|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.
THE PREVIOUS MATCHUP
I have no idea what you're talking about.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold:
|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:
Indiana's Noah Vonleh expected to play tonight against Michigan, sources told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 8, 2014
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.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 12
KenPom gives Michigan an 88% chance of winning, which... wow.
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.