(10) Michigan (16-4) at Indiana (13-8)
02/02/2014 7:21 AM
02/02/2014 7:24 AM
GAME NOTES: The 10th-ranked Michigan Wolverines will attempt to keep their undefeated reign atop the Big Ten Conference standings alive on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall.
Michigan is 8-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since the 1976-77 season and has won 10 straight overall, which is its second-longest winning streak under head coach John Beilein, falling short of only its 16-game run to start last season. The Wolverines success continued on Thursday night at home, as they improved to 16-4 following a 75-66 win over Purdue.
Indiana is in the midst of a disappointing campaign by its lofty standards, as it is 13-8 overall and just 3-5 in league action. The Hoosiers have lost two of three, most recently dropping a 60-55 decision at Nebraska on Thursday, but they have defended their home floor well with wins in 11 of 13 matchups at Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers have nearly doubled up the Wolverines in the all-time series, holding a 103-56 advantage, which includes wins in both of the matchups last season.
The Wolverines opened up a lead as large as 17 late in the second half of their most recent game and held on to defeat Purdue by nine, shooting a blistering 60.9 percent from the field in the process. Nik Stauskas led the way with 16 points, while Caris LeVert tallied a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and also helped out on the defensive end of the floor with three steals and two blocks. Derrick Walton Jr. and Jordan Morgan netted 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Michigan's dominance has been well documented this season. It not only boasts an outstanding offense, shooting 49 percent from the field for 77.2 ppg, but it also holds opponents to only 43.3 percent shooting and 64.4 ppg. The team has no discernable weaknesses, boasting positive rebounding (+2.4) and turnover (+2.1) margins and great percentages from 3-point range (.395) and the foul line (.749). Stauskas (18.4 ppg) has been especially potent from long distance, draining 50 3-pointers at a 45.9 percent clip. Glenn Robinson III (13.4 ppg), LeVert (12.0 ppg) and Walton (8.6 ppg) are also integral pieces of the puzzle.
The Hoosiers put forth an outstanding first-half effort at Nebraska on Thursday, running out to a 13-point lead at intermission, but they fell flat in the second stanza and eventually lost the five-point decision thanks in part to a prolonged 27-10 run by the Cornhuskers. Indiana shot 45.5 percent from the field but were hindered by a game-high 19 turnovers. Kevin Ferrell drained 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for 14 points, while Will Sheehey and Stanford Robinson netted 12 points apiece.
Despite its modest record, IU has displayed great balanced this season, as it outshoots its opponents from the field, 44.7 percent to 40 percent, while sporting a +8.5 scoring margin. Its advantage on the glass (+11.0) ranks in the top-five nationally, although it also gives away possessions with a -2.5 turnover margin. Ferrell leads the way with 17.3 ppg with impressive showings from 3-point range (.414) and the free-throw line (.842). Noah Vonleh (11.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg) is a double-double threat each time out, and Sheehey brings 10.2 ppg to the table.
The Hoosiers have been much better on their home floor than they have been away from Bloomington, but they have been too inconsistent of late to trust against one of the nation's hottest teams.
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