After Illinois/tsio today, who stands between M and a B1G title?

Submitted by MaizeMN on January 5th, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Illinois handled tsio quite easily. Who do you feel is the biggest challenge Michigan will face in the BIG this season? Most seem to think IU, but IMHO, the Illini or Minnesota may be the biggest roadblock.

Mod edit: Changed the title to make the contents more clear (the game thread is below). Also a friendly reminder that anything involving Big Ten teams or future opponents is not off topic. JGB.

Comments

mistersuits

January 5th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Michigan could lose all three games @Minny, @Illinois, and @Indiana and be favored to win the rest of their games and win the conference title IMO.

@Ohio and @MSU look like our toughest "must win" road games.

MichiganMan2424

January 5th, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

Still Indiana. Illinois beat Ohio State handily, yes, but their offense wasn't that impressive and they rely too much on the three. They have a bad loss to Purdue already as well. I think we can handle them.

Minnesota scares me and is a good team, but we only play them once and it's early enough in the season we can work around a loss.

tbeindit

January 5th, 2013 at 4:27 PM ^

Did you watch the game?  OSU got man-handled inside and if it weren't for garbage minutes, Deshaun Thomas would have made no presence at all.  Illinois even out-rebounded the Buckeyes today.  

Before this game, I would have agreed with you, but if Illinois can play that way inside, they are going to be VERY tough to beat, even if they are having an off shooting day (which they certainly didn't have today).

MichiganMan2424

January 5th, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

Yeah I did. The game win was obviously a good win for Illinois, but at the same time that game said more to me about OSU than Illinois.

Illinois's offense wasn't overly impressive. They missed a decent amount of open shots, and made a ton of late clock 3 point or long 2 chuck ups that you can't expect them to make on a consistent basis.

They did dominate inside, but that probably says more about OSU than Illinois once again. All OSU has inside are Ravenel and Williams, 2 meh players. In their previous 3 games, which included a game against Auburn, Illinois was out rebounded by 41. We are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, against us I would be surprised if they dominated inside.

And I think you're overdoing how much they shut down Thomas. He didn't have his greatest game, yes, but he still had 24 points, and 20 with over 8 left in the second, so it was not all garbage time.

I think Illinois is good, but this game just showed me more how thin OSU is and their lack of O outside Thomas. Illinois is good, but I think us and Indiana are significantly more talented, and we should beat them.

MichiganMan2424

January 5th, 2013 at 6:26 PM ^

This year Michigan has attempted 297 3's out of 818 total shots, or 36% of the shots. That's higher than the average team, but not by much, and down significantly down from the 44% from last year.

Illinois on the other hand, has 384 attempted 3's out of 899 shots, or a 43% clip. Significantly higher than our clip this year, basically our team from last year. Illinois also shoots 37% from three compared to our 42%, so we're more efficient than them this year, and our team last year.

So not really. Try again later.

814 East U

January 5th, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

I have no idea who is going to give M the toughest test but I am excited to see how Michigan handles the BIG season. I hope we beat up on MSU twice this year

MaizeMN

January 5th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

I think they shot around 64% rom the floor and ran the court really well. Minnie scars me if Mbackwe stays healthy and out of trouble.

EDIT: scares not scars; at least not yet. Although I do have emotional scars from the 20 pt. beating they gave us at home in '88. The Final Four payback was worth it though.

snoopblue

January 5th, 2013 at 4:34 PM ^

You know Bacari will remind this team who the Illini coach coached last year. The biggest challenge is IU. Winning at Assembly Hall is tough, and would be a huge win. They don't defend as well as we do so we definitely have a shot.

lhglrkwg

January 5th, 2013 at 4:35 PM ^

Didn't illinois just lose to Purdue like 3 days ago? Is there where we start talking about HOW DEEP BIG TEN BASKETBALL IS like others talk about HOW DEEP THE SEC IS

funkywolve

January 6th, 2013 at 12:56 AM ^

It's one game.  Some teams have bad games, other teams have really good games.  Illinois lost on the road at Purdue.  OSU's played Kansas and Duke tough.  IMO, both are good teams.  If UM shows up with their C game and Illinois/OSU show up with their A game, UM will probably lose.

HermosaBlue

January 6th, 2013 at 12:52 AM ^

You must have this year confused with last year.

Indiana's defense is much better than last year, and better than ours, unfortunately.  I still like us on a neutral court, but we're not getting any calls (ever) in Bloomington, so they'll be able to mug us at will, while we'll spend the game in foul trouble with their guys shooting 1 and 1s early in both halves.

/script of every game in Bloomington ever.

San Diego Mick

January 5th, 2013 at 5:13 PM ^

no team can match the amount of shooters we have on the floor at any given time.

Who do you focus on stopping? We have so many guys that can dribble well and create and shoot.

I like our chances a lot!

FreddieMercuryHayes

January 5th, 2013 at 5:14 PM ^

IU obviously because they're the one team in the conference that can really match our offense output (and one of the best offenses in the nation for that matter).  Second I would put OSU and MSU.  Yes, there are better teams in the B1G right now, but I don't think that any other team will play us with as much intensity as those two.  And both of those teams still have enough talent and/or coaching to beat us.

kehnonymous

January 5th, 2013 at 5:35 PM ^

Honestly, the conference is so deep right now that no matter how good you are a loss against teams not named N'western, Penn State or Nebraska isn't even really that much of an upset.  I think we're one of the top 2 teams but there isn't *that* much drop-off after us and IU and we are gonna have to fight tooth and nail against every game against the top 7 teams in the conference.

skwasha

January 5th, 2013 at 5:53 PM ^

I think it's IU or Minny...

I'm starting to worry a bit that we haven't really been tested yet. So, it might be a little more open than it currently appears. I mean, not to be too negative - but who have we really beaten? NC State? Kstate? those are prolly the best wins on our record. Pitt is looking more and more like a middle of the rd team at best. None of the above are really marquee matchups to my mind.

Don't get me wrong, I love the way we're playing and Trey is on another planet. But ultimately I don't think we'll have a really good idea where we stand relative to the rest of the conf for at least another 2-3 weeks. Just so many good teams this year.

skwasha

January 5th, 2013 at 10:04 PM ^

My point exactly... As good as we've looked, I just can't help but feel it's been against subpar competition. I hope to be proven wrong in the next few weeks. But until that happens, I'm thinking we're probably overrated.

Perkis-Size Me

January 5th, 2013 at 6:03 PM ^

This conference is ridiculously deep. I think against any school that isn't Penn State, Northwestern or Nebraska we're going to have to grind out each win. Indiana is especially going to be very tough in the road.

I'd say that right now the top challengers are Indiana, Minny and Illinois. I'm surprised the last two have looked as good as they have. I think Michigan has a great chance to win a consecutive conference title, but my worry is that the team really hasn't been tested yet. Maybe the toughest team we've played thus far is NC State. We're not going to know if we truly deserve a #2 ranking for another few weeks.

maizeonblueaction

January 5th, 2013 at 6:17 PM ^

fair. Although being one of only three undefeated teams even given preconference schedules means something, the teams we have beaten haven't shown themselves to be top of the heap, so I think the jury is still out if we're great or just really good, which I guess isn't a terrible problem to have.

LSAClassOf2000

January 5th, 2013 at 6:16 PM ^

For purposes of this discussion...

Using the Sagarin Predictor numbers to project the next 12 games, which should undoubtedly be the toughest stretch, would actually bear out the estimates of those who believe that Indiana and Minnesota would be the biggest obstacles. Of these twelve games, based on the ratings published just yesterday, we would be underdogs at Minnesota and at Indiana, as well as at Ohio State. By contrast, we are predicted to be 11 point favorites tomorrow and 22 point favorites against Nebraska. 

There's no game here that we're out of statistically (we're just that good, in my opinion), and it seems to me that the Big Ten is deep enough that almost anyone could give anyone else  fits at least for a while  in any game. The road games will certainly not be easy in this stretch. 

StephenRKass

January 5th, 2013 at 6:16 PM ^

I have drunk the koolaid, and truly believe that Michigan is a significant cut above everyone else in the Big 10 this year.

The question shouldn't be "who," but "what stands in the way of Michigan and a Big 10 Championship?" The only answer is injury or some similar tragedy. I will bet money:  if Michigan stays healthy, (including the return of Horford,) they will win the Big 10 as stand alone champions.

This has been discussed elsewhere, but I would credit this to:

  1. Coaching. Beilein has trained them up oh so well.
  2. Leadership. As good as Burke has been, his leadership, along with Hardaway's, and Morgan's, is key. The set the tone for the rest of the team.
  3. Balance. Bigs? Check. PG? Check. SG? Check? Wings? Check.  Think about it: our first seven (Burke, Hardaway, Stauskas, Robinson, Morgan, McGary, and LeVert) are all scoring threats. No one can cheat on any of them. It isn't until you get to Albrecht, Bielfeldt, and Horford that scoring goes down. What this means is that a couple out of these seven could have an off night, and you'd just shift elsehwere. I haven't checked, but I think that almost everyone above could score more than 20 in a game, if they had the hot hand. I don't believe Indiana will be able to defend them.
  4. Unselfishness. I have heard multiple players say, "let the game come to you." This is what allows Burke to score no points in a half and get 10 assists. It allows Stauskas to pass, and Hardaway to not force bad shots.

Until I see otherwise, I think this team could beat the Fab 5. I don't believe they have the same talent level, but I believe they play better as a team, get less flustered, are more disciplined, and have a better attitude. Teams with more NBA talent (Kentucky?) are not going to beat Michigan this year.

robmorren2

January 5th, 2013 at 6:57 PM ^

The only thing I disagree with is labeling McGary as a scoring threat. Horford & Bielfeldt are better on offense than Mitch. He's basically only a threat on dunks & layups. He doesn't have a low post game or a jump shot yet. I see him as being a defensive player, energy guy, big body, and a guy with 5 good fouls to deal out.