Ex-Michigan coach Bill Frieder: Indiana's tough, 'but you don't play the NCAA tournament in Bloomington'
A head coach at Michigan from 1980-89, Frieder's Wolverine teams had some serious battles with Bob Knight's Hoosiers over the years -- both in Ann Arbor and Bloomington, Ind.
So when No. 1 Michigan and No. 3 Indiana rev it up inside Assembly Hall on Saturday night (9 p.m., ESPN), Frieder says he'll be ready to expect the unexpected.
"It's real interesting, the first game I ever had with Indiana as a basketball coach (at Michigan in 1981), we won at the buzzer in Ann Arbor," Frieder said by phone earlier this week. "The last game I had against them in 1989, we lost at the buzzer in Bloomington when Jay Edwards hit a 50-footer.
"I kind of anticipate a buzzer-beater on Saturday."
Frieder, who constructed Michigan's 1989 national title team before famously departing for Arizona State (with a push from Bo Schembechler) prior to the NCAA tournament, will be inside Assembly Hall on Saturday as a national radio analyst for Westwood One.
During his time at Michigan, Frieder was 8-10 against Indiana, 3-4 against the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall.
He says his favorite memory against the Hoosiers came in 1986, when both teams met on the final day of the regular season in Ann Arbor with the Big Ten championship on the line.
Michigan won, 80-52.
But that game was at Crisler. Saturday's contest is at Assembly Hall.
According to Frieder -- there's a big, big difference.
"The hostility of that crowd and everything else you have to go against at Indiana (is tough)," he said. "You usually won't get good officiating at Indiana, you usually get a bad call or something bad with the administration along the sideline. There's something to do with the shot clock or the clock not starting on time.
"You'll have everything going against you, so you'll have to play extremely well to win the game. ... When you play Indiana at Indiana and they're a top five team, you're going to be the underdog, no matter where you're ranked."
Frieder, who has watched several Michigan games on television this season, says he believes the Wolverines have a shot in Bloomington.
He says Trey Burke is his national player of the year, to this point, and he's continued to be impressed by the growth and development of 6-foot-10 freshman big man Mitch McGary.
Michigan has enough bullets to go into Indiana and come out with a victory, he says.
But even if it doesn't, Frieder says it's important to remember one very crucial thing.
"Indiana's a tough place to play," he said. "But you don't play the NCAA tournament in Bloomington, Ind.
"Michigan has all the ingredients to make a Final Four run and even win the national (title), in my estimation."
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