them from scoring too much.
This game looks like one that swings momentum wildly from team to team, but with the early tipoff for a weak IU team, homecourt advantage might not play as big a role as it usually is. Not only is IU losing their best player, but this is also their first game without him, so they'll have to figure out what exactly they're going to do in his absence. This should be a close game down to the end, but Michigan should pull out a single-digit victory on the road.
Dylan previews IU, and has a conversation about the game with Inside the Hall, an IU basketball blog. Mike Rothstein of AnnArbor.com talk about this game being an opportunity for a strong start to Big Ten season.