Preview: Minnesota

Submitted by Tim on February 11th, 2010 at 5:00 PM

The EssentialsGOPHS.gif

WHAT Michigan v. Minnesota
WHERE St Paul, MN
WHEN 7:00PM EST (6PM Local)
February 11th, 2010
THE LINE Michigan +8.5*
TELEVISION ESPN

*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.

Michigan

John Beilein has had plenty of time to scheme and prepare his team, which I still maintain he's among the best at doing, so that counts for something. The Wolverines also don't need to worry about preparing for the next opponent, since they won't hit the court again until next Tuesday, taking this weekend off.

However, there's still that tiny factor in play that this is a fundamentally flawed, and simply not good basketball team whether it's because Manny Harris has regressed or is otherwise struggling, or the team just can't shoot (or defend), something isn't right. The Wolverines have very little to play for, and that's not exactly a recipe for a stunning turnaround.   

Minnesota

The Gophers, like Northwestern, are playing undermanned this year, though for totally different reasons. Royce White was booted from the team for a number of legal problems, Trevor Mbakwe is in a similar boat, and Al Nolen scoffs at your notions that he should do such things as "go" to "class." With all their personnel difficulties, the Gophers are very much a team in turmoil. HOWEVA, they are also very much a team on the bubble. With a strong finish to the year, they can make it into the NCAA tournament, and a win over Michigan is key to that scenario.

Forward Damian Johnson and center Ralph Sampson MCVII (actually the Third) are among the Gophers' leaders in offensive rating, though Sampson's effort has been called into question at times. Both of them are outdone by Blake Hoffarber, who leads the nation in offensive rating, with the best True Shooting% of any player in the country, as well.

Tempo-Free Breakdown

If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.

Michigan v. Minnesota: National Ranks
Category Michigan Rank Minnesota Rank Advantage
Mich eFG% v. Minn Def eFG% 226 67 GG
Mich Def eFG% v. Minn eFG% 206 26 GG
Mich TO% v. Minn Def TO% 21 11 G
Mich Def TO% v. Minn TO% 54 86 M
Mich OReb% v. Minn DReb% 266 123 GG
Mich DReb% v. Minn OReb% 211 210 -
Mich FTR v. Minn Opp FTR 335 124 GGG
Mich Opp FTR v. Minn FTR 12 255 MMM
Mich AdjO v. Minn AdjD 126 21 GG
Mich AdjD v. Minn AdjO 43 75 M

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. G is for Gophers.

Michigan has gone from a mediocre-yet-improving team to a flatly bad one over the course of a couple weeks. Minnesota is a pretty good squad, which means they will probably truck the Wolverines.

Michigan has an advantage in but two categories, which would be forcing the Gophers to turn it over (something they did well last year, forcing 30 Minnesota turnovers in two games), and not sending them to the free throw line. The flip side of that is that Michigan probably won't shoot a single free throw, and the Gophers actually have an advantage in forcing Michigan turnovers, something we won't see too many times this year.

On the road, against a team that is playing for its NCAA tournament life, I can't see the Wolverines emerging from the Barn with a win. Ken Pomeroy likes Minnesota by 9, and Vegas makes them the 8.5-point favorites. I see Michigan going to DeShawn Sims early, and managing to stay in the game, but not coming out with a win. The spreads look about right, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Michigan cover.

Elsewhere

UMHoops asks Jonathan of From The Barn some questions, and Dylan also answers some himself in FTB's game preview.

Comments

urbanachiever

February 11th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

This game was one of the more frustrating games of the season. It reminded me of how good of a coach Belein can be and how good we can be when we take care of the ball and take good shots. It reminded me of last season

michfan4borw

February 12th, 2010 at 1:22 AM ^

Darius Morris having a game where I'm not making excuses for him b/c he's a freshman. He took care of the ball, made mostly good decisions and shot his open looks well. Made a great pass to Manny on a break and also penetrated with a great look late to Sims.

Stu Douglass actually looking to score when he's open. He attacked the basket nicely.

Zack Gibson gave very good minutes.

The team and Darius handled the press well.

Manny really facilitated alot on both sides of the court. He scored late when necessary, but I liked his assists to Sims. The two of them looked really in sync tonight.

I say let's just see this team motivated to improve the PROGRAM. These guys are getting better, they just haven't been able to show it consistently. In our last losses, I liked our defense -- except for against WI. That game was ugly.

V.O.R.

February 12th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

Nice win for Michigan even against a struggling team because Michigan played solidly and they did it on the road in the Big Ten. We have to keep it up during this stretch and go into the BT tourney playing this way. Yes, we still need to get better and work on a number of things but I believe this team can pull it together.