The 18 round dog fight that is the 2012-13 race for a Big Ten regular season title is at it's halfway point. Racing out of the gate to sit alone atop the standings is No. 1 Indiana (8-1), while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State remain close behind (7-2). In the third tier, Wisconsin and Minnesota lurk, hoping to receive a jolt of energy and make a final push down the stretch.
John Beilein and Michigan, set to host Ohio State Tuesday night at 9pm/ET on ESPN, the crystal ball doesn't contain any secrets. The Wolverines must return the favor to both the Buckeyes, and most recently, the Hoosiers, who stung the maize and blue within the confines of their own home and win both at Crisler Center to have a shot at the crown.
"I think it has a lot to do right now with who have you played and where have you played them?" said Beilein. "I think many of the high level teams we play first away and either don't play them at all or play them second at our place. We'll have to wait and see what happens down the stretch with both teams. There's still a lot of away games to be played by some really good teams against really good teams."
As Beilein quipped Monday afternoon that he's seeing the media "way too much" of late -- a stretch in which Michigan is playing every three days since the Purdue win will do that -- he noted the loss in Bloomington Saturday night served as a purposeful lesson for his team.
A lesson they'd see over and over again on film.
"We moved on as quickly as we could -- probably spent more time on that game learning from it, in video, instead of moving on to our next game," said Beilein. "But we did touch on just enough."
Mature beyond their years for most of the season, freshmen Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III struggled to get going offensively against the Hoosiers.
Robinson III, held scoreless until the final minute of play, is expected to bounce back Tuesday as the Wolverines continue looking for ways to get him more involved.
"He got six pretty good shots during the night," said Beilein. "I think that we have to find other ways to get him the ball -- they really denied him and the corner didn't really give a lot of help, forced us to play right down the middle in a two man game."
"We got to find more ways to get him involved and he's got to find ways to get more involved. But he went after every offensive rebound and played really hard. I was proud of him."
Glenn Robinson III incidental contact
A quick video captured from the Indiana game of Glenn Robinson III appearing to punch Jordan Hulls in the face surfaced with a lot of criticism and question Monday afternoon.
Beilein said the incident came to his attention just before meeting with the media but didn't see anything malicious about the play.
"Looks to me like he is pulling his arm away from Watford and he is heading up court. Unfortunately Jordan is in the way and I'm glad Jordan isn't hurt. But they reviewed it during the game as well."
"Believe me, if there was anything intentional there, we would deal with it. But right now it just looks like accidental contact."
Beilein didn't go into much detail on the status of Jordan Morgan for Tuesday night's game but did have this to say: "I'm not sure who will start (tonight) but Jordan practiced a little bit yesterday but there was some soreness form just playing those two minutes. I'm very happy we did not play him more the other day.
To watch video of Beilein, press play below.