WIN THE BIG TEN
|WHAT||Michigan (20-7, 12-3 B1G) vs. Minnesota (18-11, 7-9)|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||6 pm Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan -9 (KenPom)|
|TV||BTN (PBP: Eric Collins; Analyst: Jim Jackson)|
Right: Like father, like son. [via]
While Michigan can't clinch an outright Big Ten title this weekend, they've already moved closer to a share of the title since the comeback against Purdue. This is thanks to respective losses at Indiana and Penn State for Iowa and Ohio State, who have been thusly mathematically eliminated from contention. Even before that occurred, the Wolverines had a 98% chance of winning at least a share of the conference crown. A win coupled with an Illinois upset at Michigan State on Saturday would ensure a banner, though that scenario has just a 12% chance of occurring, per KenPom.
In both teams' Big Ten openers, Michigan knocked off Minnesota at The Barn, 63-60, thanks to huge contributions off the bench from Jon Horford (14 points, 6/8 FG, 9 rebounds) and Zak Irvin (15 points on 5/8 3-pt). The white-haired woman on the baseline didn't take this well.
Projected starters are in bold:
|G||4||Deandre Mathieu||Jr.||5'9, 165||72.9||24.0||No|
|Explosive, gets to rim for majority of shots, solid finisher, lots o' assists & TOs|
|G||1||Andre Hollins||Jr.||6'2, 195||71.1||24.7||Not at all|
|Excellent outside shooter, not great inside arc, draws lots of fouls, 83% FT|
|G||20||Austin Hollins||Sr.||6'4, 190||80.3||20.0||Kinda|
|At best off dribble, jumper failing him this season, top-100 in steal rate|
|F||24||Joey King||So.||6'9, 225||49.5||16.3||Kinda|
|Low usage, takes mostly jumpers, not a great shooter, very low rebound #s|
|C||55||Elliott Eliason||Jr.||6'11, 240||58.0||15.4||Very|
|Great rebounder and shot-blocker, low usage, generates offense w/ ORebs|
|G||30||Malik Smith||Sr.||6'2, 200||49.4||19.6||No|
|Unabashed 3-point gunner, hits 37% from beyond arc, rarely ventures inside|
|F||10||Oto Osenieks||Jr.||6'8, 220||45.3||16.9||Kinda|
|Nondescript backup big missed last game and may not play (knee)|
|F||15||Maurice Walker||Jr.||6'10, 250||32.4||24.3||Very|
|Excellent offensive rebounder, good finisher, draws and commits lots of fouls|
Minnesota is riding high after Tuesday's home triumph over Iowa, but they haven't defeated a team within KenPom's top 70 away from The Barn this season; in fact, their only Big Ten road wins came at the expense of Penn State and Northwestern. They managed to take Michigan State to overtime, only to lose by 13, which is rather remarkable. Other road games against contenders haven't been close.
The Gophers' high-tempo attack is led by their three-guard backcourt, with each player bringing something different to the table. Point guard Deandre Mathieu doesn't let his diminutive stature prevent him from getting to the tin, as shown by this shot chart from UMHoops:
At 5'9", he's hitting 65.5% of his shots at the rim, per hoop-math; color me impressed. He's also hitting 46.4% of his three-pointers, though he's only attempted 28 this season. Mathieu boasts a top-60 assist rate that's unfortunately coupled with a healthy number of turnovers.
Fellow guards Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins (no relation) are both shooting near the 40% range for entirely different reasons. Andre is the rare high-volume/high-efficiency three-point shooter (38.7% on just over half his FGAs), while he's struggling to finish inside the arc (43.9%). Austin is more of a slasher and converts at a solid clip within the arc (54.5%), though he's mired in a season-long shooting slump that's seen his three-point percentage drop to 30.8. (It's worth noting he went 4/6 against Iowa, so he'll probably knock down every outside shot he takes tomorrow.) Austin is also an excellent rebounding guard, while Andre is adept at both getting to the free-throw line (52.0 FT Rate) and converting (82.9 FT%).
Joey King and Oto Osenieks normally split minutes at the four, but the latter's status is up in the air, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Oto Osenieks is out for the time being with a left knee injury. Basically, he had surgery on it seven years ago and the cartilage has been slowly wearing away. He said it's really bothering him to put pressure on it when he runs and jumps. He was supposed to get a shot for it today. "We'll see how it acts after that," he said
First of all, ouch. Second, even if Osenieks gives it a go, his minutes have waned significantly this month, in which he's 2/11 from two and 1/6 from three; the injury is affecting his play. King's been playing around 30 minutes a game recently; he's a decent finisher with shockingly low rebound rates (5.6 OR%, 9.2 DR%) for a 6'9" big.
Elliott Eliason and Maurice Walker are an effective one-two combo at center. Eliason is one of the nation's best rebounders and a very good shot-blocker. Walker does his best work on the offensive glass and, thanks to his wide frame in the post, he draws a lot of fouls; his inability to avoid foul trouble limits his minutes.
Guard Malik Smith provides an outside shooting specialist off the bench. Before Tuesday, 6'9" redshirt freshman reserve Charles Buggs would've gone without mention; then he scored 13 points on six shots against the Hawkeyes despite attempting just three field goals in the entire rest of the season. There's your name in bold, Mr. Buggs.
Mostly covered above. Minnesota is a totally different team at home—where they've knocked off Florida State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa—than they are on the road; their most recent visit to a quality opponent ended in an 18-point blowout by Ohio State.
While Minnesota shoots the ball fairly well from both inside and outside the arc, their offensive efficiency is right around the D-I average due to their propensity to cough up the rock. It wouldn't be surprising to see Michigan break out the 1-3-1 a little more frequently than normal to try to take advantage—the Gophers are dead last in the conference in opponent steal rate allowed.
The Gopher defense, meanwhile, is a train wreck. They're last in the B1G in efficiency and no better than eighth in any of the four factors. They give up a ton of assisted baskets and allow opponents to shoot nearly 37% from three-point land.
The jump ball means the game has started. Obvious point is obvious: maybe don't let the opponent run out to an early double-digit lead this time, guys. We can't afford to have Brian actually have an aneurysm.
Derrick Walton's defense. Mathieu is a lightning-quick slasher at the point, and Michigan's had some trouble keeping quick guards in front of them—though they did limit Mathieu to nine points on 3/11 FG the first time around. The onus for defending him will fall mostly on Derrick Walton; while Spike Albrecht can do well against Mathieu when Michigan has the ball, that's not a matchup I like very much on defense. Walton has to play on his toes tomorrow on both ends, as Mathieu is also pretty good at stealing the ball and going the other way for an easy bucket.
Run when you can. Minnesota is turnover-prone and generally awful defensively. This sounds like a recipe for easy baskets. If Michigan can do as much in transition as Minnesota, a team that relies far more on generating points on the break than the Wolverines, they should find a relatively easy path to victory.
Michigan by 9
Houston's D-League affiliate is a John Beilein wet dream. Brian Phillips just published an article on Indiana basketball that I'm gonna go ahead and assume is really good and worth your time.
WIN THE BIG TEN
WIN THE GAME!
Single plays against MSU, M and OSU. Granted, 2 of them are on the road, but seriously, how does this happen EVERY EFFFING YEAR.
on these Pitino motherfletchers.
that picture of those two really makes me not like them..haha
Beat the hell out of them boys
who matches up against stauskas, austin hollins?
I figured there was something funny about the Horford gif, I just couldn't find it. Thanks for the mouseover text.
I love this entry:
low usage, takes mostly jumpers, not a great shooter, very low rebound #s
Sounds like quite a player.
Minnesota by 12 at the half.
An actual Beilein wet dream would have a respectable young lady winking, or perhaps showing a little ankle.
So, which Minnesota player is going to have an uncharacteristically good game against us?
Like clockwork my friend.
he'll probably have double digits at the half.
Whomever starts shooting three pts shots and we elect to ignore
Malik Smith is due and Andre could always go off
I have a serious question. Is there any concrete strategy that Michigan can use when the game starts off poorly? When the other team is draining 3s and nothing is falling for us, should we try slowing the game down? Getting it inside? Switch up the defense? Anything to keep us from going down 15 before they get lubed up.
This is kind of off topic but me and my wife are coming in from Columbus today to watch the game and I was wondering a good place to go for dinner also a gd place to hang out and have drinks aftr dinner. Thanks
Without knowing what kind of restaurant or bar you're looking for, that would probably be a good start.
is a team that seems to really get up for the big games, but games against teams like Minny? Who knows. Don't like the 98% for sure gonna win the BgTn stuff....thats a surefire way to jinx the thing. Ha.
I would think that schtupping waitresses in the private banquet room would leave you with a healthier, pinker complexion.
he reminds me of Abraham Lincoln.
As long as we WIN THE GAME, we should be okay.
Win. The. Game.
Don't spot em 10 points at the beginning of the game please
Ok, this is what I was thinking all through dinner (where, due to several reasons, I couldn't tune in). Swear:
- start off strong
- then have a hard time to the finish, when it becomes a close game.
- GRIII continues to come into his game, starts to shine
Wasn't sure if we'd make it, but hoped w/ depth, rhythm, & GR hitting stride, we'd pull through...
Haven't looked yet, but I take it from the hallowed Muppets appearance, we won.
Immensely pleased my late-game anxieties were unfounded! (not that anyone cares anymore, but just for the record).
Whoo - hoo!