The Michigan Wolverines will travel to Bloomington Saturday to take on the Indiana Hoosiers in a monster Big Ten match-up. The Hoosiers have had this game on their calendar since the season began because of the possible postseason implications, including a conference championship hanging in the balance.
Indiana had its shot at being No. 1 this season and got knocked off like many No. 1 teams this year. Michigan comes into town as the No. 1 team in the land for the first time since the Fab Five reigned supreme in Ann Arbor and this is the first week that they find themselves on top.
The Wolverines have one loss this season on the road and are easily one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the nation. They possess strong guard play, led by the best point guard in college basketball in Trey Burke, and great shooting from anywhere on the court.
As a team, the Wolverines shoot 51% from the floor– good for the third best mark in the country. They would be a hard time to slow down and maybe the second-best offensive team in the best conference in basketball.
Who is the top offensive team in the conference you ask? Well the Indiana Hoosiers, of course. It’s not easy to top a team that averages 78 points a game and shoots 51% from the field, but the Hoosiers do just that. Although their shooting percentage is not quite the same(50% for Indiana), the Hoosiers average an astounding 84 points a game– the best mark in the NCAA.
The difference in this game will come in two areas of play: Victor Oladipo‘s performance and rebounding of both teams.
Victor Oladipo is easily one of the most skilled players in the country and possibly the conference’s best defender. He can match up against the one, two or three of Michigan– most likely matching up with Burke. He averages 14 points, six rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. His 2.5 steals are the conference’s best and he averages almost a block per game, making him a force on the defensive side of the ball, one of the only players in the conference that can slow Burke down.
The other factor in this game is the ability of Indiana to rebound the ball, averaging 40.3 a game(15th in the nation). Michigan is on the other side of that spectrum, their lack of size inside proves to be a vital mismatch in Indiana’s favor. The Wolverines average 36.7 rebounds a game(105th in the country) with an unpredictable Jordan Morgan in the post trying to stop Cody Zeller from grabbing his average of over eight rebounds per game.
The Hoosiers will give Michigan more than they can handle and dominate the inside. Indiana is by far the best team Michigan has played all season– they have only played three ranked teams– and on the road will be a hostile environment for this young, but talented, squad.
Prediction: Michigan 71, Indiana 82