Michigan (6-2) vs.
Eastern Michigan (7-1)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||9:00* pm EST, Tuesday|
|LINE||Michigan -10 (KenPom)|
*Actual time TBD. Game tips after 6:30 WBB game vs. Princeton
SO THAT HAPPENED
Okay, elephant in the room. Michigan is coming off a loss to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. And not at technology things. At basketball. In a real game.
Fortunately, basketball upsets are not quite like football upsets. Rivals will guffaw, and will bring it up for years. Buckeyes and Spartans are buying NJIT stuff like hotcakes. And Michigan fans are pretty confident that unlike, say, App State, this is just a sign that crap happens. Beilein Uber Alles.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. %Min and %Poss figure are from this season now—yes, there will be a fair amount of noise in these numbers for a while. 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.
|G||1||Mike Talley||Sr.||6'0, 176||61||21||No|
|Incredibly efficient, pass-first PG. Gets to the line a LOT.|
|G||0||Ray Lee||So.||6'3, 170||75||30||No|
|Another massive usage guard. Having a really good year. DANGERMAN.|
|F||14||Karrington Ward||Sr.||6'8, 212||79||22||Yes|
|Large guy. Splits time between the three and four.|
|F||3||Anali Okoloji||Sr.||6'8, 232||56||22||Kinda|
|Big guy, can step out and shoot.|
|C||30||Mike Samuels||Jr.||6'11, 285||35||27||Very|
|Big dude is big. Probably a more comfy matchup for Doyle.|
|G/F||5||Jodan Price||So.||6'7, 180||52||18||No|
|Splits between the two and three. Exclusively a deep threat. Literally.|
|C||12||Lekan Ajayi||Jr.||6'11, 245||37||10||Oh yeah|
|Splits time with Samuels at the five. Zero offensive anything, other than OR%|
|G||25||Ethan Alvano||Fr.||6'1, 170||41||16||Yup yup yup|
|10% eFG% is bad. 0-11 from deep. Really good A/TO ratio.|
First, the bad news: Eastern Michigan Basketball is most decidedly not Eastern Michigan Football. The basketball version is 7-1, which is more wins than the football team has put up in the last three seasons combined. Instead of being a doormat, they are potentially in the hunt to compete in the MAC. They’re #132 in KenPom. Northwestern is #129. This is a real team.
Now, the good news: Eastern put together their seven wins by playing three Division 2 schools, four schools in the 200’s or worse in KenPom (#206 Oakland, #201 Youngstown State, #293 UNC Greensboro, and #343 Longwood*). They are coming off a nine point loss to #56 Dayton, however, which isn’t a terrible result.
More good news: Michigan already beat the much better version of this team. It was called Syracuse. EMU head coach Rob Murphy spent six years as an assistant to Jim Boeheim, and runs the same 2-3 zone. And like Syracuse, EMU is tall and long; their effective height is #44 in the country, and they can run a lineup that averages over 6’8” at the two through the five. They block a lot of shots, and they pick up a lot of steals. They give up a lot of three point attempts. Their profile is very much the profile of a 2-3 zone team, and one that runs an effective version of the 2-3.
Offensively, Eastern is led by shooting guard Ray Lee, who uses 29.9% of possessions and takes 32% of shots when he’s on the floor. He is currently shooting 64.4% eFG% from the field, but that may be SoS-influenced; that number was 44.4% last year. He’s also shooting 46% from three, but shot only 31% as a freshman. Maybe he took a leap, but he has also undoubtedly boosted his stats by feasting on some delicious snacky cakes.
The other dangerman is point guard Mike Talley. The Duquesne transfer doesn’t shoot a lot (though he is efficient when he does so), but his assist numbers are astronomical. He also gets to the foul line; he’s one of 13 players in the country playing real minutes with more free throw attempts than field goal attempts. He is currently only 68% from the line, however. Talley is also the son of former Michigan point guard Michael Talley.
One oddity to note: primary backup Jodan Price, who spends most of his time at the three, is 38% (11-29) from three, but is 0-9 from two.
As a team, Eastern does a couple of things very well: they take care of the ball and they get to the foul line; they have four players who draw 5+ fouls per 40 minutes. Some of this may be the result of experience (they run three seniors in the starting lineup), or just being coached by someone far more not bad than the folks who have coached Eastern Michigan Football in the last ALL THE YEARS.
[Ed-Seth: I did my best to recreate Ace's thing here]
Hit threes – This is a pretty obvious point for a Beilein team in pretty much every game, but nearly 40% of the shots that go up against Eastern are from beyond the arc. If Michigan’s snipers have an above-average night, this one could get out of hand early. If Zak Irvin goes 1-of-8 from deep again… Zak Irvin should not go 1-of-8 from deep again.
Stay out of foul trouble – Michigan doesn’t foul. Eastern lives on foul shots. Fortunately, most of that pressure is in the backcourt, where that prospect is a little less concerning than for the bigs, but if Caris picks up a couple of cheapies, the autobench could make things interesting going into the half. Which is why Michigan needs to…
Push it. Puh-push it real good – Eastern has played the second weakest schedule of defensive teams in the country. Their only decent opponent, Dayton, shoots under 50% eFG% and can’t shoot threes for crap. There’s a good chance that it will take the Eagles some time to adjust to this quality of offensive opponent. Michigan has a chance to wipe that New Jersey-ish taste out of its mouth if it can pressure EMU early offensively, not from a tempo standpoint but from an efficient murder-death-machine standpoint.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 10.
Dylan’s UMHoops preview. Brennan Quinn’s MLive previews. A camera carried by a helper monkey who is following Jim Harbaugh around.