FORT WAYNE – Indiana will try to rebound from a deflating loss against the hottest team in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers (13-8, 3-5), who fell 60-55 to Nebraska after leading by 13 at halftime Thursday, play host to No. 10 Michigan (16-4, 8-0) at 1 p.m. today.
League-leading Michigan has won 10 straight and is coming off a 75-66 home win over Purdue.
The Wolverines are averaging 75.1 points during the winning streak.
When you put everybody out there, (the Wolverines) get a lot of recognition for how well they shoot the ball, and rightfully so. But they do a great job of also getting to the basket, IU coach Tom Crean told reporters Saturday. They don’t put anybody out there that really can’t shoot, (except) maybe where their big guys aren’t looking for shots as much, but they do such a good job of creating shots for others with their screening and their rolling and their ability to rebound the ball.
So, no question they are a high-powered offensive machine.
The Wolverines are thriving without sophomore forward Mitch McGary, who remains sidelined after undergoing back surgery.
With McGary out, guard Nik Stauskas is averaging 18.4 points.
With the exception of Trey Burke last year, we game- planned for Nik just outside of him, Crean said. We felt he was an incredible force last year, even as a freshman, because of his ability to shoot the ball, his high confidence level and his ability to drive the ball. He’s one of the best players in the country.
But IU can’t only pay attention to Stauskas.
Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert are also averaging double figures in scoring with 13.4 and 12 points per game. And Derrick Walton Jr. has continued to grow into his point guard role, averaging 8.6 points and 2.8 assists.
Bottom line is, LeVert understands what he’s doing, Crean said. He’s tremendous with the ball. Walton is a one-man press break with tremendous speed, shooting the ball very well as of late. Spike Albrecht obviously is a blur as well. He is always in constant movement and motion and he’s got deep, deep range. They don’t put a guard on the court that can’t make 3s from range, and they don’t put a guard out on the court that can’t get to the rim.
Michigan can also get it done on defense.
The Wolverines have the conference’s fourth-best defense, giving up 64.4 points per game, and they hold teams to 43.3 percent shooting.
They are a tremendous help defensive team, Crean said. They’ve got very good one-on-one defenders, but their help defense is very good. You can see their experience of their front line, really almost like captaining the defense, so to speak, with what they do, and everybody kind of fills in accordingly and the help defense is outstanding.