(Photo Credit: www.mgoblue.com)
The Hoosiers host the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines this Friday in Bloomington, IN. The Hoosiers are riding a five game skid that began the last time they squared off against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. IU will look to right the ship in this difficult matchup at home.
Not much has changed statistically since these teams last met. For the season, the Wolverines are averaging 71.8 ppg at a clip of 46% while holding their opponents to 57.1 ppg at 40% shooting from the field. Compare this to Indiana averaging 74.2 ppg on 49.8% shooting and holding opponents to 66.2 ppg on 41.4% shooting.
However, conference game stats for the season paint a different, and probably more relevant, picture. In conference games, Michigan is averaging 69.0 ppg on 44.8% shooting while holding their opponents to 60.6 ppg at 42.5% shooting. IU is averaging 64.4 ppg on 44.1% shooting and surrendering 69.2 ppg to opponents on 43.6% shooting.
Despite the five game losing streak, fans may be surprised that IU has shown improvement in terms of reducing turnovers and turning up the defensive intensity. They’ve also had spurts of brilliance on offense. However, what seems to be lacking is the level of consistency and intensity to play a complete 40 minute game. The Hoosiers will need to play with a lot of heart and toughness to come away with a victory against a very good Michigan team.
Let’s dive in:
Meet the Wolverines
- Moritz Wagner – 6’11” / 245 lbs / Forward / Junior – Berlin, Germany. Drafted by the Lakers.
- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 6’4” / 190 lbs / Guard / Senior – Allentown, PA.
- Jaaron Simmons – 6’1” / 185 lbs / Guard / Graduate Student – Dayton, OH.
- Duncan Robinson – 6’8” / 215 lbs / Guard / Fifth Year – New Castle, NH.
- Ibi Watson – 6’5” / 200 lbs / Guard-Forward / Sophomore -Pickerington, OH.
- Ignas Brazedeikis – 6’7” / 215 lbs / Forward / Freshman – Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Team co-leader in points per game, averaging 14.9
- Charles Matthews – 6’6” / 205 lbs / Guard / Senior – Chicago, IL. Transferred from Kentucky his sophomore year and has played a significant role on the team since. Averaging 13.3 points per game this season.
- Jordan Poole – 6’5” / 195 lbs / Guard / Sophomore – Milwaukee, WI. Leads team in 3-PT FG% and FT% with 42.1% and 78.7%, respectively.
- Jon Teske – 7’1” / 260 lbs / Center / Junior – Medina, OH. Team leader in Blocks and Rebounds with an avg of 2.3 blocks per game and 6.6 rebs per game.
- Zavier Simpson – 6’0” / 190 lbs / Guard / Junior – Lima, OH. Has played the most minutes on the team this season (620), averaging 32.6 per game, and is averaging 12.1 points per game in conference games this season.
- Isaiah Livers – 6’7” / 235 lbs / Forward / Sophomore – Kalamazoo, MI.
- Eli Brooks – 6’1” / 185 lbs / Guard / Sophomore – Spring Grove, PA.
- Austin Davis – 6’10” / 245 lbs / Forward / Junior – Onsted, MI.
- Colin Castleton – 6’11” / 210 lbs / Forward / Freshman – Daytona Beach, FL.
- Brandon, Johns Jr. – 6’8” / 225 lbs / Forward / Freshman – East Lansing, MI.
- David DeJulius – 6’0” / 190 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Detroit, MI.
- CJ Baird – 6’5” / 220 lbs / Forward / Sophomore – Novi, MI.
- Adrien Nunez – 6’6” / 205 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Brooklyn, NY.
- Luke Wilson – 6’0” / 170 lbs / Guard / Sophomore – Boulder, CO.
Game Expectations for the Wolverines
Michigan will look to execute a similar game plan as the last time they faced IU. Michigan likes to control game tempo and force their opponents into uncomfortable situations, turning strong defense into offense. IU managed to get some good offensive production in Ann Arbor, and that was without Rob Phinisee playing. Look for Michigan to try to lock down Romeo Langford and/or Juwan Morgan and force IU to get offensive production elsewhere.
Here are some stats from the last time these two teams met (IU/UM):
- FGs: 23-54/29-58
- 3-PTs: 5-14/4-12
- Rebs: 34/31
- Turnovers: 7/3
- FTs: 12-16/12-16
In the game on Jan 5th, it looks like Michigan simply just made more shots. IU battled hard in a difficult environment, turning the ball over only 7 times and making 75% of their FTs. The team simply missed too many shots in the first half to recover from.
One can bet that Coach Beilein will have his team ready, but Michigan has looked vulnerable lately. They recently lost by 10 on the road at Wisconsin, and needed a buzzer-beating shot from Charles Matthews to beat Minnesota in Ann Arbor after giving up a double digit lead late in the game. With all five of Michigan’s starters averaging double-figure points in conference play, IU will need to bring their A-game, both physically and mentally, to upend the Wolverines.
That being said, Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall can be one of the most difficult venues to play in around the country when the crowd is alive. Michigan will want to take the crowd out of the game early and impose their will on the game. If IU can compete as hard as they did in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago and take care of the basketball, the Hoosiers have the ability to come away with the upset against Michigan, especially if the crowd remains engaged and raucous.
Race Thompson has since been upgraded to available. In Archie Miller’s post game press conference in Evanston, he mentioned the potential usage of Race Thompson in upcoming games. Notably, Race Thompson has only logged 4 minutes total in actual games (just a single appearance against Montana State earlier this season) during his entire career at Indiana.
Jerome Hunter recently confirmed his decision to red-shirt this season and will likely not be available.
Devonte Green, while not injured, has been suspended indefinitely due to “not meeting the standards expected of members of the program” and will not be available for this contest.
De’Ron Davis is still nursing an ankle injury and did not play against Northwestern. Time will tell if he is able to contribute any minutes against Michigan on Friday. (Update: Time did tell. Archie Miller stated in a press conference that De’Ron Davis will be shut down until he can recover to 100%. He is not expected to play against Michigan on Friday.)
Isaiah Livers for Michigan has returned back to play after dealing with injuries earlier this season. Indiana did not face against him during their early meeting this month in the Crisler Center.
What to Watch for:
- Michigan to dial up the defensive pressure. While they’ve improved as the season has gone on, Indiana has made a bad habit of turning the ball over often throughout the season, especially when under pressure. Look for Michigan to interfere with passing lanes and make IU uncomfortable on the dribble.
- Romeo Langford getting to the free throw line. Romeo has shown an uncanny ability to draw fouls this season. IU will want to get Michigan’s starters in foul trouble early, and Romeo will be key in making this happen.
- The battle in the post. IU’s bigs will have their hands full defending 7’1″ Jon Teske in the post. Michigan will look to feed their center down low and win the battle in the post both in points and rebounds. IU will need to be strong on the boards and limit Michigan to one shot per possession.
- IU has struggled in conference play recently IU has seen a slight drop-off in offensive production in conference play, often appearing sluggish. Will they be able to shake off the rust and put more points on the board this Friday?
- Potential Big Ten Freshman of the Year Candidates square off. This Friday will see two high profile Big Ten Freshman of the Year candidates Romeo Langford and Ignas Brazedeikis face off against one another for the second time this season. It was pretty even the last time out. Will Friday’s contest have a different outcome?
- IU’s roster depletions With several players unable to play, notably Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis, IU has had to go deeper into the bench for minutes, as well as extend minutes for starters. Will fatigue start to show and play a role in this game? Or will the Hoosiers muster the will to overcome the shorter roster depth and get a statement win at home? We’ll find out.
How to Watch
|Date||Friday, January 25th|
|Time||6:30 PM EST|