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College Basketball Pick
This is what it has come down to for the regular season Big 10 title. Indiana has lost two of their last three games and only has a one game lead on the rest of the conference. If they lose, it could easily be a four-way tie, something not uncommon for the Big 10. Of course, if the Hoosiers win they will save us all from the trouble of having a tie and win outright.
As the regular season comes to a close, it's almost as if teams are starting to feel the pain of the gruesome season. That can be explained in Indiana's home loss to Ohio State as they didn't really look like the same team that went into Columbus and won by 13 just a month prior. The same can be said about Michigan even though they have four wins in their last five games. Their lone loss came at Penn State and they haven't really looked all that convincing since January. They needed a late push against Purdue in their last win.
Even with their rough patch of games, the Hoosiers are still locked into a No. 1 seed as long as they don't fall apart in the conference tourney. A loss at Ann Arbor shouldn't change much either. As for the Wolverines, they are currently a 2-seed in most places, but could make a run for a 1-seed as long as they win this game.
The last time these teams played Indiana grabbed the win at home leading for pretty much the entire game. Their offense had no problems as all five of their starters hit double-digits and combined for 73 of their 81 points. Michigan's Jordan Morgan was still battling an ankle injury and only played two minutes in that game which hurt their presence down low. While Morgan isn't a big scorer, he can provide some strength down low to help out with Cody Zeller. Mitch McGary is still young and has had trouble guarding veteran big men. Zeller had 19 points and 10 rebounds in that game.
In that last meeting, the Hoosiers pounded the ball inside and attacked the basket which they've done in most games this year. They finished 22-of-25 from the charity stripe which was the difference maker as Michigan only made six free throws. Because of that, Michigan attempted 20 more field goals and were outrebounded by 14. Again, the addition of Morgan should help in that, but others will need to help out on the glass. Michigan's leading rebounder, freshman Glenn Robinson III, played all 40 minutes in that game, but only had four rebounds.
This game could also technically be a battle for the National Player of the Year. Trey Burke is still near the top of the leader board and a big game and win against preseason favorite Indiana will be what pushes him to the top by himself. He's been the only consistent player for the Wolverines all year and he doesn't slow down. In their win over Michigan State, he had the game-winning steal and layup to seal the game. Victor Oladipo is still in the POY discussion, but his play as of late has been lackluster as he's been in foul trouble the last two games. Zeller still deserves a mention, although he hasn't been as nearly as dominant as the other two.
When all is said and done, it might come down to who wants it more. They both have a possible regular season conference on the line, but who is it more important to? The Hoosiers already won at Ohio State and Michigan State in tough atmospheres so that shouldn't give a huge advantage for the Wolverines. If Indiana comes out and plays like they can, it will be tough for Michigan to keep up. Of course, that goes unless Burke goes off and has one of his best games of the year which shouldn't be out of the question in his final regular season game.
Predicted Score - Indiana 73 Michigan 69
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