The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one games last week, and they lost it. On Saturday (02/28/2015), they lost at (#14) Maryland, 66-56. The loss lowers Michigan’s record to 14-14 (7-9 in the Big Ten).
This wasn’t a surprising loss, or a particularly depressing loss. Maryland is ranked, and playing for position in the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament. They were playing at home in front of a sold-out arena for Senior Day. No one expected Michigan to beat Maryland, and no one should be surprised that Maryland won. It would have been a major upset if Michigan had snuck out a win.
That said, Michigan actually played pretty well, especially considering their depleted roster. Sure, they had a couple of their now-familiar scoring droughts, and they shot terribly from 3-point range until the game was out of reach, but they played hard and hung with an obviously superior opponent for most of the game.
The stats tell it all: Michigan shot terribly overall (19-for-52 = 36.5%), they shot even worse from 3-point range (5-for-21 = 23.8%), although they did shoot a wonderful percentage from the free throw line (13-for-15 = 86.7%). They lost the rebounding battle, barely (32-30), and they won the turnover battle (10-12). It was 3-point shooting that cost them the game. Maryland shot 11-for-22 (50.0%) from 3-point distance, and those 6 extra 3-pointers more than make up the final deficit. When Michigan shoots 3-pointers well (>40%), they look good, and they usually win, but when the 3-point shooting is off, they look terrible. This was one of those terrible games.
Individually, only 2 players hit double figures: Spike Albrecht and Zak Irvin both had 15 points. The other starters didn’t score many points: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 7, Aubrey Dawkins had 2, and Ricky Doyle had 4.
The bench didn’t chip in many points either: Max Bielfeldt had 6, and Kameron Chatman had 7. Andrew Dakich, Mark Donnal, and Sean Lonergan all played, but failed to score. In fact, only Dakich even attempted a shot, and that was blocked.
This is the final week of the regular season, and it can’t come soon enough. Michigan has two games left; one on the road, and one at home. On Tuesday (03/03/2015, 9:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at Northwestern, then on Saturday (03/07/2015, 2:15 p.m., BTN), they play Rutgers in Crisler Arena. These are both winnable games, although it’s always tough to win on the road. If Michigan can win them both, they should be in good shape for an NIT bid. If they lose either of them, I suspect they’ll miss post-season play.
Check back here next week to see what happened, and why.