What to Expect: Indiana at Michigan

  • 12/04/2023 1:03 pm in

Indiana plays its first road game Tuesday night at Michigan. The Hoosiers opened Big Ten play Friday night with a 65-53 win against Maryland at Assembly Hall.

Tuesday’s game will tip at 9 p.m. ET on Peacock from the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor:

Indiana is 6-1 and has played two solid games in a row after shaky performances to begin the season. The Hoosiers pulled away from Harvard in the second half for their fifth win and led Maryland wire-to-wire in Bloomington to begin conference play with a victory.

The attention now turns to Michigan, which is 4-4 and is in desperate need of a victory. The Wolverines own a road win against St. John’s and a neutral court win against Stanford, but lost at home to Long Beach State, to Memphis and Texas Tech at Battle 4 Atlantis and most recently at Oregon in overtime.


Phil Martelli is Michigan’s interim head coach, but Juwan Howard recently returned to the bench in an assistant coaching role. Howard had a heart procedure in the offseason and is slowly transitioning back into his as the program’s head coach.

This is a new-look Michigan roster following the transfer of Hunter Dickinson to Kansas and the departures of Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard to the NBA. The Wolverines are playing a tight rotation with three transfer portal additions among the contributors.

The name at the top of the scouting report is sophomore point guard Dug McDaniel. The 5-foot-9 floor general from the nation’s capital averages a team-high 20.3 points. McDaniel is shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 41.2 percent on 3s and averages 5.3 assists. Michigan’s ball-screen-heavy offense is orchestrated by McDaniel, who is excellent at making reads based on what the defense gives him.

He’s joined in the starting backcourt by Nimari Burnett, who began his career at Texas Tech and played a season at Alabama before transferring to Michigan. Burnett is a former McDonald’s All-American shooting 40 percent on 3s and just 41.9 percent on 2s. Burnett isn’t much of a threat to drive.

Veteran Terrance Williams II starts at the three, with Tennessee transfer Olivier Nkamhoua at the four.

Williams II is more of a power forward than a wing but is enjoying a solid start to his fourth season for the Wolverines. After shooting just 25 percent from distance last season, Williams is 15-for-39 on 3s through eight games, good for 38.5 percent.

Nkamhoua is a 6-foot-9, 235-pound fifth-year forward who can score in various ways. The Helsinki, Finland native is shooting 67.2 percent on 2s, 35.7 percent on 3s and averages 16.9 points per game. His seven rebounds per game lead the team, and he also averages nearly three assists.

Tarris Reed Jr. was expected to be a breakout candidate for Michigan at the five, but is off to a rocky start. He’s averaging just 6.8 points in 21.6 minutes per game. Reed is a dismal 8-for-23 from the free-throw line and has struggled defensively. If Michigan is going to reach its ceiling as a team, it needs more minutes and better defense from Reed.

Seton Hall transfer Tray Jackson and sophomore Will Tschetter are Michigan’s primary options off the bench. Jackson is a 6-foot-10 forward who was a capable 3-point shooter for the Pirates. This season, he is just 2-for-14 from deep this season. The 6-foot-8 Tschetter has been highly efficient through eight games, averaging 8.1 points on 75.8 percent shooting from the field.

Point guard Jaelin Llewellyn returned to the court in Michigan’s loss at Oregon on Saturday after suffering a torn ACL tear last December in a loss to Kentucky in London. Llewellyn should continue to work his way back into the rotation in the coming weeks.


All stats via KenPom.com and updated through Sunday’s games.

Michigan is an elite offensive team, ranking 20th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency numbers through Sunday’s games.

The Wolverines are shooting 38.2 percent on 3s, 57.4 percent on 2s and 34.8 percent of their points are coming from 3-pointers, which ranks 71st nationally. Indiana has been outscored by 114 points from distance this season in seven games.

The defense has been another story for Michigan, which gave up 94 points in a loss at home to Long Beach State. The Wolverines rank just 125th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.

Michigan doesn’t put its opponents on the foul line, a contrast to one of Indiana’s biggest strengths offensively. The Hoosiers rank fifth nationally in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) at 49.3 percent while Michigan allows an opponent free throw rate of just 24.6 percent. That ranks 39th-best nationally.

The Wolverines are also an elite offensive rebounding team, a strength that will be beneficial against a below-average Indiana team on the defensive glass.


The KenPom projection is Michigan by six with a 31 percent chance of an Indiana victory.

Xavier Johnson’s health remains a question mark for the Hoosiers, who comfortably beat Maryland on Friday in Bloomington without him. Indiana hasn’t given a timeline for Johnson’s return, but rushing him back would be a misplay, given how much season remains. If Johnson can’t go, it will be another stiff test for the IU backcourt against one of the nation’s elite point guards.

Michigan’s homecourt environment has been stale early in the season, so the Hoosiers shouldn’t be encountering a raucous crowd at the Crisler Center. Still, winning on the road in the Big Ten is a tall task, and this is Indiana’s first attempt at a road win. The Hoosiers will need a big effort from the frontcourt duo of Malik Reneau and Kel’el Ware and must avoid a 3-point outburst from the Wolverines to emerge with a victory in Ann Arbor.

(Photo credit: Michigan Athletics)

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