The (#14) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won one and lost one, to move to 6-2 on the season. On Tuesday (11/29/2011) they lost at Virginia, 70-58, then on Saturday (12/03/2011) they beat Iowa State, 76-66, in Crisler Arena. The UVa game was part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which the Big Ten won again, for the 3rd year in a row.
While the loss to UVa was discouraging, the team appeared to put it behind them, and moved on to play well against ISU. The game at Virginia was UM’s first true road game, after 3 neutral site games in Maui, and it was UM’s 4th game in 8 days, with a lot of long flights thrown in for good measure. That’s not an excuse for how Michigan faded in the last 10 minutes of the game, but it certainly appeared to be a factor. For the first 30 minutes, the game was close and exciting, but once UVa started to pull away, UM abandoned their regular half-court offense and started taking bad shots and making bad decisions. It was not pretty. The good news is that Michigan bounced back nicely, and withstood the ISU comeback in the 2nd half. It will go down as a 10-point win, but it was really a 20-point win that ISU made look more respectable.
The stats for the UVa game are actually pretty reasonable. Michigan shot well overall (22-for-50 = 44.0%), and even better from 3-point range (10-for-22 = 45.5%). They lost the game at the free-throw line: they shot 4-for-7 (57.1%), while Virginia shot 17-for-22 (77.3%). Those extra 13 points are almost exactly the difference in the final score. As usual, UM lost the rebounding battle (36-26), but they usually win the turnover battle; not this time: they had more turnovers, 11-8.
The stats for the ISU game are actually worse than the UVa game. UM shot well overall (27-for-56 = 48.2%), but they had a tough time from 3-point range (7-for-29 = 24.1%). They did make their free throws, though: 15-for-18 (83.3%). They were close in the rebounding department (35-38), and they tied in turnovers (11-11).
The individual stats are a little different this week. Usually, Tim Hardaway Jr. scores in double figures in every game, but not this week. He was held to 5 points (on 2-for-9 shooting) in the UVa game, which is probably why UM had such a tough time. He did bounce back with 19 points vs. ISU. This week, the only UM player to hit double figures in both games was Trey Burke (11 vs. UVa, 13 vs. ISU). The other three starters did pretty well. Zack Novak had 12 and 8 points, Evan Smotrycz had 10 and 8, and Jordan Morgan had 5 and 16.
The bench chipped in a bit in both games: 15 points vs. UVa and 12 points vs. ISU. Stu Douglass accounted for most of them (9 and 2), but Eso Akunne (3 and 5) and Blake McLimans (3 and 5) both contributed. As noted elsewhere, Akunne (5-for-5, 3-for-3 from 3-point range) and McLimans (3-for-3, 2-for-2 from 3-point range) are both still shooting 100% for the season. Several other bench players (Jon Horford, Matt Vogrich, Carlton Brundidge, and Colton Christian) got in one or both games, but didn’t score.
The Nothing But ‘Net Expectation-O-Meter (NBNEOM) remains pointing at “Meets Expectations”.
Michigan only plays one game this week. On Saturday (12/10/2011, 4:00 p.m., Fox Sports), Michigan plays Oakland, in the Palace of Auburn Hills. UM should win the game, but it won’t be easy. Check back next week to see what happened, and why.