Indiana vs Michigan: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (3/10/22)

Indiana vs Michigan Betting Odds

The Big Ten tournament is back.

This is the most fascinating game of the whole tournament.

Both Indiana and Michigan severely underperformed pre-season expectations – although Michigan underperformed more. Both find themselves on the bubble as a result.

This is a matchup of strength on strength. Michigan’s offense against Indiana’s defense. Hunter Dickinson against Trayce Jackson-Davis.

It’ll be hard to figure out which team will come out on top.

But let’s dig into this matchup and find where the value lies.

Indiana Hoosiers Odds

Indiana has basically been the best defensive team in the league all season.

Indiana led the league in defensive efficiency and was third in points allowed per game. Specifically, the Hoosiers frontcourt was dominant anchoring the interior, pacing the conference in block rate.

That all starts with Jackson-Davis. The 6-foot-9 big man is maybe the most athletic and efficient two-way big man in the country. He’s averaging over 17 points and eight rebounds per game while ranking third in the Big Ten in block rate.

He’s imposing on offense:

And engaging and smart on defense:

But don’t overlook the rest of the frontcourt. Race Thompson has been an excellent interior defender. Miller Kopp has been inconsistent but gives Indiana a needed outside threat (37% from 3 this season).

The problem is the guard play. The tandem of Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee makes up the worst backcourt in the Big Ten.

When Johnson and Phinisee are playing well, Indiana becomes a dangerous Big Ten team. Like when the Hoosiers took down Purdue, those two combined for 30+ points.

But more often than not, the Indiana guards are a total liability. Neither can really compete with the other competent backcourts in the Big Ten.

Indiana better bring its A-game into this one. In my bracketology projections, I have the Hoosiers as one of my first four teams out, and a loss here likely sticks a fork in the Hoosiers.

Michigan Wolverines Odds

Meanwhile, the Wolverines have been driven by their offense.

Michigan finished fourth in the conference in offensive efficiency, but most of it came from Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson was transcendent in the second half of the season.

He finished the season averaging over 18 points and 8 rebounds per game with a 118.7 ORtg. With his interior presence, Michigan led the conference in 2-point shooting (53.5%).

But Michigan’s offense withered with him off the court.

Screen Shot 2022 03 09 at 7.03.43 PM
Image credit: CBB Analytics

And the defense withered both with him on and off the court. Michigan’s defense did trend up as the year ended, but the Wolverines still finished 11th in defensive efficiency. Performing particularly bad against ball-screens and in post-up situations – the latter of which could burn the Wolverines in this pivotal matchup.

Indiana vs Michigan Prediction and Pick

I think it’s important that Juwan Howard is back on the sidelines after his five-game suspension. We might see the Wolverines fired up for that.

But the more important part of this handicap is Devante’ Jones, who proved he could carry the Wolverine offense with Dickinson on the sideline in the regular-season finale with Ohio State.

Jones finished with 21 points and nine assists in that big game, shooting 9-for-16 while only turning the ball over twice. It was the performance we expected all season from the Coastal Carolina transfer.

Jones is going to rip the Indiana guards to pieces. If Dickinson neutralizes the Indiana frontcourt, that will make all the difference.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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