College Basketball Pick
With Selection Sunday less than six weeks away, the Games are starting to mean a little more. That’s especially true for these two teams, as both Indiana and Michigan are fighting for a regular-season Big Ten title. But despite solid records, neither of them really have any overwhelmingly great wins, but that could change for whoever comes out on top in this Game.
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The Hoosiers are rolling in Conference play, but they haven’t beaten a ranked team yet. It doesn’t help that they struggled out of Conference with losses to Wake Forest and UNLV. A road win at Michigan would probably be their best win of the year so far.
The Wolverines are kind of in that same boat, although do have a win over Maryland to put on the resume. But non-Conference wise, they still left a lot to be desired, losing by double digits against the best three teams they played.
The biggest news for this Game is the possible return of Caris LeVert, arguably Michigan’s best player. LeVert has missed the team’s last eight Games, but John Beilein said there was a chance LeVert returned this week. Nevertheless, this is still a Michigan team that has played well without LeVert and is undefeated at home in Conference play, including that win over the Terrapins. The last time Indiana played away from home, they fell at Wisconsin in overtime.
Michigan’s defense has played a good part in its recent success and that will come into play against this Hoosiers team that is scoring over 85 points per Game. Yogi Ferrell is doing Yogi Ferrell things leading the team with 17.5 points and 5.7 assists per Game, to go with 4.3 rebounds. He makes everything happen for the offense, but freshman Thomas Bryant may be the most important player to stop. When Bryant gets going, he can be a force down low, as seen in his 23-point, 8-rebound effort Saturday against Minnesota.
But outside of Ferrell at the point, Indiana has a deep squad even with James Blackmon Jr. gone for the season. Troy Williams has had a few 20-plus-point Games since Blackmon went down and he’ll remain an important part to this team. Those are the three main Hoosiers, and they are stocked with shooters in Robert Johnson and Nick Zeisloft, as well. This will also be the return for Max Bielfeldt, who played at Michigan the last three years.
Under Beilein, the Wolverines mix up their defense plenty of times throughout a Game, whether it’s some type of zone or man-to-man. That’ll come in handy against Indiana, as they are a team that can Scorein bunches if there’s an advantage they like.
On the other end, even without LeVert, Michigan has three guys that can Scoreby themselves, led by sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, who has been huge for the Wolverines in his first year as a transfer. His size and shooting ability usually presents a mismatch and that has led to 72 made threes at near a 50% clip for Robinson. But Derrick Walton Jr. is the one that runs the show for Michigan. While he’s only averaging 11.9 points per Game on the year, he’s at more than 15 ppg in the last seven. And then there’s Zak Irvin, who is another guy on this team that can shoot, but also take it to the hole by himself.
Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle may have the biggest job in this Game, keeping Thomas Bryant in check in the post. As long as they can limit the big man at least a little bit, the Wolverines will be in striking distance.
This is a big Game for both teams, but Michigan’s home-cOurt advantage is too much to pass up here against a Hoosiers team that turned it over 19 times the last time they played on the road.
Predicted ScoreMichigan 80 Indiana 78