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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Crisler Center (12,701) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Indiana 14-4, Michigan 12-2. Away Record: Indiana 2-7, Michigan 7-4. Neutral Record: Indiana 1-2, Michigan 3-1. Conference Record: Indiana 7-10, Michigan 14-3. Series Record: Indiana leads, 104-56.
GAME NOTES: With the Big Ten Conference regular-season title already theirs, the 12th-ranked Michigan Wolverines will play their final game of the campaign on Saturday against the visiting Indiana Hoosiers.
Indiana comes in sporting a favorable overall record (17-13), but the team has disappointed in conference play by losing three more games than it has won (7-10). The Hoosiers dropped a 70-60 decision at home to Nebraska on Wednesday, putting an end to a modest two-game win streak. Coach Tom Crean's club has notched some big wins this season, including a 63-52 triumph over Michigan in the first meeting back on Feb. 2.
Michigan routed Illinois in Champaign on Tuesday night, 84-53, to notch its 22nd win of the season and its 14th in conference action, thus giving the team its first Big Ten regular-season crown since 1986. The Wolverines bring a four-game win streak into this finale, and they will try to improve to 13-2 at home with a victory.
Indian's home win over Michigan earlier this season improved its advantage in the all-time series to 104-56.
Indiana had beaten two straight ranked opponents (Iowa and Ohio State) prior to hosting Nebraska earlier in the week, but the Hoosiers came up small in shooting a mere 36.7 percent from the field, missing 16 of their 21 3-point attempts along the way. The Cornhuskers didn't light the world on fire (.455 FG percentage), but only turned the ball over nine times while logging advantages in second-chance points (15-11) as well as bench points (21-18). Troy Williams paced IU with 18 points, while Will Sheehy had 13 and Kevin Ferrell 10 to go with eight rebounds and five assists.
Ferrell (17.4 ppg, 3.8 apg) enters this clash ranked fourth in the Big Ten in scoring, while sitting eighth in assists. He is joined in double figures by frontcourt performers Noah Vonleh (11.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and Sheehy (11.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg), and the team as a whole is putting up 72.6 ppg while allowing 67.1 ppg. Indiana leads the Big Ten in rebounding margin at +8.0, while ranking second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.297).
Nik Stauskas went 7-of-9 from beyond the arc to tally 24 points, leading Michigan to its easy win at Illinois earlier in the week. Additional production came from Caris LeVert (15 points), Glenn Robinson III (13 points) and Derrick Walton, Jr. (nine points, seven rebounds, five assists). Jon Horford grabbed 10 boards in 28 minutes of action off the bench for the Wolverines, who shot 56.9 percent from the field, which included an eye- popping 16-of-23 effort from beyond the arc. As for the Illini, they missed all but two of their 18 3-point tries, while shooting just 38.5 percent from the floor overall.
Stauskas ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, as he puts in 17.3 ppg thanks to a league-leading 46.4 percent effort from beyond the arc. He is also one of the top assist men in the league with 97, and he is joined in double figures in the scoring column by LeVert (13.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 80 assists) and Robinson III (13.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg). Michigan's defensive effort yields just 64.7 ppg, while its performance at the offensive end results in 75.2 ppg, due in large part to its league-leading shooting performances both from the field overall (.480), as well as beyond the arc (.400).
The Hoosiers are sure to fight tooth and nail here, but the Wolverines are the top dog in the Big Ten and want to head into the postseason on a positive note. Expect them to prevail at home and exact some revenge for the earlier loss at Indiana.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 73, Indiana 63
03/08 10:24:05 ET
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