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College Basketball Pick
This is it, this is Michigan's chance to show they deserve the No. 1 seed as some people still believe that they don't belong there. Outside of the AP Poll, Michigan isn't No. 1 in any other major ranking system and is as low as No. 5 in the RPI (Indiana is No. 14 in RPI). A big win hasn't really surfaced for them.
They have out of conference wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas State and NC State, but none of those teams are tops in their respective conferences. They have two road wins at Minnesota and Illinois, but those teams have suddenly fallen off and neither is respected as much as they were just a few weeks ago. Their lone loss came at No. 11 Ohio State.
Meanwhile, the preseason favorite, Indiana, is no longer the favorite and has two losses on the year. They were already beat by Wisconsin at home and are coming off a slim margin of victory over Michigan State. Nevertheless, this will be Michigan's toughest task of the year. The Hoosiers were the preseason favorite for a reason, they have a great all-around team.
Of course, they aren't as good as the paper says unless they all play like it and Cody Zeller has been a little shaky lately. The big man is averaging 16 points per game on the season, yet had just 11 combined against Penn State and Michigan State. He went for 19 against Purdue, but still shot 6-for-14. No matter, he's a constant threat and if he gets fouled, can make his free throws. Michigan isn't exactly a pound it down low type of team so it'll be likely that Indiana gives Zeller the ball early in this game to get him going. Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary will likely split time on him. One player you can't prepare for is Victor Oladipo who destroyed MSU with 21 points, seven boards, three blocks and six steals. The Wolverines have athletes but so does Michigan State and every other team that Oladipo has conquered.
Yogi Ferrell will likely be the first choice to guard national player of the year candidate Trey Burke. Not much offense is expected from Ferrell, but he still has 37 points in the last three games. Jordan Hulls is their main backcourt threat as he's shooting close to 50 percent from behind the arc. Christian Watford also presents matchup problems for any team as he can stretch the floor with his range.
Michigan has a ton of threats as well with the Buckeyes being the only ones able to stop them so far. They scored just 53 points in their lone loss. Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. were held to a combined 9-for-28 in that game which is exactly what you have to do against the Wolverines. Outside of those two, freshman Nik Stauskas is the three-point specialist who's actually making more threes per game than Hulls. A lot of people tend to forget that Glenn Robinson III is still a freshman with how much he plays and how well he has done. He leads the team in rebounding and consistently gets into double digits on the scoreboard. Morgan and McGary are the muscle down low and provide some help offensively when needed.
The next time these two teams play is in the last game of the season in Ann Arbor. It wouldn't be a surprise if they were once again tied for first place in the Big 10. Both teams are coming off midweek dismantling's which shows how ready they are. Indiana knows they have to win this game, but they're playing against a team that hasn't been ranked No. 1 in the nation for 20 years. Think they want to prove they deserve it?
Predicted Score - Indiana 74 Michigan 67
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