|WHAT||#4 Michigan (9-0) vs
#222 Western Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||2 PM Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan –24 (Kenpom)|
Michigan has reached their annual near-dormant mid-December. The next three opponents are all buy games that Kenpom favors Michigan in by absurd margins. This is in part because the teams are bad, but they're not as bad as they usually are. Last year's trio of Detroit, Jacksonville, and Alabama A&M were all 319th or worse in Kenpom. A&M was a 3-28 SWAC team.
This year's slate is more respectable, and Michigan might be slightly disappointed that they're getting slightly down versions of WMU, which is usually around .500 in the MAC but seems headed for the bottom of the league this year, and Air Force. Even somewhat weak versions of those two programs are (probably) much better for NET purposes than the confused time-traveling Mongol squads of yesteryear.
Binghamton? Well, can't win 'em all.
Michigan should cruise past all three of these opponents in dominating fashion, but Michigan's seven-man rotation is looking a little vulnerable to foul trouble and injury so there will be moments of import for down the road when Jon Teske, in particular, exits.
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.
|G||12||Michael Flowers||So.||6'1 195||76||23||106||No|
|PG shooting pretty well and getting to line; TOs an issue. Mansome DREB PG.|
|G||4||Jared Printy||Jr.||6'4, 185||68||12||117||No|
|Just A Shooter.|
|G||3||Josh Davis||Sr.||6'5, 200||79||24||95||No|
|Senior's uptick in usage is almost all turnovers. Shooting almost the exact same, TO rate nearly doubles to 28, ORTG 95.|
|F||11||Kawanise Wilkins||So.||6'5 235||60||18||119||Maybe|
|JUCO transfer shot 37% from 3 last year. Struggling from there so far but solid all-around game otherwise. Getting his own shots.|
|C||50||Seth Dugan||Sr.||7'0, 240||79||27||115||Yes|
|Traditional C has taken big leap forward in his final year. Shooting up, assists up, rebounding up. Very good at rim (75%, half assisted). 14% on other twos. Not a shotblocker.|
|G||2||Adrian Martin||Fr.||6'3 170||41||16||49||Yes|
|FR shooting 14/15 from floor. Not a typo. On 41 shots!|
|F||15||Patrick Emilien||Fr.||6'6, 190||39||15||80||Yes|
|Uh this guy is at 27/19. Gets some OREBs at least?|
|G||20||William Boyer-Richard||Fr.||6'1, 185||32||16||77||Meh|
|Hey this guy's at 40/33! … with a 42 TO rate.|
|F||24||Adida Ikongshul||Jr.||6'6, 265||13||22||76||Yes|
|Ye gods: shooting 3/24 from two for his career.|
[Hit THE JUMP for A STUNNING PREDICTION.]
WMU got hammered 90-64 and 78-52 by the two major programs (Ole Miss and Cincinnati, respectively) they've played so far this year. They also have losses to Nicholls State and USC Upstate, soooo… yeah. All their wins have been against teams ranked 242nd or worse.
That said, the individual offensive stats these guys are putting up don't look terrible until you roll them together. Center Seth Dugan is a seven-footer who's having a solid sendoff season, pushing up towards 30% usage while improving his FT rate and two-point shooting while maintaining a big-time OREB rate. He gets everything at the rim, where he's a 75% shooter with about half of his makes unassisted. Get him away from the rim and he's hitting 14%. The mandate is clear. Teske hasn't really played a true back-to-the-basket C much this year, so Dugan will be an interesting Happ-ish preview?
Fellow senior Josh Davis got a bit more usage heaped on him this year and has spent almost literally all of it booting balls out of bounds. He's shooting 57/34 and getting to the line some, but his TO rate nearly doubled this year. Feels like a Charles Matthews situation where he can get some shots but when pressed into higher usage he struggles.
JUCO transfer Kawanise Wilkins looks like a find for the Bronco program if he can just pull his three point shooting up, which he should. He was a 37% shooter last year and is hitting 81% from the line, so his early struggles (4/17) behind the arc are probably just a blip. Despite that he's hitting 63% from two and has an assist rate higher than his TO rate; in addition most of his shots are not assisted. He's creating for himself and others with a high-ish but acceptable TO rate for a guy in his first season of major college basketball. His main issue: usage. He's the best non-Dugan option on the team by a fair distance and is stuck at 18%.
PG Michael Flowers is shooting pretty well but a 23 TO rate is a problem; he got about 5 minutes a game last year so there's nothing else to go on.
The final starter, Jared Printy, sits in the corner and shoots threes.
Everyone outside the starting lineup is a rando WMU picked up from the YMCA. I've never seen an entire bench contingent that fails to break 80 ORTG, but here we are. Adrian Martin, Patrick Emilien, William Boyer-Richard, and Adida Ikongshul cannot shoot, turn the ball over constantly, and use far more possessions than they should when they're on the court. Collectively they're getting a quarter of WMU's minutes.
One decent bench player probably takes WMU back up to their level of the last few years.
WMU is about equally poor on both ends of the floor in eerily similar ways. They're horrendous at taking care of the ball (319th) and acquiring turnovers themselves (347th!); they get to the line and keep others off it; they're good inside the arc on both ends and bad outside it.
The only thing that really differs is that WMU crashes the boards a bunch but is a poor defensive rebounding team. So: WMU is a team that usually has a big shot deficit because of the giant turnover disparity of their average game, and they can't shoot away from the rim so it's hard to keep pace two at a time, occasionally.
This has been especially bad against the two major opponents: WMU turned it over 24 and 17 times in those two games.
Win the game. I mean.
Work Brandon Johns and David DeJulius into the rotation some. Michigan might not exactly need players 8 and 9 to be a very good basketball team, but an evident hole at backup C and Eli Brooks seeming more like an off guard means there's an opportunity to scratch out some minutes as the season progresses.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 24.