|WHAT||#6 Michigan (26-5) vs
#34 Iowa (22-10)
|WHERE||Phil Klein Insurance Group Center
|WHEN||9:30 PM, probably|
|LINE||Michigan -8, 76% to win (Kenpom)
Michigan –9.4, 82% to win (Torvik)
Michigan will not go 4-0 at this year's Big Ten tournament, as they have the last two years. If they defend their crown for the third year running they'll have to settle for 3-0, because they've finally entered the tournament with a double bye.
To advance they'll have to take on the team that nearly ended last year's run before it started: Iowa.
THE LINEUP CARD
Click for big.
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.
|G||3||Jordan Bohannon||Jr.||6'1, 185||76||19||115||No|
|SG miscast as PG. Not Just A Shooter (20 A rate, 40 FT rate) but should be: just 34% inside line. 38% from deep.|
|G||4||Isaiah Moss||Jr.||6'5, 208||59||20||104||No|
|Top priority: run this guy off the line. Shooting 34/44 in Big Ten play, with almost two thirds of his shots from two.|
|G||10||Joe Wieskamp||Fr.||6'6, 205||67||17||122||No|
|Composite #60 FR is high quality Not Just A Shooter hitting 57/43 with decent FT rate. Iggy-ish black hole, low TOs, 17% usage should be higher probably.|
|F||25||Tyler Cook||Jr.||6'9, 250||73||26||105||Yes|
|Second in B10 Count Dunkula standings, majority of usage at rim where he hits 73%. Big time struggles in B10 play.|
|C||55||Luka Garza||So.||6'11, 245||52||25||117||Yes|
|Eyebrows Moe designation repealed as Garza is 29% from 3 on season. Excellent interior scorer, horrible defensively. Doesn't rebound much either.|
|G||30||Connor McCaffery||Fr.||6'5, 205||46||17||106||Yes|
|Composite #152 FR has top 150 A rate and absurd FT rate (107!!!) that would be #2 nationally if he played 60% of minutes. 27 TO rate in B10 play, shooting 36/17.|
|G||1||Maishe Dailey||Jr.||6'7 200||32||14||92||Yes|
|Low usage guy shooting 53/21 with half his shots from three, 20 TO rate.|
|F||51||Nicholas Baer||Sr.||6'7, 218||48||17||118||No|
|Unkillable Methuselah ranks nationally in DREB, TO rate, Blk%, Stl%, and 3P%. Shooting 54/39 with good FT rate but only 64% at line. Would be 30 MPG starter on most B10 teams.|
|F||15||Ryan Kriener||Jr.||6'9 255||34||20||111||Meh|
|Three level scorer shooting 59/35. TOs an issue. Also bad defensively.|
[hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Iowa has a pattern. I know it. I ignore it but I do know it:
…your author says things like "Iowa's really going to do it this year!" on a near-annual basis despite Iowa having not, in fact, ever "done it" in McCaffrey's nine-year tenure. McCaffrey's best B10 season is 12-6; his best seed is a seven; his best NCAA finish is in the second round.
After a 15 point win against Michigan Iowa got to 10-6 in the league… and finished on a four game skid including losses to Ohio State (they gave up 90 points!), Rutgers (at home!), and Nebraska (the six scholarship player version!). They finished 10-10 in the league. They got to .500 with a series of improbable buzzer-beaters. This is a brutal Big Ten and Iowa's a tourney lock, but that's the pattern.
That doesn't mean Iowa isn't serious business, particularly for a Michigan program that's struggled with the Hawkeyes over the last few years. Michigan's 3-4 against the Hawkeyes in the last four years, and though Michigan got a 3-game season sweep last year the tourney game went to OT.
As per usual, previous preview. Iowa's played a third of a season since the last matchup, so there are some notes:
- As Ace pointed out in our roundtable, Tyler Cook had a miserable big ten season, shooting 50% from two with a 20 TO rate and hitting 62% from the line. He did continue his giant FT rate, which was the main issue for Michigan in the first game.
- Luka Garza's three point shooting has deserted him; he's at 29% on the season on 66 attempts, and that's 21% in Big Ten play. He's still shooting 60% from two and hitting 81% at the line. He's not Eyebrows Moe, as was theorized in this space. He continues to be the worst defensive C in the league.
- Both Isaiah Moss and Jordan Bohannon further ensconced themselves in the "run off the line at all costs" club. Bohannon: 35% from 2, 39% from three. Moss: 38/42. Bohannon has gotten a bunch of FTs that make his ventures inside the line okay to decent. Moss: no.
- Connor McCaffrey's been outright horrible in league play: A 24 assist rate is offset by a 27 TO rate and 36/17 shooting.
ABOUT LAST TIME
Tarkin' it [Barron]
Michigan lost by 15 in Carver-Hawkeye in a weird guys game in which Michigan played five different guys at the 5 in the first half. Jon Teske fouled out in 13 minutes, partly because of a silly slap at the ball 90 seconds in and partly because of a brutally bad call when he verticality'd Tyler Cook and got homered.
In his stead, Livers, Davis, Castleton, and Johns combined to make one shot—that a Livers three—and get three rebounds (two Castleton, one Livers) as everyone except Castleton struggled to deal with Iowa's interior size. Teske was 4/6 in his limited minutes and headed towards the usual Iowa game in which Luka Garza gets destroyed on D and tries to keep up. Instead Garza and Kriener were 12/17 from two while Michigan's offense fell apart as their pick and roll game turned into pick-and-uh-try-something-else.
Theoretically, 30 minutes of Teske and 10 of the emerging Castleton should flip this game on both ends of the court. Iowa attempted just 14 threes in the first game and even the brutal interior D from Michigan's backups only got the Hawkeyes up to 47% inside the line. Michigan's inability to hit anything as the structure of their offense fell apart saw them put up one of their worst offensive performances of the year.
Iowa's conference numbers are very Iowa. On offense:
- They're third in the league.
- They're 36% from 3 and while they're just 48% from two that's good for fifth because this league has a ton of great Ds.
- They get to the line, they're pretty decent at TOs, and they have a bunch of assists.
- They're the fastest team in the league.
- They're dead last at defending twos (55%) and bad at threes (34%), of which they give up a ton. That adds up to the worst eFG D in the league.
- They're 10th in OREBs allowed, and mediocre at all other things.
- They give up more assists on made buckets than anyone else in the conference.
There is a pattern.
Teske existing. And Castleton! Another 13 minute game for Teske would be bad. That analysis is why you guys pay me the big bucks. But! It wouldn't be as bad as the last time, because Michigan now knows who their backup 5 is. Castleton got his first run in the Iowa game and was a clear and instant defensive upgrade over all competitors; since then he's demonstrated a Teske-ish ability to catch and finish while rolling to the basket.
Still: 30 minutes of Teske against the worst interior D in the conference plus whatever impact he'd have on the effectiveness of Kriener and Garza should be a giant swing.
Obligatory zone mention. Iowa is a rarity in the league: a team that plays a fair amount of zone. Watching Michigan against zones this year has been a trial at times. Iowa's zone isn't good, but Michigan doesn't really have the horses to shoot over it unless Poole's having a day, and they're super horrible at midrange jumpers.
This stands from the previous preview:
FREE THROW LINE JUMPERS ARE DEATH. Luka Garza's block rate is lower than five different Binghamton Bearcats. If you get it in the middle take two dribbles and go at the basket.
Charles Matthews existing? Michigan's scraped by the last few games okay, with the obvious exception, but they're a 6.5 man rotation down a man, and this is a game against one of the higher-quality scorers in the league in Wieskamp. Matthews coming back would free up Livers to go back to the four, where Tyler Cook draws a ton of fouls, and hopefully clamp down on Wieskamp and his 121 conference ORTG. Whatever offense Matthews might bring is almost incidental compared to his potential impact on defense.
Shut off threes. Bohannon and Moss have two of the most precipitous eFG-from-two dropoffs in the country. Anything where those guys are going to the basket and shooting something contested is a win for Michigan. They did a very good job of this in the first game, allowing only 14 attempts from deep.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 8.