The (#20) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them, to improve their record to 9-2 on the season, including 4 wins in a row. On Tuesday (12/13/2011) they beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB), 63-50, then on Saturday (12/17/2011) they beat Alabama A&M (AAMU), 87-57. Both games were in Crisler Arena, and both teams are members of the mighty Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC).
Even though the score of the UAPB game looks pretty close, it was really a 25-point win that turned into a 13-point win in the last 90 seconds. The point is that both games were blowouts against a couple “cupcakes”. Michigan has had a problem with 2nd half letdowns when they have a big lead at halftime against inferior competition, so it was great to see them keep the throttle down for the whole 40 minutes vs. AAMU. UM’s lead continued to grow for the whole game, and even the benchwarmers played well enough to keep the lead around 30 points.
The stats for both games are pretty good. In the UAPB game, Michigan shot pretty well overall (22-for-50 = 44.0%), but they shot even better from 3-point range (13-for-26 = 50.0%). They didn’t get to the free-throw line very often, but they shot pretty well anyway (6-for-8 = 75.0%). UM won the rebounding battle handily (36-26), but they had more turnovers (19-16) than UAPB. In the AAMU game, Michigan shot better overall (30-for-55 = 54.5%), but not quite as well from 3-point range (10-for-22 = 45.5%). UM did get to the free-throw line more, and they shot a better percentage (17-for-21 = 81.0%). Once again, Michigan won the rebounding battle (41-30), but lost the turnover battle (15-14).
The individual stats are also encouraging. Trey Burke and Evan Smotrycz both scored in double figures in both games. Burke had 15 vs. UAPB and 19 vs. AAMU, while Smotrycz had 16 and 17. Smotrycz also had 11 rebounds (a career high) vs. AAMU, for his first career double-double, and the first double-double for any Michigan player this season. Two of the other starters (Tim Hardaway Jr. and Zack Novak) scored in double figures in the AAMU game, giving UM four starters in double figures for that game. THJ and Novak both had 13 points in the AAMU game, but they only had 8 and 5 points, respectively, in the UAPB game. The fifth starter, Jordan Morgan, had a quiet week, with 2 and 6 points.
The bench chipped in quite a few points this week: 17 points in the UAPB game, and 19 vs. AAMU. One of the bench players, Matt Vogrich, even hit double figures in the UAPB game, with 11 points. Of course, he came back in the AAMU game with 0 points, but still. The other bench players who scored this week were: Stu Douglass (6 and 7), Carlton Brundidge (0 and 3), Eso Akunne (0 and 5), and Blake McLimans (0 and 4). The rest of the bench players played in both games, but they didn’t score. Also, McLimans finally missed a shot (a couple, actually) in the UAPB game, and he was the last UM player with a perfect shooting percentage this season.
The Nothing But ‘Net Expectation-O-Meter (NBNEOM) remains pointing at “Meets Expectations”.
Michigan only plays one game this week. On Thursday (12/22/2011, 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network), Michigan plays Bradley University, in Crisler Arena. Bradley is 5-5, and not very good this year, so UM should win the game fairly easily. Come on down to the new-and-improved Crisler Arena to check out the Wolverines.