Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Big Matchup That's a Perfect 10 ; No.1 Ranking on Line as IU Faces Michigan

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Big Matchup That's a Perfect 10 ; No.1 Ranking on Line as IU Faces Michigan

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana should be getting used to all this. Students lining up in chilly temperatures long before tip-off so they can see America's No. 1 team play at Assembly Hall. A nationally televised game that will become the focal point of the college basketball universe for one day. And the Hoosiers vying again for the Big Ten lead.

Today, it's all about facing Michigan.

"It's going to be a big game, and I really can't wait for it," freshman guard Kevin Ferrell said.

Nobody in Bloomington can.

After stumbling in December against Butler and again early in conference play against Wisconsin, the Hoosiers (18-2, 7-1) have been trying to play their way back to the No. 1 spot they held through the first month of the season. A win today may finally get them back on top, and Indiana is playing its best basketball of the season.

National player of the year candidate Cody Zeller broke out of his two-game shooting funk Wednesday night, dominating the middle against Purdue. Not surprisingly, his inside presence opened things up for the Hoosiers' 3-point shooters, who knocked down a season- high 12 against the Boilermakers. Indiana's vastly improved defense continues to play well, too, ranking 12th nationally in defensive field goal percentage (37.3).

The result: Indiana slugged it out with then-No. 13 Michigan State on Sunday before pulling away for a 75-70 victory, moved up four spots to No. 3 in Monday's AP poll and then handed Purdue its worst ever home loss, 97-60.

If they can beat a No. 1 team at home for the second time in 14 months, the Hoosiers will sweep their biggest week of the season.

"Everybody can play, they can run, shoot, play defense, they can do everything," Indiana guard Jordan Hulls said of Michigan. "So you know we're excited for this opportunity."

Michigan is playing well, too. …

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