Indiana vs. Michigan Gameday

Three days removed from the loss of Maurice Creek for the season, the Hoosiers host Michigan Thursday in both teams' Big Ten openers. Led by Big Ten scoring leader Manny Harris, the Wolverines opened the season ranked in the nation's top 25 but have struggled to a 6-5 start to the season…

Game Particulars: Indiana (6-6) vs. Michigan (6-5)
Indiana looks to get its 2009-10 Big Ten slate off to a good start when it hosts Michigan Thursday at Noon at Assembly Hall. Big Ten scoring leader Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims lead Michigan, which has gotten off to a surprisingly tough 6-5 start to the season. An NCAA at-large team a year ago, Michigan entered the season ranked No. 15. But they've suffered double digit losses to Marquette, Utah and Kansas along with narrow defeats to Alabama and Boston College in the non-conference slate. Their best win of the season was an 83-76 overtime victory over Creighton Nov. 26, but they've since lost five of eight entering conference play.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 202-127 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Michigan, meanwhile, is coached by John Beilein, who is in his third season at Michigan and in his 28th year as a head coach at the Division I level. Beilein is 37-41 at Michigan and 512-316 overall. In addition to Michigan, Beilein has also been the head coach at Erie C.C., Nazareth, LaMoyne, Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia.

The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play), and Jay Bilas (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Michigan 2009-10 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (6-6)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 7.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 42.3% FG shooting
SG- Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 4.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 44.8% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 11.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 40.8% FG shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 40.5% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 5.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.6 apg, 63.6% FG shooting

Michigan (6-5)
PG – Laval Lucas-Perry (6-3, 185, So.) – 7.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 36.6% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Stu Douglass (6-3, 185, So.) – 6.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.8 apg, 30.4% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Zack Novak (6-5, 210, So.) – 6.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 spg, 23.3% 3 pt. shooting
WF – Manny Harris (6-5, 185, Jr.) – 20.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.9 spg, 27.3% 3 pt. shooting
PF- DeShawn Sims (6-8, 235, Sr.) - 16.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 32.4% 3 pt. shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Michigan 2009-10 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How well does Indiana defend Michigan from behind the 3-point arc? – Michigan will be launching 3-point shots in bunches tomorrow afternoon in Assembly Hall. The Wolverines have attempted a Big Ten-high 290 3-pointers, or approximately 27 per game. To put that in perspective, Michigan has attempted 105 more 3-pointers than Indiana has this season, and it's done it in one less game. Michigan has attempted at least 24 3-pointers in all but one of its games, while Indiana has reached that total only once (26 vs. Maryland). At almost all times, Michigan will have five players on the floor who are capable shooters from behind the 3-point arc. Indiana will have to combat that by challenging not only shooters, but the passers as well. Michigan can get on a roll when it's able to move the ball around the perimeter quickly and eventually find an open man. Indiana wants to contest every pass, which will slow down Michigan's ball movement and make it more difficult for Beilein's team to get quality looks. If Indiana can do that and force Michigan to struggle from deep (the Wolverines are shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range on the season), Indiana can open its Big Ten slate with a victory.

Can Indiana corral the long rebounds and turn them into transition opportunities? - With Michigan launching so many 3-point shots, there will be plenty of long rebounds Thursday afternoon at Assembly Hall. Indiana's goal is to not only have five players blocking out and rebound the basketball, but to also attack in transition off of those long misses. Rebounding has been a Michigan weakness as Beilein's team has a -3.6 rebounding margin during non-conference play. The issue has been even more profound in their five losses, with Michigan being out-rebounded by an average of 10.2 rebounds/game in those five contests. Indiana wants to have similar statistical success on the boards, and then capitalize with some easy baskets. When allowed time to set up defensively, Michigan often uses a 1-3-1 zone that can create turnovers and make opposing offenses passive. Indiana will want to attack the 1-3-1 as well, but Crean would like to see his team get long rebounds, get the outlet to Verdell Jones, Jeremiah Rivers or Jordan Hulls, and then get some scoring opportunities before Michigan has time to get its defense set up.

Will Indiana continue to press fullcourt press as much against the Wolverines? - Indiana has utilized its fullcourt press extensively during its last three halves of basketball, and the result has been a 61-point edge for IU during the last 60 minutes of play. As Indiana readies for Michigan, it's unclear if the Hoosiers will continue to do that as much in the Big Ten opener. The Wolverines generally have at least four players on the court that can handle the basketball well, which could make it more difficult for IU to create as many problems for the Wolverines. On top of that, if IU does press and Michigan has success breaking it, Wolverine shooters might have more open looks as Indiana suddenly finds itself scrambling to retreat into its halfcourt defense. Michigan has been one of the country's best teams at taking care of the basketball, turning it over only 9.9 times per game. Indiana has been using the fullcourt pressure to try to dictate tempo, but IU might be able to do that off long rebound opportunities. Don't be surprised if the Hoosiers don't use the fullcourt press as much against Michigan.

QUOTABLES
"I don't think you realize that you're playing without somebody until the moment they're not there. It's a little different in practice vs. games. But they've done a very good job of responding. They know we have a very tough game tomorrow." – Tom Crean

"There's no question (Michigan) is capable of doing so many things. They're capable of winning this conference. They've got star power, they've got numerous people that can make shots. As I say to our team, they don't put a player on the floor that can't make a 3 and can't pass the basketball." – Crean

"I think everyone has to continue to stay on the improvement side of it…I haven't walked out there and said, ‘okay, you have to take six more shots a game, you have to take seven.' That would be the wrong message." – Crean

"(Michigan's) numbers are misleading, their percentages are misleading…they can get hot at any point in time. John (Beilein) had a team at West Virginia our first year in the Big East, the year he went to the Elite Eight, they made 20 3s on us. If John Beilein is coaching the team, his team can make 3s at any given time." – Crean

"I don't think it's anyone individually (who has to think to shoot more)…it's whatever is within the offense. Some games some people will get more shots than others, but it's really the flow of the offense. You can't predetermine who's going to get more shots. But if the shots are there and they're open, that's what we'll have." – Jordan Hulls

"I think we have to attack. Michigan's defense is kind of a quirkly defense, kind of makes you uncomfortable , and people start getting away from what they do. That's what Michigan is good at. They take you away from what you want to do, and for us, exactly what we have to do is attack it." – Jeremiah Rivers

"I think me and Jordy have always played well together. I think we definitely enjoy playing together, I think we complement each other well. I'm able to push the ball real well, and he's able to get out on the break and set up on the outside and shoot it. When I'm on the wing, I'll be able to slash in and get it and drive to the basket, pull up for shots. Jordy will be able to step in and help us a lot." – Rivers

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