It looked like the Indiana basketball team had its season turned
around.

Mira Levitan
Guard Daniel Horton and the Wolverines fell to Indiana, 59-57, and the win sparked a four-game winning streak for the Hoosiers. (RYAN WEINER/Daily)

After a slow, 6-6 start to the year, the Hoosiers came into
Crisler Arena in early January and outlasted the Wolverines 59-57.
They reeled off four Big Ten wins in a row after that game to
improve to 11-6 and 5-1 in conference play.

But when Michigan pours into Bloomington’s Assembly Hall
tonight, it will find a team on the ropes. Indiana (6-8 Big Ten,
12-13 overall) has lost seven of its last eight contests, including
four straight in its own building.

It’s not like the Hoosiers haven’t been close. They
took Iowa to double overtime before falling by two points.
They’ve lost their last three games by a heartbreaking nine
points, combined.

“We just have to close games out down the stretch,”
Indiana coach Mike Davis said.

In the much-maligned Big Ten, though, Indiana’s hope of an
at-large bid to the Big Dance has evaporated.

“The only way that we can get in the (NCAA) Tournament is
to win the (Big Ten) Tournament,” Davis said.

Michigan will probably be a welcome sight for the struggling
Hoosiers. If there’s one thing they’ve been able to
count on over the last few years, it’s been knocking off the
Wolverines.

Including this season’s meeting, Indiana has owned eight
of the last 10 between the two teams, dating back to the 1999
season.

“That’s been a place that has always been tough to
play at over the years and a team that has really seemed to have
our number,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said.

The Hoosiers have had eight days to marinate on tonight’s
game. They haven’t played since falling to Northwestern 63-59
on Feb. 25 in Evanston.

Davis gave the team last Thursday and Friday off. He hit the
road himself for a few recruiting trips.

“Really, it was a break for me just to be able to get away
from everything for a couple of days,” Davis said.

Michigan (7-7, 16-9) comes in with a must-win mentality. Three
wins over the Wolverines’ four-game home stretch seems to
have kept them on the bubble for the Big Dance.

Amaker doesn’t want his young team to get caught up in
thinking about things that far down the road, though.

“We really have to focus on the things that we can
control,” Amaker said. “We think that winning can be a
by-product of staying in the moment.”

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