Indiana vs. Michigan Gameday

For the second straight game, Indiana (17-7/7-4) goes on the road to face an opponent in desperate need of a win to enhance its shaky NCAA resume. This time, it's Michigan (17-9/5-6), which has lost five of its last six and appears on the outside looking in at this point for an NCAA at-large berth…

Game Particulars: Indiana (17-7/7-4 Big Ten) vs. Michigan (17-9/5-6 Big Ten)
Indiana will most likely be short-handed this afternoon when it takes on Michigan at Crisler Arena. Earl Calloway is expected to miss today's game with a shoulder injury, meaning the reins will be turned over to freshman Armon Bassett. Bassett will be leading Indiana against a Michigan team that is in desperate need of a victory to keep its dwindling NCAA hopes alive. Michigan has dropped five of six and is lacking in the quality win department. As was the case for Purdue Thursday, a victory over Indiana would be Michigan's biggest victory of the year. With that said, victories over Indiana haven't come easily for the Wolverines. Indiana has won 11 straight in this series and 14 of 15 overall.

IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and owns an 17-7 record in Bloomington and a 472-264 career mark in 23-plus seasons. Michigan, meanwhile, is coached by Tommy Amaker, who in his sixth year at the helm of the Wolverine program and 10th year as a head coach. Amaker owns a 104-79 record at Michigan and a 172-134 mark overall.

The game will be televised by ESPN, with Dave Barnett (play-by-play) and Stephen Bardo (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2006-07 Schedule

Michigan 2006-07 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (17-7/7-4 Big Ten)
PG- Armon Bassett (6-1, 176, Fr.) – 9.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 39.3% 3 pt. shooting
SG-A.J. Ratliff (6-3, 188, Jr.) – 9.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 55% 3 pt. shooting in Big Ten games
WG – Roderick Wilmont (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 12.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 38.4% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Lance Stemler (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 34% 3 pt. shooting
PF – D.J. White (6-9, 251, Jr.) – 14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 53.1% FG shooting

Michigan (17-9/5-6 Big Ten)
PG- Dion Harris (6-3, 205, Sr.) – 13.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.2 apg, 37.2% 3 pt. shooting
SG –Lester Abram (6-6, 200, Sr.) – 9.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.2 apg, 29.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Ron Coleman (6-6, 210, Jr.) – 7.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 34.8% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Brent Petway (6-8, 210, Sr.) – 7.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 62.1% FG shooting
C – Courtney Sims (6-11, 245, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 60.7% FG shooting

Indiana 2006-07 Statistics

Michigan 2006-07 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Armon's Moment? – Armon Bassett will be taking over the reins of the IU basketball team a little earlier than expected. The thought was the 6-1 Terre Haute native would be ready to replace Earl Calloway next season, but Calloway's shoulder injury has pushed Bassett into the spotlight for this afternoon's contest. While Bassett is a freshman, he hasn't shied away from the big moments. He's had big games at Duke (16 points), at Ohio State (13 points, 3-of-4 on 3-pointers) and at Purdue (16 points, five rebounds, five assists), so the moment shouldn't overwhelm him. The difference is that he'll have the ball in his hands most of the afternoon. When Calloway is available Bassett can play off the ball for a good portion of the time. But unless Errek Suhr plays extended minutes, Bassett won't have that luxury today. How he responds will go a long way towards determining whether IU can get its fifth straight win in Crisler Arena.

Which team plays like they have more on the line? Unless Michigan has visions of winning the Big Ten postseason tournament, this is a game Coach Tommy Amaker's squad has to have if it wants to have a shot at getting into the NCAA tourney. Purdue was in the same boat two days ago and responded with arguably its best performance of the year. Will Michigan do the same. History suggests it won't, as the Maize and Blue have been in this spot in each of the past several seasons, only to flounder in the regular season's final month. While Michigan is playing for its NCAA lives, IU also has plenty on the line. First of all, Sampson's team wants to avoid its first two-game skid of the season. In addition, a win today would put IU in a commanding position to be the third seed in the Big Ten Tournament. It would be 8-4 in the league, a full game ahead of Iowa, and at least two games ahead of everyone else in the loss column. That, coupled with a relatively easy schedule down the stretch and the fact IU would win most tie-breakers due to its win over Wisconsin makes this game the one that could pretty well enable fans to pencil IU in as the Big Ten's third seed in the conference tourney.

What will Indiana get from A.J. Ratliff…on the defensive end? Calloway's likely absence is important not only because he's the Big Ten's second-leading assist man in league games at 4.8/game. He's also Indiana's best perimeter defender, pretty much always getting matched up against the best the opposing team has to offer. In his absence, that title – or burden – goes to Ratliff. The 6-3, 188-pound junior will likely be back in the starting lineup tonight and he'll be critical to IU's success on the defensive end. He could very well draw Michigan point guard Dion Harris, the team's leading scorer and most dangerous 3-point shooter. It's also possible Ratliff could start the game matched up with 6-6 Ron Coleman, but if Harris gets hot early, expect to see Ratliff make the switch and match up with Harris. While Bassett would be giving up five inches to Coleman, Coleman does most of his work from the perimeter and behind the 3-point arc.

Can Indiana hold its own on the boards? - Indiana's loss a couple weeks ago at Iowa wasn't due to the 33 points Adam Haluska dropped on them - it was because the Hawkeyes bludgeoned IU on the boards, 45-28. Rest assured Amaker's staff saw that game film, and with their team of long, athletic frontliners they'll try to do the same this afternoon. Michigan is a good rebounding team, owning a +5.4 rebounding margin this season, but Indiana was +7 against Michigan when the two teams met in Bloomington. The biggest concern is on the offensive glass, where Brent Petway (57 offensive rebounds) and top reserve Ekpeh Udoh (52 offensive rebounds) will prove to be a tough match-up for Lance Stemler, Xavier Keeling and/or Mike White at the power forward position.

NOTABLE…
Former Fab Five member Jimmy King is the color commentator on the Michigan radio network for today's game…Indiana has won four in a row in Ann Arbor, but two of those victories have come by just two points, including a 69-67 victory a year ago…after connecting on two 3-pointers in the opening minute of the last encounter between these two teams, Lance Stemler has made just one of his last 12 3-point attempts…looking for an Achilles Heel for Michigan? Try turnovers. Since league play opened Michigan ranks tenth in the conference in turnovers/game (14.3), and they're forcing only 11.7 per game from its opponents, which also ranks 10th…this is a match-up of the league's two best 3-point shooting teams, percentage-wise, since Big Ten play started. IU leads the way at 40.7 percent, while Michigan is knocking down 37.9 percent of its 3-point attempts. Michigan, though, doesn't attempt nearly as many 3s as IU – while IU's 85 made 3-pointers in Big Ten play is second in the conference (Ohio State – 86), Michigan's 50 3-pointers ranks tenth.

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