Preview: Bryant Comment Count

Ace December 23rd, 2015 at 2:48 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Michigan (9-3) vs
Bryant (2-9)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 7 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Michigan -23 (KenPom)
TV BTN
PBP: Jeff Levering
Analyst: Stephen Bardo

Right: If Bryant doesn't bring Tupper to tonight's game they deserve to lose by 50. [Photo: Tupper's Twitter]

THE US

DJ Wilson made a surprise appearance in garbage time against Youngstown State, so aside from the loss of Spike Albrecht this team is back at full strength. 

Despite the injury issues, the rotation has taken shape over the course of the last few weeks, and tonight's final tune-up before Big Ten play should provide a preview of how John Beilein will utilize the bench even though another blowout is expected.

Meanwhile, Albrecht's father is quoted in a report from the Post-Tribune saying Spike will pursue a medical redshirt and he "think(s) he'll play" next season. While that opens the door for a return to Michigan, the Wolverines are currently oversigned by one player for 2016-17; transferring elsewhere for a grad year is a more likely option. MLive's Brendan Quinn caught up with the elder Albrecht to get further details:

According to Chuck Albrecht, there has been no conversation with Beilein about scholarships or the future — the issues that stirred a small sea of speculation on Tuesday night.

"No, we haven't talked, but we know the facts," Chuck Albrecht said. "We know they're over one scholarship. We know these things and we follow these things. We know there's a top point guard (Xavier Simpson) going in there next year. Those are facts that we know.

"But no, Spike hasn't sat down with coach Beilein, but I'm sure that'll happen sometime."

Another year at Michigan hasn't been ruled out, even if it appears unlikely; neither has a grad transfer or even playing pro ball overseas.

THE THEM

Michigan has beaten three opponents by 50+ points this season. As the #329 team on KenPom, and one that runs a lot of 2-3 zone, Bryant may very well be the fourth.

Senior point guard Shane McLaughlin is the team's primary distributor with 44 assists, 30 more than any other Bulldog, but his 33 turnovers are a serious issue. Shooting splits of 50/29/38 (yes, that's 38% from the line) aren't helping much, either.

Fellow starting guards Hunter Ware and Nisre Zouzoua both stand at 6'2" and take a little under half their shots from outside the arc, shooting 32% and 34% on three-pointers, respectively. Ware is the team's leading scorer by virtue of being much more efficient on two-pointers (48% to 36%), while Zouzoua is more likely to get to the line. Incredibly, Zouzoua (83% FT) is the only Bulldog to make more than two-thirds of his free throws, and one of just two regulars to crack 60%.

6'6", 215-pound starting four Dan Garvin is an good rebounder and shot-blocker; he also serves as the team's highest-usage offensive option. That latter bit hasn't gone so well. He's shooting 40% on twos, hit one of eight threes, and is languishing at 55% from the line.

Starting in the middle is 6'5", 250-pound true freshman Marcel Pettway; that height/weight listing is not a typo. Despite being quite undersized, Pettway has managed to make an impact on the boards, and he even posted a 15-point, 12-rebound effort against Georgetown, albeit in a game the Hoyas won by 30. Pettway has only four blocks this season despite manning the middle of a 2-3 zone; Michigan should be able to attack the basket without too much resistance.

Bryant's sixth man is 6'7" wing Bosko Kostur, who takes over half his shots from downtown while connecting on 25% of them. The primary backup big, Gus Riley, is a stretch-four type also making only 25% of his threes while posting a paltry 8.5% mark on the defensive boards; that should explain why a 6'5" freshman starts in the post.

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

THE RESUME

Bryant has two wins this season, each 13-point home victories. They came against #348 Prarie View A&M and D-III Emerson College. In their nine losses, they've only come within ten points of their opponent three times: at #224 New Hampshire, at home against #249 Brown, and—rather remarkably—at #38 Providence in their most recent game. Bryant jumped out to an early 29-17 lead in that game that the Friars salted away despite a horrible shooting performance.

THE TEMPO-FREE

Small sample size caveats apply.


Four Factors explanation

Bryant doesn't do a single thing well offensively. I know that sounds harsh, but...

...it's undeniably true.

On the other end of the floor, the Bulldogs are good at avoiding fouls, and otherwise similarly terrible. Opponents are making 56% of their two-pointers and 36% of their three-pointers on a steady stream of open looks—Bryant allows more three-point attempts than all but ten teams in the country.

THE KEYS

Win the game. Preferably by 50.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Michigan by 23.

Bryant is very bad and their defensive style should play right into Michigan's strengths. This could be the game that gets Zak Irvin going from the outside, which would easily be the most positive possible development to come from this.

ELSEWHERE

UMHoops preview. Maize n Brew preview.

Dylan takes a closer look at Zak Irvin's shooting struggles and the development of the rest of his game; if he finds his three-point stroke, he could morph into one of the better players in the conference. The progression we saw in his driving, rebounding, and passing at the end of last season has continued.

Comments

funkywolve

December 23rd, 2015 at 3:41 PM ^

Whereas football tends to schedule non-conference games a few years, and in the bigger home and home matchups several years, in advance, most non-conference bball schedules are pieced together less than 24 months in advance.  I'm guessing most of next years non-conference schedule is still tbd.

Padog

December 23rd, 2015 at 3:06 PM ^

So:
Derrick Walton vs. McLaughlin = Michigan by a lot
Caris LeVert vs. Ware = Michigan by a lot
Duncan Robinson vs. Zouzoua = Michigan by a lot
Zak Irvin vs. Garvin = Michigan by a lot
Ricky Doyle vs. Pettway = Michigan by a lot.
I say we have the advantage here.

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The Geek

December 23rd, 2015 at 3:48 PM ^

are legit, but looking ahead to our B1G schedule... Yeesh! 

The final 9 game-stretch is just brutal. 

In addition to our beloved Wolverines, I'm going to keep an eye on the Iowa/Sparty series. Iowa has looked very good, and they get MSU -Valentine to open the B1G on December 29, and Valentine will be just returning(?) for their second meeting January 14.

I envision Iowa sweeping Sparty and Izzo bitching about injuries until March... 

MI Expat NY

December 23rd, 2015 at 3:49 PM ^

Is that based on having watched Northwestern?  I know they have a gaudy record, but they have one top-100 RPI win over #98 Missouri and their overall SOS is 324.  I haven't really seen them, but I'd guess they're going to have to beat some real teams before they are ranked, and by February they could very well be exposed in the Big Ten.  

Boner Stabone

December 23rd, 2015 at 4:03 PM ^

I think the solution for Spike next year is to send Donnal walking and open up his scholarship for Spike. We will have plenty of depth down low and Donnal would just be wasting time on the pine.

Richard75

December 23rd, 2015 at 6:31 PM ^

Wouldn't be surprised if two guys left.

Not including Spike, there are 10 players due back next year. No way will all 10 be in the rotation, especially when you consider that we haven't accounted for a backup PG yet. Whether Spike returns or not, the rising juniors will have some decisions to make.

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badbundy

December 23rd, 2015 at 6:18 PM ^

I'm not so sure Ricky Doyle vs Pettway equals Michigan by a lot... I'll give you the other 4. Our bigs are a disaster... DJ Wilson baffles me, he looks the part.

kashacriggs

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