ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Just over a month ago, then-No. 10 Michigan came into Assembly Hall on a 10-game winning streak. It left with a 63-52 loss, its third straight defeat at the hands of the Hoosiers and one of Indiana’s four wins over ranked opponents in the 2013-2014 season.
Since then, the No. 12 Wolverines (22-7, 14-3) have gone on to win the outright Big Ten regular season title. The Hoosiers (17-13, 7-10), meanwhile, have continued their up-and-down season — most recently losing by 10 points, at home, to Nebraska on Wednesday.
That 31-game regular-season slate ends today at 6 p.m. in the Crisler Center, as both teams face each other, once again. But the Hoosiers don’t expect a similar matchup to that on Feb. 2.
“They’ll adjust and we’ll adjust,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Friday. “That’s part of it. They’ll have different things and we’ll have different things. We’ll just see what happens when the game comes.”
During that February game, the Wolverines’ first loss of the Big Ten season, the Hoosiers held the nation’s No. 3 offense to its lowest-scoring output of the season. In fact, it’s the only time this season the Wolverines were held below 60 points.
That game, the Hoosiers employed certain switches on defense that baffled the Wolverines — that according to Michigan coach John Beilein.
Rules are here, for those unfamiliar.
- Yogi Ferrell was the pick to click winner for Illinois (game one), Michigan State (game one), Penn State (game one), Wisconsin (game one), Illinois (game two), Michigan, Penn State (game two), Purdue and Wisconsin (game two).
- Noah Vonleh was the winner for Northwestern (game one), Michigan State (game two), Minnesota , Northwestern (game two).
- Will Sheehey was the winner for Nebraska (game one), Iowa and Ohio State.
- Troy Williams was the winner for Nebraska (game two, won tiebreaker with Ferrell due to more made free throws in game).
The leaders through 17 games are available here.
Pool for Michigan: All players are eligible to be picked.
Picks are due by 5:45 PM ET on Saturday.
A few reminders:
· State the name of the player (not a nickname) that you’re picking. If you use a nickname for a player, your pick will not be counted. Also, please state who you are picking as the first thing in your comment. We’re tracking hundreds of picks per game. It’s more difficult to keep track of everyone’s pick if it’s not the first thing in your comment.
· Please make sure you are using a valid e-mail address if you are not registered.
· Please make sure you are using the same name each time to pick if you are not registered. We are tracking wins by the name you use to submit your pick. If your name changes on a game-to-game basis, credit for your pick will be given to the name used to submit the pick.
Indiana closes out the regular season with a trip to Michigan, which clinched its first outright Big Ten championship since 1986 on Tuesday with a relentless beatdown of Illinois in Champaign. The Wolverines are 22-7 overall, 15-3 in the conference and are ranked No. 12 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll.
The game will be broadcast at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN and on the IU radio network:
As I wrote recently in the premium forum, Indiana’s up and down season can be summed up perfectly by this fact: The Hoosiers are 4-1 against Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State and 2-4 against Penn State, Northwestern and Nebraska.
At their best, Indiana can play with anyone in the conference and at its worst, it can lose at home to Penn State and Northwestern. Chalk it up to youth, turnovers, poor shooting and offensive play, an inability to close out second half leads or a variety of other theories that have been tossed around throughout the season, but 30 games in, Indiana has been defined by inconsistency.
Saturday’s opponent Michigan, which Indiana has beaten four of its last five tries, will be looking to avenge its first conference loss back in early February and a painful home loss a season ago that cost the Wolverines (and two other teams) a shared Big Ten title with the Hoosiers. So while it may seem like there isn’t as much to play for on both sides after Michigan wrapped up the Big Ten title earlier in the week and the Hoosiers saw their at-large hopes fade away with Wednesday’s loss to Nebraska, the revenge factor could certainly be prevalent.
Note: Only stats for games where the opponent is currently in the RPI top 150 are included in this post.
There is no doubt that Indiana’s season thus far has been chaotic and unpredictable, marred by some bad losses but boosted by some great wins. And while predicting how the team will perform on a given night might seem a bit like flipping a coin, there has been one unwavering presence: Yogi Ferrell.
The absolutely tremendous year Yogi is having has been somewhat lost in the fray of a tumultuous season. IU hasn’t had a scorer like Yogi since Eric Gordon was in Bloomington for his only season as a Hoosier. Still, Gordon was a shooting guard who had other teammates directing the offense and looking to open things up for him, while Yogi is not only the leading scorer but also the team’s primary facilitator.
There is an inherent paradox that arises when a team’s leading assist man is also its leading scorer: When to score and when to assist?
Cody Zeller was a program-changing recruit for Indiana.
In his two seasons in Bloomington, the All-American forward led the Hoosiers to 56 wins and an outright Big Ten championship before entering the 2013 NBA Draft, where he was the No. 4 overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Inside the Hall had the opportunity recently to talk at length with Zeller on Tuesday about his rookie season and about his time at Indiana. In part two of a two-part series that has appeared this week on the site, Zeller reflects on his rookie season with the Bobcats (click here to read part one of our Q & A with Zeller):
Inside the Hall: You’re almost three-quarters of the way done with your rookie season right now. How has the adjustment been?
Cody Zeller: It’s a tough process going from college to the NBA. The game is so much different, both on and off the court it’s a big adjustment but I feel like I’ve made the adjustment pretty well. It’s definitely been a fun year for me.
ITH: What’s the adjustment like to the NBA? What’s so different about it?
CZ: I think there’s so much that’s different really both on and off the court. On the court, you’re playing against grown men every night. The style of play is a lot different than college. I think the biggest difference is just that night in and night out you’re playing against the best players in the world. And you know, in college, maybe you have a few good games each year, a couple tough matchups but in this league it’s the best players in the world every night. There’s no easy games. There’s no non-conference games, none of that. We just played San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Miami and we’ve got the Pacers tomorrow (Editor’s note: Zeller scored 11 points in a 109-87 win over the Pacers on Wednesday). So it’s kind of just how this league goes. There’s no time to catch your breath or get a rhythm. That’s the biggest difference.
Despite holding Terran Petteway under his Big Ten average, Indiana still surrendered 1.1 points per possession to the Cornhuskers during Thursday night’s loss. The Hoosiers let Nebraska get its way after ballhandlers turned the corner on ball screens . They also had some switching issues which gave the Cornhuskers good looks.
A look at some of Indiana’s defensive problems, as well two scores for the Hoosiers in the latest edition of Film Session:
Benny Parker starts this action off up top for the Cornhuskers with a pass to the left wing for Petteway:
Leslee Smith sets a back pick on Stanford Robinson as Parker comes through:
Long before this season even began, it was well-known what this Indiana team would do during the 2013-2014 season. It would win games it shouldn’t. It would also lose games it shouldn’t.
And with just one game remaining in the regular season, that has been exactly the case.
Indiana had lost two straight, a few weeks ago, to Penn State and Purdue — two of the bottom three teams in the Big Ten. It responded with two wins over ranked opponents in Iowa and Ohio State. Perhaps this team had turned the corner. We should know better.
In front of a packed crowd at Assembly Hall on senior night Wednesday evening, the Hoosiers (17-13, 7-10) fell to Nebraska, 70-60. It was just the third road win for the Cornhuskers this season.
“We just didn’t do enough,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said after the game.