NCAA BK

Sun, Feb 2, 2014 - 1:00 PM ET
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Michigan-Indiana Preview

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With preseason All-American Mitch McGary out, players such as Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III have keyed Michigan's unexpected rise to the top of the Big Ten.

And while most of the attention has been on his teammates, Caris LeVert has been one of the most improved players in the conference.

The 10th-ranked Wolverines seek an 11th straight victory while looking to end a four-game road losing streak to Indiana on Sunday.

McGary hasn't played since Michigan's 72-70 home loss to No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 14 due to a back injury that has shelved him indefinitely, and his absence was expected to be a major blow to a team that played for the national championship last season.

The Wolverines (16-4, 8-0) haven't seem fazed, though, reeling off 10 consecutive wins since McGary went down. After beating three straight top-10 foes, Stauskas scored 16 points as Michigan beat Purdue 75-66 on Thursday.

Coach John Beilein seemed most impressed with LeVert, who finished with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds while adding two blocks and three steals.

Stauskas is tied for the Big Ten lead with 18.4 points per game and Robinson averages 13.4, leaving LeVert to serve as a nice complement on both ends of the floor.

Freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr. also has stepped up lately, scoring a season-high 19 points in a win over then-No. 3 Michigan State on Jan. 25 before netting 14 against Purdue.

"There's going to be some nights where teams focus in a little bit more on me, and that's going to give opportunities to other guys to go out there and score and be effective," Stauskas told the school's official website.

"I think Derrick and Caris specifically have been doing a great job of stepping up and scoring when we need them to."

LeVert averaged 2.3 points in 10.8 minutes as a freshman last season, but he's started all 20 games while averaging 12.0 points as a sophomore.

"He's playing off residual action. He just finds spots," Beilein said. "There are very few things called for him other than he's in space where he can attack and get open for (3-pointers)."

Indiana coach Tom Crean knows his team is in for a challenge trying to counter Michigan's efficiency at both ends.

"They are a high-powered offensive machine. They are a tremendous help defensive team," Crean said. "Everybody kind of fills in accordingly and the help defense is outstanding. You can't stand around, you have to be in movement."

The Hoosiers (13-8, 3-5) have dropped three of four after falling 60-55 to Nebraska on Thursday. Yogi Ferrell went 4 of 7 from 3-point range and finished with 14 points, while Will Sheehey and Stanford Robinson added 12 apiece.

Freshman Noah Vonleh had seven points and three boards, though he still leads the Big Ten in rebounding at 9.3 per game.

Indiana ranks fourth in the conference in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent, but is in for a tall order against Michigan, which is shooting a Big Ten-best 49 percent.

"They've just been shooting the ball extremely well all year," Crean said. "They've been in a lot of close games, and they've been very successful in those close games."

The Hoosiers, who won both meetings last season, haven't lost to Michigan at home since Jan. 7, 2009.

Tagged: Indiana, Michigan

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