Michigan 52, Northwestern 61

Michigan 52, Northwestern 61

Submitted by Seth on February 6th, 2018 at 9:53 PM


[photo: J.D. Scott (@jdscottphoto)]

They say you have to make your shots to win in basketball, and Michigan went nearly 10 minutes in the second half without a field goal. They say Bryant McIntosh is going to distribute well but not carry the offense, and Northwestern went nearly 10 minutes in the second half with nobody but McIntosh scoring. And when McIntosh found himself isolated on Mo Wagner, picked his moment, drove, and scored his 14th point in a row, they said it’s not over, though I haven’t the faintest idea why.

On Michigan’s next possession Charles Matthews—who put up a brutal 56 ORtg while using a quarter of Michigan’s possessions in this game according to Kenpom—took a terrible step-back long two that bounced out with zero chance of a friendly rebound. That made it a minute left with the Wildcats up 58-52. And unlike some people, Northwestern makes their free throws.

For the first time in weeks it was Michigan who started hot, breaking down the Northwestern zone defense early with transition baskets and getting Mo moving through the lane. However the early 9-1 run was costly, as Isaiah Livers fell awkwardly on his left foot after a layup. He would not return.

Absent Livers, and with Matthews having an awful night, Jordan Poole and Duncan Robinson played more than normal minutes. Neither had the kind of shooting night that can make up for their respective defensive issues. Northwestern climbed back after that by crashing the boards, but still managed to head off Michigan’s constant attempts to push the floor. The Wildcats also soon found the chink in Michigan’s defense as cross-court passes got a bunch of open looks from three; only half went in, but it provided enough offense to get them to the end of the first half down one possession.

Northwestern flipped the script in the second half, going on a 10-0 run after a hard foul by Gavin Skelly that the officials waved off after a lengthy review (Look, Steratore loves his reviews, okay?) From there it was McIntosh. Matthews’s drive attempts were definitively suppressed, forcing a batch of turnovers to extend the drought. Michigan finished an abysmal 5/22 from three-point range, with only a few more Mo cuts to the basket and your standard crazy MAAR drive-whistles forcing a rare change in Michigan’s tally.

They say this happens to everybody on the road, even if “road” was a 50/50 abandoned building next to the airport. I say if you’re a three-reliant team hitting under 23% from the arc and Bryant McIntosh turns into Trey Burke it’s probably just not your night.

[Click the JUMP for the boxscore—lol no you’re not reading that box score you’re going to make basketball comments]

Michigan 58, Northwestern 47

Michigan 58, Northwestern 47

Submitted by Ace on January 29th, 2018 at 9:48 PM

After a slow start, Michigan eventually ran away from Northwestern. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

In a game that will be memorable only for being forgettable, Michigan slowly pulled away from Northwestern after a close, repulsive first half.

The Wildcats inched their way out to an early nine-point lead by hitting the occasional shot while the Wolverines were completely befuddled by Northwestern's matchup zone, choosing mostly to shoot over it to no avail. Michigan scored only five points in the game's first ten minutes. They went 3-for-15 on three-pointers in the opening stanza with two of those makes coming in a late 10-0 run to close the half.

Northwestern couldn't capitalize, however, because Michigan's defense was every bit as stingy. After a quick start, they scored five points over the final 13 minutes of the half, including a seven-minute scoreless stretch to end it.

Given halftime to adjust, John Beilein's squad figured out the zone, scoring 1.19 point per possession in the second half. Charles Matthews repeatedly cut to wide open space on the baseline, finishing with a team-high 14 points on 11 shots with seven rebounds and three steals. Great ball movement led to 4-for-10 three-point shooting on a series of wide-open looks.

While Michigan warmed up, Northwestern struggled to get good looks. [Campredon]

Unlike their foe, Michigan held up on defense, keeping Northwestern well below a point per possession with turnovers on over a quarter of them for the second straight half. Over the whole game, they held the Wildcats to their third-worst offensive performance of the season.

Michigan won comfortably with a balanced attack. Five players finished with at least eight points, including the increasingly used backcourt duo of Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman and Jordan Poole; both also dished out three assists apiece with no turnovers, and Poole whipped around some really impressive passes that didn't immediately lead to buckets. (Related: we'll see that backcourt more in certain late-game situations.) Moe Wagner scored all eight of points in the second half and did strong work on the boards all evening; Jon Teske, meanwhile, grabbed five rebounds in just 11 minutes.

After the initial zone adjustment period, there were only two major downsides. While Duncan Robinson managed to sneak into the gaps for eight points, he missed all six of his threes despite some really good looks. Then, in the game's final moments, Zavier Simpson took a hard shot to the back when Isaiah Livers failed to alert him to Dererk Pardon's oncoming screen. Simpson spent a possession down at midcourt before eventually walking off; he was in obvious pain on the bench, but hopefully it's not something that lingers.

At 7-4 in the Big Ten, Michigan moves into a tie for fourth place with Nebraska. They get the rest of the week to prepare for a plummeting Minnesota squad to come to Crisler on Saturday afternoon.

[Hit THE JUMP for a few more of MG's photos and the box score.]

Hoops Preview: Northwestern

Hoops Preview: Northwestern

Submitted by Ace on January 29th, 2018 at 1:48 PM


WHAT #24 Michigan (17-6, 6-4) vs
#82 Northwestern (13-9, 4-5)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 7 pm ET, Monday
LINE Michigan -9 (KenPom)
Michigan -10 (Torvik)
Michigan -7.5 (Vegas)
PBP: Tim Brando
Analyst: Bill Raftery

Right: Great finds in mascot history videos.


The upcoming five-game stretch until Michigan gets their revenge opportunity against Ohio State all have a similar feel: Michigan should win, comfortably if they're at home. A five-game sweep isn't out of the question, and anything worse than 4-1 is going to be at least a little disappointing.

At this point, the rotation is mostly set with one obvious exception: backup point guard. Jaaron Simmons has seemingly passed Eli Brooks, who hasn't played in the last two games, but Simmons hasn't been particularly effective—he got yanked from the Purdue game after committing three turnovers in three minutes. If neither Simmons nor Brooks can be effective, look for John Beilein to go with more of the MAAR/Poole backcourt he's experimented with in recent games. This five-game stretch is probably Simmons' last chance to establish himself as a viable Big Ten player; hopefully M gets enough comfortable leads to give him a little more leeway to play though mistakes.


Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. 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. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 30 Bryant McIntosh Sr. 6'3, 200 78 25 101 Kinda
Yep, still there. Good distributor, takes a lot of difficult shots, makes some.
G 20 Scottie Lindsey Sr. 6'5, 210 76 24 101 Kinda
High-volume shooter only making 42% of twos, 23% of threes in B1G play.
F 4 Vic Law Jr. 6'7, 200 72 21 114 No
Solid 48/40/80 shooting splits, strong defender.
F 44 Gavin Skelly Sr. 6'8, 235 54 17 102 No
Decent shot-blocker. Low usage, solid outside shooter, turnover-prone.
C 5 Dererk Pardon Jr. 6'8, 235 74 19 119 Very
Strong finisher, rebounder, and shot-blocker. Iffy FT shooter.
G 11 Anthony Gaines Fr. 6'4, 205 39 15 95 Yes
Doesn't do much on offense, not shooting well.
G 23 Jordan Ash Jr. 6'3, 200 31 11 98 Not Really
Backup PG, decent shooter, TO rate twice as high as assist rate.
F 35 Aaron Falzon So. 6'8, 225 31 19 114 Not At All
Extreme Just A Shooter™, hits 46% of his threes.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]