This preview is a short-ish diary because the bowl game takes front page precedence and, well, it's Holy Cross, not Arizona. I'll be taking this one in tomorrow as a fan—for the first time in three years—and will post a recap either Sunday or Monday.
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Holy Cross|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||6:30 pm Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan –14 (KenPom)|
Right: Center Dave Dudzinski, the Crusaders' leading scorer, can operate from the post or step out and knock down threes.
Michigan must find a way to slow down 6'9" center Dave Dudzinski, the team's leading scorer (17.1 ppg) and rebounder (7.6). While he spends most of his time working inside the arc, where he hits 51% of his shots, he's also knocked down 11 of 24 three-point attempts this year. He also draws a good deal of fouls and hits 80% of his free throws.
Flanking Dudzinski are 6'6" forward Malcolm Miller, a solid defensive rebounder and the team's most efficient scorer—albeit in low usage—and 6'8" forward Taylor Abt, who's started every game this year but averages just 16 minutes; he's active on the glass and otherwise doesn't add much to the box score. In addition to his excellent shooting (57% 2-pt, 44% 3-pt), Miller is far and away the team's most disruptive defender with 19 blocks and 12 steals in 11 games.
5'9" point guard Justin Burrell and 6'4" two-guard Eric Green round out the starting lineup. Green will start his seventh game of the season; he leads the team with 22 steals—his rate is 75th nationally—and he's a very good finisher around the basket, though he's struggled with his jumper. Burrell's turnover rate (23.5) is higher than his assist rate (22.8) and he's been a woeful finisher inside the arc, hitting just 11 of 37 twos—to his credit, he's knocked down 7 of 17 threes.
6'7" freshman Malachi Alexander is the team's third-leading scorer despite being their sixth man. While he's not a great shooter (49% 2-pt, 19% 3-pt), he draws six fouls per 40 minutes and capitalizes with a 75% rate from the line; he's also a solid defensive rebounder. The other key backup is 5'10" freshman Anthony Thompson, a marginally better shooter than Burrell who draws a lot more fouls (6.6/40) and doesn't turn the ball over as much; so far this season Thompson and Burrell have essentially split the point guard minutes right down the middle.
With their best win coming by five points at home against KenPom #185 Albany, Holy Cross lacks a quality victory this season; their other five wins came against Sacred Heart, Fairfield, Hartford, New Hampshire, and NJIT. They have a couple respectable losses: a ten-point defeat at #30 Harvard and an eight-point loss at #19 North Carolina. Then there's the bad: a 12-point loss in their road rematch with #233 Hartford and a ten-point fall against #144 Canisius, John Beilein's former school. They also needed double overtime to finish off #280 Sacred Heart at home.
This team beats the teams they're supposed to beat—though sometimes by uncomfortably thin margins—and loses to the teams that should beat them. They haven't really given a favorite a serious scare, either; though they led the Tar Heels by three points early in the second half, UNC pulled away and held a 13-point lead with six minutes to go.
Four factors (national ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||50.6 (121)||19.6 (224)||28.5 (260)||49.8 (45)|
|Defense||49.7 (178)||19.8 (90)||27.6 (41)||40.4 (163)|
This looks to be a good matchup for Michigan, as Holy Cross relies on three-pointers, which the Wolverines have defended quite well this year, and free throws—which Michigan rarely allows—to generate more than half of their points. They're not a great shooting squad inside the arc and aren't very good at getting putbacks or taking care of the ball.
Defensively, the Crusaders are very average across the board with the exception of forcing turnovers and preventing offensive rebounds.
Bigs, stay out of foul trouble. Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan should be able to limit Dudzinski's offense—that is, as long as they're not putting on a repeat performance of the Stanford foul parade. Max Bielfeldt is a much better matchup for Dudzinski; also, any shooting foul is compounded by the fact that Dudzinski shoots 80% from the line. Horford and Morgan must show a better awareness for when to contest a shot, when to plant and hope for a charge, and when to pack it in and live for another possession.
Play your game. Michigan should be able to run their normal lineups/sets without much adjustment. Holy Cross doesn't provide any major size mismatches and their style of play—slow-paced, foul-reliant, not crashing the class, and turnover-prone—should work in Michigan's favor.
DIE, 2013. Self-explanatory.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 14
David Thorpe over at ESPN keeps a list of all NBA rookies and ranks them; he updates it consistently throughout the NBA season.
He just released the new list today, and #1 is none other than Trey Burke, while Tim hardaway Jr has moved up to #3. The link is paywalled (need ESPN insider): http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10198337/rookie-watch-trey-burke-takes-top-spot
A small excerpt from the section on Burke: "As we look forward it will be hard not to expect much more from Burke, who has found a way to dominate games despite his lack of size and elite athletic ability, because Utah's schedule will get easier (the Jazz have played the most difficult schedule in the NBA so far). Plus, Burke has proven he has the ability to improve (like he did from his freshman season to his sophomore season at Michigan), which should give Jazz fans more reason to smile."
There is more on Burke, and another section on Hardaway, so if you have ESPN Insider I think it is worth the read.
It is pretty cool to see Burke doing so well, so quickly. I hope (and expect) him to continue improving.
Hopefully he heals quickly and comes back full strength
MOD EDIT: We'll combine the threads into one discussion. Also, I am not fond of 2013 - LSA
***I'm sure this is something that gets asked on here every so often, so I sincerely apologize if it's been too soon since this topic last came up and/or this post irks anyone too much***
With most of the students out on break and a "less attractive" opponent coming into town, my wife and I figured if there was any time to take our infant girl to her first Michigan sporting event, tomorrow's game against Holy Cross would be the game. Alas, as first time parents with very pretty much no Michigan fan friends with children, we have no idea of the logistics of bringing a 4 month old to a game and only recently found the balls to take her out to restaurants with us. So, I turn to you MGoBlog. Please give me advice on how to make this less painful for us, for her and for fans around us, or at the very least, talk me into saving this milestone for another time in the future. Here a few concerns I definitely have:
- Mgoblue.com says children of all ages need a ticket. How strict are they on this? I mean, a ticket for an infant, seriously? Even airlines aren't that anal.
- The bag policy at Crisler is simply "no oversized bags." Will we get hassled if we brought a regular sized diaper bag, and would they have to search it? Would a prefilled bottle somehow violate the dreaded "no container" rule?
- This one is a bit of a stretch, I know, but what about baby carriers? Obviously trollers aren't allowed, yes, but nothing is said about carriers, and if we do have to pay for a seat for the baby, might as well get to use it.
- How did you bring your infants to games? Carrier, baby sling, just carried them, other...?
Lastly, we'll greatly accept any other tips or tricks you have, or any words of warning you'd like to give. Thanks!
Edit - Thanks to everyone who commented with advice one way or the other! Besides all the hassles of bringing the baby, since this is the first game (and possibly the only game) of the season my wife is able to attend without too much of a struggle, we're leaving the baby at home with her Aunt. There will be a lifetime full of Michigan games for her to see when she can actually at least attempt to understand what is going on. Thanks again, everyone!
(6-5, 0-0 Patriot)
|Wins (RPI 150+)|
|337||Nov. 13||Sacred Heart||122-118|
|308||Nov. 20||@ Fairfield||63-49|
|330||Nov. 30||@ New Hampshire||63-52|
|328||Dec. 21||@ N.J.I.T.||74-55|
|Losses (RPI 1-50)|
|21||Nov. 15||@ North Carolina||54-62|
|Losses (RPI 51-100)|
|Losses (RPI 101-150)|
|Losses (RPI 150+)|
|295||Dec. 7||@ Hartford||78-90|
Starting Five Stats
Key Bench Players
I assume we will see little to no McGary on the floor, but I don't think will be a problem. Holy Cross doesn't really jump out to me as any threat to upset Michigan.
Michigan 84 - Holy Cross 56