When the Michigan Wolverines welcome the Indiana Hoosiers to Crisler Arena at 4:00ET on the Big Ten Network, Michigan will be looking to get to 6-7 in the conference, one game under .500 and a key game for the Wolverines if they want to make any case for the NCAA Tournament.
Although not likely to make the NCAA Tournament, it is possible for the Wolverines as the NCAA Tournament bubble changes weekly. Michigan rides a two game win streak, coming off wins at Penn State and against Northwestern.
Indiana rides a two game losing streak, coming off a one point loss to Iowa at home and a loss to arch-rival Purdue on the road. Their task for a win doesn't get any easier as Michigan is looking good right now, not expected to win against Penn State or Northwestern, Michigan has found ways to win.
Michigan sits at 5-7 in the Big Ten and 15-10 overall. They are in the tight middle block of the Big Ten standings. Just two games separate fifth place from ninth place. Indiana sits at 3-9 in the Big Ten and 12-13 overall. The battle for Tom Crean's first winning season at Indiana has hit a wall. Though injuries haven't stopped the Hoosiers from upsetting two ranked foes, it has stopped them from competing with teams like Purdue, on the road.
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This game means more to Michigan than it does to Indiana at this point in the season. Michigan is more than likely headed to the NIT and is pushing for a winning conference record and a NCAA bubble birth. Michigan is lead by leading scorer Darius Morris who averages 15.4 points per game.
I think this has the potential to be a close one. But it also has the potential to be a big Michigan win. The way Michigan handled Penn State on the road, where ranked opponents couldn't win, and then handled Northwestern, it gives me the feeling that Michigan will hand Indiana it's third straight loss.
As I always stress with teams, win the rebounding and turnover battles and you are probably on your way to a win. Indiana has struggled with injuries but that is no reason to look past them. They will still put up a fight, as Illinois and Minnesota learned earlier this year when they traveled to Assembly Hall.