The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this week, and they lost it. On Thursday (01/07/2016), they lost at (#20) Purdue 87-70. The loss lowers Michigan’s record to 12-4 (2-1 in the Big Ten).
Purdue just overpowered Michigan in this one. They have a huge lineup, with two 7-footers and more, and the big guys just drove and dunked anytime they wanted to. Michigan hung with Purdue for most of the 1st half, and actually had a small lead (23-19) with 5:33 left, but Purdue went on a 16-5 run to end the half to go up 35-28, and they never trailed again. UM got within 6 points in the 2nd half (66-60 with 5:20 to go), but Purdue went on a quick 12-0 run in the last few minutes to win by 17.
So, what did we learn about this season’s UM team this week? We learned that Michigan has a tough time against a big team. The same thing happened against the other tall teams UM played: Xavier, UConn, and SMU.
The stats for the game are about what you’d expect for a blowout loss – sad. Michigan shot terribly overall (23-for-61 = 37.7%), they didn’t shoot 3-pointers very well (11-for-27 = 40.7%), but they did shoot free throws pretty well (13-for-16 = 81.3%). They lost the rebounding battle (28-36), but they did win the turnover battle (8-9). The overall shooting and the rebounding doomed them.
Caris LeVert is still injured (left ankle), so Coach Beilein had to alter his regular starting lineup, again. He replaced LeVert with Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (MAAR), and started Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton Jr. Three of the starters hit double figures: MAAR had 25 points (a new career high), Robinson had 10 points (only 2-for-5 shooting 3-pointers), and Walton had 12 points. Donnal and Irvin each had 7 points. MAAR played a great game; the rest of the team, not so much.
The bench didn’t contribute much this game. Aubrey Dawkins had 6 points and DJ Wilson had 3 points, and that was it. Andrew Dakich, Ricky Doyle, and Moritz Wagner all played, but failed to score. Kameron Chatman didn’t even get in the game.
This week, Michigan plays 2 more Big Ten games. On Tuesday (01/12/2016, 9:00 p.m., ESPN), they play (#3) Maryland in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/17/2016, 4:30 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at (#19) Iowa. Great, two more ranked teams. Maryland is 14-1, and they’ve got 2 big centers (6’11” and 7’1″). Expect a repeat of the Purdue game. Iowa is the only team to beat Michigan State this season, and they’ve got a 7’1″ guy. Everyone’s got a 7-footer this season. Anyway, I’ll be stunned if UM wins either of these games.
Come on down to Crisler on Tuesday, tune by on Sunday, and check back next week to see what happened, and why.