No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 3 Indiana Breakdown and OddsBy Nick T.
One of the most anticipated college basketball rivalries is less than 24 hours away. Yes, the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (20-1) will take on the No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers (19-2) in this high-profile Big Ten matchup sure to send shock waves down the Top-25 poll.
The visiting Wolverines are tabbed as the 4.5 underdogs against the Hoosiers at Branch McCracken Court. The team only has the upper hand in overall defense, allowing just a shade under 60 points per game while the Hoosiers are not far behind, allotting 60.43 points per contest.
Meanwhile, Indiana has the advantage in almost all significant categories over Michigan. The team ranks first in the NCAA in points scored (84 ppg) and within the top five of point differential (23.52). They also own the boards, inhaling 27 defensive rebounds and 12 offensive rebounds per contest, which bests Michigan by two rebounds on each side of the ball. But the one glaring standout for Indiana is they can’t seem to cover the spread. It took them six games to snap their non-covering streak after trumping Purdue by 37 points on Wednesday night.
The biggest x-factor for the Hoosiers is whether they can continue to get to the free throw line in bunches. In fact, they lead the nation with a staggering 27 attempts per game, and hit about 73 percent of those shots from the stripe. But Michigan is not a fouling team, which could inevitably negate Indiana’s advantage. We’ll just have to see.
The Wolverines’ Trey Burke has been a fast-break machine. The 20-year-old guard has a knack for getting to the rim after a turnover and paces his team with 17.9 points per contest.
Meanwhile, the heavily favored ACC player of the year Cody Zeller has been a big reason for Indiana’s success. He’s tallied an impressive 17.9 points per game and soaks up points in the paint. Though, he has had some struggles against conference teams, including a 6-for-14 day against Purdue earlier this year.
There’s no question that a win from Indiana will put them back on top as the unanimous No. 1. But Michigan will look to build on its four-game winning streak. And having covered 14 of their last 20 lined games this season, we’re siding with the current overall No. 1.