In the fall, when the Indiana student body received their tickets for the basketball season, there were two games that most were hoping for. North Carolina, which turned out to be a blow-out in favor of the Hoosiers. And the Michigan game, the match-up worthy of College Gameday. Now that Michigan has proved to be a team that can make a run in the
postseason, Indiana fans should start thinking about how their team can match the offensive power of the Wolverines.
With the Big 10 season in force, Michigan’s strengths are becoming more and more apparent. They revolve their game around their superb guard play. Trey Burke is a real candidate for the Player of the Year honor, averaging about 18 points per game with 7 assists. He is one of the quickest guards, not only in the Big 10, but in all of college basketball. His first step off the bounce is too fast for most defenders. He can create his own shots, finish at the basket, and distribute the ball to open players around the perimeter or in the paint. To stop Michigan’s offense, Indiana must first stop Burke.
Next on the list for the loaded Michigan squad is Tim Hardaway Jr. Averaging about 16 points per game and 5 rebounds, Tim is a 6’6″ guard that is an absolute nightmare for defenses. He is tall enough to beat smaller guards, and quick enough to blow past slower forwards. His athletic ability at the rim is one of the best in the conference, so Indiana must keep him outside the paint. He is shooting under .400 from three-point land, which Indiana should prefer over his near .500 field goal percentage. Let him take outside shots and keep Burke from dishing Hardaway the ball in the lane. Because, if he is given an open lane, I guarantee he will sky over the Hoosier defense.
Nik Stauskas, the freshman from Canada. How do I describe Nik for Indiana fans to understand? Picture a 6’6″ guard that can shoot the ball as well as Jordan Hulls. Oh, and he can drive to the basket and finish with power. His first option is shoot, so Crean better make it a point to go over screens with him and stop him from getting the ball in a shooter’s position. However, help defense better be ready to step up and stop him because he has the quickness and height to get to the basket. This kid is just a great basketball player. If he sees his defender sagging, he will pull the trigger. If his defender tries going under a screen, you can bet that he will flair and get an open shot.
The last subject to discuss is Michigan’s presence in the paint. Their better big guy is Glen Robinson III, averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds per game. He is only 6’6″, but he spends most of his time near the basket. He is athletic and can get up in the air. He is one of the better freshmen players in the conference. The two other big guys that Michigan uses are Jordan Morgan, 6’8″, and Mitch McGary, 6’10”. Morgan is a big body, but doesn’t pose as a big offensive threat. However, Zeller needs to use his quick feet against him in order to beat him in the post. It is the same for McGary, a left-hander. He is a big body, but he can also step out to hit a mid-range jumper. Zeller is quicker than him, but McGary is stronger. Zeller should match-up just fine against Michigan’s big men, but he must use his speed in transition, but, more importantly in the post.
The bottom line: Stop the Michigan guards on defense. On the other side, stick with the new Indiana quick transition game, which Michigan also relies on. Yogi, Hulls, and Victor will be the difference makers in the game.