Hoosiers Look for Revenge Against Michigan

Hoosiers look for revenge!

When: 6:30 PM ET Friday, January 25th, 2019

Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

How to watch: Fox Sports One

The Indiana Hoosiers will return to action Friday night when they host the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines in a crucial game for the Hoosiers’ tournament hopes. Now losers of 5 straight games, Indiana will play a lone home game before traveling on the road for three of their next four contests.

It’s been a difficult season for Hoosier fans to follow, as a once promising start to the season has now spiraled downhill to the brink of disaster. However, with a top 5 opponent coming to town, the Hoosiers can send a statement not only to their own fans but to the NCAA tournament selection committee that they shouldn’t be forgotten.

This will be Indiana’s second match-up of the season against the Wolverines, with Michigan knocking off the Hoosiers 74-63 in their first meeting. Despite the loss, Indiana executed well in a few areas of the game that they should look to carry over into this match-up. First on the list was the defensive effort put forth on Michigan star freshmen Ignas Brazdeikis, the leading scorer for the Wolverines at 14.9 points per game on the season; the Hoosiers held Brazdeikis to just 10 points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. Justin Smith was the primary defender on Brazdeikis and his size and length troubled Brazdeikis for most of the game. I would look for Indiana to stay with that match-up defensively to try to limit Brazdeikis’s production.

The second thing the Hoosiers did well was defend the three-point shot, an area of the game that has otherwise been a struggle at times this season. Indiana held Michigan to just 4-of-16 from behind the arc overall and limited Michigan sharpshooter Jordan Poole, a 42.1% shooter from behind the arc, to just 2-of-6 on the night. If Indiana can limit Michigan’s three-point shooting, it should help the struggling Hoosiers’ defense get back on track.

The biggest area of concern for Indiana, however, will continue to be their stagnating offense; over the last few games, the Hoosiers have been unable to find a consistent rhythm on that end of the floor. Teams are routinely packing the paint and forcing Indiana to beat them from the outside, a task the Hoosiers have been unable to do. Indiana is shooting just 8-of-41 from behind the arc over their last two contests. Most worrisome for the Hoosiers is the fact that this Michigan defense currently ranks as one of the best in the Big Ten, leading the conference in points per game allowed and 3rd in field goal percentage defense. Finding a rhythm on the offensive end has been a tough task for the Hoosiers and things won’t get any easier against this Michigan defense.

Given their recent struggles, this Hoosier squad is desperately looking for a break to go their way; perhaps an energized home crowd on Friday night could be exactly what this team needs to get back on track. With a contest against arguably the best team in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers have a chance to turn their season around and add another quality win to their resume. All that remains to be seen is if they can take advantage of the opportunity.

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