College basketball report

WORDS WITH … MICHIGAN COACH JOHN BEILEIN

It’s been a season with plenty of highs and lows for Michigan, but coach John Beilein is riding high heading into Sunday’s Big Ten battle with Indiana, knowing the Wolverines have a chance to share the conference championship with a victory. Here are some of his comments on the season and Sunday’s game.

Q: After everything, from the buzzer beaters, the upset loss at Michigan State, all that stuff, being where you are now. Can you talk about that?

A: That hasn't sunken in on me yet. I was one of those ones (saying) … there are too many good teams. And that was when Illinois was winning at Gonzaga, and Minnesota was a top-10 team. There are seven really good teams in this conference, and then you go right behind those teams and Iowa and Purdue and the other teams are right there. You can lose, as you can see. So to be in position to be in position, there are always going to be a couple teams like this. Whoever plays the best on this last weekend is going to have a championship.

Q: After you lost to Penn State did you think you’d be in this position?

A: It was kind of like when we lost to Purdue last year. But that taught us so much, that all right, you can be really down, but there is still an opportunity. Because we knew what was in front of us. Now with one more game, we're in that position.

Q: What’s your message to your guys now that this game Sunday means as much as it does?

A: I'll have to think about that a little bit. But a lot of people have worked hard all year. I'm just thinking, "Somebody's going to win this thing. Why can't it be us?" No one has worked harder than us. Everybody has worked hard, so why can't it be us? Let's just go for it. We'll have our regular routine and whatever happens, happens. At Crisler Center, we've had some success. Indiana has had a lot of success. So it's going to be a fun weekend.

Q: What do you take away from the first game with Indiana that’s going to be in your game plan on Sunday?

A: They were so good. They got off to such a great start. It was like bang, we were down 12-3 before we could turn around. Indiana's pieces fit together so well. They're very difficult to defend. So we'll have to find something that can help us with our defense and then still score points against their very good defense.

GAME OF THE DAY

No. 2 Indiana (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten) at No. 7 Michigan (25-5, 12-5 Big Ten), 4 p.m., Sunday, CBS. Indiana can clinch the Big Ten title outright with a victory and in all probability lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Hoosiers clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title last week then celebrated the accomplishment on their home floor by cutting down the nets, even though it came after a loss to Ohio State. It could be bad karma. Indiana won at home against Michigan 81-73 on Feb. 2. Now the Hoosiers will have step into the Crisler Center, where the Wolverines are 17-0 this season. Look for the usual suspects to figure prominently for both teams. For Michigan, it starts with point guard Trey Burke, who leads the team in scoring, assists and steals. For Indiana, sophomore center Cody Zeller continues to lead the team in scoring and rebounding and is complimented by the play of wing Victor Oladipo who is shooting 63 percent from the field, including 49.1 percent from 3-point range.

ABOUT THE ACC

After rolling to a 13-0 start in the ACC, Miami (23-6, 14-3) goes to the final weekend of regular-season play needing a victory at home over Clemson or a road loss by Duke to North Carolina to clinch the school’s first conference title in basketball. Miami already will be the No. 1 seed in next week’s ACC tournament. Meanwhile, ESPN’s “GameDay” will be in Chapel Hill, N.C., for the second grudge match of the season between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels. Duke won the first meeting 73-68.

Don't-miss game: Clemson (13-16, 5-12) at No. 6 Miami (23-6, 14-3), 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Beating Clemson should be a mere formality before the Hurricanes can celebrate the first basketball conference title in school history. The Hurricanes had to postpone the net-cutting ceremony after losing to Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Elsewhere, it's Duke at North Carolina (see Gimme Five), Georgia Tech at Boston College, and N.C. State at Florida State. On Sunday, Virginia Tech is at Wake Forest and Maryland is at Virginia.

Notes: Coach Mike Krzyzewski is 880-236 in 33 seasons at Duke and recently moved ahead of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith as the ACC coach with the most victories at one school. … N.C. State forward Richard Howell leads the ACC in double-doubles this season with 17, one more than Duke forward Mason Plumlee. … Boston College freshman guards Oliver Hanlon and Joe Rahon have combined to average 24.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.

ABOUT THE SEC

A rather grim SEC season is drawing to a close with the league looking at minimal participation in the NCAA tournament. Florida and Missouri look like the only “sure things.” ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects Florida as a No. 3 seed and Missouri as a No. 8. Lunardi’s tournament bubble is chock full of SEC teams. He has Tennessee as one of the last four to make the tournament, with Alabama, Ole Miss and defending national champion Kentucky among the first four not to make it. Tennessee’s loss to Georgia last week may cost the Volunteers dearly.

Don't-miss game: Missouri (22-8, 11-6) at Tennessee (18-11, 10-7), 4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2. This is a huge game for the Vols, who have won seven of their past eight and are trying to play their way to an NCAA tournament bid. Even with a victory, the Vols may have some work to do in next week's SEC tournament. Elsewhere, it's Florida at Kentucky (See Gimme Five), Ole Miss at LSU, South Carolina at Vanderbilt, Texas A&M at Arkansas, Georgia at Alabama and Auburn at Mississippi State.

Notes: Florida has clinched its fifth SEC title under coach Billy Donovan. … Vanderbilt is 13-16 on the season, but the Commodores are 11-2 when leading at halftime and 9-3 when outrebounding their opponent. … In two seasons under Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee is 13-2 in February. … Missouri has finished the regular season unbeaten at home (17-0), the ninth undefeated home season for the Tigers since 1970.

GIMME FIVE

No. 11 Florida (24-5, 14-3 SEC) at Kentucky (20-10, 11-6 SEC), noon Saturday, CBS. There are few tougher places to play than Kentucky on Senior Day, although that may ring hollow since the only seniors are Twany Beckham and Julius Mays. Nevertheless, the Wildcats need this one to bolster their NCAA tournament hopes.

No. 9 Kansas State (25-5, 14-3 Big 12) at No. 13 Oklahoma State (22-7, 12-5 Big 12), 1:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU. Kansas State can win the Big 12 regular-season title with a victory over the Cowboys, coupled with a Kansas loss at Baylor. Kansas State is on a seven-game winning streak and has won 10 of its past 11. Oklahoma State is coming off a loss at Iowa State, but has won 10 of its past 12.

No. 17 Syracuse (23-7, 11-6 Big East) at No. 5 Georgetown (23-5, 13-4 Big East), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPN. Georgetown enters the day tied with Louisville and Marquette for the Big East regular-season title. Syracuse hopes to avenge an earlier loss to the Hoyas.

No. 24 Notre Dame (23-7, 11-6 Big East) at No. 8 Louisville (25-5, 13-4 Big East), 4 p.m. Saturday, CBS. Louisville can grab at least a piece of the Big East regular-season title with a victory. Notre Dame won 104-101 in a five-overtime classic when these two met earlier this season.

No. 3 Duke (26-4, 13-4 ACC) at North Carolina (22-8, 12-5 ACC), 9 p.m. Saturday, ESPN. Usually, this game comes with ACC-title implications, but that will be rendered moot if Miami takes care of business earlier in the day against Clemson. The Tar Heels are riding a six-game winning streak.