Preview: Indiana

Submitted by Ace on March 7th, 2014 at 2:56 PM


WHAT Michigan (22-7, 14-3 B1G) vs Indiana (17-13, 7-10)
WHERE Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 6 pm Eastern, Saturday
LINE Michigan -12 (KenPom)
PBP: Bob Wischusen
Analyst: Dan Dakich

Right: Soak it all in, J-Mo. [Fuller]


In case you've been in a cave all week, Michigan locked up the outright Big Ten title on Tuesday. That doesn't mean this game in meaningless. It's Jordan Morgan's final home game, and if anybody deserves a triumphant sendoff, it's him. Also, the Wolverines have moved up to the final two-seed spot on the Bracket Matrix. A win and an adequate performance in the Big Ten Tournament should keep U-M as a two-seed. A loss means they'd have to make a deep BTT run and/or get some help to not fall to a three-seed.


I have no idea what you're talking about.


Projected starters are in bold:

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg
G 11 Yogi Ferrell So. 6'0, 178 83.6 25.1 115.1
Do-everything point shooting 40% from three on 203 attempts, also solid defender
F 0 Will Sheehey Sr. 6'7, 200 72.1 19.7 105.7
Solid slasher, inconsistent jumper, TO-prone, efficiency down as starter
F 13 Austin Etherington So. 6'6, 213 25.4 12.6 94.8
Minuscule usage, gets to FT line well, having awful shooting season, TO-prone
F 5 Troy Williams Fr. 6'7, 206 52.4 19.4 97.3
Great athlete, at best near rim, decent rebounder, not a shooter, TO-prone
F 1 Noah Vonleh Fr. 6'10, 240 61.5 21.8 110.5
Great rebounder, good shot-blocker, mostly works at rim but range extends to 3-pt
G 10 Evan Gordon Sr. 6'0, 192 52.5 15.2 107.6
Low-usage, okay shooter who gets to FT line often, ceding minutes lately to...
F 33 Jeremy Hollowell So. 6'8, 219 41.8 21.5 92.5
Active off. rebounder, shoots <40% from field, high FT rate, decent shot-blocker
G 22 Stanford Robinson Fr. 6'4, 193 40.7 22.7 92.4
Slasher without much of a jumper, good FT rate but hitting just 55% of FTs
F 12 Hanner Mosquera-Perea So. 6'9, 225 18.4 19.3 108.2
Excellent rebounder and shot-blocker, foul-prone, takes more FTs than FGs

This is going on the assumption that freshman sensation Noah Vonleh, who's missed the last two games with a foot injury, isn't going to play in a game that has little meaning for Indiana—they're well off the NCAA bubble and Vonleh has a lottery-pick future to protect.

UPDATE: Not a safe assumption, apparently:

Vonleh is one of the best rebounders in the country, a very good shot-blocker, and a good finisher with range extending beyond the three-point line.


With Noah Vonleh probably not sidelined, Indiana won't have to rotate through a large group of not-as-effective big men. Jeremy Hollowell does solid work on the offensive glass, but his defensive rebound rate is a paltry 12.3% and he's shooting 40% on twos and 21% on threes this season. Hanner Mosquera-Perea possesses great athleticism and comes close to replacing Vonleh's rebounding, but he's very inconsistent and often finds himself in foul trouble. 6'7" freshman Devin Davis and 6'8" senior Jeff Howard are undersized options thrust into bigger roles; of the two, Davis is the superior option.

With Vonleh playing, Indiana gets back one of the top rebounders in college basketball (160th in OR%, 12th in DR% nationally), a decent shot-blocker, and their most efficient scorer. Vonleh does most of his offensive damage at the rim, though he can also step out and knock down the three—he's 15/27 from beyond the arc this season.

The nominal power forward is freshman Troy Williams, a superlative athlete lacking much in the way of a jump shot. He's been joined in the starting lineup in the last two games (with Vonleh out) by Austin Etherington, who's shooting 9/24 from two and 5/20 from three this season; he's salvaged a not-terrible offensive rating by getting to the line at a high rate and hitting 78% of his freebies. Both players are turnover prone, as is the case with much of this team.

Senior Will Sheehey's had an up-and-down season after transitioning from dangerous sixth man to being the team's #2 offensive option. He's a solid athlete who can get to the rim and finish; however, his jumper has been iffy (31% 3-pt) and his formerly low turnover rate has taken a turn for the worse. Backup guards Evan Gordon and Stanford Robinson take most of Etherington's minutes; Gordon's a decent outside shooter who otherwise doesn't add much, while Robinson is (stop me if you've heard this before) a solid slasher lacking a jump shot.

The focal point of the team is, of course, Yogi Ferrell, who shot 6/8 from three in a game against some team at some point this season that somehow is slipping my mind. He's shooting 40% from downtown on more attempts than Nik Stauskas. He's been inconsistent inside the arc, however; as this chart from Inside The Hall shows, as that part of his game goes, so goes Indiana:

As you can see, the only significant difference between those two columns is Ferrell's two-point percentage.


Indiana's tourney hopes got a brief boost last week after back-to-back home wins over Iowa and Ohio State, then crash-landed after Wednesday's home loss to Nebraska, only the third Husker road win of the season. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers have just three wins away from Assembly Hall this season: a neutral site triumph over #93 Washington and road victories against #73 Penn State and #156 Northwestern. 


You probably gathered this from the individual player stats: Indiana isn't a very good shooting team—seventh in the conference in eFG% due almost entirely to Ferrell keeping their three-point shooting respectable—and they commit by far the most turnovers in the Big Ten. Offensive rebounding is a strength, though much of that is thanks to Vonleh, who'll either be in sweats or playing in a limited capacity. Crunch the numbers and they end up with the 9th-best offense in the Big Ten.

The defense is in the middle of the pack, and like the offense helped significantly by their rebounding. The Hoosiers appear to be the beneficiaries of some three-point luck; despite allowing three-point attempts at a higher rate than the NCAA average, opponents are making just 31.3% of them in Big Ten play. Meanwhile, the interior defense is a mess, with Indiana allowing opponents to shoot 50.1% inside the arc (11th in B1G).


Stop Ferrell's penetration. Yes, I'm aware Ferrell did most of his damage from beyond the arc the last time out, but the chart from ITH really speaks volumes. If Ferrell can't get good looks at the rim—which also opens up drive-and-dish opportunities for the rest of the team—then the Hoosiers have a tough time consistently generating offense. This falls on Derrick Walton, and to a lesser extent Spike Albrecht, as Indiana's length should prevent Michigan from trying to defend Ferrell with Caris LeVert—though that's something we could see when Ferrell and Gordon are on the court at the same time.

Box out. Even without Vonleh, the Hoosiers boast plenty of solid offensive rebounders and an athletic squad across the board. Unless Ferrell reprises his role as Three-Point Death Bot, Indiana is going to need second-chance opportunities to keep up with Michigan's offense. Keeping the rebounding battle relatively even would be a win for the Wolverines. 

Keep Stauskas free. The other thing Ferrell did really well in the first matchup was deny Nik Stauskas the ball; that game came during the stretch when opponents did an infuriatingly good job of doing this. Michigan's since adjusted by switching up their off-ball movement, including adding more backcuts for Stauskas; expect more of the same if Indiana tries the same defensive strategy.


Michigan by 12

KenPom gives Michigan an 88% chance of winning, which... wow.


UMHoops preview. Maize n Brew preview. Inside The Hall with a ton of data on Ferrell's offensive workload. Dylan looks at GRIII's offense this year—long live long twos?

Long live long twos, I guess.

Tremendous GRIII Instagram becomes tremendous MGoGIF:

That's LeVert, Irvin, and Walton (with cameraman GRIII) after a visit to Mott. It is impossible for rational human beings to dislike this team.

Stop right now and read BiSB's Jordan Morgan piece if you haven't already.



March 7th, 2014 at 3:20 PM ^

Does Beilein actually hate midrange jumpers?  I've seen this mentioned here before but I don't recall him actually saying that (and his teams seem to take plenty of them anyway).


March 7th, 2014 at 6:35 PM ^

Mid-range would be more ideal than the LONG range 2 pointers that get taken.  I hate to bitch, I mean they're winning basketball games.  And they went 70% on long shots one game ago.  To some I'm just bitching to bitch but there are times where I wish they wouldn't settle for some of the shots they take, and would actually strive for more of the actual mid-range shots.

The Geek

March 7th, 2014 at 3:55 PM ^

And I do love this basketball team. I thought last year with Trey and THJ was the pinnacle. I find myself liking this team more! Coach B is building a dynasty in Ann Arbor. What 5* McDonald's All American wouldn't want to play for Michigan??

Go Blue!


March 7th, 2014 at 3:36 PM ^

As opposed to taking nationally televised content and slapping the MGoBlog logo on it? It's in the public domain. It's a great GIF. I'm not sure why this is a problem.

Also, it's not like GRIII is making money off his Instagram account. And it's linked in the post. I'm not even sure why I bothered answering this.


March 7th, 2014 at 4:18 PM ^

I find myself just liking the players - and not because they win a lot - a ton of them are just incredibly likeable guys. I wish Beilein could just stay here forever


March 7th, 2014 at 4:17 PM ^

They will be just as focused as the Illinois game earlier this week.  They are gunning for a 2 seed. 

Looking forward to seeing the end of the bench get some fun minutes in this game.


March 7th, 2014 at 5:26 PM ^

that he has had more fun playing on this team than any other team that he has ever been on. This video seems to confirm that.

I hope he remembers this when he considers his future after the end of the season.


March 8th, 2014 at 1:06 AM ^

Beat Indiana or Win the Game. Wouldn't it be great to see an errant pass find Tom Crean's personal space.  Just beat them, I need the taste of last years home lose gone. You'd think the NCAA tourney run would of made it all go away but it didn't. I know it's not for all the marbles, as we already have secured them, yet it still means something.


March 8th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

... I think we start rough, then pull for Morgan's Sr. Day.... hopefully all the way thru to the win.

I also think there's more than holdin' on to the two-seed's on the line today. We need to maintain momentum & close off an achilles-heel loss loophole pattern going into the Tourney.

Like Nuss said, it's about consistency.

Luckily, it's jus' about perfect timing for that: no one better to see us steady through it than Morgan.

Go Blue!

steve sharik

March 8th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

Indiana has nothing to play for today. They must win the B1G tourney and will have to play us because they're pretty much assured the 8 or 9 seed. Add that the Indiana players hate their own coach (well, duh) and that some bitter kid who plays minutes doesn't care if they lose by 5 or 30 (see the grantland article on point shaving) and I believe we'll cover today.


March 8th, 2014 at 2:35 PM ^

Guh, I just don't have a great feeling about this.  Over reaction to recent gut punches in other sports?  Yeah, probably.  But just can't shake the feeling.  UM actually has a lot to play for here, and I think Crean just really really hates UM.  Will have them fired up.


March 8th, 2014 at 2:55 PM ^

I hope you're right. But I'm feelin' Freddie....

We *can* pull out a win, sure. But whenever we get cocky, or too relaxed...

...I said it before n' I'll say it again: this team is capable of beating *anybody* out there (tho I do hope we don't face Duke in the Big Dance, at least not until / unless MM's back miraculously heals, rehab is completed, and groove is back *oN*). But we're also capable of losing to the worst (cases in point: Charlotte, Indiana last time, and the close call that was Purdue. Loss to Wisconsin on home ground shocked me too. We should have won that).

Granted, most of that all was a few weeks ago. The team feels more solid now, more sure of itself, in a real way. Purdue, with GRII's "he's back!" n-better-than-ever emergence, may have been a turning point. Hopefully we've lost the second "ability"  ;o