Pluck a hawkeye!
I did not make this headline up
|WHAT||Michigan v. Iowa|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
|WHEN||4:30 PM EST
January 29th, 2010
|THE LINE||Michigan -13*|
|TELEVISION||Big Ten Network|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
After the heartbreaker against Michigan State, Michigan's tough 3-game stretch in the Big Ten Conference has come to an end. The Wolverines will have to go on quite a run to have a chance at the NCAA tournament, and will have to go better than .500 in their final 10 contests to even qualify for the NIT.
I'm still of the opinion that, since conference play has kicked off, Michigan has been a pretty good team. Despite chokes against Indiana and Northwestern, they've been steadily improving on both ends of the court, but primarily on defense (more on this following the weekend). Facing a team like Iowa, Michigan's defense should be able to shut down the opponent, creating opportunities on the other end of the floor, and hopefully leading to a blowout.
Not of particular relevance to this game, but still important to the program, is that Beilein announced yesterday that assistant coach Jerry Dunn, who has been on a leave of absence for family reason since late December, will rejoin the team following this weekend.
The Hawkeyes are a lot like the 2007-08 Michigan team, or last year's Indiana squad: They're undermanned, and kinda terrible. The key difference is that Iowa is in year three of the Todd Lickliter Experience, not year one like those other squads were. Of course, Penn State may prevent Iowa from even finishing last in the conference, but the Hawkeyes are pretty bad.
Iowa started the year with losses to college basketball luminaries Texas-San Antonio and Duquesne, but has actually not been that bad since. They've lost to every opponent that Ken Pomeroy ranks better than 100, and beaten everyone below that line (including #108 Penn State and #135 Indiana). They currently sit at 8-13 on the season, with a 2-6 record in Big Ten Play.
Iowa is a very young team, with only two players, forwards Jarryd Cole and Devan Bawinkel, upperclassmen (a result of major attrition over the first couple year of the Lickliter era). Sophomore Matt Gatens and freshman Cully Payne play the lion's share of available minutes, but don't really excel in any one skill except not fouling opponents and dishing the ball (the only categories in which either is ranked in Ken Pomeroy's top 500 players). Gatens will play today on a sprained ankle he suffered prior to the Ohio State game. Sophomore Anthony Tucker is one of the team's most talented players, using the most possessions and shooting the ball among the best on the team when he's on the court, but he's been suspended since December for a public intoxication infraction, and will not play against Michigan.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Iowa: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Iowa Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. Iowa Def eFG%||195||276||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. Iowa eFG%||174||111||I|
|Mich TO% v. Iowa Def TO%||19||277||MMM|
|Mich Def TO% v. Iowa TO%||58||278||MMM|
|Mich OReb% v. Iowa DReb%||278||46||III|
|Mich DReb% v. Iowa OReb%||234||247||M|
|Mich FTR v. Iowa Opp FTR||330||25||IIII|
|Mich Opp FTR v. Iowa FTR||16||320||MMMM|
|Mich AdjO v. Iowa AdjD||91||175||M|
|Mich AdjD v. Iowa AdjO||43||134||M|
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.
For the first time in quite a while (since the home contest against Indiana), the Wolverines have a significant advantage by the numbers. The only things Iowa looks to do well are prevent Michigan from making a lot of shots, prevent the Wolverines from coming down with those misses, and not send them to the free throw line. In terms of shooting, Michigan has struggled this year, but against an overmatched team like Iowa figures to be, Deshawn Sims can likely have a field day from midrange, and the 3-balls that so often miss might not even be attempted.
One thing that the Hawkeyes have managed to do when holding opponents to lower scoring outputs (on a per-possession basis) is turn them over, but unfortunately for them, they haven't been able to do it that frequently, and it should be no difference this afternoon, as the Wolverines are exceptional at holding onto the rock.
Ken Pomeroy predicts an 11-point Michigan win, and gives the Wolverines an 89% chance of emerging victorious. I think the margin will actually be a little wider, and Michigan pounds the overmatched Hawkeyes by a score of 70-52.
Dylan previews the game at UMHoops. Black Heart Gold Pants talks a number of basketball issues, including idiotic newspaper columns and the absence of Anthony Tucker. AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein previews the game.
Pluck a hawkeye!
For a minute, I was afraid I missed an easy win while I was still at work in CST.
Nobody should assume any win for this team will be easy.
But if this team WAS to find an easy win, it figures that I would miss it.
To make the tourney, they'd have to be almost perfect the rest of the way. I think it's much more likely the team catches fire and wins 4 straight in the Big Ten tourney and gets the autobid. Hooray autobid!
Maybe just three.
If Michigan finishes really strong, like 7-3, I think there is a decent chance they finish fifth in the Big 10. They would only need to win three, obvs, at that point. That would be a huge advantage going into that weekend, needing to play one less game.
But I'm glad to see the coach back though. He was having headaches in November. Doctors discovered the beginning of a tear in his carotid artery, which is a vessel that supplies blood to the brain -- and repaired it surgically.
Michigan has been a good basketball team this month.
There are a handful of efficiency categories, involving just Big 10 stats, that actually involve offense that has Michigan entrenched in the upper half of the Big 10. Those numbers dont take into account the good performance against UConn two weeks ago. So, Michigan's play has been legit this month. They are a couple lucky bounces from being three games better in the standings. Think about the buzz if the team was 13-7, 6-2, or even 12-8, 5-3.
And thats what worries me here. The last two weeks have been intense, emotional, against bigtime competition. Showdown games. Now poor old Iowa comes in. Michigan is just .500 and seemingly going nowhere. We could have one of those typical sleepy, half filled, half interested type of crowds today, given the foe. And, that foe happens to be playing its best ball of the season.
Iowa is 4-0 ats, Michigan is 5-0 ats. The spread is 13. I just wonder if Michigan gets caught in an emotional letdown today and has a much tougher fight on its hands than the experts think?
Those points look mighty mighty tempting.
The date is wrong. Today is the 30th.
MICH IS DOOOOOOOOOOIN IT!
Now they just need to win the next 13 in a row.