With each game this season we'll put the spotlight on an Indiana player that we believe is someone to keep an eye on for that particular game.
So which Noah Vonleh shows up today against Michigan? It's clearly the key question. If it's good Noah, the Hoosiers have a shot today against the Wolverines. If Vonleh plays like a beast inside, aggressively attacks the backboards and works to get position, he will be an extremely difficult matchup for the Wolverines. In his previous three games leading up to Thursday's game at Nebraska, Vonleh had pulled down a total of 39 rebounds, an average of 13 per game. He had been very aggressive on the backboards in particular. In the previous four games, leading up IU's last two contests against Illinois and Nebraska, Vonleh had scored 59 points and pulled down 36 rebounds. He was active. In those four games, he had also made a total of seven 3-pointers. In fact, he was 7-of-9 from 3-point in those four games.
But then the last two games happened from an offensive standpoint for Vonleh. In those last two games against Illinois and Nebraska, Vonleh has combined to score 11 points. He has taken a total of 11 shots. And not a single 3-point attempt. Yes, he had 14 rebounds in the win over Illinois but only four points. And then Thursday night in Lincoln, he had seven points and a mere three boards. That was his second lowest rebounding effort of the season. His worst was two against Connecticut. So which Vonleh will be in Sunday afternoon? Good Noah, or average Noah. I don't want to say bad Noah only because he has rarely been bad this season. He always gives you something. But for Indiana to be successful against unbeaten Michigan on Sunday in Assembly Hall, Vonleh needs to play like he has fire lit underneath him. If that's the Vonleh we see on Sunday then Indiana has a chance to hand the Wolverines their first loss of the Big Ten season. But if Vonleh plays like he did Thursday night against Nebraska in particular, it's going to be very difficult for the Hoosiers to have a shot against Michigan.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch