Which 12-seed is going to pull off the upset this year? It seems like an inevitability every year, but there actually weren’t any last season. All of the five seeds knew what was coming and while three of the results were decided by seven points or less, there were no upsets. Will that be the case again?
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Indiana seems like a decent possibility to get upset, but they are actually the biggest favorite of any of the five seeds, coming in at around -12 in most places. The Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular season and that’s what most people are banking on, but it has to be a worry that they fell to Michigan in their first Game of the Big Ten Tourney. Indiana is a great home team, but they did struggle on the road at times, among them a 19-point loss at Michigan State and a loss at Penn State. Their showing on a neutral cOurt against Michigan wasn’t a positive sign.
Chattanooga already took down one Big Ten team this year, albeit a weak Illinois one, but the Mocs have plenty of confidence, also beating a solid Dayton team on the road. They ran through the Southern Conference and come into this Game on a five-Game winning streak.
The problem for Chattanooga of course is that Indiana has the most efficient offense in the nation with 119.5 points every 100 possessions. The Mocs played a similarly high-flying offense at Iowa State earlier in the year and they lost 83-63. Their defense simply couldn’t keep up as the Cyclones hit 50% of their shots and made 14 3s.
If you want to stop Indiana, it all starts with Yogi Ferrell. Unfortunately for Chattanooga, it’s going to be almost impossible to stop the senior point guard. Ferrell has been one of the best players in Indiana’s history and he’s looking to make a final mark in his last season with the Hoosiers. He’s had his best and most efficient season averaging 17 points, 3.9 boards and 5.5 assists per Game. To go along with that, Troy Williams has turned into a new player the last few Games, averaging 18 in the last three. His athleticism as a 6-7 forward is unmatched by most opponents. Freshman Thomas Bryant can also be a major factor in the post.
But in addition to those guys, the role players have been just as good for the Hoosiers with Max Bielfeldt putting in great minutes off the bench along with shooter Nick Zeisloft and future stud OG Anunoby. The even better news for Indiana is that Robert Johnson should be back after missing Four-straight due to a high-ankle sprain. That only gives the team another athletic shooter.
Chattanooga has had a great season, but will the Mocs be able to keep up? If Indiana goes on a big run, who’s going to step up for the Mocs to counter it? They are a balanced team, but don’t have that guy to take charge with eight players averaging between 6.0 and 12.3 points.
The Mocs will need one or two guys to go off from deep to keep up and that has to be Eric Robertson, Greg Pryor or Tre’ McLean. They won’t be able to win this Game via defense like how they took down everyone in the Southern Tournament.
If Indiana can shed its woes away from home, the Hoosiers should run away with this Game much like Iowa State did against Chattanooga earlier in the year. But if their defense goes back to early-season levels in non-Conference play, you never know.
Our Pick – Indiana -11