This Week's Obsession: Who Should Basketball Play?

This Week's Obsession: Who Should Basketball Play?

Submitted by Seth on November 11th, 2015 at 12:48 PM


This was a good idea. Also omigod #23 is Carlton Brundidge; I totally forgot that. [Fuller]

The Question:

Nothing we can do about Michigan basketball's crappy nonconference schedule, but I asked the MGoCrew who they'd play in a home and home.

Opponent KP Rk %win
Elon 268 97%
Xavier 31 72%
Uconn 32 57%
Syracuse* 33 ~57%
Zaga, TX, A&M, Wash 8, 34, 39, 135 ~21%
at NCState 41 46%
Hou Baptist 308 98%
at SMU 23 38%
Delaware St 335 99%
N Kentucky 271 97%
YSU 287 97%
Bryant 240 96%
*Cuse plays Charlotte (261st) in the first round.


Ace: Michigan's non-conference schedule outside of Xavier and the Battle for Atlantis tournament—admittedly some strong competition—is woefully bad. Xavier is the only non-conference home opponent ranked within the top 240(!) teams on KenPom. While you want to schedule some easy wins, that's taking the concept to an extreme while sacrificing both RPI standing and fan interest; games against Houston Baptist and Delaware State aren't exactly big draws.

I'd love to see the Wolverines rekindle a local series against a team that's still quite beatable but at least has a pulse: Oakland. The Grizzlies tend to be ranked in the 150 range on KenPom—they're 160th this preseason—and John Beilein went 4-0 against them from 2008-2012, playing those games either at Crisler or The Palace. They're seemingly the perfect level of opponent; they hung within 20 points of Michigan in each of those games but never came closer than ten points in the final score. Their coach, Greg Kampe, still very much wants to play the series. They're local. They play MSU on a near-annual basis. It makes almost too much sense from both a resumé and fan interest standpoint—I'd so much rather watch Michigan take on Oakland or Detroit than some bottom-feeder from outside the Midwest, and I'm sure I'm not alone there.

[After the JUMP: if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.]

The Defense Returns

The Defense Returns

Submitted by Tim on December 13th, 2009 at 5:35 PM


Michigan 75, Detroit 64. Michigan 5-4 (0-0 Big Ten)

At halftime, this game was looking like it might be just the latest in a series of disappointments in this young basketball season. Detroit led the Wolverines 36-33, and Michigan couldn't make a defensive stop to save their lives. If you had told me that it would be Michigan's defense that would carry the second half, I would have laughed in your face. The team put in a great defensive effort in the second half though, and the Wolverines were able to capitalize and get the 11-point victory.

Zack Novak, despite a poor day offensively, came away with a huge block on a transition play for the Titans. Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims carried the offensive torch for Michigan, and it was the first game in a while that they were both able to really get going at once. Manny finished with 27 points, and was a single rebound away from the double-double.

The outside shooting is still not where it should be, but 33% from behind the arc was a definite improvement over the past few weeks. If the defensive intensity can continue over the rest of the season, Michigan may have turned an important corner today. When opponents don't score, Michigan can keep games close and the shooting will come around eventually.


  • Deshawn Sims was spectacular today. He scored 23 points on just 12 shots. Defensively, he was a little weak in the first half, but he was one of the guys who really turned it on after halftime.
  • Rough day for freshmen. Darius Morris and Matt Vogrich both get very little run. Vogrich was in for just a minute, and still managed to commit a turnover. Eso Akunne was the best freshman on the court.
  • The rotation was really small today. 5 players played 30 minutes or more, and only two other guys (Morris and Zack Gibson) had double-digit minutes.
  • As mentioned above, the shooting was much better than it has been lately, but there's still some room for improvement. Stu Douglass and Zack Novak are just going to tear up the nets at some point.
  • Michigan outrebounded the opponent(!) but didn't force too many turnovers (7). Bizarre day, given the style that the Wolverines usually play.
  • How in the world did Detroit land two transfers from Indiana? That should be a pretty good team in the near future.

Postgame Quotes

"He knows we need him. That's something we talked about, and he just picked it up." Manny Harris, on Deshawn Sims's defensive effort in the second half.

"I think we're just a step slow right now... We've gotta be a little bit quicker." Zack Novak, on the team's defensive struggles this season.

"I just timed it up. You didn't know I could do that, I bet." Zack Novak, on his shot block in the second half.

"We've kinda been trying to play out of what we're capable of. Just stay solid. Stay solid on defense, don't gamble, run the offense. Just do what we've been practicing for the last 2 months." Stu Douglass, on how the team can improve its play.

"I just don't wanna be part of the losing side of that conversation." Deshawn Sims, on playing in-state opponents.

"Down three at the half, I think the guys felt a sense of urgency." John Beilein, on the defensive renaissance in the second half.

"Usually the last thing that comes to young players is defense, not just individually, but also off the ball." John Beilein, on giving freshmen onl limited playing time.

Up Next

The Wolverines have this week off to take their exams, and then have a date with Kansas on Saturday. The Jayhawks are the consensus #1 team in the nation, and Michigan will need a small miracle to come home from Lawrence with a win.

Preview: Detroit

Preview: Detroit

Submitted by Tim on December 13th, 2009 at 9:04 AM

The Essentialsdetroit.png

WHAT Michigan v. Detroit
WHERE Ann Arbor, MI
December 13th, 2009
THE LINE Michigan -13.5*
TELEVISION Big Ten Network

*Line provided by online sports betting site


We're all-too-familiar with the Wolverines' deficiencies by now: They can't shoot and can't rebound. That has led to a lot of trouble, mostly against teams with very athletic guards (Marquette) or good size inside (Boston College, Utah).

Can the team finally snap out of the shooting slump at home against Detroit? They'd better hope so, because the problems have to be worked out in a hurry for the team to even have a chance to keep it respectable against the Jayhawks of Kansas next weekend.

Tempo-Free Breakdown

If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.

Michigan v. Detroit: National Ranks
Category Michigan Rank Detroit Rank Advantage
Mich eFG% v. Detroit Def eFG% 269 128 DD
Mich Def eFG% v. Detroit eFG% 241 146 D
Mich TO% v. Detroit Def TO% 2 62 M
Mich Def TO% v. Detroit TO% 12 248 MMM
Mich OReb% v. Detroit DReb% 259 152 DD
Mich DReb% v. Detroit OReb% 324 135 DDD
Mich FTR v. Detroit Opp FTR 292 214 DD
Mich Opp FTR v. Detroit FTR 3 14 M
Mich AdjO v. Detroit AdjD 207 167 D
Mich AdjD v. Detroit AdjO 116 188 M

Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.

This is what it has come to? Michigan appears to be at a definite statistical disadvantage to... University of Detroit? The only areas in which Michigan appears to be better are holding onto the ball and getting opponents to give it away. HOWEVA, there's something to be said for strength of schedule (Detroit's has been crap so far, outside of a game at Cal). Michigan hasn't put away any teams that are remotely as talented, or those that have looked nearly as good statistically, but Detroit's rankings are something of a scam so far.

The Titans are far better at rebounding, which is something Michigan fans have gotten used to and have no reason to believe will change ever this year. They also draw a good number of fouls, which is a product of playing teams that have no chance of stacking up in the paint. Michigan should be (a little) more able to do that without fouling.

It's hard to tell exactly how good the Titans are, due to their schedule, but it skews toward quite bad, with a loss to Kenpom's #280 team, Tennessee State. Michigan hasn't convinced anyone that they're actually good this year, but being not bad should be enough to put away Detroit i the second half.