Scouting Report: Michigan

IU travels to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face a Michigan team who has already wrapped up the regular season Big Ten title but who doesn't lack motivation coming into Saturday's game. The Hoosiers have beaten the Wolverines three-straight times, including a sweep last season. To Michigan, Saturday may just be about pride, but they run into an IU team desperate as ever for a road upset.

Here's a look at Saturday's Indiana opponent:

Michigan Wolverines (22-7, 14-3)

Last time out: W, 84-53 at Illinois Tuesday

Nik Stauskas scored a game-high 24 points, including 7-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc, to lead the Wolverines to a decisive 84-53 defeat of Illinois on the road Tuesday that clinched for Michigan the outright Big Ten regular season title, the team's first since the 1985-86 season.

Michigan took an early lead at 7-2 with 7=17:30 left and led for the remainder of the game. Illinois got within three points at 14-11, but the Wolverines began to their record-setting night beyond the 3-point line, hitting 16-of-23 to tie a team record they set earlier in the season. With the help of a 10-0 run, Michigan took its first 20-point lead at 44-24 with 4:00 to go in the half. Illinois made a quick 6-0 run, but Michigan went into halftime with a 52-30 advantage.

Stauskas hit Michigan's first seven points of the half. Illinois followed with a 7-0 run, but the Wolverines fought back, pushing the lead to 30 points for the first time at 73-43 with 7:12 left, ending the game ahead 31 points.

2012-13 season

Record: 31-8 (12-6 in the Big Ten Conference)

The Wolverines started off last season even stronger than this year's campaign, winning each of their first 16 games, including victories against N.C. State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Kansas State and Pittsburgh in the NIT Season Tip-Off. They eased into the Big Ten portion of their schedule with wins against Northwestern, Iowa and Nebraska before falling to Ohio State on the road, 56-53, for the team's first loss of the season.

After rolling off four more wins, Michigan hit the gauntlet of the team's conference slate, playing IU, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State in the span of 11 days. The Wolverines lost all three road games (IU, Wisconsin and Michigan State). In the final six games, they lost in surprising fashion to Penn State on the road before falling to the Hoosiers again in the final game of the regular season in a thriller that ended with a jumper by Cody Zeller with 13 seconds left to take a share of the Big Ten regular season title out of Michigan's hands.

The Wolverines secured a No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and cruised to a win in the first round against Penn State, but they fell in the quarterfinals to Wisconsin 68-59 and entered the NCAA Tournament a No. 4 seed. Michigan won its first two games against South Dakota State and VCU with ease before taking down No. 1 seed Kansas in overtime in the Sweet 16. A 20-point rout of Florida took the Wolverines to the Final Four where they defeated Syracuse and it's vaunted 2-3 zone.

In the National Championship game, Trey Burke got into quick foul trouble, but a memorable first-half run by Spike Albrecht kept the Wolverines behind just a point at halftime. In the second half, though, Louisville pulled away late and defeated Michigan 82-76.

What they do well:

Although the Wolverines have fallen off slightly since their loss to IU back in the beginning of February, the top of the Big Ten still provides one of the strongest offensive attacks in the conference. Michigan ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring at 75.2 points per game, including ranking first in free throw shooting percentage, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

Comparatively, their defense struggles a bit, ranking last in field goal percentage defense, allowing teams to keep up for a while with their high-scoring pace. Michigan does keep its opponents off the boards – possibly because of how many shots both teams tend to make during action, but for IU, who ranks second in rebounding defense, boards will be a big deal, including opportunities for second-chance points for an IU team that's been only average at scoring the ball this season.

Star players:

G Nik Stauskas, So.

Stauskas has fallen slightly from the ranks of the top scorer in the Big Ten this season, but his team didn't need it to secure the Big Ten regular season title. He still ranks sixth in the conference scoring 17.3 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field, good enough for 11th in the conference.

His 3-point shooting, though may be the most threatening thing he brings to the table, shooting nearly his field goal percentage from beyond the arc at 46.4 percent. Although he was just 0-for-2 from distance against IU earlier this season, Stauskas can free himself when IU is focusing on one of Michigan's several strong scoring options. Yogi Ferrell played lock-down defense against Stauskas earlier this season, but we'll have to see if he can duplicate the effort.

G Caris LeVert, So.

LeVert has solidified himself as Michigan's No. 2 scoring option on team that has numerous players who can rack up points on any given night. Since losing to IU, he's hit single digits just once in eight games, setting his season-high against Wisconsin Feb. 16 with 25 points.

His point average, at 13.4 per game makes him the clear No. 2 threat as the only other player in double-figures consistently beyond Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. He doesn't shoot the ball quick as successfully as Stauskas, but the Hoosiers' back court will surely have its hands full with Stauskas and LeVert, especially if both get into a rhythm early on.


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