BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – Tom Crean's Indiana basketball team started this season ranked Number One in college basketball – and the Hoosiers are likely headed back to the top spot Monday.
Indiana blasted to a 15-point lead in the first half, staggered briefly and then dominated the top-ranked Wolverines over the final five minutes in Assembly Hall Saturday night for an 81-73 victory.
Ranked third last week, Indiana (20-2 and 8-1 in the Big Ten) figures to vault Michigan and second-ranked Kansas, which lost a home game to Oklahoma State Saturday, to first-place in the next rankings. Florida, which blasted Ole Miss, Saturday, will also receive consideration.
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR – Michigan guard Trey Burke and Indiana center Cody Zeller both worked on their Wooden Award credentials.
Burke, a sophomore point guard, helped the Wolverines maintain their poise after they fell behind 28-13, making a dazzling string of drives and three-point shots. He finished with 25 points and eight assists.
Zeller was strong around the basket, scoring on a variety of moves, including a powerful tip dunk in the first half. He played his best all-around game this season, carrying the Hoosiers with 19 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks.
BALANCED BEAUTY: Zeller wasn't Indiana's only effective scorer. Four of his teammates also finished in double figures – Yogi Ferrell had 14, Victor Oladipo 15 and Christian Watford contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Hulls had 11 points.
SHOOTING STARS: Indiana came out firing. The Hoosiers made their first four three-point shots while surging to an 18-7 lead. Yogi Ferrell made a pair, Christian Watford one and Victor Oladipo one. The Hoosiers scored 18 points in the first 4:45 – and only 18 more in the final 15:15.
Indiana finished seven of 18 from the three-point line. The Hoosiers also made 22 of 25 free throws.
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Toronto Blue Jays stars Jose Bautista and Adam Lind attended the game as the guests of ESPN play-by-play man Dan Shulman. Former NBA all-star Tim Hardaway was parked behind the Wolverines' bench to watch his son, Tim Jr. Former Michigan coach Bill Frieder worked the game for a national radio network. Landon Turner, a star on Indiana's 1981 NCAA title team, was also in Assembly Hall. Tom Pritchard, who finished his career at IU last season, sat in the student section. Harry Gonso, quarterback of Indiana's 1967 Rose Bowl team, was also here.
GET WELL WISHES: Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz missed the game after undergoing a heart procedure on Friday. Kravitz is expected to make a complete recovery.
SUPER SUNDAY: Tom Crean's weekend sports menu has one more moment: Crean, his wife, Joani, and their three children, will fly out of Bloomington at 11 a.m. Sunday to New Orleans.
They'll hook up with Joani's parent, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, and then assemble at the Louisiana Superdome, where oldest brother John will coach the Baltimore Ravens against her brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Earlier in the day, Joani was asked what she will remember about Sunday. She said it will be her family's most unforgettable reunion.
UP NEXT: Indiana has won its first four Big Ten road games, but the Hoosiers face back-to-back games away from Assembly Hall before they return to play Nebraska Feb. 13. They'll visit Illinois Thursday night and then travel to Ohio State Sunday Feb. 10.Michigan's scheduled is even more difficult. The Wolverines return home to play Ohio State Tuesday and then play back-to-back road games at Wisconsin and Michigan State. Ohio State was the first team to defeat Michigan this season.