March 8, 2013
McCormick on the showdown
ESPN college basketball analyst Tim McCormick breaks down the game everyone will be watching, Indiana at Michigan, to determine just how many Big Ten champions there will be this season.
On the key match-ups between the Hoosiers and Wolverines: "Yogi Ferrell is a really underrated defensive player. He creates fits for the other point guard. Even though I thought Aaron Craft was very aggressive and outplayed Ferrell in that Indiana-Ohio State game, that's obviously a big one.
"Trey Burke is such a dominant personality in this Michigan offense. If he is contained, then everybody else's productivity plummets. He has to be the best player on the court.
"Indiana has got many guys that can take over during stretches. Burke is such a dominant presence in this game. That's a really important match-up.
"Also, [Jon] Horford, [Jordan] Morgan, [Mitch] McGary have to be able to match Cody Zeller's numbers. That shouldn't be that difficult. You have three guys, and you're hoping to get 18 points and 10 rebounds out of them. That's very doable."
On whether Michigan possesses the desperation edge, because Indiana has already clinched a share of the Big Ten title: "This is the easiest game of the entire season to get ready for. John Beilein does not have to say a thing. There has to be no motivation, or encouraging words, or pep talks. That stuff is nonsense in this game.
"It's all about the opportunity to cut down a net. The players have been playing 144 days since the first practice on October 15. Grueling practices, sessions in the weight room, breaking down film, sitting in the hot tub, and ice bags, and all of that. It was all done for an opportunity to cut down a net.
"The players know it. When they walk into the building, they will be ready, and I think they will play at their very best level. Michigan is phenomenal in their building, and they've proven that with an undefeated record. They will be ready to go."
On what Michigan has to absolutely avoid happening in order to beat Indiana: "No rebounds, no rings. If they get dominated on the boards, they will get beat."
On the difference between this one and knocking off Michigan State while getting beaten on the boards: "You can get out-rebounded by Michigan State. They pound everybody on the glass. Illinois, not a concern, either, because it's not a great, great transition team.
"But Indiana is. Both of these teams play their best basketball when they rebound and run. The best two transition teams in the Big Ten are Michigan and Indiana. If you rebound the ball, you control the pace of play. Michigan has to rebound the ball to at least get their fair share of transition points."
On the importance of back-to-back Big Ten championships for Michigan: "It's just a sign of growth. I believe that John Beilein has a lot of Big Ten championships in his future. The back-to-back championships are important, but back-to-back doesn't do anything for me. It just shows that your program is growing. Competing for championships every year is significant."
On a potential NCAA seed for the Wolverines: "I'm completely confused about the entire landscape of college basketball. I watched Miami get embarrassed on their home court by a very, very mediocre Georgia Tech team.
"We've seen it throughout the season. I had made a whole list of reasons why I love Miami, and thought they could get to the Final Four, until the other night. And they also lost at Wake Forest.
"St. Louis is an incredibly hot, disciplined, tough team. I had made a long list of the reasons why I think they could be the mid-major type of team that gets to the Final Four this year. They got beat at Xavier.
"Georgetown had won 11 straight. Otto Porter
you could make an argument he's the best player in college basketball, and they're playing phenomenal. Then they get beat at Villanova.
"There is no way to be able to say who is going to be the first four, the No. 1 seeds. It's impossible to guess right now. This is going to be a season of the conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament defying explanation. There are going to be crazy, unexpected victories throughout."
On who wins Sunday: "Michigan by three."
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