Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Michigan Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-6, 7-6) at Michigan Wolverines (16-10, 6-7)

This game is very similar to the Penn State game. Michigan absolutely needs to win this game and should bring their best effort. The Gophers need to show up on the road and a win in Ann Arbor would almost punch their ticket to the tournament. While a loss is not a catastrophe it puts a lot of pressure on winning the home games and would further hurt the sinking confidence. Here is Michigan's resume:

Wins to showcase
  • Vs. Duke 81 - 73
  • at UCLA 55 - 52
Losses to hide from
  • at Penn State 58 - 73
  • vs Wisconsin 61 - 73
  • Free Throws: Shooting 76.2% from the line best in the Big Ten
  • Manny Harris: 17.5 ppg, 7.2 rebs, 4.3 ass
  • DeShawn Sims: 14.6 ppg, 7.3 rebs, .8 ass
  • Shooting: Shoot 42% from the field and 31.7% from behind the arc, both worst in Big Ten
  • Defense: Opponents shooting 43.2% 2nd worst in Big Ten
  • Scoring Depth: Harris and Sims account for 48% of the scoring. Next highest scorer is Laval Lucas-Perry averaging 7.3 ppg and only 4 players average more than 5 ppg in Big Ten games. Conversely, 6 players are doing so for the Gophers.
Every one is aware of Michigan's wins over UCLA and Duke. The problem is that was in the past and the Big Ten season hasn't been as kind. They beat Illinois at home but do not have another decent win. The other 5 wins consist of Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State at home and Indiana and Northwestern on the road. The biggest problem is that if you stop Harris or Sims or even slow them down they are very beatable.


Michigan is a very beatable team and like Penn State, while fighting to make the tournament will likely end up in the NIT. If this game was at the Barn as it will be later this season I would expect a Gophers victory but it is on the road and that changes everything. One important thing is that Michigan plays the 1-3-1 on defense that the Gophers struggled against at Northwestern. I would hope that Tubby has the guys ready to crack it and they don't play it nearly as well as Northwestern does. This game should be a very similar sight for Gopher fans. It will be sloppy with turnovers and poor shooting percentages. I think Michigan's desperation and Minnesota's road ineptitude will be too much.

Michigan 62, Minnesota 60

Other Note
  • Royce White was not named to the McDonald's All-American game. I think this is a shame. The biggest issue I have is that they picked the Wear twins David and Travis. They have the notch of being twins and are both headed to UNC so they got picked but they are ranked 41 and 42 by ESPN and 68 and 69 by Rivals. White is 25th on ESPN and 19th on Rivals. If Royce was headed to a traditional power like UNC or Duke, I would wager he would have been selected.

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