SPORTS NETWORK GAME NOTES: The Indiana Hoosiers will try to solve their road woes when they visit Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor for a Big Ten Conference clash with the Michigan Wolverines this afternoon.
The Hoosiers have played 10 games outside of their own building this season, and they have lost all 10. Their latest road venture resulted in a 67-53 setback at 14th-ranked Purdue on Tuesday night. Following today's outing, IU will be idle until next Saturday's bout with Northwestern.
After a slow start in league play, Michigan has picked things up by winning four of its last five contests, with the lone loss in that stretch coming at top-ranked Ohio State last Thursday. The Wolverines have won two games since then, including Wednesday's 75-66 triumph over Northwestern. They have taken care of business at home this season, logging a 12-4 mark at Crisler Arena.
These two teams met a month ago in Bloomington, where the Hoosiers snapped a six-game slide with an 80-61 rout. As a result, Indiana owns a 100-54 edge in the all-time series.
The Hoosiers put up a decent fight at nationally-ranked Purdue earlier this week, but they simply did not have enough firepower and managed to shoot just 35.5 percent from the floor. IU often settled for jumpers rather than attack the rim, as they attempted only seven free throws for the game while Purdue sank 23-of-28 at the charity stripe. Will Sheehey led the Hoosiers with 14 points in a losing effort, while Jordan Hulls scored 13 and Verdell Jones finished with 10 points. The team has been playing with a short deck, as top scorer and rebounder Christian Watford (17.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his left hand earlier this month. Watford had started 22 straight games before his injury, which also leaves the Hoosiers without their best foul shooter -- he was converting 83.5 percent at the charity stripe and was attempting more than six free throws per game. His absence puts more pressure on guys like Jones (12.2 ppg) and Hulls (11.3 ppg) to step up their respective games.
The Wolverines are a bit more balanced at the offensive end, and they have used that scoring depth to their advantage over the last five games. Darius Morris leads the way with 15.4 ppg, while Tim Hardaway, Jr. is averaging 12.2 points and has knocked down a team-high 48 three-pointers. Zack Novak (9.2 ppg) is right on Hardaway's heels with 47 treys and is shooting a very efficient 40.2 percent out on the perimeter. Novak also paces the squad with 5.9 rebounds per tilt, while Jordan Morgan (9.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) has been very efficient with 62.7 percent field goal accuracy. As a team, the Wolverines have done a solid job taking care of the basketball, committing only 10.5 turnovers per game and they boast a 1.3 assists/turnover ratio. Morgan put forth a monster effort against Northwestern on Wednesday, as the redshirt freshman led all scorers with a career-high 27 points. Hardaway, another freshman, notched his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 boards.
All 12 of Indiana's wins this season have come at home. Playing on the road once again, the Hoosiers will now take on a Michigan squad that has gotten hot lately and has been tough to beat at Crisler Arena this season.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana Hoosiers will try to solve their road woes when they visit Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor for a Big Ten Conference clash with the Michigan Wolverines this afternoon.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Crisler Arena (13,751) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Indiana 12-3, Michigan 12-4. Away Record: Indiana 0-8, Michigan 3-4. Neutral Record: Indiana 0-2, Michigan 0-2. Conference Record: Indiana 3-9, Michigan 5-7. Series Record: Indiana leads, 100-54.
Saturday, February 12th, 4:00 p.m. (et).
Michigan 75, Indiana 64