The early Big Ten season has not been kind to Michigan and Indiana. When the Wolverines and Hoosiers take the floor at 8 P.M. tonight in Bloomington, they'll be sporting a combined 1-7 Big Ten record. One team will get its season back on track tonight with a win, though.
Michigan (11-6, 1-3) is in the midst of a three game losing streak with setbacks against Wisconsin, No. 3 Kansas and No. 2 Ohio State. The Wolverines have struggled offensively, failing to score more than 64 points in any of the three games. Zack Novak has been consistently good in that stretch, posting double figures in each game, but beyond that, his teammates have been inconsistent.
Indiana (9-8, 0-4) is still not on the board in Big Ten play and has lost six games in a row. Most recently, the Hoosiers dropped a high scoring affair at Northwestern 93-81. Indiana had four players finish in double figures, but the hot shooting Wildcats got the win behind 24 points from John Shurna.
Keys to the game after the jump.
When Michigan Has The Ball
- If the Wolverines can get Novak, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Darius Morris going at the same time, they're a dangerous team as they proved against top five teams in Kansas and Ohio State. When one struggles, though, Michigan falls flat on its face offensively as it did against Wisconsin. All three scorers must establish themselves today.
- Indiana must play better defensively than it did against Northwestern. It's very hard to win college basketball games when you give up 93 points. If the Hoosiers do that again today, look for Michigan to win in commanding fashion.
When Indiana Has The Ball
- It's either feast or famine for Indiana's leading scorer Christian Watford. In his last five games he's scored 14, 3, 17, 4, and 17 points. The Hoosiers can't afford for him to go MIA today as he's scheduled to. He needs to contribute and score points for Indiana to play well as a team.
- If nothing else, Indiana is a deep team, and Michigan needs to be aware of all the guys on the floor for the Hoosiers. If the Wolverines lose track of guys like Maurice Creek and Victor Oladipo off the bench, it could be a long night.
Both teams are struggling, but Michigan already has 11 wins overall on the season. Despite their losses, the Wolverines played fairly well against some superior teams in their last two games. Indiana is by no means on the level of Kansas or Ohio State, so if Michigan can play like it did against those teams tonight, they'll have a real chance to break their dry spell.