Preview: Indianarmadeggon

Submitted by Ace on March 9th, 2013 at 1:59 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Indiana at Michigan
WHERE Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 4:00 PM Eastern, Sunday
LINE Indiana –2 (Kenpom)
TV CBS

THE THEM

Michigan hosts Indiana on Sunday afternoon with a chance to grab a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Since the first time these teams met (original preview here), the Hoosiers have established themselves as the clear-cut team to beat in the conference and perhaps the best team in the country.

Indiana is led by not one, but two contenders for national player of the year honors. Center Cody Zeller is an excellent rebounder with deft touch around the basket, and he's easily the best big man in the country when it comes to getting points in transition. He scored 19 points on 8/10 shooting in the first matchup, though Jordan Morgan was limited to just two minutes and will have a much greater impact this time around.

The other big star is wing Victor Oladipo, a spectacular athlete and defender who's turned himself into a lethal finisher from both inside and outside the arc (67.0 2P%, 49.1 3P%). Oladipo didn't put up huge numbers in the first game (15 points on 5/9 shooting), at least by his standards, but Tim Hardaway Jr. had a tough time staying in front of him; there are going to be times that Oladipo gets into the lane, and if Michigan doesn't rotate on defense better than they have lately he's going to get his share of thunderous dunks.

What gives Indiana the best offense in the country is that they'll kill teams that collapse on Zeller and Oladipo. They boast one of the nation's best shooters in Jordan Hulls, who hits 48.3% of his threes—a number that seemingly rises to 100% when he's got a wide-open look—and power forward Christian Watford connects on 48.1% of his triples. Hulls isn't a strong defender and Michigan has to find a way to isolate and attack him on that end. Watford is the team's best defensive rebounder and gave Glenn Robinson III a lot of trouble with his size and skill set in the first game.

Rounding out the starting lineup is freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, who's still figuring things out offensively—he's got a 42/32 2P/3P split and is prone to turnovers—but is a solid distrubutor and surprisingly good defender. The top backup is 6'7" wing Will Sheehy, a solid slasher who hits nearly 56% of his shots inside the arc, while reserve guard Remy Abell has hit 13/27 three-pointers this season.

THE RESUME

Indiana is the #2 team in the country, with their only losses coming to Butler, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio State. Before Tuesday's nine-point home defeat against the Buckeyes, they hadn't lost a game by more than five points.

THE TEMPO-FREE

Four factors, conference only:

  eFG% Turnover % Off. Reb. % FTA/FGA
Offense 53.4 (1) 19.1 (9) 37.3 (2) 48.6 (1)
Defense 44.8 (2) 20.4 (2) 34.8 (10) 29.0 (4)

The only real weakness the Hoosiers have on the offensive end is a proclivity for turning the ball over; with their brutal shooting efficiency (49.1 2P%, 41.5 3P%) Michigan is going to have to capitalize on any chance they get to force an empty possession.

Defensively, Indiana doesn't allow a lot of three-point attempts, and as a result have ceded a somewhat-fluky 29.1 3P% in Big Ten play; Michigan hit just 7/23 attempts in the first game while desperately trying to dig themselves out of a big hole. 

THE PROTIPS

Get in transition. Indiana is perhaps the only team in the country that Michigan may not want to get into a track meet against, but the Wolverines are going to have to find a way to generate some easy points, and not a lot has come easy lately when Michigan isn't on the break. Farrell is a solid point guard but he's still just a freshman, and Trey Burke has really been turning up the heat lately with his on-ball pressure—expect more of the same in this one.

Get one of the big four in foul trouble. Indiana's pieces on offense fit so well together that it's nearly impossible to stop them when everything is clicking—Zeller posting up, Oladipo attacking the rim, and Hulls and Watford waiting to knock down open threes. Get one of those guys off the court for extended time, however, and it's a whole lot easier to keep up. Burke, Stauskas, and Hardaway should look to attack the basket and see if they can get a couple cheap ones, either on their man or on Zeller inside.

Don't make mistakes. I know, duh. But this is a game where the margin of error is razor-thin. Michigan can't afford to take bad shots, cough up dumb turnovers, or lose a key player to foul trouble—not to mention continue to blow defensive rotations and get beat off the dribble. Beating the best team in the country means playing like the best team in the country; Michigan's shown at times this year they can put it all together, and they need to bring a complete effort on Sunday.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Indiana by 2. I'm expecting a very close game, and having Morgan back for this one is huge, but I learned my lesson about deviating from KenPom the last time.

Elsewhere

UMHoops preview. No preview yet from Inside The Hall, but that's definitely your spot to go in-depth on the Hoosiers.

Comments

DeepBlue83

March 9th, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

This team has regressed seriously and has not played a strong game in a very long time. Amazingly, despite having what appeared to be far more talent than last year, they will finish with a worse conference record and lower in the standings. Beilein has a lot to answer for. Our team defense has gotten steadily worse as the season has gone on, when it should have gotten better, and players like McGary, Stauskas and Robinson have failed to improve against quality competition. We are back to where we were last year, with Burke being the only player on the roster who can get it done in crunch time against a strong opponent. But that will not be nearly enough tomorrow.

MGlobules

March 9th, 2013 at 3:42 PM ^

as Indiana, with just one to their two bad losses. If you ask Beilein he says we've gotten progressively better as the season went on, but we've been playing tougher teams with the nation's third-youngest squad in a much more brutal B1G. Being down on these kids is BS, frankly, but some fans puff themselves up by dissing them on the internets. Win or lose tomorrow, we will finish with a BETTER overall record than last year. 

MGlobules

March 9th, 2013 at 4:46 PM ^

of the fan base that is going to tell you that the world has ended and your HOF coach should be fired if Michigan is down by 4 points at the ten-minute mark. And they are probably a different segment from on-the-rag types who, wierdly, get to feeling superior to five star recruits because they aren't superhuman, do not and cannot possibly always succeed, and spout dubious stuff about how lazy they are from the rooftops during and after games.

God forbid we should be one of the 290-plus teams that have not played top-ten quality hoop all year. . . 

a2_electricboogaloo

March 9th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

Well if you insist, kind sir. I whole heatedly agree that the loss to PSU was an atrocious embarrassment, but we hardly got our asses kicked. We held a decent lead for most of the game and then blew it away during the second half as Penn St went absolutely HAM from 3-point range (and we couldn't buy a shot).

Since then we beat a top 10 MSU team without pur best shooter, and a Purdue team that seems to be getting hot to end the season in their own house. We have the best PG and quite possibly the best player in the nation in Trey Burke. JMo is finally starting to look like he's getting back into form for the first time since hurting his ankle. We are playing an Indiana team who we were narrowly beaten by at Assembly Hall (Indiana edition), which is notoriously hard to play at, losing by a margin significantly smaller than the away loss to the MSU team we just beat.

Finally we're playing on our home court for senior day. We haven't lost a single game at Crisler this season—and only one in the last two seasons. We're playing for a share of a second straight B1G championship, and the crowd is going to be electric.

I like our chances, but I still think its going to be a shoot out and a good game.

ThWard

March 9th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

Izzo should be on the chopping block - MSU lost three straight to IU, OSU, and UM.  UNACCEPTABLEZ.

UM is better than last year; if you haven't heard the nonstop ESPN drumbeat about how great the rest of the Big 10 is, though, too, then, well, actually, kudos to your ability to tune out ESPN.

HarBooYa

March 9th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

Beat that "tournament ready" team and all of those teams that you seem to infer we don't have a chance at beating pretty much have the same record and types of losses we've had.

I am a cynic and think we might lose this game but you are one sad, jumping off a bridge puppy. Cheer up panda... We get an upset here and we might even be a one seed still!

jmblue

March 9th, 2013 at 9:09 PM ^

OK, it must have been our imagination when we beat a Final Four-bound OSU team (with Sullinger) last year, or when we beat top 5 Duke and UCLA in '09, or when we beat MSU in Breslin in '11, or all those tourney wins he had at WVU...

 

Trader Jack

March 9th, 2013 at 9:22 PM ^

Totally.

Except in 2008-2009, when we beat #4 UCLA, #4 Duke, and #16 Purdue.

And in 2009-2010, when we beat #15 Ohio State and #15 UConn.

And in 2010-2011, when we beat Michigan State at the Breslin Center.

And in 2011-2012, when we beat #8 Memphis, #9 Michigan State, #20 Indiana, and #6 Ohio State.

And this year, when we beat the same 9th ranked Michigan State team who had beaten us by 20+ on the road just weeks earlier.

And in 2004-2005, when he took West Virginia to an overtime loss away from the Final Four.

Except all those times, totally.

mGrowOld

March 10th, 2013 at 8:19 AM ^

"Right now"?  No, my guess is he either always feels that way or never feels that way.  Facts and logic have zero effect on people who've made their mind up on someting.  To him Michigan basketball sucks, has always sucked and will always suck.

Why people invest their time in following somthing that obviously gives them no joy baffles me.  It's the reason I gave up golf.

AnthonyThomas

March 9th, 2013 at 4:03 PM ^

Conference games are always chippy and close affairs, often regardless of who the most talented team is. This isn't football where talent and athleticism win out 95% of the time. Especially in the B1G, home court advantage is worth a lot. The fact that such a young team hasn't faltered more often is impressive, especially when they're often playing older players. People write off how importanf Novak and Douglass were last year. It takes savvy and experience to be successful in college basketball. Those attributes can cancel out athelticism a lot of the time, and unless your team is full of lottery picks (ala UK last year), there are bound to be growing pains.

Furthermore, these freshmen have never worked so hard in any six month period of their life as they have since they got to campus in the fall. They are worn down, no doubt about it. That's why you tend to see some regression.  

AnthonyThomas

March 9th, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

I wouldn't say they're light years better. They are light years more talented, for sure. Last year's team would progress past the first round 80%, maybe 90% of the time. One game hardly defines how good or bad the team was. In fact, that Ohio team would be closer talent wise to IU or MSU than they would be to Penn State, who we just lost to.

jmblue

March 9th, 2013 at 3:15 PM ^

And I bet you said the same thing one week ago when we were about to play MSU, four days after the PSU game that has scarred you so.

Being a sports fan should be an enjoyable experience, particularly when the team you cheer for wins 25 of its 30 games.  Maybe this isn't the hobby for you.

 

Cali Wolverine

March 10th, 2013 at 7:16 PM ^

...I am just a positive thinker and think our home court and the best PG in the country are the difference in this game. Do I think we grind out a W...yes, could we lose against IU by 1...with a 5 point lead at the end of game...the refs blow a clear intentional foul...and we can't buy a free throw...quite possible.

jmblue

March 9th, 2013 at 7:02 PM ^

It doesn't matter what happens in tomorrow's game.  No fan should be this much of a whiner over a team that is 25-5, having its best season in 20 years.  (And it sounds like this guy's been bitching and moaning all season.)

 

85Lee

March 9th, 2013 at 4:08 PM ^

They look great one game and then come out and overlook someone. They have also been amazing at home, but only good on the road. I just think the grind of the bigt ten season this year has left everyone at risk for an upset. Michigan by six most of that being free throws down the stretch.

Blue boy johnson

March 9th, 2013 at 2:42 PM ^

One thing I've noticed about Oladipo is he is turnover prone if pressured.  I've seen MSU and OSU double him on the perimeter with success. If Oladipo gets up ahead of steam he is a load to stop, but if you pressure him and make him turn his back to the basket you can turn him over.

Indiana Blue

March 9th, 2013 at 3:08 PM ^

You HAVE to make him go to his LEFT.  This is RULE #1 for stopping what he does with the ball offensively.  Take his offense away and the guy seems to be a little less of the total player - and that's what ohio did last game.

If you see THJ letting him move to his right, then 1 of 2 things has occurred ... 1) THJ didn't listen to the coaches or 2) the coaches never told THJ.  Neither of these are acceptable and will hurt our chances Sunday.

Go Blue!