Wait, there's something happening outside of football right now? Who knew?
|WHAT||Michigan v. #3 Kansas|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
4:30 PM EST
January 9th, 2011
|THE LINE||Michigan +10.5|
Though the victory over Harvard now gives Michigan a top-50 victim in RPI, Kansas is the Wolverines' last chance for a marquee victory in the non-conference - well, their last chance for another non-conference win at all. It won't be an easy task, as Kansas is one of the top teams in the country with a 14-0 record.
On the bright side for Michigan, the Jayhawks haven't been tested on the road much, with a single game at an opponent's home court. On the not-so-bright side, that was a 15-point win over a Cal team with approximately the same Kenpom rating as Michigan.
Kansas comes in with a stacked roster including the Morris twins (Markieff and Marcus) in the frontcourt, along with super freshman Josh Selby, who has emerged as a serious threat in the past five games (he was ineligible for the first nine) - and was described as possessing a "killer instinct" by onetime camp teammate Darius Morris. Add in a number of role players who would start at almost any other program in the country,
With a few games under each team's belt, it's finally reasonable to look at the stats. If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Kansas: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Kansas Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. KU Def eFG%||83||7||K|
|Mich Def eFG% v. KU eFG%||72||1||K|
|Mich TO% v. KU Def TO%||32||38||-|
|Mich Def TO% v. KU TO%||261||96||KK|
|Mich OReb% v. KU DReb%||277||54||KKK|
|Mich DReb% v. KU OReb%||27||22||-|
|Mich FTR v. KU Opp FTR||331||53||KKK|
|Mich Opp FTR v. KU FTR||17||142||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. KU AdjD||74||1||K|
|Mich AdjD v. KU AdjO||66||8||K|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
OMG Rebounds and free throw rate are racists. Other than that, uh... gulp?
By any measure, Kansas should be able to run Michigan off the floor. Though Michigan can claim statistical stalemates in a couple areas, the Jayhawks have a huge edge in some of them.
Michigan has been able to scheme well against teams that have a good outside game or a good inside game so far this year, but they don't have the defensive firepower to handle a squad that has both. Kansas, the best-shooting team in the country on the basis of Marcus Morris pounding inside, and a number of outside shooters. Shutting down both will be the toughest task so far this season.
Then again, that was the case last year, too. Michigan had a much worse team (despite Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims's absence, I think there's no arguing otherwise at this point) and was playing on the road, but managed to hold the final margin to just eleven points.
That said, I'll be surprised if the Wolverines are able to pull this one off. This is a young team that has faced some adversity this year (and responded well to some of it), but no test as serious this one. Expect the Morris twins to each hit double-digits, and at least three Jayhawks to connect on at least four long-range shots.
On the other side, Darius Morris will struggle to get his offense, with strong perimeter defense preventing him from getting his jumpers, and a trio of the country's top 500 shot blockers patroling the lane (the Morrises along with sophomore Thomas Robinson). Zack Novak, not Morris, will be the Wolverine to notch a double-double. Jordan Morgan will struggle offensively, but do surprisingly well on D.
In the end though, Kansas has way too much talent for Michigan to overcome. They'll use the fastbreak to score more on Michigan than any team has so far this year, emerging with the 82-64 victory.