Bloomington, IN – For the second straight season, Indiana beat a top-ranked team.
Come Monday, the Hoosiers should again be ranked No. 1 in the country.
Cody Zeller scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds as third-ranked Indiana held off top-ranked Michigan, 81-73, to take over first place in the Big Ten.
Indiana's win, combined with No. 2 Kansas' shocking home loss to Oklahoma State earlier Saturday, should move the Hoosiers back to the No. 1 ranking, a place they were at the start of this season.
Victor Oladipo added 15 points, while Christian Watford contributed 14 points and 10 boards for the Hoosiers (20-2, 8-1 Big Ten), who have won five in a row since a home setback to Wisconsin on Jan. 15. Yogi Ferrell also had 14 points and Jordan Hulls netted 11 in the win.
Trey Burke had 25 points and eight assists for the Wolverines (20-2, 7-2), who had just one lead in the game, at 3-2. Michigan, which had won its previous four games, also received 18 points from Tim Hardaway Jr.
On Dec. 10, 2011, the Hoosiers dethroned then-No. 1 Kentucky, 73-72, at Assembly Hall thanks to Watford's 3-pointer as time expired. It's been a long road back to a possible top ranking for the Hoosiers, who were shocked, 88-86, by Butler in overtime on Dec. 15.
The Hoosiers, who made 11 of their first 13 shots, played tenacious defense and were hitting on all cylinders running the floor the first 10 minutes of the opening stanza.
As hot as the Hoosiers were to begin the game, they were just as cold in the second portion of the opening half. They missed 13 of their final 16 shots and went to the break with only a 36-32 lead.
Indiana ran the floor well and was able to move to a 20-7 lead five minutes into the game. Watford's layup capped a 15-2 spurt.
"We were getting a lot of movement through penetration and everyone was moving around," Zeller said. "That's when we're at our best. To start off the game we always feed off the crowd. We have to give a lot of credit to how good the crowd was tonight. It definitely gets us going. It's unlike anything else."
The margin expanded to 26-11 following Zeller's layup, but the Wolverines finally got hot, and with the help of some miscues by the Hoosiers, Michigan was back in the game. Jon Horford's dunk made it 28-23 with 5 1/2 minutes left and Burke finished the half by burying a deep 3-pointer.
Michigan's Nik Stauskas sank a trio of foul shots 2:18 into the second half to tie the game at 40, but the Hoosiers moved in front for good by scoring the ensuing 11 points. Oldaipo used a nice pump fake to get Glenn Robinson III in the air, and the resulting 3-point play made it 45-40. Hulls capped the spurt by draining a right wing 3-pointer.
"Their runs in the game were really big. They have a large amount of experience. Very talented," Michigan coach John Beilein said.
Michigan was within two a couple more times, the last at 57-55 on Hardaway's jumper with 7:36 remaining. Zeller then jammed twice in a span of less than two minutes.
Burke's 3-point play had Michigan knocking on the door again at 61-58 with 4:53 to go, but Hulls responded by draining another 3-ball.
Michigan couldn't get closer than four the rest of the way.
"I think our players did a good job of battling through their runs and executing down the stretch and that's the reason why we won," Oladipo said.
Michigan and Indiana met for just the second time when they were both ranked among the AP's top-five. No. 1 Indiana defeated No. 4 Michigan, 93-92, at Assembly Hall on Feb. 14, 1993 ... Stauskas and Mitch McGary each had 10 points for the Wolverines ... There was a big discrepancy in free throw shooting with Michigan going 6-for-7 and Indiana 22-for-25 ... The win is Indiana's seventh over a top-ranked opponent all-time.