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Tipping off

Indiana will have its hands full today as the No. 2 Hoosiers (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten) travel to play No. 7 Michigan (25-5, 12-5) at 4 p.m.

The Wolverines are 17-0 at the Crisler Center this season and 32-1 at home in the last two seasons.

"There is no question on the defensive end it starts with the ball-screen defense," Indiana coach Tom Crean told reporters Saturday was one of the keys for today's game. "There is no question about that because they utilize it so much. So many things that happen inside of a possession with them either begin or end with a ball screen, or both, so you have to do a great job there.

"Offensively, we have to make sure that our foot is on the gas pedal, we really do. At times the other night against Ohio State (when Indiana lost 67-58 Tuesday), we didn't keep our foot on the gas pedal like we needed to, especially after they scored. We had been very good at coming right back at them after they score, especially on the road. And we didn't do it well enough the other night."

The Hoosiers will be trying to win their first outright Big Ten title today after failing to capture the crown Tuesday.

If IU loses, it will have to share the title with Michigan and possibly also No. 10 Michigan State (23-7, 12-5), which plays host to Northwestern (13-17, 4-13) at 6 p.m. today, and Ohio State, which plays host to Illinois (21-10, 8-9) at 12:30 p.m. today.

"That's the beauty of this game, we know it's do or die," Michigan guard Trey Burke told reporters. "We lose, they win it outright. If we win, we get at least a share of (the Big Ten title). There really is no room for error. We have to go in there from the start of the first half to the end of the second half we have to play with the level of intensity that we have with in the recent games."

The Hoosiers do have the top seed in next week's Big Ten tournament, which begins Thursday at the United Center in Chicago, locked up thanks to Michigan State's 58-43 home win over No. 22 Wisconsin (20-10, 11-6) on Thursday.

But Indiana enters today's game with only one win in its last three games. Guard Jordan Hulls said the Hoosiers just need to play the way they are capable of playing to shake off their late-season struggles.

"We weren't hitting as many shots. We were a little stagnant," Hulls said. "Our defense wasn't as good. There are lots of different things that we can always get better at, but we're past those games and we're trying to learn from them and focus on the game with Michigan."

Indiana is 6-2 in road games this season, but it will likely be too much to ask for the Hoosiers to hand the Wolverines only their second home loss in two seasons.

Prediction: Michigan 84, Indiana 79

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