#21 Michigan (25-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
#8 Louisville (25-8, 12-6 ACC)
The Nets Are On Fire Fieldhouse
|WHEN||12:10 pm ET, Sunday|
Louisville -3 (KenPom)
Louisville -2.5 (Vegas)
PBP: Jim Nantz
Analyst: Bill Raftery & Grant Hill
Right: If John Beilein is head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Rick Pitino coaches the Monstars. [Bryan Fuller]
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THE LAST TIME
John Beilein on whether he'll show Michigan any clips from 2013 national championship game: pic.twitter.com/nLTEVtX9aW
— Orion Sang (@orion_sang) March 18, 2017
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||4||Quentin Snider||Jr.||6'2, 175||64||21||116||Not At All|
|Good distributor, excellent three-point shooter, iffy finisher inside arc.|
|G||45||Donovan Mitchell||So.||6'3, 195||80||23||114||No|
|Top scoring option has 46/35/92 (2P%/3P%/FT%) shooting splits. Pesky defender.|
|F||22||Deng Adel||So.||6'7, 200||72||20||111||No|
|Lanky wing is primarily a spot-up shooter in halfcourt. Good transition finisher.|
|F||10||Jaylen Johnson||Jr.||6'9, 230||51||20||116||Yes|
|Great offensive rebounder, strong finisher at the rim, iffy foul shooter.|
|C||12||Mangok Mathiang||Sr.||6'10, 220||50||20||112||Very|
|Another great rebounder, rim protector. Lacks touch around rim of other L'ville bigs.|
|F||13||Ray Spalding||So.||6'10, 215||48||18||108||Very|
|Another great rebounder, rim protector. Hits 61% of FGs, 55% of FTs.|
|C||14||Anas Mahmoud||Jr.||7'0, 215||42||16||110||Very|
|Boasts nation's #4 block rate. Good rebounder and finisher, awful FT shooter.|
|F||0||VJ King||Fr.||6'6, 190||33||20||112||No|
|Good outside shooter and finisher, takes too many 2-pt jumpers.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Derrick Walton's range extended to the midcourt logo today. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Three is worth more than two.
In one of the most unbelievable offensive showcases these eyes have seen at any level, that core tenet of John Beilein's offense proved the difference.
In a tight contest from start to finish, Michigan couldn't keep Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans from getting into the paint. Evans poured in 23 points and handed out 12 assists, and many of his 16 misses led to second-chance points for the Cowboys. OSU pulled down 16 offensive boards to Michigan's six; they outscored the Wolverines 50-20 in the paint.
Michigan, on the other hand, had a difficult time working their way inside. After clinging to a one-point halftime lead because they took care of the basketball, they laid waste to OSU's defense from the perimeter, sinking 11 of their 15 second-half three-point attempts.
Derrick Walton, to nobody's surprise, led the second-half charge. After a 1-for-6 first half, Walton didn't hesitate to rise and fire from as far out as the edge of the midcourt logo, and for good reason: he scored 19 in the final stanza, hitting 5-of-6 threes.
"It's a lot of fun, first and foremost, to know you have that rock that you can always count on," Duncan Robinson said of Walton. "He's been so good and we go as he goes, so hopefully he's got a little bit more left in the tank."
"I just tapped into the fact that I know I've worked really hard," said Walton. "Just the mindset and the trust these guys have in me, that makes me go out and just play much more free knowing they have a lot of confidence in me."
Zak Irvin's 16 points included some huge second-half jumpers. [Bryan Fuller]
Robinson and Zak Irvin also hit huge shots down the stretch from beyond the arc. DJ Wilson came up with big plays on both ends of the floor, including the game-sealing free-throws to put Michigan up four before Evans drilled an inconsequential—unless you're a gambler—triple at the buzzer.
That capped one of the most entertaining, exhilarating, and stressful games of this college basketball season. So much happened in the second half that it's hard to remember that the game got off to a sluggish start; the two teams were knotted up at 11 at the under-12 timeout. OSU pushed ahead with a swift 9-0 run, then Michigan hit back when John Beilein threw caution to the wind and re-inserted Moe Wagner despite his two early fouls. Both squads settled into a groove, giving a taste of what was to come after the break.
The Cowboys again jumped out to a lead after halftime, and that was only a small part of Michigan's concern, as Walton briefly exited the game with an apparent ankle issue. He returned with the Wolverines down six points; that gap closed to two on M's next three possessions, in which Walton hit a three and dished out two assists. A pair of Wagner free throws deadlocked the game at 59 with 13 minutes to play; from there, Michigan's deadeye shooting made the difference.
Walton sizes up Jawun Evans before drilling a corner three. [Campredon]
While the Wolverines couldn't string together stops, neither could the Cowboys, and Michigan's shots were coming from beyond the arc. With that, the Wolverines needed one decent defensive stretch, and they got that with two stops at the rim—including a huge block by DJ Wilson that led to Walton's midcourt bomb—and a charge drawn on OSU center Mitchell Solomon. Subsequent triples by Wilson and Walton sandwiched around a Phil Forte two-pointer got the lead to eight with 6:47 left.
That held steady until a late OSU comeback push that appeared to be stymied by long jumpers from Irvin and Walton. Robinson missed the front end of two late one-and-ones, however, which added some serious drama to the final moments until Wilson's pair of free throws sealed it.
Michigan took this game despite a quiet performance from Wagner, who scored six points in only 14 minutes as Beilein went with Wilson at the five for much of the second half. Wilson finished with 19 points, while Irvin and Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each added 16. That proved just enough to overcome Evans and a very efficient 19-point outing from Jeffrey Carroll.
Hopefully, we can catch our collective breath in time for Sunday's game, which will almost certainly be against two-seed Louisville.
Michigan gave up 51 points in the second half. Which is okay, because Michigan scored 51 points in the second half. If you have any idea what just happened please explain it to the rest of us. In the meantime...
And because the other has to keep going shot-for-shot with the one...
Welcome back to March.
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Enter here: http://kibitz.io/#/ncaa
Ira is here for Sam, who’s in Indy for the open practice.
- The last gasp of the Red era: Michigan didn’t go to the Joe and win three straight but it would have been nice. What’s next?
- Gaming RPI: The NCAA met with Sagarin and Pomeroy…and went back to their stupid metric that’s so predictable a hero at Minnesota got them a 5-seed and Illinois State got left out for 9-seed MSU.
- Oklahoma State could be the VCU game of this tourney, except Cowboys can shoot. We like that there’s nobody to get Wagner in trouble.
- Who’s got two guards and is No. 1 at forcing two-point jumpers?
- The rest of our brackets. Brian likes UCLA because that game, Craig believes the Midwest is so soft Kentucky will jump brackets and beat all of us down, Gonzaga might get to walk to the Final Four, and hoo did Wisconsin end up in a rough bracket.
- Match the champs to the roundtabler: Kentucky, UNC, Nova, Meeeshigan.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
I was gonna do one of these, then I wasn’t, then I was, then I…whatever it’ll be a short one though. The main impetus for doing it is:
The speculators have skedaddled and these have come down to a reasonable $61, with $50 tickets popping up here and there in the upper bowl. What I think happened here is when the field was announced this was obviously the hottest ticket, given all the big schools in driving range, and speculators jumped into the market. Now it’s time for them to get out and prices have deflated between 40-50 percent because of it.
That’s the good news. The bad news is Kentucky and Louisville are still both in town, while tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means anywhere but the arena is going to be packed to the gills with hillbillies in their cups.
Round 2 (if necessary)
If Michigan makes it to the next round, tickets will go in a flash, but you’ll be able to pick one up for about that outside if history is any judge. Plans will have to come together in a hurry once they announce the time, but if Michigan gets an early Sunday afternoon timeslot it’s likely to draw more fans who can justify a last-minute day trip out of it. Night draws: notsomuch, since a 5-hour drive that starts after dark when Monday’s a work day is unlikely to get past the committee.
Strategy-wise if we draw the noon or 2:30 slot jump on those at $80. If it’s a night game and you’re already committed, I bet they’ll drop to something more like $60 online the night before, with lots of last-minute seats around for cheap. Right now it’s $111 but that is speculator pricing.
Kansas City is too far for a majority of Michigan fans to drive—even for the large Chicago contingent it’s ~9 hours. Oregon (the #3 seed) fans won’t get there en masse either. However if Creighton comes out of that part of the bracket, Omaha is very nearby, and could drive up the price considerably. Otherwise expect that to act a lot like a low bowl game, with tickets overpriced online and cheap on the ground.
Kansas would be the likely Elite 8 draw if that happens, and at that point it’s a virtual Jayhawks home game. It’s too hard to predict prices for that but even in that case tickets the day of the game tend to come down sharply from where they were earlier.