Photos/graphic: Marc-Grégor Campredon
While the college basketball season is underway in earnest for some programs – Duke and Michigan State have already met up for a #1 vs. #2 matchup – Michigan is easing into its schedule before its trip to Maui next week. We’ll get the previews done before then. Maybe. Probably. We’ll see.
Anyways, the Wolverines will be playing their third game tonight against Southern Miss. Michigan’s 2-0, but the first two wins over North Florida and Central Michigan were not encouraging, as each team had a narrow lead with about 12 minutes left in the game before Michigan pulled away down the stretch. Those games were similar in other areas as well: UNF and CMU each ran effective zone defenses, they combined for 19 made threes on 49% shooting from deep, and Michigan forced plenty of turnovers. The 20-point margin in the win over North Florida (a team that had lost in East Lansing the night before) was comfortable; the 7-point margin in the win over Central was not.
Former Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler has had a rough go of things as the head coach in Hattiesburg, as Southern Miss has won single-digit games and lost 20 or more in the three seasons he’s been in charge – and those three teams finished outside the Top 300 nationally according to Kenpom. It’s unlikely that they’ll mount an upset bid, so we’ll (hopefully) be in self-scouting mode as we watch the game.
Since BTN is only streaming it online (and at a cost), I’m guessing there won’t be very many viewers. If you’re interested:
WHAT: Michigan vs. Southern Miss
WHERE: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN: Thursday, 7:00 pm EST
TV: BTN Plus ($, online stream only)
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There are quality big men throughout the Big Ten: Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ is an All-American candidate, Michigan State’s extremely deep in the frontcourt, Minnesota’s Reggie Lynch and Penn State’s Mike Watkins are excellent rim protectors, Northwestern’s Dererk Pardon is legit, Iowa has promising young centers… you get the point. Fortunately, Michigan’s set at the position and may have the best big man of the bunch.
Had Moritz Wagner followed DJ Wilson into the NBA, the center spot may have been a huge weakness, but he stayed in Ann Arbor – so Jon Teske and Austin Davis will have a chance to grow as backups. Wagner burst onto the scene a year ago and still seems to have untapped potential; Michigan’s ceiling could hinge on whether he takes another leap this season.
[Hit THE JUMP for individual player previews.]