Michigan (9-3) vs
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||7 pm ET, Wednesday|
|LINE||Michigan -23 (KenPom)|
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]
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.
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.]
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.
Small sample size caveats apply.
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.
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.
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.