one frame at a time
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.
I could be done there, but for some reason there are 40 more of these.
I have a problem.
But not nearly as much of a problem as anyone who attended this game. A summary, in lieu of the normal format, because that was not a normal football game, if one is to be so kind to refer to it as "football" in the first place.
[Hit THE JUMP for futility.]
Drake Johnson, Ann Arbor native and dual-sport star at the unparalleled Pioneer High School, broke the century mark and scored two touchdowns on Saturday. His second trip to the end zone looked pretty dang cool:
Even cooler was seeing his mother, longtime M cheerleading coach Pam St. John, allowing herself a moment to admire the TD and let it all soak in:
This season—and Saturday's weather—may have turned warm hearts to icy stone, but that'll reverse the process in a hurry.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the Indiana game in GIFs.]
You might think downing a slow-rolling punt on the opponent's 11-yard line isn't much to celebrate, but that is why you are you and Dennis Norfleet is the best.
In case there was any doubt as to who won this week's otherwise-barren GIFs post, the BTN knew enough to put a camera on Norfleet before a Rutgers kickoff:
The adidas "what if we made one finger different?" gloves make this look a bit more obscene than I think was intended. Regardless, infinite eligibility for Norfleet, please—this, sadly didn't make it to the broadcast:
— Boom2daBoomBoom (@Boom2daBoomBoom) October 7, 2014
Infinite, I say, and I'll stand for nothing less.
[Hit THE JUMP for a couple sacks, a couple Devin Gardner TD runs, a catch and two steps and C'MON REFS, and more.]
Well, that was the fun part. At least ESPN tried to give Willie Henry double points for the FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN*, which should definitely be a real thing.
*widespread internet meme for any TD by a guy over ~250 pounds, so please don't rip me limb from limb, Mr. Henry, sir.
[After THE JUMP, the state of the program in GIF form, essentially.]
Thank you, Jourdan Lewis, for picking this ball off in front of the home sideline, and more specifically mere feet away from the eminantly GIF-able Will Hagerup.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the Miami game in GIFs.]