4 storylines for Indiana’s game against Michigan #iubb

1. The Hoosiers have to hold serve at home. Make no mistake, this is a very important game for Indiana. As the Hoosiers try to shake off losses in three of their last four games, a win today would be a significant boost prior to next week’s game at Maryland. From there, IU closes the regular season with four of its final six games at Assembly Hall. Looking at the big picture, Indiana’s recent slide hasn’t done much to harm its NCAA Tournament hopes, but a loss at home to an ailing Michigan team would spell serious trouble for a program that can’t afford to let games held within one of the best homecourt advantages slip away. Indiana is 62-8 at Assembly Hall since the start of the 2011-12 season.

2. Indiana can equal last season’s overall and conference win totals. From their August trip to Montreal through their current point in the conference season, the Hoosiers have gone to great lengths to separate themselves from last year’s disappointment. The ensuing weeks have produced peaks and valleys — some deeper and greater than others — but Indiana has moved forward to position itself as one of the Big Ten’s surprises. Matching last season’s win totals with a month to play before the conference tournament is more of a sentimental milestone, but it’s another important step toward reconciling last season’s failures as an aberration.

3. Michigan’s Indiana connections are seeing meaningful minutes. Beyond former Indiana Mr. Basketball Zak Irvin (Hamilton Southeastern), who was already expected to be a key piece to this year’s team, Spike Albrecht (Crown Point) was supposed to be a reserve guard and walk-on guard Andrew Dakich (Noblesville) was supposed to redshirt. After injuries have wracked the Wolverines, Albrecht finds himself starting while playing through a hip injury of his own, while Dakich decided to burn his redshirt and has logged a combined 33 minutes over Michigan’s last three games. The Hoosier connections go deeper from there, with forward Mark Donnal — a one-time starter — playing on Dakich’s same Indiana Elite AAU team and Fishers native Sean Lonergan and Fort Wayne’s Austin Hatch rounding out the Michigan bench.

4. IU is getting closer to becoming fully healthy. James Blackmon Jr.’s impending return against Michigan brings Indiana one step closer to a full squad — or at least as full as it could reasonably be. Once Blackmon, who started all 22 games until sitting out Tuesday at Wisconsin, steps back on the court, the next step will be getting Hanner Mosquera-Perea back in the lineup. Mosquera-Perea has not played since Jan. 10 after injuring his knee in practice, but Crean said Saturday that the 6-foot-9 de facto center is nearing a return. “Hanner has not gone up and down the court yet, as far as full-court scrimmaging and things of that nature, but he’s definitely getting a lot closer,” Crean said. “But for me to tell you he’d be ready to go tomorrow, I couldn’t tell you that yet today. But he’s definitely getting closer.”

28 comments

  1. Is it too much to ask that our coach and coaching staff actually wear at least a red tie? Am I too much of a traditionalist to suggest that our coaching staff be color-coordinated to the point of supporting the team’s colors? Is it too much to ask that our injured players look more respectable than just workout gear?

    I’m sure there are plenty of you who would suggest none of this matters, but I believe it matters because it shows commitment, solidarity and taking INDIANA seriously. All of this individualism translates right onto the court.

    It continues to just baffle me how Wisconsin has gone from the doormat in the 80s to the top of the heap year in and year out. Wisconsin now beats us by double digits, has leads of 30+ points, and IU is just not in that class anymore. And they do things the right way up there and assemble a TEAM each year, with 4 year players. Who says that recipe doesn’t work in college basketball anymore??? And Bo Ryan and his staff always wear the school colors.

  2. I`m sure the coaching staff will be glad to hear all they need to do is wear school colors and all will be good. I sure wish it was that simple. I don`t care if they come out wearing black and gold if they can get us a win.

  3. ^^^That’s a great post. What remains a bit baffling is the fact that even Ryan’s best teams rarely get that deep in March Madness.. They frequently have their way with most conference opponents during the regular season(especially at home and not just against Indiana), seem to vie for the Big 10 tournament crown season after season(winning it or in the championship game), but then lay an egg in the NCAA tournament…

    I’m frustrated by Wisconsin and not frustrated by Wisconsin… I’d prefer a team that is built more for March Madness….Purdue has their share of Big 10 flags hanging in Mackey as well… They get very fired up and play a much harder nosed version of defense when the Hoosiers come to town….Bo Ryan’s teams are built much the same….They’re generally rather boring even in victory…Nothing flashy and built for a good share of the style that still overwhelming defines the Big 10…They are disciplined, patient, selective to the extreme in offensive possessions and shot choice…The 90 point game against us never felt like it was fast-paced…It was more about every possession counting, dominance inside, and lights out shooting…

    For all their bragging rights and success of late within the conference, they rarely seem built for the non-conventional team that can come along during March Madness… The deliberate style can be the trappings their own demise if the shooting goes cold….

    I like the way the Hoosiers have more of an ability to play free and loose…The law of averages may not be in our favor as much during the regular season against the Wisconsin Clydesdale pulling its cheese cart, …But come tournament time, Ryan’s system sorta breaks down…You gotta have the ability to switch gears and adapt to many different styles of play…We had some bad luck not having the inside components of a roster that was envisioned…Noah’s early NBA departure…Fischer’s transfer…and Davis’s tragic head injury makes us more vulnerable against a deliberate and well-coached squad like the Badgers…

    If we can get Hanner going again…along with more progress from Holt and Hartman, I think we’ll surprise in the NCAA tournament…I believe it will be Wisconsin the appearing the less than ideal tightening up when the pressures of perfection in each possession make deficits seem insurmountable…Look how quickly the Hoosiers dug into that 30 point Wisconsin lead….Wisconsin is not built the same way…If they get 10 points down in an NCAA tournament game, it’s pack their bags and head back to Madison for another early exit and oversold high hopes a Ryan team.

  4. “That’s a great post” was intended to be addressed to AWinAZ’s post #1….bedford52 sneaked in before I was finished…So many new names on this blog of late…New posters or same posters with new names? They never give the customary introduction….. “This is my first time posting…” , etc.

  5. Other than last season, of course….when they made the Final Four.

    There’s quite the number of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes in the Big over Ryan’s last 13 years as coach of the Badgers…But there’s also a lot of second round exits(six second round exits)..For all that glory during the long grind of a conference season, his teams are rarely around past the first weekend of March Madness….Outside of finally making it to a Final Four last season, he only has one other season of taking his “dominant” Big 10 style/teams beyond a Sweet 16….

    And Wisconsin putting a candy-striped blouse on their mascot forever pisses me off….I think it’s eternal bad karma for the Badgers….so, hopefully they’ll keep trying to rip us off.

  6. That 10-year cutoff was perfect, Chet.

    Go back just a couple more years and Ryan has two more 1st place finishes(his first two years at Wisconsin included a pair of 1st place finishes and one second place)….If you go back to 2001-02(Ryan’s first year) for your comparison, it’s Wisconsin 3, Purdue 1….After the 2014-15 season, it could very well be 4-1 in favor of Wisconsin vs. Purdue in Big 10 titles over the past 14 years….as Wisconsin sits in the driver’s seat now at 9-1. For all that Big 10 success for Ryan, you’d think there would be much more to show for it in March Madness…Just two times in 14 years they’ve gone deeper than a Sweet 16..

  7. Interestingly, those two trips in the dance beyond a Sweet 16(last season’s Final Four and the 2004-05 season), were seasons that Wisconsin did not win the conference crown..

  8. You need only to go back and Wikipedia Bob Knights tenure at Indiana. People complained about not making the final four every year, now it’s about just making the tournament. Wisconsin was horrible prior to Bo Ryan. Give the man his credit. im not sure Indiana lost to Wisconsin for a decade. Keep up the hope but I saw our football program change every color scheme of cream and Crimson so it doesn’t matter what we wear it’s who is putting people in a position to succeed.

  9. you might want to stop assuming we are going to be invited to the dance. if we lose today we have to go to maryland. that could easily be another loss. suddenly we are 16-9, and 6-6 in conference. probably on the outside looking in if that happens. i personally don’t think we would recover from that so today is big.

  10. I’d like to see some red on the Coaching Staff too! However, I think the absence of red is intentional. Unlike Wisconsin, who rarely has a player make it to the NBA –resulting in year after year of Seniors leading their team– IU now is a temporary destination for our players, and the Coaching Staff realizes this.

    I continue to believe that we will win easily today; Michigan truly is an awful, awful, group of individuals (one minus) who completely refuse to play as a team (another minus).

    Should be a great match-up for national T.V.! Is Valentine the star today?

  11. and please update the question…..it will be fun to see what viewers of this site think is going to happen over the next few games…………….

  12. Well, it’s pretty clear you had to look back and do the research….It’s not so cumbersome to simply do that comparison from the time Bo Ryan took over the program…I’m pretty sure its his tenure and his signature on the Wisconsin program that serves as measure for their success since his arrival in Madison…It may not be the round number of convenience, but you wiped off two first place finishes under his leadership. 4-1 over Purdue(assuming they win the title this season)since Bo Ryan’s arrival seems pretty dominant in terms of that one-on-one comparison.

  13. Hoosier hypo,
    I don’t recall people complaining about not making the Final Four every year during RMK’s later years. I DO remember them complaining about losing in the first round 5 times in his last 7 years (they lost in the second round the other two times).

    Do you think North Carolina fans would be satisfied with Roy Williams delivering that? Kentucky? Duke? Kansas?

  14. Not my 1st post. Just don`t often. Read post everyday. I guess you could say I`m one that wear the crimson glasses. I back all Hoosiers regardless of record or you the coach is. My diversion from everyday life

  15. To be honest, I have a freakish memory for numbers. I can recall hundreds of phone numbers dating back to my childhood. Can’t remember names for the life of me.

  16. But you want to go back 7 years for Knight? Seems a cumbersome number….that avoids a Sweet 16, Elite 8, and a Final Four….I would have went back that more convenient 10 years where your freakish memory serves you best. ….Good stuff. Can you see me sorta chuckling right now?

  17. You’re right, Harvard. You only have to go back 8 years to see the post season success. The unrest was completely unjustified. That is the epitome of consistent, successful performance..

    Has anyone ever clicked on your links?

  18. Maybe if I changed my name to cuff they would click on my links..?

    Do put words in my drool, Chet…I never said the “unrest” was unjustified…Merely pointing out just how quickly you found a cumbersome 7-year perspective on Knight’s final decade as a Hoosier coach…People do quite the “drooling” over Ryan, but his NCAA tournament resume has quite the amount of early departures and droughts as well….

  19. Ambi-Stan Robinson threatening to take over for VJ III as ‘Most Minutes for a Turnover Machine’ in IU history….

  20. You made no point, Chet…You were attempting to put Purdue in the same class as what Bo Ryan has achieved at Wisconsin(in terms of regular season success). It was a nice attempt at deception. .And it was so cumbersome to evaluate Ryan’s full resume because it fit well within your deception to make his Big 10 accomplishments appear mediocre…It’s simply not true….It’s Ryan’s tournament success that remains nothing to really write home about(outside of one Elite 8 and one Final Four in 13 years). What do you think Bobby did in his first 13 years at IU(and in the NCAA tournament), Mr Freakish Memory?

Comments are closed.