The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, both as the #11 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, and they won the first and lost the second. On Wednesday (03/16/2016), they beat the other #11 seed, Tulsa, 67-62 in a play-in (“First Four”) game in Dayton, then on Friday (03/18/2016), the lost to the #6 seed, Notre Dame, 70-63 in Brooklyn. The win and the loss leave Michigan with a final overall record of 23-13 (10-8 in the Big Ten).
While it was great for Michigan to win an NCAA Tournament game, even if it was a “First Four” game, it was a shame that they lost the Notre Dame game. They showed that they were the better team, and they could have made a good run in the Big Dance, but they just ran out of gas in the 2nd half. Between the 3 games in the Big Ten Tournament last week, and the 2 games in the NCAA Tournament, they played 5 games in 8 days in 3 different cities. It finally caught up with them.
The Tulsa game was close and exciting, but it shouldn’t have been. Michigan was clearly the better team, but once again they “played down to the opposition”. They fell behind early, then finished the 1st half on a long (9 minute) 19-4 run to lead 28-20 at halftime. It only took Tulsa 2:30 in the 2nd half to tie the game up, then it was a seesaw battle for the rest of the game. UM outplayed Tulsa in the last 2:00, and earned the win.
The Notre Dame game was very similar to the Tulsa game, except that Michigan built an even bigger halftime lead (12 points: 41-29), and held onto it longer in the 2nd half (8 minutes). Once ND tied it up (48-48) with 12:18 left, it was another seesaw game, with ND pulling ahead by 5 points (66-61) with 1:36 left. UM got within 3 points (66-63), and had a shot at tying it up with 13 seconds left, but a 3-pointer rattled out, and that was the ball game.
The stats for the Tulsa game are not very impressive. UM shot pretty poorly overall (24-for-59 = 40.7%), they shot 3-pointers terribly (6-for-25 = 24.0%), and they shot free throws well (13-for-16 = 81.3%). They won the rebounding battle (38-36) and the turnover battle (8-11). They won the game at the free throw line, since Tulsa was only 9-for-15.
The stats for the Notre Dame game are actually a little better than the Tulsa game. UM shot a little worse overall (25-for-63 = 39.7%), but they shot 3-pointers better (10-for-27 = 37.0%). They didn’t get to the line enough (3-for-5 = 60.0%), they got hammered on the boards (33-25), but they did win the turnover battle (7-16). They lost the game at the free throw line, since ND was 12-for-15.
Individually, here’s how the starters did this week:
- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – MAAR was the leading scorer in both games, with 16 and 15 points.
- Mark Donnal – 2 and 9 points. Donnal just wasn’t very effective in either game.
- Zak Irvin – 16 and 9 points. Irvin didn’t shoot very well against ND, going 1-for-9 from 3-point range. He’s the one who took, and missed, the shot to tie the game up with 13 seconds left.
- Duncan Robinson – 13 and 9 points. Robinson had his first (UM) career double-double in the Tulsa game, with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The also shot 50% from 3-point range for the tournament (2-for-5 and 3-for-5).
- Derrick Walton Jr. – 12 and 10 points. Walton was the player who looked the most “out of gas” in the 2nd half of the ND game.
The bench didn’t chip in very many points this week:
- Kameron Chatman – 0 points and DNP. Chatman fired up 5 shots vs. Tulsa, and none of them went in. He sat for the ND game.
- Andrew Dakich –0 and 0 points. Dakich didn’t take a shot in either game.
- Aubrey Dawkins –0 and 5 points. The team really could have used a spark from Dawkins, especially in the ND game.
- Ricky Doyle – 4 and 0 points. Doyle wasn’t very effective in either game.
- Moritz Wagner – 4 and 6 points. Moe also had 8 rebounds in the Tulsa game, and was the most effective big man for UM in the tournament.
- DJ Wilson – DNP in both games.
Michigan’s season is over, but there’s still one more week of Nothing But ‘Net. Check back next week for the Season Wrap-Up, Final Grades, and a look ahead to next season.