Hoops Preview: UCLA

Hoops Preview: UCLA

Submitted by Ace on December 10th, 2016 at 1:52 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #27 Michigan (7-2) at #12 UCLA (9-0)
WHERE Pauley Pavilion
Los Angeles, California
WHEN 8 pm ET, Saturday
LINE UCLA -7 (KenPom)
TV ESPN2
PBP: Dave Flemming
Analyst: Dan Dakich

Right: UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball can and will score from just about anywhere on the court.

THE US

While pulling out a last-minute win against Texas on Tuesday night provided a nice morale boost, it may not do a whole lot for Michigan's tournament resume. The Longhorns, at 4-4, are currently the only Big 12 team without a winning record, and KenPom projects them to finish last in the conference.

A victory at UCLA, on the other hand, would almost assuredly hold up as a signature win. This is Michigan's last chance to tally one more of those in non-conference play; they finish out with Central Arkansas, Maryland Eastern Shore, and Furman before tipping off Big Ten play on New Year's Day at Iowa.

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 Lonzo Ball Fr. 6'6, 190 86 21 134 Not At All
Probable top-5 NBA pick next year. Deadeye shooter, excellent finisher and passer.
G 20 Bryce Alford Sr. 6'3, 185 84 17 127 Not At All
Very efficient low-usage shooter: 50/42/90 splits this season with a good FT rate.
G 10 Isaac Hamilton Sr. 6'5, 195 77 23 117 Not At All
Takes 26% of UCLA's shots when on the floor with 59/45/80 splits. Dang.
F 22 TJ Leaf Fr. 6'10, 225 72 21 135 Not At All
Former M recruit is 55-for-77 on twos, 9-for-18 on threes. Decent rebounder and shot-blocker.
C 40 Thomas Welsh Jr. 7'0, 245 64 16 127 Very
True seven-footer is top 100 in def. rebound and block rates, makes 57% of FGs.
G 3 Aaron Holiday So. 6'1, 185 64 22 118 No
Backup point is a little turnover-prone, but posting 52/53/73 shooting splits with high FT rate.
F 14 Gyorgy Goloman Jr. 6'11, 215 27 20 106 Very
Foul-prone backup big rebounds and protects the rim well, 16-for-26 on twos.
C 13 Ike Anigbogu Fr. 6'10, 250 13 20 99 Very
Impressive rebound and block rates in very limited minutes, sky-high foul rate.

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

Hoops Preview: Texas

Hoops Preview: Texas

Submitted by Ace on December 6th, 2016 at 2:22 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #27 Michigan (6-2) vs #71
Texas (4-3)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 9 pm ET, Tuesday
LINE Michigan -10 (KenPom)
TV ESPN2
PBP: Jason Benetti
Analyst: Dan Dakich

Right: Oddly enough, our file photo of Shaka Smart from his VCU days features him sporting an orange tie. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

THE US

John Beilein and the Wolverines are quite familiar with Shaka Smart and his Texas squad's style of play, most notably the aggressive "Havoc" press Smart made famous at VCU. Michigan, of course, picked apart that press in their tournament blowout of VCU on the way to the 2013 Final Four; they also had a relatively comfortable six-point victory over last year's Longhorns squad in the Bahamas.

To help break the press, expect to see a lot more of freshman point guard Xavier Simpson than the spot minutes he's played so far this season:

"It won't be a 'OK, we've got to play him against Texas because he has to get used to this stuff,' but it's more about (Texas' defense) and as much as they (press), it'll wear Derrick out," Beilein said. "The other day against Kennesaw State, he got wore out a little bit and it impacted his offense. He sat down for a little bit and came back more fresh.

"We're going to need (Simpson) to help Derrick. Not just to beat their press or attack their defense but to also give (Walton) a rest."

Simpson has shown the ability to be a defensive pest; his offense is still coming along, and he'll need to be careful with the ball against a team hoping to jump-start their lagging offense with easy buckets off turnovers.

In the bigger picture, Michigan could really use a home win against a power conference team after squandering a golden opportunity last week against Virginia Tech. Their only other chance at adding a signature non-conference win to the two victories in NYC is Saturday's game at UCLA, which is fresh off an upset at Kentucky; this game looks far more tractable.

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 12 Kerwin Roach So. 6'4, 175 58 27 99 Yeah
Slasher at his best getting to hoop/line. Not much of a shooter. Turnover prone.
G 1 Andrew Jones Fr. 6'4, 190 53 25 103 Yeah
Walton-like defensive rebounder. Another turnover-prone slasher/meh shooter.
G/F 0 Tevin Mack So. 6'7, 220 60 23 112 No
Shooting very well after a rough FR year. Not much other statistical impact.
F 31 Jarrett Allen Fr. 6'11, 235 70 23 98 Very
Good shot-blocker and offensive rebounder, decent finisher. Only 52% on FTs.
F 32 Shaquille Cleare Sr. 6'8, 275 47 20 90 Very
Burly, good not great rebounder on both ends. Career 55% on 2P.
G 10 Eric Davis So. 6'3, 195 67 20 87 Kinda?
38% 3P shooter last year mired in a 6-for-37 slump. Just A Shooter™, so lost starting role.
G 5 Kendal Yacey Sr. 6'3, 210 57 16 109 No
Low-usage defensive specialist. Decent shooter.
C 4 James Banks Fr. 6'10, 240 39 10 95 Very
Minuscule usage, good rebound and block rates, only 6/14 from the field.

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

Hoops Preview: Virginia Tech

Hoops Preview: Virginia Tech

Submitted by Ace on November 30th, 2016 at 2:55 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #25 Michigan (5-1) vs
#35 Virginia Tech (5-1)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 7 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Michigan -5 (KenPom)
TV ESPN2
PBP: Jason Benetti
Analyst: Sean Farnham

Right: Star sixth man Zach LeDay plays much bigger than his listed 6'7". [Photo: Alex Brandon/AP]

THE US

Michigan bounced back from the ugly loss at South Carolina by jumping out to a 17-point halftime lead against Mount Saint Mary's on Saturday evening and cruising to the finish in an online-stream-only game watched by dozens. I was in a car on the way back from Ohio during that game, so I have little to add other than noting Moe Wagner hit 3-of-5 three-pointers.

This game is part of the ACC/B1G Challenge, which is tied up at four through eight games. The other games on tonight's schedule with KenPom lines:

Purdue at Louisville, 7 p.m., ESPN (Louisville -7)
Rutgers at Miami, 7 p.m., ESPNU (Miami -15)
North Carolina at Indiana, 9 p.m., ESPN (UNC -3)
Ohio State at Virginia, 9 p.m., ESPN2 (Virginia -10)
Nebraska at Clemson, 9 p.m., ESPNU (Clemson -9)

As you can see, it'd take a few upsets for the Big Ten to win their third straight Challenge.

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 SIBMIHHAT
G 5 Justin Robinson So. 6'1, 185 78 22 No
Pass-first PG with high assist and turnover rates. Decent outside shooter.
G 13 Ahmed Hill RJr. 6'5, 205 74 18 Not At All
Just A Shooter™, 20-for-42 on triples this season.
G 10 Justin Bibbs Jr. 6'5, 220 70 15 Not At All
Low-volume, high-efficiency scorer, especially from beyond the arc.
F 15 Chris Clarke So. 6'6, 210 67 18 Yes
Good interior scorer, passer, and defensive rebounder.
C 2 Khadim Sy Fr. 6'10, 240 34 19 Very
Starter playing backup minutes. Great rebounding and shot-blocking numbers. Foul prone.
F 32 Zach LeDay RSr. 6'7, 235 75 26 Yes
Plays majority of C minutes. Good rebounder and inside scorer, draws lots of fouls.
G 4 Seth Allen RSr. 6'1, 190 60 23 Kinda
Turnover-prone backup PG, decent finisher, iffy outside shooter off to hot start.
F 42 Ty Outlaw RJr. 6'6, 220 28 18 No
JuCo transfer stretch four is 7-for-15 on threes, 0-for-5 on twos.

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

Hoops Preview: South Carolina

Hoops Preview: South Carolina

Submitted by Ace on November 23rd, 2016 at 2:00 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #15 Michigan (4-0) at
#57 South Carolina (4-0)
WHERE Colonial Life Arena
Columbia, South Carolina
WHEN 5 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Michigan -2 (KenPom)
TV ESPNU
PBP: Kevin Fitzgerald
Analyst: Brooke Weisbrod

Right: South Carolina coach and well-adjusted human Frank Martin. [AP photo; original caption is amazing]

THE US

This section is blissfully lacking in major items to note right now. DJ Wilson is now the starting four and given the early returns that's not changing for the foreseeable future. Duncan Robinson is now an off-the-bench gunner. Moe Wagner and Mark Donnal have settled into an even split at center with Jon Teske getting spot minutes. Xavier Simpson and Ibi Watson are still settling into the rotation. That about covers it.

THE THEM

Michigan first true road game comes at South Carolina, a top-60 team on KenPom headed by former Kansas State coach Frank Martin, who should be good for a sideline freakout or three.

The Gamecocks are led by 6'5" senior wing Sindarius Thornwell, who's posting 21 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Thornwell is using a whopping 30% of South Carolina's possessions when he's on the floor and scoring with probably unsustainable efficiency: the career 32% three-point shooter is 10-for-21 from beyond the arc through four games. He's also putting up rebounding and block rates well above his career norms.

Point guard Duane Notice is a good outside shooter and surprisingly weak finisher for a burly 225-pounder. While he has 17 assists this season, he's turned the ball over three times in all four games, an issue South Carolina has struggled with as a team so far this season. Sophomore wing PJ Dozier is another Gamecock posting both high assist and turnover rates; he's 7-for-15 on threes this season after shooting only 23% on them as a freshman.

South Carolina has solid size up front. 6'9" power forward Chris Silva is seventh nationally in offensive rebound rate, grabbing 25% of opponent misses on defense, and 11th in the country in block rate while finishing well around the basket and drawing a lot of fouls. Fouls are Silva's Achilles heel right now; he's committing 8.4 per 40 minutes, and as a result he's only cracked 20 minutes played once this season. Estonian freshman center Maik Kotsar gets offensive rebounds and blocks and otherwise plays a minor role, but he's finished really well in limited chances, going 13-for-16 from the field. A 3-for-8 mark at the free-throw line indicates his skills may still be early in the development process. He's backed up by another raw freshman, Senegalese seven-footer Khadim Gueye.

Martin utilizes his bench quite a bit. 6'4" senior sixth man Justin McKie has played over half the team's minutes. He's a poor outside shooter who'd made up for it so far by going 10-for-14 inside the arc. Backup point Hassani Gravett is a JuCo transfer who's struggled with this year's transition to D-I; he's got seven turnovers and eight assists in 19 minutes per game.

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

2K Classic Preview

2K Classic Preview

Submitted by Ace on November 16th, 2016 at 3:48 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Michigan (2-0) vs
Marquette (2-0)
WHERE Madison Square Garden
New York, New York
WHEN 9:30 pm ET, Thursday
LINE Marquette -1 (KenPom)
TV ESPN2
PBP: Karl Ravech
Analyst: Fran Fraschilla

Right: Derrick Walton expects to be at full strength after rolling his ankle in Friday's win over Howard. [Photo: Marc-Gregor Campredon]

After winning both 2K Classic "regional" games last weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan gets a major step up in competition for this week's championship round at Madison Square Garden.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30, but the other semifinal (Pitt/SMU) tips off at 7 in MSG, so there's a good chance this ends up starting later than the listing. Set your DVRs and sleep schedules accordingly.

THE US

Derrick Walton didn't look quite right for the second half of Friday's game and all of Sunday's after tweaking an ankle late in the first half against Howard. It apparently bothered him even though he played 35 and 36 minutes in those two games:

“I was coming down on the break and I tried to stop and go into a step-back,” Walton said on Sunday when discussing the Friday night injury. “I kinda jammed it and slightly rolled it. It’s real stiff. I did a couple things after the last game and up until this game. It’s still a little stiff, but my guys carried me (today).”

He expects to be fine by tomorrow:

And though Walton admits he isn’t 100 percent right now, he also said he doesn’t think it’ll take more than a couple of days to get back to full strength, which means he should be good to go against Marquette next Thursday.

Walton playing so many minutes in games Michigan (eventually) won comfortably says something about the trust John Beilein currently has in his freshman guards; at that same link, Beilein acknowledged that the game is still moving too fast for Xavier Simpson and Ibi Watson, which is why they've only played limited minutes so far.

MARQUETTE

Michigan ranked 31st on KenPom so start the season and Marquette 47th, but the Golden Eagles have surpassed the Wolverines following two blowout wins to open the season, including one against a common opponent. Marquette beat Howard by 32 on Monday; Michigan's margin was "only" 18. That followed an impressive season-opening 95-71 win over #68 Vanderbilt.

Marquette has five players averaging double-digit points through two games, led by senior wing JaJuan Johnson, who's at 17.5 points per game this season after emerging as a top scoring option over the second half of 2015-16. Johnson is an efficient scorer both inside and outside the arc; it's yet to be seen if he's rid himself of his turnover issues of the previous two seasons.

6'5" guard Haanif Cheatham, another effective inside-outside scorer with past turnover problems, has been their best all-around offensive player. He's averaging 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. Cheatham has a nine-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio this season; last year it was 73-to-88. Sophomore point guard Traci Carter is the more trustworthy distributor, but he only shot 37% from two and 31% from three last year. While Carter's backup, freshman Markus Howard, looks to be a better shooter given the limited information available—he's 3-for-4 on threes—he's showing his inexperience; he's committed five fouls and four turnovers in 27 minutes.

Starting four Katin Reinhardt is a 6'6", 210-pound college basketball nomad; the former four-star prospect started his career at UNLV, where he started 34 games as a freshman, then transferred to USC and started 40 games over two seasons there before moving on to Marquette as a grad transfer. He's another sharpshooter from the outside—he's attempted nearly as many threes as twos in his career—but he doesn't have much impact on the boards. His backup, 6'7" freshman Sam Hauser, has been much more productive on the boards, and he's also 7-of-11 threes this season; he's only attempted one two-pointer.

The Golden Eagles have a legit post presence in 6'11", 250-pound former Indiana transfer Luke Fischer, who's shot 61% from the field in each of his last two seasons at Marquette. He's an excellent shot-blocker and offensive rebounder; oddly, he has Nnanna Egwu-like (or last year's Michigan centers-like) low rebounding percentages on the defensive end.

This will be a great test of Michigan's defense. If they're playing sound, aggressive defense on the perimeter, they can turn the tide of the game by converting turnovers into transition opportunties. If they're screwing up rotations and allowing blow-bys by guards, it could be a long night. We've seen both sides of that in the first two games. DJ Wilson continuing his thus-far breakout season would be huge; he can be a mismatch against Marquette's smaller fours as long as he can stay in front of them on defense.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Marquette by 1.

[Hit THE JUMP for previews of Pitt and SMU, Michigan's potential Friday opponents.]

NCAA Tournament Preview: Notre Dame

NCAA Tournament Preview: Notre Dame

Submitted by Ace on March 17th, 2016 at 5:07 PM

Tourney Previews Have a Sponsor (via Seth): My good friend Matt Demorest has built himself a nice little niche mortgage business in Southeast Michigan. I had a rather complicated FHA refinance for my house last fall, and despite that it a) took less of my time than filling out my bracket, b) cost half of what I paid to do our original loan, and, c) saved me so much the refi's already paid for itself.

Last Friday I then watched him blow everything he's made from advertising here so far on a signed Jim Harbaugh Ann Arbor Pioneer helmet. If you're buying a house around here, or if you've got one and have "yeah I should look at getting in on these rates" rattling around in your head, give him a ring. His ticket offer is still going so if you close you can use them for football tickets this fall.

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #11 Michigan (23-12, 10-8 B1G) vs
#6 Notre Dame (21-11, 11-7 ACC)
WHERE Barclays Center
Brooklyn, New York
WHEN ~9:40 pm ET, Friday
LINE Notre Dame -2 (KenPom)
TV CBS
PBP: Verne Lundquist
Analyst: Jim Spanarkel

Right: Notre Dame point guard Demetrius Jackson is a fringe lottery prospect. [AP photo]

THE US

Since this has somehow been a question I've had to answer multiple times: no, Caris LeVert is not playing tomorrow. Unless John Beilein gives Moe Wagner a more prominent role (please?), the rotation will be the usual.

THE STAKES

Rivalry trash-talking rights and a spot in the second round on Sunday, most likely facing three-seed West Virginia.

KenPom gives Notre Dame a 55% chance to win, putting the spread at two points. FiveThirtyEight isn't as high on Michigan's upset chances, pegging the Irish as 66% favorites. The Vegas line opened at ND -1.5 and has since moved to ND -3.

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 SIBMIHHAT
G 11 Demetrius Jackson Jr. 6'1, 201 86 24 Kinda
Excellent passer, good finisher for a PG, iffy outside shooter, high steal rate.
G 32 Steve Vasturia Jr. 6'5, 212 90 18 No
51/36/86 shooting splits, can be turnover-prone when he drives.
F 3 VJ Beachem Jr. 6'8, 200 76 16 No
Takes more threes than twos, hits 43% of them. Despite size, not a rebounder.
F 35 Bonzie Colson So. 6'5, 225 65 22 Very
Plays big. Excellent rebounder and shot-blocker, gets most of points in the paint.
F 30 Zach Auguste Sr. 6'10, 245 74 27 Very
Outstanding rebounder, decent shot-blocker, good finisher who draws fouls.
F 4 Matt Ryan Fr. 6'8, 217 39 15 No
Extreme Just A Shooter™ making 38% of his threes.
G 0 Rex Pflueger Fr. 6'6, 198 28 11 Kinda
Barely utilized when on the court. 12/27 2P, 8/25 3P on the season.
G 5 Matt Farrell So. 6'1, 175 21 14 Yes
Low-usage, turnover-prone PG with bad shooting numbers. Doesn't play much.

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

NCAA Tournament Preview: Tulsa

NCAA Tournament Preview: Tulsa

Submitted by Ace on March 15th, 2016 at 4:28 PM

Tourney Previews Have a Sponsor (via Seth): My good friend Matt Demorest has built himself a nice little niche mortgage business in Southeast Michigan. I had a rather complicated FHA refinance for my house last fall, and despite that it a) took less of my time than filling out my bracket, b) cost half of what I paid to do our original loan, and, c) saved me so much the refi's already paid for itself.

Last Friday I then watched him blow everything he's made from advertising here so far on a signed Jim Harbaugh Ann Arbor Pioneer helmet.

If you're buying a house around here, or if you've got one and have "yeah I should look at getting in on these rates" rattling around in your head, give him a ring. His ticket offer is still going so if you close you can use them for football tickets this fall.

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #11 Michigan (22-12, 10-8 B1G) vs
#11 Tulsa (20-11, 12-6 AAC)
WHERE UD Arena
Dayton, Ohio
WHEN 9:10 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Michigan -1 (KenPom)
TV TruTV (find channel here)
PBP: Carter Blackburn
Analyst: Mike Gminski

Right: Guard Shaquille Harrison is tough to keep away from the hoop. [Photo: Matt Barnard/Tulsa World]

THE US

Nothing of major note here. The ankle injury Ricky Doyle suffered against Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament opener didn't prevent him from being the primary backup center against Purdue in the semifinals—he played 11 minutes to nine for Moe Wagner. Michigan should play their normal, senior-less rotation.

THE STAKES

Win or go home. The victor will take on six-seed Notre Dame at approximately 9:40 pm on Friday.

The projections have this one close with Michigan holding a slight edge. KenPom favors the Wolverines by one point and gives them a 51% chance at victory. FiveThirtyEight gives Michigan a 54% win probability. The Vegas line favors the Wolverines a bit more; it's settled in at Michigan -4.

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 SIBMIHHAT
G 3 Shaquille Harrison Sr. 6'3, 189 80 27 Yes
Slasher, good finisher, solid passer, good steal rate. Not an outside shooter.
G 10 James Woodard Sr. 6'3, 192 82 22 No
36% 3P shooter on high volume. Can also get to the hoop and finish.
G 11 Pat Birt Jr. 6'5, 182 67 22 No
Just A Shooter™ type making 37% of 3PA, about two-thirds of shots are threes.
F 1 Rashad Smith Sr. 6'7, 205 49 20 Yes
Good offensive rebounder, solid athlete, finishes well around the rim.
F 44 Brandon Swannegan Sr. 6'9, 209 49 17 Very
Solid offensive rebounder and shot-blocker, finishes his opportunites, gets to line.
G 15 Marquel Curtis Sr. 6'3, 202 60 17 Yes
Inefficient despite low volume, not a good outside shooter. Decent OReb%.
F 40 D'Andre Wright Sr. 6'9, 245 44 17 Very
Tulsa's biggest player, but not a great rebounder, shot-blocker, or inside finisher.
G 5 Rashad Ray Sr. 5'11, 172 44 15 Kinda
Good distributor but not much of a scoring threat: 40/32/60 shooting splits.

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

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Purdue

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Purdue

Submitted by Ace on March 11th, 2016 at 7:08 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #8 Michigan (22-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
#4 Purdue (25-7, 12-6)
WHERE Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana
WHEN 1 pm ET, Saturday
LINE Purdue -6 (KenPom)
TV CBS

Right: Michigan took the home leg against Purdue in their last matchup. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

THE US

Moe Wagner's extended playing time today has been explained, at least in part, by the revelation that Ricky Doyle hurt his ankle late in the Northwestern game. Doyle played four minutes, all in the first half, compared to 16 effective minutes for Wagner, who's likely to serve as Mark Donnal's primary backup given the injury and his strong showing today.

THE LAST TIME

Zak Irvin scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to lead a late Michigan rally for a 61-56 win over Purdue at the Crisler Center. Irvin was the only Wolverine in double figures, but Michigan held Purdue to only 0.92 points per possession and a 15/41 mark from inside the arc.

THE STAKES

Michigan's victory over Indiana took them from clearly outside the field to very much in the at-large conversation, but a bid isn't sewn up yet. ESPN's Eamonn Brennan gives his outlook in ESPN's Bubble Watch:

In situations like these -- when bubble teams grab a huge win in conference tourney play -- it is typical for fans to assume their team must automatically be lifted into the field. Not so fast. As important as a late-season neutral-court tourney win against a top-20 RPI outfit is, and thrilling as it was, Friday was nonetheless Michigan's fourth top-100 win of the season. Its sub-200 nonconference schedule is still dead weight. The Wolverines' lack of bad losses compares favorably to other bubble teams, but a 4-11 top-100 record hardly makes for a sure bet. For now, it's more like a 50-50 bet. One more win like Friday's would do much to strengthen those odds.

With some potential bid thieves still out there, 50-50 seems accurate right now. ESPN's Joe Lunardi still had Michigan out of the field when he gave an update on TV following the game, though he had Vanderbilt ahead of the Wolverines, which I have a hard time seeing after the Commodores lost to a sub-.500 Tennessee squad in their SEC Tournament opener. Yahoo's Brad Evans, on the other hand, currently has Michigan as the last at-large in the field.

A win would seal up a bid. A loss and Michigan might need some help. Pull hard against Tulsa and St. Bonaventure tonight.

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 SIBMIHHAT
G 3 PJ Thompson So. 5'10, 188 56 12 No
Low usage, decent outside shooter, great assist:turnover ratio, high FT rate.
G 35 Rapheal Davis Sr. 6'6, 217 64 17 Not really
Last year's B1G DPOY, iffy shooter but can hit open jumpers. True lockdown guy.
F 12 Vince Edwards So 6'8, 225 66 21 No
Solid all-around player, 42% 3P shooter, PG-level assist rate.
F 50 Caleb Swanigan Fr. 6'9, 250 62 24 Yes
Beast on boards, playing very well lately, can struggle with turnovers.
C 20 AJ Hammons Sr. 7'0, 250 55 28 Not really
Living up to his potential: monster rebounder and shot-blocker, shooting 60%.
G 31 Dakota Mathias So. 6'4, 200 46 14 No
39% 3P shooter rarely ventures inside arc. Good distributor.
G 1 Johnny Hill Sr. 6'3, 187 44 18 Very
Strong finisher for a PG, TO-prone, no outside shot, surprisingly good off. 
C 44 Isaac Haas So. 7'2, 282 37 29 Very
Behemoth. Good finisher and rebounder, not nearly Hammons as shot-blocker.

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

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Indiana

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Indiana

Submitted by Ace on March 10th, 2016 at 4:24 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #8 Michigan (21-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
#1 Indiana (25-6, 15-4)
WHERE Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana
WHEN Noon ET, Friday
LINE Indiana -7 (KenPom)
TV ESPN

Right: Obligatory. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

THE STAKES

A win and Michigan likely secures an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. A loss almost certainly relegates Michigan to the NIT. The stakes don't get much higher.

THE LAST TIME

Let's not talk about the last time.

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 SIBMIHHAT
G 11 Yogi Ferrell Sr. 6'0, 180 86 25 No
One of the best PGs in the country. Great outside shooter, distributor.
G 4 Robert Johnson (inj.)* So. 6'3, 195 57 18 No
Excellent three-point shooter. Inefficient inside arc. Turnover-prone.
F 30 Collin Hartman Jr. 6'7, 215 55 13 No
Low-usage, Just A Shooter™ type making 38% of threes.
F 5 Troy Williams Jr. 6'7, 215 64 26 Not really
Great athlete and finisher, impactful defender, improved shooter, TO-prone.
C 31 Thomas Bryant Fr. 6'10, 245 56 22 Not really
Top-flight post scorer also boasts strong rebounding and block rates.
G 2 Nick Zeisloft Sr. 6'4, 210 49 13 No
Has attempted 139 threes and 14 twos this season. 43% 3P shooter.
F 0 Max Bielfeldt Gr. 6'8, 240 43 22 No
Rebounding and scoring well, third-best steal rate in B1G. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
F 3 OG Anunoby Fr. 6'8, 215 31 18 No
Efficient inside-outside scorer, good offensive rebounder, turnover-prone.

*Robert Johnson has missed IU's last three games with a high ankle sprain; while there hasn't been a definitive update on his status, there's a decent chance he's available to play. Forward Juwan Morgan's status is also up in the air after he appeared to aggravate a shoulder injury on Sunday against Maryland.

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

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Northwestern

Big Ten Tournament Preview: Northwestern

Submitted by Ace on March 10th, 2016 at 10:14 AM

THE ESSENTIALS16303652561_b257fe10c4_z

WHAT #8 Michigan (20-11, 10-8 B1G) vs.
#9 Northwestern (20-11, 8-10)
WHERE Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, Indiana
WHEN Noon ET, Thursday
LINE Michigan -2 (KenPom)
TV BTN
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Jon Crispin

Right: Alex Olahjuwon. [Upchurch]

THE STAKES

A true must-win. Michigan isn't even among the first four teams out on the current Bracket Matrix. They need to win this game and upset Indiana in the following round to have a viable shot at making the NCAA Tournament field.

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 SIBMIHHAT
G 30 Bryant McIntosh So. 6'3, 185 87 25 No
Only Wildcat with a high assist rate (2nd B1G); eFG % plummeted in B1G play
G 3 Tre Demps Sr. 6’3, 202 91 23 Yes
Off-guard often forced to create late in shot clock, low TO, better at 2’s than 3’s
F 34 Sanjay Lumpkin Jr. 6’6, 220 57 11 Sorta
Wallflower with just 84 FGA, terrible combo of efficiency and usage
F 35 Aaron Falzon Fr. 6’8, 213 61 17 Not Really
Active on offensive glass, mostly shoots 3’s at 36%, low turnovers
C 22 Alex Olah Sr. 7’0, 275 47 24 Very
Has dealt with injuries, but still a good rim protector, efficient scorer on offense
G 20 Scottie Lindsey So. 6’5, 205 46 18 No
Other half of SF platoon w/Lumpkin, Northwestern’s best shooter at 41% from 3
F 44 Gavin Skelly So. 6’8, 225 29 16 Very
Good rebounding rates in limited minutes, efficient from 2, rarely shoots
C 12 Derek Pardon Fr. 6’8, 230 26 19 Very
Classic freshman big guy profile: rebounds well, fouls a lot, only 2’s (but at 66%)

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