Big Ten Tournament Preview: Indiana

Submitted by Ace on March 10th, 2016 at 4:24 PM


WHAT #8 Michigan (21-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
#1 Indiana (25-6, 15-4)
WHERE Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana
WHEN Noon ET, Friday
LINE Indiana -7 (KenPom)

Right: Obligatory. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]


A win and Michigan likely secures an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. A loss almost certainly relegates Michigan to the NIT. The stakes don't get much higher.


Let's not talk about the last time.


Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss SIBMIHHAT
G 11 Yogi Ferrell Sr. 6'0, 180 86 25 No
One of the best PGs in the country. Great outside shooter, distributor.
G 4 Robert Johnson (inj.)* So. 6'3, 195 57 18 No
Excellent three-point shooter. Inefficient inside arc. Turnover-prone.
F 30 Collin Hartman Jr. 6'7, 215 55 13 No
Low-usage, Just A Shooter™ type making 38% of threes.
F 5 Troy Williams Jr. 6'7, 215 64 26 Not really
Great athlete and finisher, impactful defender, improved shooter, TO-prone.
C 31 Thomas Bryant Fr. 6'10, 245 56 22 Not really
Top-flight post scorer also boasts strong rebounding and block rates.
G 2 Nick Zeisloft Sr. 6'4, 210 49 13 No
Has attempted 139 threes and 14 twos this season. 43% 3P shooter.
F 0 Max Bielfeldt Gr. 6'8, 240 43 22 No
Rebounding and scoring well, third-best steal rate in B1G. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
F 3 OG Anunoby Fr. 6'8, 215 31 18 No
Efficient inside-outside scorer, good offensive rebounder, turnover-prone.

*Robert Johnson has missed IU's last three games with a high ankle sprain; while there hasn't been a definitive update on his status, there's a decent chance he's available to play. Forward Juwan Morgan's status is also up in the air after he appeared to aggravate a shoulder injury on Sunday against Maryland.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]


Covered in detail in the preview of the regular-season matchup. Sharpshooter Nick Zeisloft replaced Robert Johnson in the starting lineup when Johnson went down with a sprained ankle; even if Johnson is able to give it a go, it's safe to assume he'll ease his way back. Zeisloft isn't on Johnson's level as a distributor and finisher inside the arc, but he's less turnover-prone and an equally deadly outside shooter.


Conference-only stats.

Four Factors explanation

Indiana is one of the better shooting teams in the country; they're second nationally in eFG%, fifth in three-point percentage, and seventh in two-point percentage. They also do a good job crashing the boards—Bryant is especially effective in that regard—and their weak point is turnovers; aside from Zeisloft, who pretty much just catches and shoots, every rotation player has a turnover rate of 16 or higher.

The key to cracking Indiana's defense is finding a way to generate good looks from the outside; the Hoosiers finished second in the B1G in 3PA/FGA allowed and their opponents score just 27% of their points on threes—for comparison, Michigan gets 40% of their points from beyond the arc. Michigan couldn't accomplish this in the first matchup, going 7/23 from three-point distance.


Don't go on a ten-minute scoring drought. Please and thank you.

Fire away in transition. To keep up with IU's powerful offense, Michigan is going to have to get some points on the fast break. Thankfully, the Hoosiers are one of the more turnover-prone teams in the country. Duncan Robinson finally got his shot going against Northwestern and he could have a chance to build on that with spot-up looks in transition.

Break Yogi Ferrell's Charm of Eternal Youth. I mean, seriously, why hasn't anyone thought of this before?


Indiana by 7.

Perhaps the do-or-die nature of the game will bring something extra out of Michigan, but you could've said the same thing heading into the Northwestern game and they continued not to inspire much confidence.



March 11th, 2016 at 7:55 AM ^

I love Mgoblog, but the negativity here rivals the Wolverine.

So many posters need to get a grip. If things are this shitty, go be a front runner and find another team to support.

Gotta take the thin times with the thick. I suggest the angry mob take this to heart:

"True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise - the other, loyalty."

Get behind this team or GTFO.

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March 11th, 2016 at 11:01 AM ^

Love the presumption here. You're not the arbiter in the loyalty case. I'd imagine the majority here taking the time to post and follow MGo Anything are "loyal". Otherwise, it's very doubtful they'd be writing.

It isn't an either / or proposition to begin with. There are plenty of dynamics at work within fandom and strong ties to Michigan.

I'm guessing the majority will always be loyal, therefore there's no need to issue a GTFO comment because your loyalty can't tolerate a little dissent.

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March 11th, 2016 at 11:22 AM ^

Speaking of presumptions, you presume my loyalty can't handle any dissent, which is laughable. This place has become the insane asylum. It's toxic with all the negativity. The fire Beilein mantra, this team sucks and has no chance today is infantile.

I just choose to not take a massive shit on this team when they're struggling. However, this
forum has jumped the shark.

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March 11th, 2016 at 9:06 AM ^

I'm nervous.  Beilein's undefeated in opening-round BTT action (9-0) but is 1-7 the the next day, when it seems like the grind of playing twice in 24 hours catches up to the team's legs.  

We did play well in Atlantis this year after losing the opener, so maybe that's something - though that was with LeVert in the lineup.


March 11th, 2016 at 10:10 AM ^

I don't know if it's legs as much as it is the competition level.

Michigan's opening opponent has been an 8 seed or worse every year with one exception (2011). That's partly luck and partly because we just haven't been seeded high very often.

When you're facing 8s and 9s and double-digit seeds, you're facing teams you should beat. Conversely, that second game has repeatedly been against rock-solid Wisconsin and OSU teams—opponents we didn't have much luck against during the regular season either.

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March 11th, 2016 at 11:29 AM ^

Perhaps, but Beilein's NCAA tournament record is pretty strong, despite having faced a lot of good opponents.  There, you never have to play on consecutive days.   I think his teams, with their strong emphasis on outside shooting, are particularly vulnerable to fatigue when playing on consecutive days.


March 11th, 2016 at 9:45 AM ^

U-M has to shoot 50% from 3 to win. If you look back at our losses, U-M shot under 41% from 3 in every one except Maryland, which kind of proves the point—that's the only one of our losses that we had a real shot to win. (Yes, we did anomalously beat Purdue while shooting poorly, but there's just no way IU will struggle like Purdue did offensively.)

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March 11th, 2016 at 10:34 AM ^

A second straight game for a team that relies on jump shooting isn't great.  Dakich can't see the floor today, Indiana is too good offensively.  I don't care if it means Walton plays 40 minutes it just can't happen.  The auto bench can't happen (it will).  The win yesterday did nothing for us on any updated brackets, win today or its the nit.  Its pretty simple.