fair point that
Michigan (3-0) vs.
Brooklyn, New York
|WHEN||9:30 pm Eastern, Monday|
|LINE||Michigan -2 (KenPom)|
PBP: Doug Sherman
Analyst: Kara Lawson
We've reached the actual tournament portion of the Legends Classic; while last week's games against Bucknell and Detroit were referred to as regionals, they had no bearing on which teams ended up in Brooklyn.*
This is really a four-team tourney. The Michigan/Oregon winner will take on the winner of tonight's matchup between Villanova and VCU, which tips off at 7 pm on ESPN2, tomorrow night at 10 pm. There is a third-place game at 7:30 pm tomorrow, as well, so no matter what the Wolverines will face a quality opponent tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Michigan's game tonight is an ESPN3 stream only, while ESPNU is featuring Pitt-Chaminade in the same time slot. And, again, tomorrow's consolation game gets the far more palatable time slot than the actual title game.
Scheduling. You're doing it wrong.
*Though, as anticipated, all four teams in Brooklyn swept their respective regionals.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. %Min and %Poss figure are from this season now—yes, there will be a fair amount of noise in these numbers for a while. 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.
|G||14||Ahmaad Roorie||Fr.||6'1, 175||60||17||Sort of|
|Low-usage FR PG struggling from field, but getting to FT line and converting|
|G||3||Joseph Young*||Sr.||6'2, 180||82||30||No|
|Excellent shooter, finishes at rim, good shot selection, basically the point guard too.|
|F||24||Dillon Brooks||Fr.||6'6, 225||71||23||No|
|Versatile top-100 freshman hitting outside shots, struggling at rim.|
|F||23||Elgin Cook||Jr.||6'6, 205||61||22||Yes|
|Good rebounder, very good finisher at rim, draws lot of fouls, also commits a lot.|
|F||0||Dwayne Benjamin||Jr.||6'7, 210||57||19||Sort of|
|Good rebounding numbers, has three-point range, woeful FT%, blocking shots.|
|F||1||Jordan Bell||Fr.||6'9, 215||62||12||Yes|
|Very athletic, lanky four-star freshman. Excellent rebounder, raw offensive game.|
|G||15||Jalil Abdul-Bassit||Sr.||6'4, 197||45||20||No|
|Three-point gunner emerging after very small role last year.|
|G||2||Casey Benson||Fr.||6'3, 185||53||13||No|
|8 of 12 FGA this season were 3-pointers; had ugly 0-point, 4-TO game vs. DET|
While still talented, this is not the Oregon squad that won 24 games last year and gave Wisconsin a major scare in the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks return just three scholarship players from that team, and only two—star guard Joseph Young and forward Elgin Cook—were remotely significant contributors. The eight-man rotation now features four true freshmen, a JuCo transfer, and a senior who played just 7.7% of the team's minutes last season.
Dana Altman's squad has made it work so far, with comfortable wins against #328 Coppin State, #139 Detroit, and #112 Toledo, though both the Titans and Rockets hung close for a half before the Ducks pulled away.
They've done so in large part due to the exploits of Young, who's not only maintained very efficient shooting numbers while shouldering a huge portion of the offense, but has done an admirable job taking over as the team's primary distributor. His season averages pop off the page: 26 points, a shade over four boards, and an even five assists per game thus far. He's a lethal catch-and-shoot threat from the outside, boasts a decent midrange game, and is quite effective getting to the basket and either finishing or drawing a foul—and he's 18/18 at the line this year (not a fluke, as he's a career 88% FT shooter). Slowing down Young is Michigan's #1 priority, and several subsequent priorities, as well.
Young is joined in the backcourt by the freshman Ahmaad Roorie, who's mostly staying out of the way save for some forays to the hoop that tend to end in either a miss or a drawn foul and a handful of spot-up threes (3/10 on the year). Another freshman guard, Casey Benson, sees about an equal amount of time off the bench; he's either been an effective spot-up shooter (Coppin State, Toledo) or a turnover-prone non-factor (Detroit).
Top-100 freshman Dillon Brooks has displayed a nice jumper both inside and outside the arc, but while he's been able to get to the hoop (46% of his shots, per hoop-math), he's only finishing 38% of those shots and isn't drawing many fouls, either. It looks like he takes some gambles defensively; his three blocks and three steals are somewhat offset by his ten fouls through three games.
Cook is capable of playing both the four and the five despite standing at just 6'6, 205; he did so effectively last season off the bench, and while he now starts at the four he'll play both. While he doesn't have a jump shot to speak of, he finished very well at the basket last year—often off putbacks, as he posted a top-100 offensive rebound rate—and he's also a foul magnet. Cook's biggest issue is staying on the court; he averaged 6.2 fouls/40 minutes last season and has at least three in each game this season.
Nominal center Dwayne Benjamin is undersized at 6'7", 210, but he's posted very impressive rebounding rates on both ends of the floor while being quite disruptive (5 blocks, 3 steals) on defense. A former four-star recruit and very productive JuCo player, Benjamin has yet to find his offense this year, connecting on just 6/18 twos, 2/7 threes, and 4/11 free throws this season.
Four-star freshman Jordan Bell has been quite productive as the team's sixth man. He's 10/14 from the field on the season with 27 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 blocks in just three games. A very good athlete, Bell's made all of his baskets at the rim; he's not creating much offense, but he's good at finishing what others have started.
The final rotation piece is senior guard Jalil Adbul-Bassit, who barely played last season but is fourth on the team in scoring despite playing just 18 minutes per game. After being a relatively ineffective Just-A-Shooter last year, he's knocking down his outside shots and doing a much better job of getting to the hoop and converting, though we'll see if that holds against better competition.
Sample size caveat very much applies.
The first thing to know about Oregon is they're going to turn up the tempo; they've been well within the top 100 nationally in adjusted pace the last three years under Altman and rank 55th this season. With a small, athletic team, they're looking to run, and for good reason—they're posting a 61.7 eFG% in transition as opposed to just 51.8% in halfcourt, with nearly a third of their shots going up within the first ten seconds of the shot clock.
Oregon's defense has been very good so far this year, but their numbers appear untenable. The Ducks are eighth nationally in two-point defense (31.7%), but have played just one opponent that's shooting above 40% inside the arc this year: Toledo, which isn't exactly impressing with a 45.9% mark (200th nationally). Meanwhile, they're getting absolutely bombed from the outside, with opponents shooting 40.5% from three on a high number of attempts.
The Ducks are blocking a remarkable 21% of opponent shots at the rim, which is unlikely to last, and their opponents are only finishing 51% of their shots at the basket that aren't blocked; they're also allowing just a 22% mark on two-point jumpers. That seems... fluky.
On the other end of the floor, something has to give on the glass. Michigan's strategy of sealing off the bigs and letting the guards do much of the defensive rebounding is working incredibly well so far; in fact, M is first in the country in defensive rebounding rate at 90%(!!!). That number isn't going to last, of course, but a very undersized Oregon squad hauling in 42% of their misses probably isn't, either.
You want to run? Okay! Derrick Walton has been stellar leading the fast break this season, and in general M has been great in transition, either creating gimme shots at the rim (they've yet to miss there in transition) or open three-pointers of which they're making nearly half. Meanwhile, the team's transition defense has been quite solid—M's opponents have had a very hard time getting to the rim on the break. As long as the Wolverines take care of the ball, which they've done extremely well, then they should be fine in an up-tempo game; it may even play right into their hands.
Seal and grab. Oregon's impressive offensive rebounding production is mostly coming from three guys: Benjamin, Bell, and Brooks. For the most part, only two of those players will be on the court at the same time, so M just needs their inside guys to continue boxing out as well as they have been and let LeVert and Walton go to work—both have top-150 defensive rebounding rates. If the Wolverines can limit putbacks, they should be able to outshoot Oregon unless they let Young go off.
Go with what works. While there's certainly long-term concern that Michigan's best lineup at this point in the season features Max Bielfeldt at center, that shouldn't be a huge problem tonight; Oregon's only playing one rotation player taller than him, a lanky 6'9" freshman. If the freshmen are ineffective again, expect Beilein to have a quick hook handy.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 2.
Site note: Brian's under the weather today, so content is going to be relatively light.
Michigan (2-0) vs.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||6:00 pm Eastern, Thursday|
|LINE||Michigan -16 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Shon Morris
THE NAMES THAT LOOK FAMILIAR
Yes, that's that Carlton Brundidge, the highest-ranked guard in Michigan's recruiting class of 2011, alongside that Penn State decommit who didn't have the size to play big time basketball. Brundidge played sparingly in 15 games for the Wolverines before transferring to Detroit in 2012.
Yes, that's that Juwan Howard Jr. (photo via Lost Lettermen), son of Juwan Howard, a rather famous Michigan basketball player on some pretty noteworthy teams. I think this is a great opportunity to discuss the Fab Fab for a whi--
I'm being told this isn't a great opportunity after all.
Let's just watch some Bacari Alexander highlights from his time as a Detroit Titan instead:
I'm sure none of this will be discussed ad nauseam during the telecast.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. %Min and %Poss figure are still from last season for now. 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.
|G||5||Matthew Grant*||So.||6'0, 177||55||18||Sort of|
|Slides over to point after starting last year as low-usage shooting guard. Iffy shot.|
|G||12||Brandon Kearney||Sr.||6'6, 188||9||16||Yes|
|The former Spartan, now a grad transfer via Arizona State. Turnover-prone.|
|G||1||Anton Wilson||Jr.||6'5, 206||55||14||No|
|Gunner off the bench LY; 36% 3PT shooter, nearly 3/4 of shots from beyond arc.|
|F||2||Juwan Howard Jr.*||Sr.||6'5, 232||87||27||Sort of|
|The focal point. Range extends beyond arc (32% 3PT career), volume shooter.|
|C||32||Patrick Ackerman||Jr.||6'10, 218||--||--||--|
|Sat out last season after transfer from Penn State, where he barely played.|
|G||11||Jarod Williams*||So.||6'1, 209||58||20||Yes|
|Not very efficient last year but not bad for FR PG; scored 15 off bench vs. Oregon.|
|F||35||Paris Bass||Fr.||6'7, 187||--||--||--|
|Redshirt fr. 3-star out of Birmingham Seaholm. 8 pts in 21 mins vs. Oregon.|
|F||21||Jaleel Hogan||Fr.||6'6, 233||--||--||--|
|Averaged a double-double at Mount Pleasant HS. 3/4 FT vs. Oregon.|
|G||23||Carlton Brundidge||Jr.||6'2, 204||53||22||Yes|
|Splits between PG and SG; gets to line a lot, still not a good shooter.|
Ray McCallum's Detroit Titans are 1-1 on the season, with a blowout home win over NAIA Rochester (MI) and a blowout road loss at Oregon—Detroit actually held a seven-point first-half lead and were tied with the Ducks at halftime, but were outscored 48-31 in the second half.
Three starters return from last year's 13-19 (6-10 Horizon League) squad, led by Juwan Howard Jr., a preseason first-team all-conference selection. Howard, an undersized but burly power forward, is tasked with putting up a ton of shots—34th nationally last season in shot percentage—that he hits with marginal efficiency: 44% on 349(!) 2PA and 32% on 141 3PA last season. He struggled against a quick Oregon team on Monday, needing 19 shot equivalents to score 16 points while turning it over four times. Howard's effectiveness comes and goes with his jumper; he attempted fewer than 20% of his shots at the rim last season, and he doesn't draw a ton of fouls, though he's an excellent free-throw shooter when he does.
The two other returning starters are now fighting for minutes in a crowded backcourt. Sophomore Matthew Grant is the nominal starter at point guard after playing most of his minutes at the two in 2013-14; he generated most of his offense as a spot-up outside shooter, but hit just 31% of his threes. Fellow sophomore Jarod Williams, last year's starter at the point, came off the bench against Oregon but ended up playing 27 minutes; he's more liable to attack the basket, and he's also an active defender. When both are on the court, Williams is more likely to initiate the offense.
The nomadic Brandon Kearney got the start against Oregon over Williams, but his stat line was downright ugly: 2 points (1/7 FG), 1 assist, 2 turnovers, and 4 fouls in 17 minutes. Kearney, the former Michigan State Spartan, spent last season getting very limited minutes at Arizona State before transferring to Detroit for his final year of eligibility. He's never played extensive time, but when he has he's rarely been effective: his shooting numbers are poor, and his freshman-year turnover rate of 24% actually stands as a career best.
Junior Anton Wilson represents Detroit's main (a less-kind previewer could say "only") outside shooting threat after hitting 36% of his shots beyond the arc last season. Over 70% of his shot attempts were three-pointers; he's a gunner through and through.
6'10" junior Patrick Ackerman, a Penn State transfer, gets the nod at center largely by default—he's the only five listed on the roster, and the only rotation player who stands above 6'7". Ackerman barely played at PSU in large part because he was rail-thin, and that still appears to be the case: he's listed at just 218 pounds. Against an Oregon squad that doesn't play anyone taller than 6'7", he went 0/4 with two rebounds in 18 minutes.
The Titans boast some bench depth, especially in the backcourt. In addition to Williams, there's Carlton Brundidge, whose game still revolves around attacking the basket; his free-throw rate topped 45% last season. Unfortunately, his shooting is still decidedly sub-par, with shooting splits of 44/28/67 (2P/3P/FT) in 2013-14. Redshirt freshman Paris Bass actually got more time on Monday; the lanky 6'7" wing scored eight points in 20 minutes, all coming inside the arc.
6'6", 233-pound freshman Jaleel Hogan is the primary big off the bench. He's been pretty efficient in his first two games, going 4/6 against Rochester and getting to the line a couple times against Oregon, though he's got to watch the fouls—six so far in 34 minutes.
Oh, what the heck, let's have fun with tiny sample sizes.
Detroit was a poor shooting team last year and that's carried over to this season thus far; unlike last year, the Titans have struggled on the boards, which will happen when you lose your top three big men.
Stay disruptive. In the early going it looks like Michigan, with inexperience inside but tons of length everywhere on the court, has emphasized getting into passing lanes on defense and going for more steals in general; thus far, that's paid off with a very good turnover rate. Detroit lacks a true point guard in their starting lineup and Williams, who'll get plenty of minutes at the one, posted a turnover rate above 20% last season. Detroit boasts little in the way of outside shooting, so the Wolverines can take some chances defensively and see if they can generate some easy points in transition.
Be ready to help. Detroit is going to try to attack the basket as much as they can, and they've got some players who can be effective off the dribble. If the young bigs are a step slow helping out in the paint, we could see them get into some foul trouble and/or give up some easy buckets. This will be a nice test to see which of the fives is furthest along in terms of defensive awareness, as well as shot-blocking. Given how undersized the Titans are up front, this could be the game for DJ Wilson to get more extensive playing time, as well.
Attack the basket. Detroit has one true big man, and he's built a lot more like me than is ideal for a D-I center. Meanwhile, Michigan has settled a little too readily for midrange shots through two games. It'd be encouraging to see Caris LeVert, especially, finish more of his drives at the basket instead of pulling up. Getting Kameron Chatman in a rhythm would certainly be nice, too.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 16.
Following all the work, Irvin's jumper is better but still different. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
"I know I have a weird looking jump shot, but it goes in," he said.
Nothing wrong with weird, Zak.
Michigan (1-0) vs.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||8:00 pm Eastern, Monday|
|LINE||Michigan -15 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Seth Davis
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold.
Stats are obviously from last year, as Bucknell has played just one game this season, a 75-72 home victory over KenPom's #225-ranked Marist. Three starters return from last season's 16-win squad; they're denoted with an asterisk. For those who've forgotten 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.
|G||32||Ryan Frazier||Jr.||6'0, 190||46||15||Sort of|
|Low-usage role player last year takes care of ball, but not a playmaker.|
|G||3||Steven Kaspar*||Sr.||6'3, 196||61||24||Yes|
|High volume, low efficiency; tons of assists, lots of TOs, gets to line, poor shooter.|
|G||14||Chris Hass*||Jr.||6'5, 184||63||21||No|
|40% 3-point shooter; solid midrange game, too, but not good finishing at the rim.|
|F||50||Dom Hoffman*||Jr..||6'7, 222||41||21||N/A|
|Decent rebounder, okay finisher at rim, half of shots were 2-pt jumpers he hit at 31%.|
|C||20||Nana Foulland||Fr.||6'9, 227||--||--||--|
|2 points on 1/6 shooting, 5 boards (1 off.), and... zero fouls in his debut. WTF, man.|
|G||5||John Azzinaro||So.||5'11, 180||30||18||Sort of|
|Backup point takes care of ball but iffy shooter who doesn't initiate a lot of offense.|
|F||0||DJ MacLeay||So.||6'7, 213||11||18||Yes|
|Lots of rebounds, tons of turnovers in very limited time last season.|
|G||12||JC Show||Fr.||6'2, 204||--||--||No|
|Last year's Pennsylvania Mr. Basketball scored 12 points in 18 mins in debut.|
NANA FOULLAND. THAT IS ALL.
Though they posted an uncharacteristic 16-14 record in 2013-14, failing to make postseason play for the first time since 2010, Bucknell is no pushover; they've been the class of the Patriot League for much of coach Dave Paulsen's six-year tenure, running that swing offense that gave Michigan plenty of trouble off the ball against Hillsdale.
That said, this is still a game Michigan should win comfortably. The Bison lost their leading scorer from a season ago, high-volume sharpshooter Cameron Ayers, as well as their leading rebounder and a couple key role players.
The backcourt is one Michigan's talented group should be able to handle. Steven Kaspar is a combo guard who commands the ball a fair amount for someone who doesn't take a lot of shots; he posted the nation's sixth-highest assist rate last year, but combined it with a very inflated turnover rate (25.7%) and poor shooting (42.0 eFG%). Ryan Frazier had a very low usage for a de facto point guard; he's asked to do more on defense than offense, where he's a low-volume, low-efficiency shooter with a knack for getting to the line.
Michigan must keep a close eye on the third starting guard, Chris Hass, who hit 40% of his 117 three-point attempts last season. He takes nearly half his field goals from beyond the arc and he's less effective the closer he gets to the rim; he's a good midrange shooter (44% on two-point jumpers, per hoop-math) and a sub-par finisher at the basket (46%).
Power forward Dom Hoffman worked his way into the starting lineup towards the end of 2013-14, and that coincided with a regular-season-ending six-game winning streak for the Bison. He's a solid rebounder who does almost all of his work on offense near the hoop. Center Nana Foulland is a true freshman who disappointingly didn't record a foul in Bucknell's opener; he struggled from the field and—at 6'9", 227, with minimal experience—could be exploited inside.
They key backup to watch is 2014 Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year JC Show, a lightly regarded recruit who was obviously quite productive at the high school level. Show poured in 12 points in just 18 minutes in the opener against Marist, hitting both his two-pointers while going 2/5 from three.
KenPom gives Michigan a 93% chance to win this one. While Bucknell's off-ball movement could give the Wolverines some trouble, they have to replace quite a bit of production from a team that disappointed last year—the Bison were fifth in this year's preseason Patriot League poll and currently sit at #178 on KenPom. Michigan will continue to have growing pains, but this is a game where they should be able to work through them and come out comfortably on top.
Still too early for this. Last year Bucknell was heavily reliant on three-point shooting to score points, so it'll be interesting to see how they adjust while rolling out a starting lineup with just one proven outside shooter. On defense, they rarely forced turnovers but did a remarkable job—second-best nationally, in fact—of keeping opponents off the offensive glass. Both those trends continued in their season opener.
Stay between the man and the basket. A simple request, sure, but Michigan's young bigs—especially Kameron Chatman—had a lot of trouble sticking with their assignment off the ball against Hillsdale's motion- and pick-heavy swing offense. Bucknell will give Michigan a similar look with better, experienced players. Better communication during off-ball screens would solve a lot of Michigan's woes in this department; on Saturday, defenders looked far too unsure of when (and when not) to switch.
Keep firing. This looks like a great matchup for Michigan's three stars. Derrick Walton is going against a low-usage point guard; he should be able to give plenty of help defensively while looking to hit the boards and initiate the break, which he's great at doing. Both Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin are going to have size advantages over their respective matchups; in LeVert's case, he'll also have the chance to get Michigan going in transition by guarding the turnover-prone Kaspar. Irvin will shoot, because that's what he does, and that's perfectly fine. Should be another game in which these three dominate the ball and carry much of the load.
Help off most. Bucknell doesn't have much in the way of shooters out there; Hass is the only reliable outside threat in the starting five, while JC Show seems to be the only dangerous bench scorer. If Kaspar is going to the rim time and again—he's not a great finisher but he does draw quite a few fouls—Michigan can collapse inside, helping off just about anyone aside from Hass. Giving up a few open outside jumpers won't be the worst thing in the world.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 15.
It's a basketball/football crossover week so I didn't have time to put together a full OFAAT post, but here are several GIFs from Saturday's game and a couple from the exhibition against Wayne State. Click the links to open each GIF in a lightbox.
LeVert steal/slam. Alternate view of the dunk.
Irvin breakaway one-handed dunk.
Chatman goes coast-to-coast.
Zak Irvin, alone in front of the pack, fades to the corner and drills a three. I love this.
Spike steals, does not dunk.
LeVert to Doyle for the and-one.
LeVert lob to Doyle.
Might want to guard that guy.
Slick save by Mark Donnal.
Holy hell, Aubrey Dawkins.
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Hillsdale|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||2 pm Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||No line, you degenerates; Hillsdale is D-II|
THE SEASON PREVIEW
Hillsdale plays in the GLIAC, a D-II conference that also includes Michigan's exhibition opponent, Wayne State. The Chargers return two starters from a squad that finished 18-9 last season, and they have a huge hole to fill with the graduation of record-setting forward Tim Dezelski, who averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds in 2013-14.
Now the go-to guy is 6'7" junior forward Kyle Cooper, who averaged 14 and 6; his statistical profile suggests he's more dangerous inside the arc than outside, but he can stretch the floor a bit. 5'8" point guard Zach Miller is the other returning starter, and shooting guard Darius Ware returns to action this season after missing all of 2013-14 with an injury—he started 25 games the season prior and is described on the team's site as an athletic player with a decent mid-range game.
Michigan's young bigs could get tested by seven-foot center Jason Pretzer, though Pretzer hasn't produced much during his first three years in the program. For a more complete preview of Hillsdale, check out their official site. For our purposes, this is D-II cannon fodder.
Not yet, stat-heads. Due to Hillsdale's D-II status, KenPom doesn't even have them in his database, and he gives Michigan a full 100% chance to win this game. I'm not one to argue with him.
Secondary rebounding. Michigan's centers might have their hands full with a true seven-footer, and even if they're able to overcome that disadvantage with their decided edge in pure talent, the Wolverines will need the non-bigs to step it up on the boards in order to replace the excellent rebounding production of last year's now-departed bigs. Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton have already displayed both willingness and ability to get involved on the boards; this year, it's Zak Irvin's turn to step it up in that regard, and he did so in the exhibition against Wayne State. It'd be nice to see that continue against a slightly (slightly) better opponent.
Who are the shooters? John Beilein is going to start the season playing all the freshmen, but he's unlikely to keep it that way as the season wears on, and a major determining factor for which guys stay in the rotation will be their ability to force opponents to respect their shot. Spreading the floor and knocking down shots will be huge for determining if Mark Donnal and Aubrey Dawkins are worth playing over other options; same goes for MAAR, whose jumper has looked a bit iffy in the early going, but it's possible he can make up for that with his ballhandling and knack for getting to the line.
Get penetration. The Wolverines were productive in their exhibition against Wayne State, but outside of LeVert there wasn't much in the way of creating baskets off the dribble, at least in the halfcourt. Walton has a juicy matchup against a much smaller point guard that I'd like to see him exploit, and it'd be great to see Kam Chatman and DJ Wilson look to create when they get the right matchup themselves. If Zak Irvin starts blowing by defenders, you're allowed to get pretty excited, as well, competition be damned.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by lots. (Seriously, there's no line on KemPom, so this is the best I can do.)
UMHoops preview. Maize n Brew preview. For the love of all things sacred and holy read Brendan F. Quinn's masterful feature on John Beilein already:
"I remember John just being the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet," says Bob Narrish, a teammate. "Charismatic. Everybody liked him. The girls liked him. He had that long flowing blond hair. A good looking guy."
Perched like two old crows on a set of three-row bleachers in the same gym some 40-odd years later, Betchel turns to Narrish and, looking around, says, "When you were on the end of that bench with ol' John, while Baker was running around all crazy, would you have thought (Beilein) would end up being one of the best coaches in the game of basketball?"
"Nah, probably not," Narrish says. "Probably a teacher."
The Daily's preseason coverage is up to its usual lofty standard. Daniel Feldman's look back at Stu Douglass's program-altering game-winner against MSU in 2011 is well worth a read:
“What sticks out the most from that game was the silence from the crowd after the shot,” Douglass said. “The energy of the building was immediately gone. That possession was so charged up and loud, and once the shot went in, it was immediately flat. You could feel the disappointment of their fans.
“Not many things beat hearing the silence of an opposing crowd that hates you.”
Stu's troll game remains on point. Meanwhile, DJ Wilson's taste in film is impeccable, and somebody please feed Ricky Doyle.
Tim Miles remains a wonderfully charismatic lunatic.
Michigan (28-8, 15-3 B1G) vs.
Kentucky (27-10, 12-6 SEC)
Colts Location Stadium,
|WHEN||5:05 pm Eastern, Sunday|
|LINE||Michigan -1 (KenPom)|
PBP: Jim Nantz
Analyst: Greg Anthony
|Liveblog||Sponsored by Marawatch; starts at 5.|
Win or go home.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold.
This preview assumes that Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein is out after John Calipari said his issue was "not a good ankle injury." He was limping badly after the game, on crutches, and told Kentucky trainers he "heard it pop." Save some Travis Trice blisters heroism, he's out.
|G||2||Aaron Harrison||Fr.||6'6, 218||80%||21||Sort of|
|80/48/35 shooter is UK's most efficient offensive player.|
|G||5||Andrew Harrison||Fr.||6'6, 215||78%||22||Sort of|
|PG-type player awful inside line, has high TO rate. Gets FTs, decent from 3.|
|G||1||James Young||Fr.||6'6, 215||80%||22||Sort of|
|Almost identical statistically to Aaron, but slightly worse in most categories.|
|F||5||Julius Randle||Fr.||6'9, 250||76%||27||Yes|
|Classic PF tough to handle on boards, can get own shot. Only 52%.|
|C||34||Dakari Johnson||Fr.||7'0, 265||33%||20||N/A|
|OREB monster. Block rate/DREB rates not scary. Putback machine. Miserable FT%.|
|F||4||Alex Poythress||So.||6'8, 239||45%||18||Yes|
|OREB guy and rim finisher is black hole on O, good on D.|
|G||15||Dominique Hawkins||Fr.||6'0, 193||17%||8||Yes|
|Almost invisible on offense for good reason. 46/43/13 shooter in small sample.|
|G||23||Jarrod Polson||Sr.||6'2, 182||19%||8||Sort of|
|Gritty walk on has 35 shots on the year.|
For completeness, Cauley-Stein is an elite defensive player, a block machine with a high steal rate. He doesn't rebound as much as you'd expect because he tries to swat everything and his offense is relatively limited.
Welcome to the sequel of the sequel: Kentucky is an upgraded version of Tennessee, which was an upgraded version of Texas. Stop me if you've heard this before: Kentucky is an offensive rebound machine that can't shoot threes and doesn't force turnovers but does do everything else well on D. Or at least they were with Cauley-Stein. They're probably still a number of those things. How many remains to be seen, but that's another section.
The individual players all come with a sameness to them. Kentucky is the world's worst NBA team, a collection of bodies that looks like an NBA All Star game… and often plays like one. But if they've figured something out they've figured something out, and then they're not pleasant to consider.
Andrew, #5, is the point guard type guy
The Harrison twins are the primary guards. Andrew Harrison (#5) is the point-guard type substance—it's hard to tell when everyone's 6'6"—with his team-high assist rate. Unfortunately for Kentucky, his TO rate is just as high. 23.5 is a number that would make you shake your head if it was a 7-footer turning it in; for a point guard it's turrible. His inconsistency has been apparent even amongst the maelstrom that is the Kentucky freshmen:
He has the handles and jumper, until they disappear. He can be a lock-down defender on individual plays but often lets up on that end and commits a lot of silly fouls. He also seems too reliant on and comfortable with passing to his brother, an NBA prospect but not Kentucky's best player by any means.
Harrison is only a 39% two-point shooter; he gets to the rack a lot (a third of his shots) but only hits half of his generally tough layup attempts and he's a miserable two-point shooter. He may be getting saddled with the Dion Harris shots, to be fair: 4% of his two pointers were assisted this year. FOUR!
Harrison has two three-point modes: he's a good catch and shoot guy near the arc, and then he's a miserable bricklayer trying to catch guys off the dribble, often on shots that are a couple feet behind the line. His main strength as a player is drawing fouls. He's in the top 100 in that department and hits FTs at 77%. Michigan, of course, does not foul much.
Aaron Harrison (#2) is a wing/SG type who's considerably more efficient than his brother; outside of the presumably unavailable Cauley-Stein he's Kentucky's most efficient guy. He's got a relatively low TO rate, decent usage, and shoots 80/48/35. He's much better at the rim than his brother, probably because at least some of his shots are coming off plays other guys made, but he's relatively uninspiring from all ranges.
James Young (#1) may as well be the third Harrison twin. He's also 6'6". Statistically he is a clone of Aaron. Watching Kentucky in person it was difficult to tell who was doing what; their games are all so similar. Young is marginally worse at getting to the basket and finishing, marginally worse in A:TO, marginally worse in defensive categories.
The biggest difference is that Young is about 55/45 threes to twos while Aaron Harrison is the inverse. Meanwhile, point guard Harrison—Andrew—has only 87 3FGA on the season against 208 twos and a bucket of free throws.
Guesses as to Michigan's defensive disposition: Stauskas on Young, LeVert on Aaron Harrison, Walton on Andrew Harrison, but they're just going to switch everything because screw it they're all basically the same guy. Look for Spike to get almost all of his minutes when one of them is on the bench and one of the six-foot zero offense backups comes in.
Video made nine games into the season
Power forward Julius Randle is going to be a lottery pick in a few months and it takes about ten minutes of observation for you to figure out why. Capable of getting to the rack from the three point line and making tough shots once there, Randle has a high ceiling and an NBA body. Randle draws fouls like whoah, rebounds both ends ferociously, and has a 71% free throw stroke that bodes well for the future, when jumpers will have to become a part of his game.
They aren't now. Randle's shots are split evenly between the rim and two-point jumpers. The difference is stark. He hits 71% at the rim and 34% when removed from it. And that 71% is not a Jordan Morgan assisted-dunk fest; he gets his own offense quite a bit. If you watched Louisville you saw a number of Randle buckets where the only appropriate response was "whoah."
But as we saw in the Tennessee game, a disadvantage in size for Glenn Robinson leads to an advantage in quickness. Randle is a much better athlete than Jeronne Maymon, but his ability to check Robinson remains questionable. With Cauley-Stein out Kentucky loses most of their shotblocking. Meanwhile, if Glenn can cut Randle off when he tries to attack from the perimeter a chunk of his game turns into those two-pointers Michigan wants to see.
Starting center Dakari Johnson has actually been starting since the beginning of February, alternating between games where he is a starter in name only (8 minutes versus Arkansas, nine versus Florida) and games of 20 or so minutes. He hadn't had a ton of impact aside from the occasional offensive board and putback until he went 7/10 against Louisville in 31 minutes. Actually, scratch "occasional." Johnson is a facecrushing offensive rebounder. If he'd gotten enough minutes to qualify on Kenpom he'd be fifth in the country, behind only Baylor's Rico Gathers amongst power conference teams.
Johnson's game is limited outside of those putbacks, which comprise almost 60% of his makes at the rim. When not flushing someone else's miss he's 44% in the post. He is a bizarrely great player on jumpers, though, hitting nearly half. Sample size? Maybe, but the prescription is clear for Morgan: crowd the guy if he gets the ball in the short corner or elbow, and for the love of god someone box him out.
On defense Johnson is a huge step back from Cauley-Stein. His block rate of 4.2 is about a third of Cauley-Stein's. He doesn't steal the ball like Cauley-Stein and his foul rate of 5.9 per 40 veritably looms in a game where he's going to have to go 30-35 minutes.
Unlike Tennessee, Kentucky has a bench. His name is Alex Poythress.
Kentucky's bench is now nearly as barren as Tennessee's. They have one guy, 6'8" SF/PF Alex Poythress. Poythress generates little offense on his own—75% of his shots at the rim are assisted or putbacks and he has a tiny assist rate—and is an inefficient shooter. He is a good finisher once he gets to the rim, and he is of course an excellent offensive rebounder who blocks a fair amount of shots; he's mostly of use on defense. Kentucky has played him at the three and in the post during his career. Now that he's the only big backup he'll see almost all of his time spotting Randle and Johnson.
Two other gentlemen will see the court. Six-foot freshman Dominique Hawkins was unearthed yesterday for his first extended playing time since January. In 15 minutes his box score contribution was three fouls and nothing else. Senior heady gritenstein Jarrod Polson has had spurts of playing time throughout the season after a significant bench role a year ago; he has vanishingly small usage. If he does anything it'll be take an open three someone else generates.
While Kentucky spreads their offense around almost equally amongst four players, Michigan has an opportunity whenever Hawkins or Polson is in. First, the point guard can sag off that guy with impunity, and second, that point guard can be Spike Albrecht.
Kentucky's nonconference schedule was middling. Games against power conference teams:
- Michigan State (N): L 78-74
- Providence (N): W 79-65
- Baylor (Semi-Away): L 67-62
- @ North Carolina: L 82-77
- Louisville: W 73-66
A win against a Providence outfit that ended up an 11 seed and a home win over Louisville against a couple of road-ish losses that were close and a neutral court loss to MSU by 4. Kentucky did beat Cleveland State, Boise State, and Belmont, all KP100 teams, FWIW.
And then SEC play. Tennessee alternated losses and blowouts en route to a +0.14 efficiency margin; Kentucky had more close games and only managed a +0.08. They lost to Arkansas twice, LSU once (and escaped with a one-point OT win against them at home), Florida twice, and to a miserable South Carolina team. That's how you end up with an eight seed.
All of that looks lovely if you stop the season right then. It looks less so now, after SEC tourney blowouts of LSU and Georgia followed by a one-point loss to Florida in the title game and a three-game NCAA run that features wins over Wichita State and Louisville. Since the end of the regular season Kentucky has flown up from 25th to 10th in Kenpom. The whole freshman-figuring-it-out thing may apply.
Kentucky in a nutshell: they are 311th in assists and 23rd at preventing assists. On offense they:
- murder the boards, resurrect the boards, and murder them again (42% OREB, 2nd nationally)
- get fouled a ton
- shoot relatively poorly for a team with so much talent
- are pretty bad at a relatively small number of threes
- are mediocre at taking care of the ball
On defense they:
- have a Michigan-level aversion to creating turnovers
- block a ton of shots (but not anymore probably)
- are tough to score against from any range
- aren't too good at rebounding and keeping guys off the line
- are pretty good at preventing threes from going up
Kentucky is about as transition-oriented as Michigan, but considerably less efficient. On defense, they suuuuuuuck at transition relative to their half-court defense, giving up half their transition shots at the rim for a 70% eFG rate. Kentucky has survived their transition threes well enough, but if they give 'em up to Michigan they are going to regret it—Michigan hits 46%.
Hold up against Randle, GRIII, and get yours. There are going to be 15-20 minutes when Poythress is on the floor, whereupon Morgan will get whichever starting big is left. With Johnson just too big for Robinson to handle (see: Frank Kaminsky) Michigan probably* doesn't have the option to put Morgan, who is coming off a straight-up domination of Jarnell Stokes, on Randle for the other 25 minutes.
This reads like a problem. It read like a problem against Tennessee until Jeronne Maymon was exposed as a pylon. Michigan's offense has the ability to do the same thing to Randle, who is quicker than Maymon but still decidedly uncomfortable defending the perimeter. Meanwhile, his mistake-eraser is out. Michigan cannot win the rebounding battle in this game; they have to make up for it by using their perimeter quickness to get it back.
*[They could actually try it since Johnson does not have a post game, especially if one of the backup guards is in. But then Johnson is going to have an even easier time of just jumping over someone for a rebound.]
1-3-1 watch. Turnover-prone, assist-light, often-discombobulated gaggle of freshmen that is mediocre from three-point range: Kentucky is an obvious 1-3-1 target. The rebounding looms, as it is wont to do, but it's going to loom anyway. I didn't like its deployment against Texas since Michigan's defense was forcing all manner of horrible shots anyway; against Kentucky it could be a game-swinger.
Zone panic watch. There won't be a zone attempt in this game since Calipari can barely get his guys to play one defense, let alone two. Advantage Michigan?
I WILL STRIKE DOWN UPON THEE WITH GREAT VENGEANCE [Bryan Fuller]
DEATH FROM ABOVE. Concerns about Michigan being able to deploy their prime weapon against Tennessee were blown away by an 11 for 20 performance against one of the country's stingiest three-point defenses. Kentucky is good but not on Tennessee's level in this department, and it is really easy to see Michigan initiating drives, getting dudes lost via Beilein wizardry, and raining in death from above. It'll be there to take. Michigan can shoot over Kentucky's guys.
As a bonus, death from above from opposition teams tends to lure Kentucky into a machismo battle—NBA all star game, remember—and causes them to launch up long, contested, terrible shots.
Salt. Jordan Morgan has been one man fighting a horde of giants in this tournament and the road gets no easier tomorrow. He will draw Randle on a number of important possessions, and if he can body up like he did against Stokes Randle is going to have a frustrating night. Meanwhile he has to battle Johnson for defensive rebounds and has an opportunity to clean up on the pick and roll and the offensive boards himself, as Kentucky is generally unfamiliar with the concept of a box out.
Take care of the ball. Generally this goes without saying but after some ugly turnovers from Walton, LeVert, and the team as a whole late in the game, I'm going to say it: Michigan needs one of those four turnover games, not a 13 turnover outing. Fortunately they've drawn a Kentucky team that does not steal the ball, playing without their best steal man.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by one.
Michigan (27-8, 15-3 B1G) vs.
Tennessee (24-12, 11-7 SEC)
Colts Location Stadium,
|WHEN||7:15 pm Eastern, Friday|
|LINE||Tennessee -1 (KenPom)|
Win or go home.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold:
|G||2||Antonio Barton||Sr.||6'2, 178||63%||17%||Yes|
|Main redeeming quality is low TO rate. shoots 42/32, low usage.|
|G||1||Josh Richardson||Jr.||6'6, 190||76%||16%||Sort of|
|Efficient shooter until 3, where he's 34%. Good at twos of all varieties.|
|G||52||Jordan McRae||Sr.||6'6, 185||80%||29||No|
|Shoulders massive O burden, shooting meh, TOs low. Athlete.|
|F||5||Jarnell Stokes||Jr.||6'8, 260||81%||26||N/A|
|Board monster has a little range but not much. Box out at all costs.|
|C||34||Jeronne Maymon||Sr.||6'8, 260||71%||20||N/A|
|Cameron Ridley 2.0. Board monster 2.0. Not great except on putbacks.|
|G||4||Armani Moore||So.||6'5, 215||28%||13||Very|
|Offensive nonentity spots starters and tries to play D.|
|G||15||Darius Thompson||Fr.||6'5, 181||40%||15||Very|
|Offensive nonentity spots starters and tries to play D.|
|C||23||Derek Reese||So.||6'8, 215||16||15||Very|
|Generic large man. Massive downgrade from starters.|
Jordan McRae is from the Hardaway/Sullinger school of yellin'.
Tennessee is Texas after a power mushroom. Their bigs are more intimidating on the boards; their guards are literally a Super Mario version of the Texas backcourt.
The offense revolves around senior Jordan McRae, a 6'6" jack of all trades who is in fact listed at 15 pounds lighter than Caris LeVert, if you can believe that. Everything you need to know about McRae is encapsulated in this DraftExpress scouting video:
That is a preaseason video that is a bit pessimistic, as McRae has improved his A:TO a meaningful amount. The rest of his stats are static so it's reasonable to assume it is otherwise on point.
McRae is not much of an isolation creator. He's effective at the rim but doesn't get there much on his own volition and his assist rate is pretty mediocre for a guy who has such a large usage rate. LeVert will draw that matchup; it's a pretty good one for him. McRae is a guy he can stay in front of. Hopefully!
You probably know fellow wing Josh Richardson from an inadvisable statement made to the media about his upcoming defensive assignment against Nik Stauskas:
“It’s just another player,” Richardson said. “I’ve been guarding guys like that for a while now. It’s nothing new.”
Yeah, the SEC is just loaded with guys like Stauskas. Take, say, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. That's the ticket.
Anyway, Richardson is a relatively low-usage jump shooter who is effective on jumpers inside the line (43%) that he gets himself. He's decent behind the line at 34%, where he takes about a third of his shots. He is UT's designated perimeter stopper, as well.
Point guard and Memphis transfer Antonio Barton is the closest thing to a designated shooter Tennessee has, with about 60% of his FGAs coming from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for the Vols he hits those at a 33% clip. Inside the arc he's even less efficient at 42%, because he rarely gets to the rim and is a miserable two point jump shooter. Barton was a 40% guy in a reasonable number of minutes at Memphis, so maybe the best idea is to run him off the line and watch him try to pull up off the bounce. Things don't go well when that happens.
One thing these three gentlemen have going for them is a collective turnover rate that is super low. Tennessee's happy to pull up for a two pointer that's not the world's best look because of…
Stokes and Maymon are the best pair of rebounders in the country.
The Volunteer posts both crush the boards at both ends and get to the line. "Fridge on wheels" Jarnell Stokes is in the Kenpom POY top ten thanks to a 15% OREB rate—huge for an individual—and a McGary-like 23% DREB rate. He gets half his shots at the rim thanks in large part to that offensive rebounding. He's a decent shooter from the post, as well. DraftExpress projects him as a second-rounder in the upcoming draft if he decides to enter, and praises his inside game:
He catches everything thrown his way, and has very good touch around the basket, which, along with his length, helps compensate for the fact that he's not a naturally explosive leaper and doesn't possess the most diverse post-arsenal at this stage of his development. … some ball-handling ability from the mid-post, and a decent looking mid-range jumper. … always been a phenomenal rebounder—and that held true in Colorado Springs. He has suction cups for hands and a terrific knack for pursuing loose balls out of his area, particularly on the offensive glass, where he was dominant at times.
Michigan has to figure out whether they're going to stick Morgan on this dude or Jeronne Maymon. Maymon is the more center-like of the posts in disposition—Stokes is about 50/50 between shots at the rim and two point jumpers, while Maymon is 75/25 and terrible at the jumpers—but Stokes is probably taller since he sometimes gets listed at 6'9" while Maymon sometimes gets listed at 6'7". Normally I'd say Morgan gets Maymon, but I guess I prefer the less brutal rebounding mismatch. If Maymon tries to post GRIII so be it.
FWIW, Tennessee folk are universally assuming Robinson gets matched with Maymon and Morgan takes Stokes.
And then the bottom drops out. Here is one dollar that says Tennessee has the worst bench of any team that made the tournament. All show up in the "limited roles" section of Kenpom and get slender minutes with which they do very little. All can be ignored on the perimeter, as they collectively shoot about 22% from three.
Derek Reese is the backup big; he hasn't taken a shot since March 8th. He hasn't made one in a game that was competitive since… uh… January 15th? He rebounds well enough on defense and that's about his only contribution. He gets about ten minutes a game giving the starters a breather.
Armani Moore and Darius Thompson are the backup guards. Thompson has the highest assist rate on the team… and a TO rate even higher. He's seeing about 16 minutes a game in the last couple months, and he takes about two shots on a average in that time. He does get a lot of steals; he'll be used as a defensive pest on Stauskas. Moore's role is similar; he gets in the game and plays D and passes it around the perimeter to someone who won't get shot by the coach if he tries to create a shot.
Tennessee had a weird nonconference split with Xavier, losing in Cinci to open their season and getting their revenge in their neutral-court tournament. They also lost to UTEP by eight on a neutral court, Wichita State by nine at Wichita, and at home to NC State. In opposition to this what-the-hell-are-they-doing-in-the-tournament nonconference schedule they place a 35-point blowout of Virginia. As we said, man, Tennessee is weird.
In conference Tennessee was no less weird, blowing out all manner of opposition and somehow dropping games to Texas A&M (twice), Vanderbilt, and Missouri to go along with more understandable losses to Florida (twice) and Kentucky. Tennessee has a tendency to absolutely pound face when they win a game. It's just that they've lost twelve of them already despite playing a not particularly challenging nonconference schedule and against a not particularly challenging conference. Go figure.
In the post season, Tennessee blew out South Carolina before losing for a third time to Florida in the SEC tournament. Then they won an OT game against Iowa before hammering Massachusetts and Mercer. It should be noted that Tennesse's only games against the Kenpom top 50 are the following:
- Wichita State: L 70-61
- Virginia: W 87-52
- Kentucky: L 74-66
- Three losses to Florida
- Iowa: W 78-65 (OT)
They're… just so weird.
Tennessee is a beast on the boards, rebounding almost 40% of their misses. They get to the line decently and are efficient once there—something they have over Texas—and take care of the ball. The main issue with their offense is a lack of three point shooting.
On defense, they look a lot like a version of Michigan that could keep guys away from the basket: few TOs forced, good rebounding, few fouls committed. But unlike Michigan they do a good job of defending shots—40th nationally. And as mentioned, the scariest thing about their statistical profile is what appears to be a sustained and effective emphasis on preventing opponents from getting threes off.
Tennessee is not a team that uses a lot of tempo. They get about 18% of their shots in transition and their shooting in those situations is barely better than the rest of their offense; a full 10% of their shots come with five or less on the shot clock. They don't have a dynamic guy to push the ball up the floor, they aren't a team to fear a transition three from much, and they're thin. They'll want to keep it slow.
Draw fouls, all the fouls. Ace talked about this in his post earlier this week: when Tennessee gets in foul trouble they collapse.
Maymon's had 4+ fouls in eight games this season. Tennessee has lost six of them.
Both wins were against Auburn. Tennessee has a veteran, intimidating starting five and zero depth behind it. Precisely zero depth.
Tennessee can sustain a hit to Richardson or Barton, who don't command large roles in the offense. If McRae, Stokes, or Maymon is saddled with foul trouble, Tennessee's chance to win goes through the floor.
Go to the rack. A corollary to the first bullet. Tennessee's depth and style of play means the balance of power between shooting hilariously accurate long range shots and going to the bucket shifts. Go to the rack.
If Stauskas or LeVert gets hit with a charge, that is 1) not likely to mean anything in terms of their playing time and 2) even if it does it paves the way for Zak Irvin to rain on people. If Stauskas or LeVert draws a foul on one of Tennessee's big three, orange collars start getting tight.
Michigan should make a concerted effort to go at the basket, especially given the fact that Tennessee is committed to preventing threes and doesn't block shots.
[@ right: Bryan Fuller]
Cope on the boards as best you can. Part of the overwhelming Texas surge in the second half was Longhorn desperation. In a more normal first half, Texas was content to send their two bigs to the board and see what happened. They got about 30% of their misses. In the second, they inserted a third 6'8" guy and sent everyone who wasn't the shooter to the board because they felt they weren't stopping Michigan anyway and needed every bucket. They got 70% of their misses
Michigan needs to get out of dodge with a 30% Tennessee OREB rate, not 70% or 52%. Unless Michigan has just rained it on the Vols to the point where they're as desperate as Texas. Failing that, Maymon versus GRIII on the boards is a big chunk of the game. Morgan will probably get beat by Stokes, but not so badly Michigan can't weather it.
Push tempo. They are thin. Maymon may be listed at 260 but let's be real people. Play like MSU in this one, with their irritating go go go go even after makes. If you don't have it, fine. You've discombobulated them a bit.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Tennessee by one.
…which team has had the most success in the last five minutes of a game, regardless of whether it was leading or trailing?
One way to do this would be to use win probabilities. If a team had a 99 percent chance to win with five minutes left and ultimately won, its play in the last five minutes would be worth .01 wins. This method rewards the teams that make big comebacks or win games that were effectively tossups with five minutes remaining over the ones that coast in with big leads, which any team could do given the chance.
Here’s that list, using my win probability model, and wins gained over the past five seasons as the ranked statistic.1 Massachusetts +11.8 2 Colorado +10.9 3 New Mexico +10.2 4 Robert Morris +9.8 5 Western Kentucky +9.2 6 Louisiana Tech +8.9 7 Loyola MD +8.9 8 San Diego St. +8.8 9 Mississippi +8.6 10 Michigan +8.6
Michigan finishes a respectable 30th in the last minute, and then ninth in wins added in the second half. It doesn't matter what frame of reference you want to look at. Michigan performs better as the game goes along and is outstanding at closing games out. Why? Well, they hit a lot of free throws and don't turn the ball over and when they're down late they can get back in a hurry with a three.