The (#2) University of Michigan men’s basketball team only played one game last week, and they won it handily. On Thursday (12/20/2012), they beat Eastern Michigan 93-54 in Crisler Arena. The win raises UM’s record to 12-0, which is their second best start to a season ever.
So, what does “three down, one to go” mean? It means that for the first time in a long time, Michigan is playing all four of the in-state “directional” schools: Northern Michigan (exhibition – 11/01/2012), Western Michigan (12/04/2012), Eastern Michigan (12/20/2012), and Central Michigan (12/29/2012). They’ve won three of these games, with one left to play. They should win that one as well.
While Michigan has to take every opponent seriously, not all opponents are created equal. EMU doesn’t have the personnel to challenge an elite team like Michigan, but strange things can happen when the game starts. So far, Michigan has played well enough every game to avoid any upsets, and they have played like a Top-5 team against many of the “cupcakes” on their schedule. This game was another example of that. EMU has a decent MAC team, and they did beat Purdue earlier this season, but they don’t have the firepower to stay with Michigan. Eastern opened up an early 6-2 lead, then UM went on a 20-0 run to put the game away before the 12:00 media timeout. The rest of the game was just a controlled scrimmage.
The stats are impressive: UM shot 50.7% (35-for-69) overall, 50.0% (12-for-24) from 3-point range, and 91.7% (11-for-12) from the free-throw line. They crushed EMU on the boards (44-30), and they won the turnover battle (11-18). Those are the numbers you expect to see in a 39-point blowout.
Individually, 5 players hit double figures:
- Trey Burke – 11 points (and 8 assists).
- Tim Hardaway Jr. – 17 points (and 7 assists, and 5 rebounds).
- Mitch McGary – 11 points (and 10 rebounds, his first career double-double).
- Glenn Robinson III – 13 points.
- Nik Stauskas – 16 points (5-for-8 from 3-point range).
That’s 4 of the 5 starters, and one bench player (McGary). The lone starter who didn’t hit double figures was Jordan Morgan, with 8 points.
Since the game was a blowout, Coach Beilein emptied the bench:
- Eso Akunne – 3 points, on his only shot, a 3-pointer.
- Spike Albrecht – 3 points.
- Max Bielfeldt – 2 points. Max finally got back into action after missing 4 games with an ankle injury.
- Caris LeVert – 8 points, a new career-high, including 2-for-2 shooting 3-pointers.
- Blake McLimans – 2 points, on a nice dunk.
- Corey Person – 0 points.
- Matt Vogrich – 0 points.
With finals and the holidays, Michigan has nine days off between games, and only has one game again this week. On Saturday (12/29/2012, 7:00 p.m., BTN), Michigan plays Central Michigan, in Crisler Arena. This is UM’s last non-conference game, and they stand a good chance of being one of the few Michigan men’s basketball teams to go undefeated in non-conference play. CMU is about the same as EMU. Their current record is 6-5, with no impressive wins, and losses to Bradley (who Michigan beat) and two Big Ten schools (Iowa and Nebraska). Once again, I expect this game to be a lot like the WMU and EMU games: tense for a while, then a blowout win for Michigan.
Check back next week to see what happened, and why. Also, it will be time for mid-term grades and a look ahead at the Big Ten season.
Go Blue! (and Merry Christmas)