BLOOMINGTON – Indiana survived. The Hoosiers battled past No. 1 Michigan and their own rush-to-error frenzy.
As a result, they have an 81-73 victory, the outright Big Ten lead and a likely return to No. 1.
Saturday night's nationally televised win was a showcase for 40 minutes of fury. No lead was safe. No possession was secure.
And the best thing -- these teams will do it again next month in Ann Arbor.
Third-ranked IU improved to 20-2 overall, 8-1 in the Big Ten. Michigan fell to 20-2 and 7-2.
With No. 2 Kansas having lost earlier in the day to Oklahoma State, the Hoosiers seem a lock to return to the No. 1 ranking they held for much of the season.
Forward Christian Watford came up big with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Cody Zeller had 19 and nine. Victor Oladipo had 15 points.
Michigan was led by point guard Trey Burke's 22 points and seven assists.
IU went for the early knock out.
Michigan survived it.
The Hoosiers hit shots all over Branch McCracken Court.
The Wolverines withstood it.
After falling behind by 15, Michigan ratcheted up the defensive intensity. With Ferrell sidelined by two early, the Hoosiers' offensive efficiency began to crack. Turnovers mounted. Shots rimmed out.
IU missed five of its last six shots of the half, and committed 11 turnovers. Burke played like the Big Ten's best player. His three-pointer just before halftime cut the Hoosiers' lead to 36-32.
The second half was more of the same. Indiana bolted to an 11-point lead. Michigan rallied back before the Hoosiers held on.
Indiana opened 6-for-6 from the field, 4-for-4 from three-point range and bolted to an 18-7 lead. Yogi Ferrell had two of those three-pointers. Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford each had one.
Michigan coach John Beilein called a timeout to slow the onslaught. The Wolverines inched back into it behind Hardaway and Burke. By halftime, a 15-point deficit had closed to four.
In less than three minutes of the second half, Michigan tied the score at 40-40. IU responded with an 11-0 run to regain control.
Michigan again surged back. It twice got within two points, but the Hoosiers refused to concede.