The Indiana Hoosiers basketball team is comparable to gridiron programs like Army, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska, who once ruled over the sport and now must slog through parity-filled schedules. Old-timer fans talk about the glory years back in the 1990s, 1980s, or early 20th century. Meanwhile, the present-day squad exits the postseason with a whimper…if it makes it there at all.
But occasionally there’s a flashpoint at which fans think maybe, just maybe, the school could soon be returning to its former status as champions of the land. College basketball is better when teams like Indiana (or Georgetown) can briefly regain their legendary form.
As Bloomington prepares to host the #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines on Friday evening, hometown boosters can reassure themselves that the 2018-19 Hoosiers have a good overall record at 12-7. Like a lot of Big Ten teams in the middle of the pack, though, Archie Miller’s squad has a mediocre league mark of 3-5, and is trying to stop the bleeding as the powerful rival comes to town.
Michigan has been stubbornly holding on to its Top 5 ranking and a fine overall record of 18-1, but the Wolverines have been cold from the field and were upset by Wisconsin 64-54 on January 19th.
The big, fast Maize and Blue rebounded as fiercely as ever, 6’0” guard Zavier Simpson somehow controlling the glass for the visitors. But muscular forward Ignas Brazdeikis was terrible on the offensive end, and the team appears to be suffering a scoring slump.
UM got past Minnesota by the gag-worthy score of 59-57 on Tuesday night.
Indiana can potentially out-shoot the Wolverines. Freshman guard Romeo Langford and senior Juwan Morgan have been causing problems for Big Ten opponents. However, the Hoosiers are in a slump of their own, losing 5 highly-competitive games in a row.
Bookmakers are giving Michigan only a 4-point margin on the point spread, and wagers on the Wolverines to win straight-up are getting a surprising 50% payoff on winning tickets.
Will a Top-5 squad’s offense finally ignite and cover the spread in a hostile environment?