The (#23) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, one at home and one on the road, and they won one and lost one. On Wednesday (02/01/2012) they beat (#20) Indiana 68-56 in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (02/05/2012) they lost at (#9) Michigan State 64-54. This brings Michigan’s record to 17-7 (7-4 in the Big Ten).
This was another good news/bad news kind of week. The good news (obviously) was that UM beat a Top-25 team, and kept their perfect (13-0) record in Crisler Arena. The bad news was that they got overpowered in the MSU game. MSU led for the entire game, and UM never really threatened them in the 2nd half. The final margin of defeat was reasonable, so UM didn’t get embarrassed, but they didn’t get the win either. The loss to MSU snaps a nice 3-game winning streak against the Farmers Spartans.
The win vs. IU was pretty impressive. UM led for the entire game, and had a great start. Michigan led 13-0 before IU scored, and had an early 20-point lead (28-8), but the rest of the game was frustrating, and UM let IU back into the game. In fact, IU pulled within 2 points twice in the 2nd half: 38-36 with 12:53 left, then 52-50 with 3:20 left. Both times, UM pushed the lead back up to 9-10 points, but it was still scary. Still, Michigan outplayed them, and deserved to win the game.
Stats time: at least the stats from the Indiana game are nice. Michigan shot well overall (22-for-46 = 47.8%), they shot well from 3-point range (9-for-22 = 40.9%), and they shot well from the free-throw line (15-for-19 = 78.9%). They lost the rebounding battle (24-30), but they won the turnover battle (6-14). The stats for the MSU game are not as nice. UM didn’t shoot very well overall (19-for-48 = 39.6%), they didn’t shoot very well from 3-point range (7-for-22 = 31.8%), and they didn’t shoot enough from the free-throw line (9-for-12 = 75.0%). They got crushed on the boards (16-40), but they did win the turnover battle (10-15).
Individually, both Zack Novak and Trey Burke hit double figures in both games. Novak had 13 vs. IU and 14 vs. MSU, and Burke had 18 and 11. Two other starters each hit double figures in one of the two games. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 13 and 4, and Jordan Morgan had 8 and 11. Stu Douglass had 9 and 5.
The Nothing But ‘Net Expectation-O-Meter (NBNEOM) continues to point to “Meets Expectations”. Beating IU was pretty impressive, and there’s no disgrace in losing by 10 points on the road in the Big Ten. While it’s disappointing losing to MSU, there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played, and Michigan is looking pretty good.
Michigan plays two games this week, one at home and one on the road. On Wednesday (02/08/2012, 8:30 p.m. EST, Big Ten Network), Michigan plays at Nebraska, then on Sunday (02/12/2012, 1:00 p.m., CBS), they play Illinois in Crisler Arena. While Nebraska is in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings, they are tough at home, where they have beaten 2 Big Ten teams, including Indiana, back when beating Indiana was an accomplishment. This will be the first time that Michigan has played Nebraska since they joined the Big Ten, and the only time they’ll play them this season. Remember, it’s tough to win on the road in the Big Ten. The Illinois game is even more challenging. Illinois has beaten some good teams this season (Ohio State and Michigan State), and they always play tough against Michigan.
Check back next week to see what happened, and why.