It’s the last chance to make the Big Dance, as the BIG tournament continues in Indianapolis. IU was the #9 seed, playing Michigan for the second time this season. Both teams are on the tournament bubble, although the Wolverines are currently in while the Hoosiers are the first team out. Michigan head coach Juwan Howard has been reinstated to once again lead them to victory, as he did in Ann Arbor 80-62. At halftime in that game, it was 38-30, as Hunter Dickinson put them over the 60-mark with 9:29 remaining and a 14-point lead. IU finally got to 60 at 4:07 and soon cut the lead to 11, but never got closer. Dickenson finished with 25 and 9 rebounds while Trayce Jackson Davis was a miserable 6-13 from the free throw line and totaled 17 in the losing effort, overshadowed by Caleb Houston’s 19. The Hoosiers get a second chance for victory and hopefully will play better defense, especially against the three. Michigan was a sizzling 11-17 behind the arc. They also need more offense from Race Thompson and better three-point shooting than 5-19, as was the case in that first match-up.
If the Hoosiers don’t prevail against Michigan, they deserve nothing better than the NIT and a chance to play some teams outside the conference where the haven’t been able to effectively compete down the stretch or on the road. Indy should be like a second home for the Hoosiers where they beat NCAA Tourney bound Notre Dame earlier this season. Can the Candy Stripes do it again today?
It was another Tale of Two Halves, but this time it was a Hoosier Happy ending. A massive comeback and a 46-point second half made up for a lot of letdowns this season. The Wolverines easily reached 60 at the 12:54 mark with a 17-point bulge, but only scored 9 more the entire game, allowing IU to ultimately pass them 63-62 with 5:32 remaining. In that 7-minute span, relentless defense allowed only two free throws by Eli Brooks and caused 6 turnovers. Hunter Dickinson had only one bucket the entire second half and 15 overall, ten less than the first time around. Trayce Jackson-Davis led all scorers with 24, followed by Xavier Johnson with 17. Michigan was 6-20 from three point range, a vast improvement for IU’s perimeter defense since the previous match-up. It’s now on to the next round against Illinois and another chance to impress the selection committee with more revenge. Final: IU 74 Michigan 69.