Big Ten Tournament Preview: Illinois

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Illinois

Submitted by Ace on March 8th, 2017 at 6:48 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Michigan (20-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
Illinois (18-13, 8-10)
WHERE A Mostly Empty Arena
Washington DC
WHEN Noon ET, Thursday
Updated tipoff: 12:20 pm ET
LINE Michigan -6 (KenPom)
Michigan -6.5 (Vegas)
TV BTN
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Jon Crispin

Right: Michigan's co-MVP turns away as DJ Wilson celebrates his authoritative dunk. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

THE US

Michigan enters the Big Ten Tournament in a good spot. They're one of the hottest teams in the conference and have moved into the "lock" section on pretty much any bracket you can find; after fighting their way off the bubble, they're playing for seeding.

At the moment, Michigan is a nine-seed on most brackets, and they'd probably need a deep run in the conference tournament to have a shot at avoiding an 8/9 game—the winner of which, of course, gets a one-seed in the second round. That's the bad news. The good news, according to ESPN's John Gasaway, is Michigan fits the profile of a giant killer:

Beilein's men finished conference play with easily the best offense in the league, and the UM defense looked much better once opponents stopped making well over half of their 3-point attempts. Derrick Walton Jr. is far and away the best point guard that no one ever brings up as one of the nation's best point guards, and Michigan loves to torment opposing defenses by stretching the floor with five legitimate 3-point shooting threats. The Wolverines would be the underdog in a round-of-32 game against Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina or Gonzaga, but this group could definitely keep things interesting.

While Michigan would like to avoid those teams, they've got a better than than most at springing a major upset.

UPDATE: Michigan's team plane was involved in an accident caused by the extreme high winds in the area. Everyone, thankfully, is fine. Statement from SID Tom Wywrot:

The Michigan men's basketball team plane was involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon. After attempting to take off in high winds, takeoff was aborted and, after strong braking, the plane slide off runway. The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe. The team is making alternate travel plans.

Let's hope they make it to DC without any further incident. Driving isn't much of an option given the early tipoff tomorrow.

UPDATE 2: More on the travel situation:

I'll keep this post updated.

UPDATE 3: The team will take an early flight to DC and play the game as scheduled.

UPDATE 4: Michigan didn't arrive at the arena until 10:40 am and the Big Ten somehow didn't have a contingency plan in place. After some negotiation, the game will tip off at 12:20 pm. Thanks, Delany.

THE LAST TIME

The first matchup between these two teams was the debacle in Champaign that prompted Illini center Maverick Morgan to describe Michigan's program as "white collar."

The second matchup went a bit different:

Michigan won 66-57 in a game that wasn't as close as that score would indicate. DJ Wilson led the way with 19 points, six offensive rebounds, and five assists; he also scored 19 in the game at Illinois. Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin both had double-digit point totals, while a more motivated defense held the Illini to 0.86 PPP.

This, of course, was the genesis of Michigan's midseason turnaround.

I would not be against Michigan fans chanting "MVP" when Morgan touches the ball.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 3 Te'Jon Lucas Fr. 6'0, 170 42 18 95 Not Really
Became starter in late Jan for defense. Pass-first PG, rarely shoots, TO-prone.
First matchup: 23 mins, 5 pts (1/1 2p, 1/1 3p), 1 reb, 8 ast, 1 to, 1 stl
Second matchup: 15 mins, 8 pts (1/1 2p, 1/1 3p), 1 to, 1 stl
G 13 Tracy Abrams Gr. 6'2, 185 64 19 106 No
Robbie Hummel, Guard Edition. Learned how to shoot while hurt, somehow.
First matchup: 24 mins, 4 pts (1/2 2p, 0/1 3p), 2 reb, 3 ast, 1 to, 1 stl
Second matchup: 23 mins, 2 pts (1/3 2p, 0/2 3p), 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 to
G 21 Malcolm Hill Sr. 6'6, 225 84 26 114 No
High-usage and efficient, versatile scorer. Draws a ton of fouls.
First matchup: 32 mins, 15 pts (3/5 2p, 1/3 3p, 6/7 ft), 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 to
Second matchup: 32 mins, 16 pts (5/8 2p, 0/2 3p), 2 reb (1 off), 7 ast, 2 stl
F 12 Leron Black So. 6'7, 220 44 23 101 Very
Excellent rebounder on both ends. Decent finisher who gets to line.
First matchup: 17 mins, 10 pts (5/9 2p, 0/1 3p), 5 reb (1 off)
Second matchup: 13 mins, 4 pts (2/2 2p), 4 reb (2 off), 1 to
C 22 Maverick Morgan Sr. 6'10, 245 63 21 105 Very
Good finisher and shot-blocker, not much of a rebounder. Elite motivator.
First matchup: 29 mins, 16 pts (8/9 2p), 1 reb, 4 ast, 3 to, 1 blk, 1 stl
Second matchup: 22 mins, 6 pts (3/5 2p), 2 reb (1 off), 1 ast, 3 to, 1 blk
G 5 Jalen Coleman-Lands So. 6'3, 190 61 17 98 Not At All
Just A Shooter™ made 43% of 3P in B1G play.
First matchup: 31 mins, 12 pts (0/3 2p, 4/5 3p), 3 reb, 4 ast, 2 to
Second matchup: 20 mins, 2 pts (1/3 2p, 0/1 3p), 1 reb (1 off), 1 stl
F 43 Michael Finke So. 6'10, 230 49 17 109 Not At All
Stretch four with career 52/38/62 shooting splits. Good offensive rebounder.
First matchup: 12 mins, 10 pts (2/2 2p, 2/2 3p), 3 reb (1 off)
Second matchup: 13 mins, 4 pts (1/1 3p), 3 reb
F 2 Kipper Nichols Fr. 6'6, 225 21 19 101 Not At All
Crushed M on boards in first matchup, earned way into 8-man rotation.
First matchup: 19 mins, 13 pts (5/8 2p, 1/1 3p), 8 reb (5 off)
Second matchup: 17 mins, 4 pts (2/5 2p, 0/2 3p), 3 reb, 2 to

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

Hoops Preview: Nebraska, Part Two

Hoops Preview: Nebraska, Part Two

Submitted by Ace on March 5th, 2017 at 1:48 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #27 Michigan (19-11, 9-8 B1G) at
#94 Nebraska (12-17, 6-11)
WHERE Pinnacle Bank Arena
Lincoln, Nebraska
WHEN 8 pm ET, Sunday
LINE Michigan -4 (KenPom)
Michigan -5 (Vegas)
TV BTN
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Shon Morris

Right: Nobody played much defense in the first matchup. [Marc-Gregor Campredon/MGoBlog]

THE US

On the last day of the regular season, there's still plenty to be determined regarding Big Ten Tournament seeding. The other two games to keep an eye on today are Iowa-PSU (1 pm, BTN) and Purdue-Northwestern (4:30 pm, CBS). Michigan may very well be locked into the eight-seed by the time tonight's game tips off, but there's a chance they can move up as high as the six-seed:

8. Michigan (9-8)
Locked into single bye, will play on Thursday no matter what
Clinches #6 seed with win at Nebraska + Northwestern win + Iowa loss
Clinches #7 seed with win + Northwestern loss + Iowa loss
Clinches #8 seed with loss OR Iowa win 

As for the NCAA Tournament picture, Michigan is holding onto a nine-seed on most projections, including Jerry Palm's and Joe Lunardi's, and they're an eight-seed on Crashing The Dance. ESPN's Eamonn Brennan is on the verge of moving the Wolverines into lock territory:

We thought about locking in the Spartans and the Wolverines alongside Northwestern, but where the Wildcats have just a home date against Purdue left on their regular-season schedule -- plus a guaranteed 10-8 conference record even if they lose -- Michigan travels to Nebraska for its regular-season closer Sunday. A loss would add another sub-top-50 loss to the Wolverines' resume, as well as set them back to 9-9 in league play. Again: Michigan should be in. It almost certainly will get in. But we're just, you know, being careful.

Win and they're in. Lose and they're probably still in, especially since Illinois is locked into the BTT nine-seed; Bart Torvik's BTT simulator says Michigan would have a 70% chance of winning that 8/9 matchup.

THE LAST TIME

In the first game after the Illinois debacle and subsequent players-only meeting, Michigan didn't exactly fix their defense, but they came out on top anyway in a 91-85 shootout at Crisler. Moe Wagner, Derrick Walton, and Zak Irvin all scored 20+ for Michigan, while Tai Webster (28) and Glynn Watson (22) shouldered the load for the Huskers. Notably, Nebraska was missing forward Ed Morrow due to a foot injury; he's been back in the lineup for the last six games.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 5 Glynn Watson So. 6'0, 175 78 21 110 Not At All
Excellent three-point and free-throw shooter, not a great finisher.
G 0 Tai Webster Sr. 6'4, 195 87 28 102 Not really
Big, aggressive point guard shoots 47/30/75 with high FT rate.  
G 11 Evan Taylor Jr. 6'5, 206 60 13 91 Very
Inefficient, low-usage scorer with high turnover rate. Defensive specialist.
F 12 Michael Jacobson So. 6'9, 230 62 16 101 Very
Good offensive rebounder, poor finisher, disruptive defender.
C 32 Jordy Tshimanga Fr. 6'11, 275 30 27 86 Very
Big impact on boards, has a ways to go on offense. Frequently in foul trouble.
F 10 Jack McVeigh So. 6'8, 215 55 15 108 No
Stretch four type shooting 38% on threes in B1G play.
F 30 Ed Morrow So. 6'7, 234 44 23 101 Very
Good rebounder and shot-blocker. Inconsistent finisher since injury.
F 15 Isaiah Roby Fr. 6'8, 214 35 17 82 Very
Good shot-blocker, really struggling on offense.
F 2 Jeriah Horne Fr. 6'7, 222 26 19 98 Not really
Just A Shooter™ type is making 33% of threes, 47% of twos.

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

Hoops Preview: Northwestern

Hoops Preview: Northwestern

Submitted by Ace on March 1st, 2017 at 2:11 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #27 Michigan (19-10, 9-7 B1G) at
#37 Northwestern (20-9, 9-7)
WHERE Welsh-Ryan Arena
Evanston, Illinois
WHEN 7 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Northwestern -1 (KenPom)
Northwestern -1 (Vegas)
TV BTN
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Stephen Bardo

Right: McIntawwwww. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

THE US

A Michigan team that suddenly finds itself on firm tournament footing faces a Northwestern team that suddenly finds itself back on the bubble. The Wolverines are an eight-seed in the latest Bracket Matrix. The Wildcats, losers of five of their last seven, have fallen to the ten-seed line after looking like a dead lock heading into February. They are, after all, Northwestern.

This game has significant implications for the NCAA bubble and Big Ten Tournament seeding. Both teams are 9-7 in the Big Ten, one game behind Michigan State and Minnesota, which are tied for fourth place. Michigan can still get the four-seed and a double-bye in the conference tournament by winning out and getting some help; you can play around with the various scenarios here. The only scenario I've found that gets Michigan to the four-seed requires Minnesota to lose out (Nebraska, @Wisconsin) and Michigan State to drop one of their last two (@Illinois, @Maryland).

UPDATE THE FIRST

The BTN helpfully laid out all of the various BTT seeding scenarios:

6. Michigan (9-7)
Can be as high as #4 seed with wins in its final 2 games (at Northwestern and Nebraska) + 2 Minnesota losses + 1 MSU loss OR wins in its final 2 games + 2 MSU losses + 2 Wisconsin losses
Can’t finish higher than #6 with a loss at Northwestern tonight
Could fall as low as #8 with 2 losses + tiebreakers

UPDATE THE SECOND

The line has moved to Michigan -2 after opening at Northwestern -1.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 Jr. 6'3, 185 85 27 99 Yes
Good distributor. Takes lots of tough shots, occasionally makes them.
G 20 Scottie Lindsey Jr. 6'5, 210 67 23 109 Kinda
NW's leading scorer in slump since midseason bout with mono.
F 4 Vic Law So. 6'7, 205 81 21 104 Not At All
Solid defender, rebounder, and outside shooter. Only making 35% of twos.
F 34 Sanjay Lumpkin Sr. 6'6, 220 70 11 127 Kinda
Low-usage garbageman type. Iffy outside shot.
C 5 Dererk Pardon So. 6'8, 235 56 14 121 Very
Strong finisher, rebounder, and shot-blocker. Plays 70% of mins when healthy.
F 44 Gavin Skelly Jr. 6'8, 225 47 19 111 Kinda
Gets offensive boards and blocks. Struggling to finish, turnover- and foul-prone.
G 12 Isiah Brown Fr. 6'2, 175 41 27 90 Yes
Like McIntosh, but without the assists.
F 32 Nathan Taphorn Sr. 6'7, 215 28 16 127 Not At All
Just A Shooter™, hits 45% of his threes.

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

Hoops Preview: Purdue

Hoops Preview: Purdue

Submitted by Ace on February 24th, 2017 at 2:54 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #27 Michigan (18-10, 8-7 B1G) vs
#11 Purdue (23-5, 12-3)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 4 pm ET, Saturday
LINE Purdue -1 (KenPom)
Michigan -1 (Vegas)
TV ESPN2
PBP: Dave Flemming
Analyst: Dan Dakich

Right: Senior Day has arrived for Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton. [Marc-Gregor Campredon/MGoBlog]

THE US

Tomorrow is Senior Day for Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, Mark Donnal, Sean Lonergan, and Andrew Dakich. For those heading to Crisler, the festivities begin at 3:40 pm, and it'd sure be nice to see seats fill in earlier than usual. Yes, Spike Albrecht will be back in the building, too—as a reserve for Purdue.

Michigan is holding strong as a ten-seed listed in every projected field comprising the Bracket Matrix. Purdue provides the Wolverines with one more shot at a top-25 RPI win, something that may be more critical than expected now that Wisconsin has dropped to 27th, leaving SMU (#18) as M's only win to fit that criteria. (Infuriatingly, Minnesota has risen to #15.)

THE LINEUP CARD

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 11 PJ Thompson Jr. 5'10, 185 70 12 132 Not At All
Very efficient, low-usage PG. Majority of shots are threes. Strong defender.
G 3 Carsen Edwards Fr. 6'0, 190 59 24 95 No
Solid outside shooter, poor finisher. Can be turnover-prone.
G 31 Dakota Mathias Jr. 6'4, 200 76 15 124 Not At All
Three-point sniper leads B1G in eFG%. Good assist rate but has turnover issues.
F 12 Vincent Edwards Jr. 6'8, 225 68 21 118 Not At All
Does a bit of everything on offense, good defender.
F 50 Caleb Swanigan So. 6'9, 250 79 28 114 Not At All
NPOY candidate. Beast in post, three-point range, great rebounder.
C 44 Isaac Haas Jr. 7'2, 290 52 30 108 Very
Behemoth. Strong post scorer, rebounder, shot-blocker.
G 14 Ryan Cline So. 6'5, 190 45 12 122 Not At All
Just A Shooter™, makes 43% of his threes.
G 55 Spike Albrecht Sr. 6'0, 180 24 11 109 Yes*
Still not right after hip stuff. Tiny usage, only 4-for-22 on threes this year.

*Man, that hurt to type.

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

Hoops Preview: Rutgers

Hoops Preview: Rutgers

Submitted by Ace on February 22nd, 2017 at 4:02 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #29 Michigan (17-10, 7-7 B1G) at
#127 Rutgers (13-15, 2-13)
WHERE The RAC
Piscataway, New Jersey
WHEN 6:30 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Michigan -6 (KenPom)
Michigan -8.5 (Vegas)
TV BTN
PBP: Brandon Gaudin
Analyst: Shon Morris

Right: Everything about this picture makes me laugh. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]

THE US

Michigan is still in good position to make the tournament; they're on all 116 projected brackets that comprise the current matrix. This, unfortunately, is a game that can do much more harm than good; a win keeps them in relatively the same position, while a loss would be a disaster.

Thanks, Delany.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 3 Corey Sanders So. 6'2, 181 75 28 90 Yes
Huge-usage, shoot-first PG tasked with carrying offense, does so inefficiently.
G 5 Mike Williams Jr. 6'2, 198 65 18 110 Yes
Surprisingly effective offensive rebounder, very ineffective shooter.
G 35 Issa Thiam Fr. 6'9, 190 40 13 89 Kinda
Just A Shooter™ type... who makes 30% of his threes with a 20% turnover rate.
F 33 Deshawn Freeman Jr. 6'7, 225 66 24 98 Very
RU's best rebounder, disruptive defender, gets to line, awful FT shooter.
C 34 CJ Gettys Jr. 7'0, 280 54 20 104 Very
Burly grad transfer rebounds well, blocks some shots. Turnover-prone.
G 0 Nigel Johnson Jr. 6'1, 186 64 23 100 Kinda
At 32% on a healthy number of attempts, RU's most reliable three-point shooter.
F 11 Eugene Omoruyi Fr. 6'6, 230 31 18 80 Very
Seeing increased role despite bad shooting and a 30% turnover rate.
C 2 Shaquille Doorson So. 7'0, 270 20 11 92 Very
Decent offensive rebounder and shot-blocker, rarely shoots.

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

Hoops Preview: Minnesota

Hoops Preview: Minnesota

Submitted by Ace on February 18th, 2017 at 4:31 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #28 Michigan (17-9, 7-6 B1G) at
#39 Minnesota (19-7, 7-6)
WHERE Williams Arena
Minneapolis, Minnesota
WHEN 7 pm ET, Sunday
LINE Minnesota -2 (KenPom)
Minnesota -2 (Vegas)
TV BTN
PBP: Brian Anderson
Analyst: Shon Morris

Right: Richard Pitino, who definitely doesn't eat brains for dinner. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

THE US

The tournament outlook is looking good: Michigan is on all but two brackets in the matrix, and the pair that omitted the Wolverines haven't been updated to account for the Wisconsin win.

This game will impact both NCAA tournament positioning and Big Ten Tournament seeding. Minnesota is tied with Michigan for sixth in the conference at 7-6, one game behind Northwestern and Michigan State heading into the weekend. By KenPom's projections, this is the second-toughest of the five remaining games of the schedule, but Michigan has owned this series lately: they've won 13 of the last 14 against the Gophers, including six straight at The Barn.

With three teams at 10-3, Michigan isn't going to win the conference, but it's well within the realm of possibility for them to claw their way to a top-four seed and a double-bye in the BTT. They have a decent amount of control over their own destiny, too, between tomorrow's game and the March 1st matchup at Northwestern.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 2 Nate Mason Jr. 6'2, 190 83 24 110 Not At All
Good passer, volume scorer who shoots better on threes (39%) than twos (37%).
G 0 Akeem Springs Sr. 6'4, 220 60 19 108 Not At All
Just A Shooter™ makes 39% of threes, 38% of twos.
G 5 Amir Coffey Fr. 6'8, 195 77 19 108 No
After ugly start, shooting 43% on threes in B1G. Decent finisher w/ high FT rate.
F 3 Jordan Murphy So. 6'6, 240 67 22 96 Very
Good rebounder, shot-blocker, inside finisher. High FT rate, bad FT shooter.
C 22 Reggie Lynch Jr. 6'10, 260 53 20 99 Very
Excellent rebounder and shot-blocker. Struggling with shot and turnovers.
G 1 Dupree McBrayer So. 6'5, 190 67 20 104 No
Can handle point, but not scoring efficiently and turning it over too much.
F 24 Eric Curry Fr. 6'9, 235 49 18 101 Very
Good rebounder, decent inside scorer, takes bad-idea jumpers.
C 21 Bakary Konate Jr. 6'11, 235 25 12 98 Very
Good shot-blocker, foul-prone, only offense is putbacks.

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

Hoops Preview: Wisconsin, Part Two

Hoops Preview: Wisconsin, Part Two

Submitted by Ace on February 16th, 2017 at 3:33 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #29 Michigan (16-9, 6-6 B1G) vs
#15 Wisconsin (21-4, 10-2)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 7 pm ET, Thursday
LINE Michigan -1 (KenPom)
Michigan -2 (Vegas)
TV ESPN
PBP: Rece Davis
Analyst: Jim Calhoun

Right: Michigan must find a way to keep Ethan Happ from making his usual impact on both ends of the floor. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]

THE US

Michigan most likely needs to win one of their final two home games to make the Big Dance. At the moment, Wisconsin looks like the more vulnerable foe than Purdue, especially with the news that obnoxiously clutch guard Bronson Koenig will sit out tonight's game due to a calf injury.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 0 D'Mitrik Trice Fr. 6'0, 178 42 17 117 No
Travis' younger brother will start for Koenig. Good shooter on 6/22 3-pt slump in B1G play.
G 3 Zak Showalter Sr. 6'3, 185 70 13 127 No
Barely shoots but very efficient when he does, low assist rate, good defender.
F 30 Vitto Brown Sr. 6'8, 235 53 21 100 Kinda
Good defender and rebounder, really struggling with shot and turnovers.
F 10 Nigel Hayes Sr. 6'8, 240 77 25 111 Kinda
Taken back seat to Happ as jumper has gone wonky. Still effective in post.
C 20 Ethan Happ So. 6'10, 232 67 29 114 Very
Efficient, high-usage post scorer, passes well, dismal FT%, great defender.
G 21 Khalil Iverson So. 6'5, 212 37 16 102 Very
Petway-esque jumping-jack swingman produces most of his offense at the rim.
G 1 Brevin Pritzl Fr. 6'3, 195 9 16 114 Kinda
Low-usage bit player getting more time, only 3/11 from field in B1G play.
G 11 Jordan Hill Jr. 6'4, 172 23 11 100 Kinda
Minutes tailing off but could see increased role with Koenig out.
F 15 Charles Thomas So. 6'8, 252 10 25 81 Not really
Forward with some range type struggling with finishing and turnovers.

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

Hoops Preview: Indiana, Part Two

Hoops Preview: Indiana, Part Two

Submitted by Ace on February 11th, 2017 at 2:59 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #30 Michigan (15-9, 5-6 B1G) vs
#42 Indiana (15-10, 5-7)
WHERE Assembly Hall
Bloomington, Indiana
WHEN 1 pm ET, Sunday
LINE Indiana -3 (KenPom)
Indiana -3.5 (Vegas)
TV CBS
PBP: Kevin Harlan
Analyst: Dan Bonner

Right: Still obligatory. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

THE US

There's good news and bad news on the NCAA tournament front. The good: Michigan continues to get on more updated brackets in the Bracket Matrix. They're now the third team out of the field, and Sunday's matchup just happens to be with the last at-large team to make it; a win should get the Wolverines on the right side of the bubble for the moment.

The bad: the NCAA selection committee released the top 16 overall seeds this afternoon and the surprise of the day was the omission of the Big Ten (namely, Wisconsin, which is currently the top four-seed on the matrix). If the committee is down on the top of the conference, that spells trouble for the B1G teams on the bubble.

That all may become irrelevant, of course, if Michigan can't beat Indiana. The Wolverines need at least one upset win (by current KenPom projections) down the stretch to have a realistic chance at an at-large bid. This looks like one of their best opportunities but for the location of the game: Michigan is 1-17 at Assembly Hall since 1996, with the lone victory coming in overtime over a 2008-09 Hoosiers squad that finished 6-25.

In preparation for this game, John Beilein chose to give Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin two days off of practice this week in hopes of keeping the former at his current form and snapping the latter out of his slump. Irvin is quite aware that he needs to play better than he has over the last three games:

"I told the guys this, I know that in order for us to be able to achieve the goals we want, I've got to step up," Irvin said. "I told them that. I look forward to the challenge.

"Everyone goes through adversity throughout the season. It's been my time these last three games and I've gone through it. But I'm not going to let that define me in any way for the rest of the year. I told them, no matter what, whether I'm shooting the ball well or not, I'm going to be positive and I'm going to be a leader out there."

Irvin's last good game came against these very Hoosiers; he had 12 points on nine shot equivalents, three assists, and no turnovers in the blowout at Crisler. A return to that form would be most welcome.

THE LAST TIME

Derrick Walton scored 21 points, Moe Wagner and DJ Wilson exploited frontcourt mismatches with IU's Juwan Morgan limited in his first game back from an ankle injury, James Blackmon Jr.—who sat out the next three games with a knee injury—only mustered four points, and Michigan won by 30.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 2 Josh Newkirk Jr. 6'1, 195 66 19 105 No
Most PG-like player, but has higher turnover rate than assist rate.
G 4 Robert Johnson Jr. 6'3, 195 70 23 112 Not At All
Sniper beyond the arc, solid finisher inside of it. 16th in B1G in eFG%.
G 1 James Blackmon Jr. 6'4, 200 62 24 122 Not At All
High-volume, high-efficiency scorer. Went 3/14 in first game back from knee injury.
F 13 Juwan Morgan So. 6'7, 230 47 16 126 Yes
Great rebounder and finisher this year. Commits too many turnovers.
C 31 Thomas Bryant So. 6'10, 255 70 22 118 No
Excellent rebounder and post scorer, good shot-blocker, hits occasional three.
C 20 De'Ron Davis Fr. 6'10, 240 33 24 114 Very
Good offensive rebounder, high FT rate, struggling with TOs and finishing.
G 11 Devonte Green Fr. 6'3, 186 32 17 94 No
Shooting has fallen off in conference play, very turnover-prone.
G 0 Curtis Jones Fr. 6'4, 175 31 18 101 No
Outside shooting threat, struggling to finish inside arc, turnover-prone.
F 15 Zach McRoberts So. 6'6, 200 29 6 130 Kinda
Minuscule usage walk-on pressed into action as undersized four.

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

Hoops Preview: Michigan State, Part Two

Hoops Preview: Michigan State, Part Two

Submitted by Ace on February 7th, 2017 at 2:48 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #40 Michigan (14-9, 4-6 B1G) vs
#49 Michigan State (14-9, 6-4)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 9 pm ET, Tuesday
LINE Michigan -4 (KenPom)
Michigan -4.5 (Vegas)
TV ESPN
PBP: Dan Shulman
Analyst: Dan Dakich

Right: Searching for help, probably. [Marc-Gregor Campredon/MGoBlog]

THE US

As covered in detail yesterday, Michigan is in must-win mode now. They have three home games left among their eight remaining regular-season games. Tonight's is the only one in which they're favored. They need to win five of their last eight, in all likelihood, to feel comfortable about their at-large chances. They haven't won a true road game all year.

Michigan's most likely path to the tournament is sweeping the rest of the home slate (MSU, Wisconsin, Purdue) and taking games at Rutgers and Nebraska. Those who are understandably pessimistic about M's ability to hold up against the Badgers and Boilermakers can pin their hopes on beating a fading Minnesota squad in The Barn and hoping Northwestern pulls a Northwestern down the stretch. While the task is by no means impossible, almost no matter how you slice it, M needs to come out on top tonight.

THE LAST TIME

In the matchup at the Breslin Center nine days ago, Derrick Walton willed his way to 24 points and Michigan won the rebounding battle (hard to believe after Saturday, I know), but that was about all that went right in a 70-62 loss that didn't feel as close as the final score. Zak Irvin didn't score, Moe Wagner couldn't stay out of foul trouble, and the team shot only 40% on twos and 27% on threes.

For the Spartans, big man Nick Ward played only 16 minutes—it turns out he was battling the flu—and made all six of his shots from the field. Miles Bridges had a rather inefficient 15 points but came up big down the stretch, while Cassius Winston repeatedly worked his way into the paint for 16 points, ten of which came at the line.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 11 Tum Tum Nairn Jr. 5'10, 175 59 13 109 Kinda
Decent distributor, but wonky shot has only improved slightly. Tiny usage for PG.
G 14 Eron Harris Sr. 6'3, 190 59 24 105 Not At All
Excellent three-point shooter both on spot-ups and off the bounce.
G 1 Josh Langford Fr. 6'5, 210 50 15 110 Not At All
Good spot-up shooter who sticks to perimeter; 3 FT attempts in B1G play.
F 22 Miles Bridges Fr. 6'7, 230 55 26 102 Not At All
ORtg doesn't do his all-around game justice. As he goes, so goes MSU.
C 44 Nick Ward Fr. 6'8, 250 48 33 106 Very
Massive-usage post scorer. Great rebounder and shot-blocker. Just over the flu.
G 5 Cassius Winston Fr. 6'0, 185 51 25 106 Kinda
Boasts #1 assist rate in the country, but inconsistent shot and too many TOs.
F 25 Kenny Goins So. 6'6, 230 47 12 99 Very
Former walk-on forced to spot Ward at C. Decent finisher but very TO-prone.
G 3 Alvin Ellis Sr. 6'4, 210 40 20 104 No
Decent outside shooter, disruptive defender getting more time lately.
G 20 Matt McQuaid So. 6'4, 200 49 15 99 No
Just A Shooter™ making 35% of threes, 29% of twos. 3/3 3P in first matchup.

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

Hoops Preview: Ohio State

Hoops Preview: Ohio State

Submitted by Brian on February 4th, 2017 at 1:57 PM

jaquan-lyle-6722a6e5bb8c51ecTHE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Michigan (14-8, 4-5 B1G) vs
OSU (13-10, 3-7)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN 6 PM
LINE Michigan –8 (KenPom)
TV ESPN
 
Right: JaQuan Lyle and his old man beard

THE US

Coming off a disappointingly typical loss at Michigan State against a very much untypical MSU team, Michigan now faces a must-win against reeling Ohio State. Per Kenpom this is Michigan's most likely win left on the schedule, a 75% shot. (At Rutgers is only 69% despite Rutgers being almost 100 slots worse in overall ranking, if you want a stark indicator of how much home and away swing affect college basketball.)

It would be nice if Zak Irvin had a bounce back.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 3 Kam Williams Jr. 6'2, 185 77 16 104 No
PG-sized but tiny assist/FTs rates and low TO rate mark him as Just A Shooter. Do not send to line, not that he'll force the issue there much.
G 4 JaQuan Lyle So. 6'5, 210 78 23 107 No
Main creator has #56 assist rate in country, but TOs limit efficiency. Still the #1 guy Michigan has to check.
F 14 Jae'Sean Tate Jr. 6'4, 230 79 33 108 Very
Junkyard dog has seen rebound numbers drop thanks to teammate Thompson; highly efficient at the rim, no game elsewhere.
F 0 Marc Loving Sr. 6'8, 220 83 20 100 No
Never quite put it together. Good outside shooter; rest of his game is weak, with a bunch of TOs and iffy efficiency.
C 35 Trevor Thompson Jr. 7'0, 250 56 23 115 Very
Rebound machine 40th nationally in OREB rate and 9th in DREB rate, also racks up a ton of blocks. Good FT shooter, too
G 51 CJ Jackson So. 6'1, 175 38 20 97 Yes
Backup PG has similar assist/TO rates as Lyle; weak shooter.
F 25 Micah Potter Fr. 6'9, 240 32 16 101 No
Backup post is all-around worse version of Thompson, but can shoot threes a bit.
F 5 Andre Wesson Fr. 6'6, 220 22 16 83 Yes
Woof.

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