against Illinois today? Matt Vogrich. The kid has been playing tough defense, obviously because he's looking up to Novak as a leader. He's played double-digit minutes for all but 3 games this year. Kid's got to explode some time soon. I just hope it's today.
Big Ten Tourney Preview: Illinois
|WHAT||Michigan v. Illinois|
|WHEN||2:30PM EST (appx)|
KenPom: 33% W
|TELEVISION||ESPN (Dave O'Brien, Dan Dakich)|
This Is The Most Important Game Of The Season. It's the last one of those, too. If the Wolverines win this afternoon in Indianapolis, they'll participate in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. If not, they'll sweat it out on Sunday.
In the teams' lone meeting this season, Illinois emerged victorious in a heartbreaker for fans of the maize-and-blue, as Evan Smotrycz and Stu Douglass missed potential game-winners from 3. Not a bad result, considering Michigan had an uncharacteristically terrible shooting night, but you play to win the game. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Etc.
Since that game, Michigan has continued their strong late-season form, winning three of four, with the only loss coming on a banked buzzer-beater to Wisconsin. The Illini lost three of five, with the only wins coming at home against Iowa and Indiana - by far the worst teams in the league.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy:
|Michigan v. Illinois: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Illinois Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. UI Def eFG%||49||24||I|
|Mich Def eFG% v. UI eFG%||155||31||II|
|Mich TO% v. UI Def TO%||13||259||MMM|
|Mich Def TO% v. UI TO%||254||108||II|
|Mich OReb% v. UI DReb%||327||157||II|
|Mich DReb% v. UI OReb%||67||169||MM|
|Mich FTR v. UI Opp FTR||336||67||III|
|Mich Opp FTR v. UI FTR||35||329||MMM|
|Mich AdjO v. UI AdjD||52||20||I|
|Mich AdjD v. UI AdjO||51||34||I|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
The numbers are slightly more skewed in Illinois's favor than they were last time these squads played, though part of that is because the Illini closed the regular season with a trouncing of hapless Indiana (and a big boost to the Illini's field goal defense comes from unforced misses by Michigan last time around).
The keys for Michigan will primarily be based on the bigs. Michigan's post players must stay out of foul trouble. They did a decent job last time, but that's more the exception than the norm, especially against a huge team like Illinois. Keeping Illinois honest defensively will also be a key, and the Jordan Morgan pick-and-roll should be among the ways they do that.
The battle of the point guards will also be a factor. Demetri McCamey used the last game against Michigan to morph from a cancer in the locker room into the senior leader he's supposed to be. He was more scorer than distributor, but he did what he needed to do in order to win.
Finally: HIT YOUR SHOTS. Michigan's shooting had been steadily improving before last time these teams played, but 2/18 certainly isn't an encouraging factor. It's not going to be easy sledding against Illinois, so when Michigan can get an open look, they must hit it. Aside from preventing opponents from putting the ball in the net (at which they excel), the Illini are just an OK team. Take advantage when you can.
The loss in Assembly Hall left a bad taste in the mouth of Michigan's players and coaches, and they knew that a lot of their struggles were unforced. They're out to change that, and as one of the hottest teams in the country since the end of January, I think they will. Tim Hardaway Jr. will lead Michigan in rebounds and scoring, with Darius Morris close to matching his numbers (with assists instead of boards). Michigan pulls away to end the game, earning the 70-63 win.
Smotrycz too. He's been trending up the past few games. I would not be surprised to see him have a breakout game.
That is all.
70-63 has been the final score for our last two games. I like this pick.
This is one of those games I see D-Mo just taking over and not letting the team lose. D-Mo, Morgan, and Novak will need to lead by example and I see them doing just that.
I second the prediction.
Given that the game is at a neutral court, I don't quite understand how KenPom gives us only a 33% chance of winning. Illinois is a much better team at home than they are on the road or at a neutral site. I think this is one of those games where his formula doesn't quite match with reality.
KenPom's predictions are notoriously pretty crappy - I think his stats do a good job of describing past performance, not predicting future performance.
I still think that Tressel should be fired.
(I know this has nothing to do with the B1G tourney, but I'd like to keep the heat on Tressel)
OSU is a basketball school anyway.
I say BURN THE F***ING SWEATER WITH HIM IN IT!!!! There, I feel better.
Here's to getting safely off the bubble. Little brother will probably need some room and we don't want him to feel too crowded.
Any shot we get a Bubble Watch Guide today?
I retract my earlier stupid question. After looking at the slate today it's pretty easy to figure out who to root for.
Somebody has to be the pessimist, might as well be me.
Was not an awesome comment, Don.
It starts 30 minutes after the first game ends.
Is like to see some vogrich action as well
Any streams going out there yet? Since it's on ESPN I'm assuming there has to be SOMETHING out there streaming the game.
Like most people, I'm at work and do not have access to ESPN360 by the way.
ESPN3 is the easy one...but you don't have access
Try justin.tv or ustream.com...It has been my experience that things on espn3 get picked up by justin.tv (but I have no link). I'd just poke around and look a little closer to 2 or 2:30...
that would make it easiest for me to follow along w/ minimal chance of getting in trouble at work
when i worked out of town and had to watch sports i went to watchsports.com it was alright some times they have the games some times not or go to justin.tv those are a few. but i just have a good feeling about this score i dont want to be that guy that has to one up everyone but i am going with 70-65 michigan wins !!!
Did you read the prediction? 70-63 Michigan is Tim's call.
I post random things. I had a chicken sandwich yesterday and it was okay and I think I should've put more mayo on it and did you know it comes in packets? and i think Michigan wins.
I hope they win, but even if they lose and end up on the wrong side of the bubble, this season was a hell of a lot more fun than any of us expected. To go from a preseason 10th in the Big Ten pick to having one win in the conference tournament effectively guarantee a spot in the tournament (and not even a play-in) is far more than I hoped for. It was tough to watch in the middle, with the near-misses to excellent teams and the bad losses to lousy ones, but it's been fun to watch noticeable progress from nearly every guy on the team who gets minutes. Even if it ends in the NIT, we finally have real hope that the program is moving in the right direction after a false start with the 2009 tourney appearance. This time I think it's for real.
So go out there and win and get this program rolling with a tourney appearance this year as a springboard to becoming a consistent legit Big Ten program again.
I have 79 - 67...
Down go the ill'ini.
"Let's get it started baby...let's get it starteeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!"
on a last second shot by Stu.
Will there be a CIL?
It's seriously uncanny how close some of your predictions are. Once again, only 2 points off. Nice :D