It’s time for Indiana to prove it is worthy of the preseason hype. Time for the Hoosiers to prove they are the team to beat in the Big Ten this season.
Michigan comes to town Saturday night and the Hoosiers are in a position where they can make a big-time statement over the No. 1-ranked Wolverines. The Hoosiers are coming off a mugging of in-state rival Purdue, rocking the Boilermakers 97-60, and they have won their last four games. The Indiana-Michigan showdown on Saturday night at Assembly Hall won’t produce a conference champion, but it will go a long way toward giving a team the edge in the race for the conference championship.
The Hoosiers are obviously good enough to beat the Wolverines, and this is a game where I think Cody Zeller needs to have one of his best games of the season. Zeller is a player of the year candidate and has a future in the NBA. He is averaging 16.1 points per outing and grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game. He is also shooting close to 60 percent from the field, and he runs the floor as well as any big man in the country.
He has played well all year, and this game against Michigan is his chance to seize the moment. It’s his chance to take control and lead the Hoosiers to a big win in a crucial game.
If Zeller delivers as expected, the Hoosiers win. It’s that simple. And while a win over the Wolverines won’t assure the Hoosiers of a Big Ten title, it will move them one step closer to winning one.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.