4 Improvements Michigan Needs to Make to Avoid an Indiana Sweep
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Believe it or not, the second meeting between the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines and No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers will be even more important than the first, which saw ESPN's College GameDay travel to Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
The rematch will not have the same pre-game festivities, but it is going to decide how many Big Ten Conference champions there will be this season.
If Michigan is able to exact revenge on the Hoosiers, there will potentially be as many as four teams able to claim a share of the league title. An Indiana victory will give the Cream and Crimson their first outright title since the 1992-93 season.
The Hoosiers got the better of the Wolverines in a 81-73 thriller on Feb. 2, so what facets of the game will the Maize and Blue need to make improvements in to avoid being swept? Click ahead to find out!
Limit Indiana's Offensive Rebounds and Second-Chance Points
Cody Zeller had too many tip-slams for Michigan to topple Indiana the first time around.
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Losing the battle on the defensive glass and giving up numerous second-chance opportunities proved to be too much for the Michigan Wolverines to overcome in their first meeting with the Indiana Hoosiers.
The Wolverines surrendered eight offensive rebounds, and the Hoosiers piled up 14 second-chance points the first time these two Big Ten heavyweights clashed. A similar performance in both statistical categories will doom Michigan this Sunday.
Thankfully for the Maize and Blue, redshirt junior forward Jordan Morgan will be in the lineup this time around. Morgan, the Wolverines' top interior defender, missed the first meeting with an ankle injury.
Freshman big man Mitch McGary and redshirt sophomore power forward Jon Horford both struggled to put a body on Cody Zeller in the first clash. As a result, Zeller pulled down four offensive rebounds and threw down a trio of monster tip-slams.
If Michigan allows Zeller and the Hoosiers to dominate the glass and record double-digit second-chance points, the Wolverines will miss out on a share of the Big Ten title.
Trey Burke Needs to Cut Down on His Field-Goal Attempts
Trey Burke jacked up too many shots in the first meeting with Indiana.
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Although sophomore point guard Trey Burke is the Michigan Wolverines' top scorer and should take more shots than anyone else on the roster, he cannot jack up more than 20 shots this weekend.
In the Feb. 2 battle at Assembly Hall, Burke shot the ball 24 times, including 14 three-point attempts. Burke shooting the ball that many times is not a recipe for success. The only two times Burke has attempted more than 20 field goals, the Wolverines did not come away with a win.
Anywhere between 11 and 17 shots will be an optimum number of attempts for Burke this time around. Over the past six games, Burke has averaged 13.7 shots per game. The Columbus, Ohio product has made 53.6 percent of his field goals during that stretch.
Michigan needs Burke to score and take over the game in various stretches. Burke will need junior shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to start knocking down shots again in order to help cut his attempts down.
The Maize and Blue faithful should be quite concerned on Sunday if Burke begins approaching 20 field-goal attempts late in the second half.
Glenn Robinson III Needs to Be More Aggressive
Glenn Robinson III struggled against the Hoosiers in Bloomington.
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In order for the Michigan Wolverines to avoid being swept by the Indiana Hoosiers, freshman small forward Glenn Robinson III will need to play much more aggressively than he did in Bloomington.
Robinson only managed to score two points on 1-of-6 shooting. The 6'6", 210-pounder also had a minimal impact on the defensive glass. The frosh only snagged just four rebounds, two of which came at the offensive end of the floor.
There is also a trend between Robinson's offensive struggles and Michigan's five losses this season. Robinson has been held below 10 points each time the Wolverines have been defeated during the 2012-13 campaign.
Michigan needs Robinson to be more assertive and drive to the basket more often, much like he did against the Michigan State Spartans, in the second meeting with Indiana.
Keep the Hoosiers off of the Free-Throw Line
Indiana got to the free-throw line far too often for Michigan to win the first match up between these two teams.
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Playing solid defense without fouling is something the Michigan Wolverines need to improve upon in their rematch with the Indiana Hoosiers at the Crisler Center.
Indiana got to the free-throw line 25 times, and made 22 of them, in its victory over Michigan earlier this season. Cutting down those attempts will be easier said than done, though.
The Hoosiers lead the nation in free-throws attempted per game (26.4) and make 74.5 percent of their shots from the charity stripe. Michigan cannot afford to let Indiana come anywhere close to reaching its average if it hopes to clinch a share of the Big Ten title.
The Maize and Blue have to keep the Hoosiers out of the lane as much as possible in order to prevent reach-in and shooting fouls on the drive. Taking away baseline drives will also help the Wolverines limit easy shot opportunities and cut down on defensive fouls.
There is no way for Michigan to topple Indiana if it cannot keep the Hoosiers off of the free-throw line in the regular-season finale.