With the Big Ten regular-season title and NCAA tournament seeding on the line, Indiana came through with a 72-71 victory over Michigan.
The Hoosiers had clinched at least a share of the title last week, but they needed one more victory to win it outright. They got just that on Michigan's home court on senior night.
The first half was a back-and-forth game of runs between these two talented teams. Indiana got out to a 10-3 lead, although that was quickly erased by a 12-0 Michigan run led by eight straight points from Nik Stauskas.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, the Wolverines built up a 27-16 lead. However, Cody Zeller finally came through for his team and keyed a comeback to cut the lead to 33-30 at the intermission.
In the second half, the two teams traded blows with neither able to pull away. Michigan finally went up 70-66, but missed several free throws that kept the game within reach for the Hoosiers.
Indiana continued to fight its way back and eventually took the lead with a layup by Zeller with 14 seconds left. The Wolverines had one more chance for the win but could not get the shot or tip-in to drop.
The big story of the game was rebounding. For most of the game it appeared that Indiana was really struggling to score. However, the squad was able to stay close on the scoreboard thanks to a big advantage on the glass.
Indiana finished with 19 offensive rebounds and 47 overall, which was impressive compared to Michigan's 26. Zeller and Victor Oladipo were able to generate easy second-chance points to help when the shots were not falling.
Zeller finished the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Oladipo was just as impressive with 14 points, 13 rebounds and great defense.
Trey Burke keyed the offense for the Wolverines. The point guard started slowly, but finished with 20 points, four assists and three steals. Most impressively, he made 5-of-8 from three.
Glenn Robinson III also contributed with 13 points of his own, although Tim Hardaway Jr. did not help much with 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Michigan now falls to the fifth seed in the Big Ten tournament as it looks to redeem itself over the next week.
Anyone who watched the game from anywhere could tell that the atmosphere was incredible at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com tweeted about the crowd at game time:
Nick Baumgardner @nickbaumgardner
No empty seats in here today, this one's been sold out for some time ... easily the most energized crowd of the season, on the final day.2013-3-10 20:00:02
Of course, that was only in the stands. The play on the court was just as lively, as this college basketball fan noted:
Bob Hunt @Bobhunt5
The intensity of these Michigan-Indiana games are just unreal - I have a feeling we are going to see these two teams a third time2013-3-10 21:06:29
Few people would be upset if these teams played again in the Big Ten tournament. Considering the talent between these squads, playing a fourth time in the NCAA tournament is not out of the question either.
One part of the game that was very fun to watch was the matchup between Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo, as noted by ESPN's Eamonn Brennan:
Eamonn Brennan @eamonnbrennan
Victor Oladipo is guarding Trey Burke in the press. Everyone clear the floor, I just want to watch this.2013-3-10 20:50:24
These two are among the top candidates for the National Player of the Year award after fantastic seasons with their respective teams. Burke is an incredible playmaker on offense, while Oladipo is widely considered one of the best on-ball defenders in the country.
In the end, Oladipo won the individual matchup, as he forced Burke to miss 13 of his 20 shots from the floor.
As previously mentioned, rebounds were a big story in this matchup. One of the reasons Indiana was able to get such a big rebounding advantage in the game was the fact that Michigan freshman Mitch McGary was dealing with foul trouble all day.
The highly touted big man was averaging 5.4 rebounds per game, but he was forced to play carefully after picking up early fouls.
Seth Davis of CBS Sports pointed out that there was some controversy from both sides over the calls:
Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops
IU fans saying McGary should have 8 right now. Michigan fans saying calls on him are BS. Funny how that works.2013-3-10 21:31:58
It is not surprising that both teams expect better calls from their own team, but it is something that played a big part in the game.
A big reason this matchup was so important is its impact on the seeding in the NCAA tournament. ESPN's Doug Gottlieb tweeted his thoughts on the No. 1 seeds during the game:
Doug Gottlieb @GottliebShow
1 Seeds Duke, IU, KU, Zags…IU loses it is LVille or Michigan--2013-3-10 21:16:26
While the win does not clinch a top seed for Indiana, it will certainly be hard to deny them after an incredible performance on Sunday.