When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Assembly Hall
The Big Ten lead is up for grabs in its marquee showdown on Saturday night. The Michigan Wolverines invade Bloomington Indiana with the number one ranking, and they face the preseason favorite, Indiana Hoosiers. At (7-1), both teams are a half game up in the loss column, over Michigan State. They are two of the top 11 scoring teams in the country, and Indiana leads the nation at 84 points per game. Michigan scores a respectable 78 points a game.
Though each team scores at a rapid tempo, their plan of attack is dissimilar. Michigan uses a more conventional lineup, and their guards do a lot of the heavy lifting. Trey Burke is averaging 18 points and seven assists per night. He leads four Michigan scorers in double figures.
Indiana has five double digit scorers on the floor. They use a dynamic inside game and explosive perimeter game to create havoc on opposing defenses. The speed of Cody Zeller is a transition nightmare for the opposition. Zeller averages 16 points and eight rebounds.
Victor Oladipo has been a force on both ends of the floor. He’s second in scoring and third in rebounding, while leading the Hoosiers in steals. His presence on the wing puts pressure on opposing swing men. It will be an intriguing match up when Oladipo is guarding Tim Hardaway Jr. The younger Hardaway averages 15.5 points per game. He is one of four players that are shooting over 40 percent from three point range.
Freshmen, Nik Stauskas shoots the three pointers at 49.5 percent. He also takes five per game.
Defensively, the Wolverine centers have to play their role, and even increase their level of production. Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary combine to average a double-double.
Indiana uses six players that average 20 or more minutes, while Michigan has four players that play more than 30 minutes a game. Indiana will use its rotation very wisely to keep the tempo at a fast pace.
Michigan needs to come out of the gate very quickly on Saturday night. Trey Burke and the guards must handle the pressure from Indiana’s guards. While both teams play good team defense, this will be a high scoring game with quality shots.
The battle from the three point line will be a major factor. If Jordan Hulls gets free for uncontested bombs, Indiana will have the advantage.
In the end, Michigan will find a way to come out with a spectacular victory and remain number one.
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