After losing to Nebraska on senior night Wednesday, the IU men’s basketball team will head to Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday to face the Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan captured the Big Ten regular season title Tuesday after defeating Illinois 84-53.
Michigan enters Saturday’s contest with a record of 22-7 and a 14-3 mark in conference play. The Hoosiers are 17-13 overall and 7-10 in conference play this season.
In the first meeting between these two teams, Feb. 2 in Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers dealt the Wolverines their first conference loss of the season.
IU won 63-52 in large part because of sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell. He scored 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting, and he went 7-for-8 from 3-point range.
Ferrell also spent the majority of his 37 minutes guarding sophomore guard Nik Stauskas. Stauskas, who is Michigan’s leading scorer, was held to six points on 1-for-6 shooting in that game.
After that game, Michigan Coach John Beilein praised Ferrell, describing his play as terrific.
Ferrell, IU’s leading scorer at 17.9 points per game, struggled Wednesday against Nebraska.
Ferrell managed 10 points but went 4-for-14 from the field and an abysmal 1-for-10 from beyond the arc.
After the game, Ferrell said his team couldn’t find its rhythm, particularly in the latter parts of the second half.
“We just couldn’t get our mojo,” Ferrell said. “We just got quiet and shots weren’t falling. That’s just a part of the game.”
Through 29 games this season, Michigan leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting at a 48 percent clip from the field.
The Wolverines also lead the conference in field goal percentage from 3-point range. They shoot 40 percent from beyond the arc, and average 8.6 made 3-point field goals per game.
Leading the Michigan offensive assault has been Stauskas, who is averaging 17.3 points per game this season. Stauskas is shooting 49 percent from the field and also leads the Wolverines in assists, averaging 3.3 per game.
In conference play, Michigan averages 72.4 points per game compared to IU’s 65.3. IU struggled to score Wednesday, finishing the game 22-for-60 from the field (36.7 percent).
IU Coach Tom Crean said his team needs to regroup after falling to Nebraska, and prepare for Michigan.
“This team has got to continue to grow up in the sense of doing what it takes each and every possession,” Crean said. “It never means that each and every possession is going to go great by any stretch, but you can’t make defensive mistakes.”
Senior wing Will Sheehey was part of a defensive effort in the two teams’ first matchup that prompted Beilein to say in his entire seven season tenure at Michigan, he had never seen anything like it.
After the Nebraska game, Sheehey said his team can’t get caught up on one loss, and that the season is far from over.
“Just because we lost one game doesn’t mean we’re not going to play the next game as hard as we possibly can,” Sheehey said. “We’ve got to come out and play like we know we can, defensively and offensively. We still have a shot at this thing.”