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With momentum on its side, can Indiana finally win on the road?

After finding itself again on Thursday night, Indiana snapped its four-game losing streak in an 89-77 win over No. 21 Iowa. Now, IU will look to do something it hasn’t been able to all year: carry over home success to the road.

Trayce Jackson-Davis slams it down on Thursday in IU’s 89-77 win over Iowa. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Indiana will play at Michigan (15-9) Sunday at 1 p.m. in serious need of another road win. The Hoosiers are 1-5 in road games this season with the only win coming at Nebraska who is second-to-last in the Big Ten and has a 7-17 record on the season.

All of the other road games have been massive struggles for IU, resembling a shell of what the team has shown to be capable of.

On the road, Indiana averages just 60.5 points per game, about 12.5 points below their average of 73 points per game on the season.

Indiana has shown the ability to be steady defensively on the road, so bringing the same level of offense as it does in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is imperative. To do this, Indiana will need some firepower out of its best playmakers. This particularly applies to senior guard Devonte Green, who reminded all of us of his importance to this team yet again on Thursday.

Freshman standout Trayce Jackson-Davis has been excellent for IU along with post players Joey Brunk, Justin Smith and Race Thompson, showing real consistency to solidify IU’s frontcourt as the most reliable part of the team.

Green, and the whole backcourt for that matter, need to provide that level of contribution for IU to win on the road. Much of that responsibility to ignite the backcourt falls on Green, who has the biggest influence on how this team can compete when he is clicking.

Green has a tendency to disappear a bit after splendid performances. Some games, such as Iowa or Florida State where he had 27 and 30 points, respectively, was when Green was at his best as well as the whole team. There are other games, such as at Penn State and Rutgers, where he had four and zero points, respectively. It’s on Green, who has the potential to truly be a game-changer, to get Indiana going and alleviate the team’s road woes offensively.

Michigan will not make anything easy for Green and the entire offense’s effort; the Wolverines have been a respectable defensive team all year, especially so as of late, holding opponents to 68.2 points per game. Opponents are shooting just 41.8 percent from the field against the Wolverines and 31 percent from the 3-point line.

The Wolverines supplement their team defense with a number of offensive weapons that they’ve got available. Michigan has five players who average double-digit scoring on the season in Isaiah Livers, Jon Teske, Zavier Simpson, Eli Brooks and Franz Wagner. Teske and Simpson are two very experienced seniors that score almost exactly the same average with Teske scoring 12.6 and Simpson putting up 12.5 points per game. The two score the same but offer much different presence on the floor.

Teske, being a 7-foot-1 center, is the team’s leading rebounder with 7.6 boards per contest while also being a good defender, leading the team in blocks with 43 and is tied for the most steals on the team with 25.

Simpson is known for his defensive effort too, but he is also vital to the team’s offensive production. He is a great 3-point shooter at 35.7 percent on the season, but he is the best distributor on his team and in the Big Ten. Simpson runs the offense excellently, with 185 total assists on the season and gets eight per game.

Livers completes the Wolverines’ star power as since he has returned from injury, Michigan has found its swagger from early on in the season. The Wolverines have struggled in the Big Ten with a 6-7 record in conference, but it seems as if they’re clicking on all cylinders again with Livers back.

Livers played in the team’s first 12 games before getting hurt and was the team’s best player. He played against Illinois on Jan. 25 but didn’t play again until Feb. 8 and since then Michigan has been rolling. They beat Michigan State that day and beat Northwestern by 25 last Wednesday to follow.

The Wolverines are carrying momentum from those last two wins and are reminiscent of their early season success in dominant wins over No. 23 Creighton, No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 21 Iowa among others.

With two teams coming off great performances in their last game, it should make for a good matchup.

The question remains of which Indiana team will show up and if they can overcome their road struggles. Just as it’s been all year, consistency is the biggest thing eluding major success for this Indiana team.

An Indiana win propels the momentum from Thursday even further and will exorcise some demons for this team. A loss shows this team still has much work to do and is running out of time to do it.

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