Drew Montag, Basketball Editor
Drew Montag, Basketball Editor
Happy Leap Day.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they won one and lost the other. On Wednesday (02/24/2016), they beat Northwestern 72-63 in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (02/28/2016), they lost at Wisconsin 68-57. The win and the loss leave Michigan with a record of 20-10 (10-7 in the Big Ten).
With one game left in the regular season, Michigan is limping to the finish line. They have lost 3 of their last 4 games, and are teetering on the edge of the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
The win over Northwestern was hard to watch. It was ugly. Michigan started out slow, missing their first 8 shots, along with 2 turnovers, and trailed 10-0. When they finally got going, they managed to get within 2 points a couple times (19-17 and 23-21), but they always failed to score when they had the chance to tie or take the lead. They missed their first nine 3-point attempts before finally making one at the halftime buzzer to pull within 1 point (29-28). They got the ball to start the 2nd half, and promptly threw it away. They let Northwestern go on another 8-0 run, this time with 2 missed shots and 3 turnovers, before they finally got going again. They got back within 1 point again (42-41) with 12:30 left, and finally tied the game up 44-44 with 11:10 to go. They got their first lead (45-44) with 9:15 left, and played even with Northwestern for the next 4 minutes. With 5:01 left, Michigan tied it up 54-54, then went ahead for good on a nice 3-pointer. Michigan should have handled Northwestern easily, but they struggled to get any offensive flow.
The game at Wisconsin was also hard to watch, but for a different reason. Michigan actually played pretty well for most of the game, and led for a lot of the way. They had a 7 point lead (9-2) early, and led by 1 point at halftime (30-29). They still led by 1 point (40-39) with 13:13 to go when the roof fell in. UM missed 4 shots in a row, and let UW go on an 8-0 run to make it 47-40. Wisconsin pushed the lead as high as 13, and Michigan got as close as 5 points, but that 8-0 run was the big difference. Michigan isn’t good enough to come from behind against a good team on the road. They need to manage the game better. They need to have a few “go to” plays that they can run when they really need a basket to stop a crippling run.
So, what did we learn about this season’s UM team this week? We learned that they probably aren’t an NCAA Tournament team. If they can beat Iowa this Saturday, or win a couple games in the Big Ten Tournament, maybe they’ll sneak in, but they’ll be lucky to win a game in the Big Dance. This is a team in disarray.
The stats for the Northwestern game aren’t as bad as you’d expect for such an ugly game. Michigan shot fairly well overall (24-for-49 = 49.0%), they shot 3-pointers terribly (4-for-15 = 26.7%), and they shot free throws pretty well (20-for-25 = 80.0%). They won the rebounding battle handily (33-24), and they tied in the turnover battle (9-9). UM won the game at the free throw line. Northwestern was 5-for-9 shooting free throws, so Michigan outscored them by 15 points at the line.
The stats for the Wisconsin game aren’t bad either. Michigan shot fairly well again overall (24-for-50 = 48.0%), they shot a decent percentage from 3-pointer range (5-for-13 = 38.5%), but they shot free throws pretty poorly (4-for-7 = 57.1%). They got clobbered on the boards (33-20), and they barely won the turnover battle (11-12). Just as they beat Northwestern at the free throw line, Wisconsin beat Michigan at the free throw line. They shot 12-for-15. Those 8 extra points go a long way towards explaining an 11 point loss.
I know this is sounding like a broken record, but once again Caris LeVert didn’t play this week. So far, he has played one full Big Ten game (Illinois on 12/30/2015) and 11 scoreless minutes vs. Purdue on 02/13/2016, and that’s been it. With one regular season Big Ten game left and the Big Ten Tournament and (maybe) the NCAA Tournament, there aren’t many games left for him to play in. Sigh.
With LeVert unavailable again, Coach Beilein went with his regular starting lineup: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (MAAR), Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton Jr. Only one of the starters hit double figures in both games: Walton, with 16 and 10 points. MAAR had a great game against Northwestern, with 19 points, but he had a lousy game against Wisconsin, with 2 points. Donnal was in foul trouble in both games, and only scored 7 and 6 points. Irvin had a quiet game against Northwestern, with 6 points, but was UM’s best offensive threat in the 1st half at Wisconsin. He ended up with 14 points. Robinson had 5 and 10 points.
The bench contributed more points than usual this week:
This week, Michigan plays one Big Ten game, the last regular season game. On Saturday (03/05/2016, 8:00 p.m., BTN), they play (#8) Iowa in Crisler Arena. Michigan already played Iowa once this season, and lost 82-71 in Iowa City back on 01/17/2016. Iowa is currently 20-8 (11-4 in the Big Ten), but they have lost 4 of their last 5 games, mostly on the road. They are beatable, but UM must play their “A” game to stand a chance. They can’t allow any of the long scoreless droughts that have cost them so many games this season.
Since this is the last home game of the season, it’s Senior Night. At the start of the season, there were 2 seniors in the lineup: LeVert and Spike Albrecht. Now there are none. Albrecht had double hip surgery in the off-season, and never got back into playing shape. He finally retired on 12/11/2015. LeVert injured his “lower left leg” near the end of the Illinois game on 12/30/2015, and that was the end of the senior class. I don’t know if either of them will try to play for even a minute on Saturday, but I doubt it. Albrecht would qualify for a medical redshirt if he wanted to come back next season, or use the grad transfer rule, but I suspect he could get permission to play on Senior Night without endangering his medical redshirt. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Come on down to Crisler on Saturday, then check back next week to see what happened, and why.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they lost both of them. On Tuesday (02/16/2016), they lost at Ohio State 76-66, then on Sunday (02/21/2016), they lost at (#6) Maryland 86-82. The two losses drop Michigan’s record to 19-9 (9-6 in the Big Ten).
Neither of these losses is particularly surprising. It’s always tough to win on the road in the Big Ten, and Columbus and College Park are two of the tougher places to play. In fact, Maryland has only lost one home Big Ten game since they joined the Big Ten 2 years ago. Michigan looked tired and lost in the game at OSU, but they put up a good fight in a losing cause at Maryland. Still a loss is a loss, and Michigan just picked up two more of them.
At this point, Michigan is solidly “on the bubble” for getting into the NCAA Tournament. They weren’t expected to win either of the road games this week, and they’re not expected to win at Wisconsin next week (see below) or at home vs. Iowa in 2 weeks, but they do have to beat Northwestern at home next week (see below), and probably win at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament.
There was an important milestone in the Maryland game, and it wasn’t a good one: up until that game, Michigan was 50-0 in games coached by John Beilein where they scored at least 80 points. They scored 82 vs. Maryland, but they lost.
Michigan hung around for most of the 1st half in the OSU game, with a couple early leads (9-7 and 12-10). They were within 2 points (29-27) with 2:24 left in the half, before OSU went on a 7-1 run to end the half, up by 8 points (36-28). UM got as close as 4 points early in the 2nd half (36-32), and then OSU pushed the lead up into double digits and kept it there for most of the rest of the game. UM’s last gasp was when they got within 7 points (64-57) with 4:52 left in the game, but OSU never let them get any closer. It was a pretty discouraging loss, because Michigan didn’t show any fight. They just sleepwalked to another loss.
Michigan played with much more intensity and mental toughness against Maryland. They had a couple small early leads (3-0, 3-2, 5-4, and 8-7), and it was all tied up (12-12) with 14:35 left in the 1st half. Over the next seven minutes, Maryland went on a 17-1 run, and it was 29-13. Michigan could have just folded their tents and gone home at that point, but they hung in there and kept clawing their way back. They were only down 5 points (41-36) at halftime, and they finally got the lead back (49-48) with 16:24 left in the game. Maryland went on a quick 18-9 run to go back in front 66-58 with 12:11 left, but Michigan wasn’t done yet. They tied it up (72-72) with 6:34 left, and actually led by 3 points (75-72) a minute later. That was the last time they led, as Maryland closed out the game strong. Michigan got within 2 points (84-82) with 7 seconds left, but Maryland made their free throws, and that was the game.
So, what did we learn about this season’s UM team this week? We learned that they don’t have the firepower to beat the better teams in the league on the road.
The stats for the OSU game are pretty sad. Michigan shot very poorly overall (23-for-59 = 39.0%), they shot 3-pointers horribly (5-for-24 = 20.8%), although they did shoot free throws well enough (15-for-18 = 83.3%). They won the rebounding battle (34-31), and tied in the turnover battle (9-9). Their poor 3-point shooting doomed them in this game.
The stats for the Maryland game are much better. Michigan shot pretty well overall (32-for-68 = 47.1%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (13-for-27 = 48.1%), but they didn’t shoot free throws very well (5-for-8 = 62.5%). They narrowly lost the rebounding battle (33-30), and they won the turnover battle (16-18). Still, 16 turnovers is pretty bad. The deciding factor in this game was free throws. Maryland got to the line a lot more than Michigan (19 times), and they made most of them (17-for-19 = 89.5%).
Remember last week when I was all excited about Caris LeVert returning to play vs. Purdue? Well, the news since then isn’t so good. He hasn’t played in a game since then, and there’s talk that he may be done for the season. We’ll see.
With LeVert unavailable again, Coach Beilein went with his regular starting lineup: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (MAAR), Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton Jr. Three of the starters hit double figures in both games: Donnal (17 and 25), Irvin (15 and 11), and Walton (13 and 14). The other two starters both hit double figures in the Maryland game, so all five starters hit double figures in that game. MAAR had 9 and 16 points, and Robinson had 3 and 10. Walton also had 5 fouls in the Maryland game, becoming the first Michigan player to foul out of a game this season. Michigan is the most disqualification adverse team in the country; every other team has already had at least one disqualification this season.
The bench didn’t contribute very many points this week:
A little quick addition shows that the bench chipped in 15 points all week, and only Chatman scored in the Maryland game. Once again, Michigan needs more bench scoring.
This week, Michigan plays two more Big Ten games, one at home and one on the road. On Wednesday (02/24/2016, 7:00 p.m., BTN), they play Northwestern in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (02/28/2016, 6:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at Wisconsin.
Northwestern is currently 17-10 (5-9 in the Big Ten), with a few respectable wins (Missouri, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin), and only one bad loss (home vs. Penn State). They are actually close to being on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. This looked like a solid UM win earlier, but now it looks more like a toss-up game.
Wisconsin is also 17-10, but they’re 9-5 in the Big Ten. They had a miserable start, with some embarrassing losses (Western Illinois, Milwaukee, and Northwestern), but they turned things around lately, and they’ve won 8 of their last 9 games, including wins over Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State, and at Maryland (Maryland’s only Big Ten home loss). It’s very hard to win in Madison, and I expect a game a lot like the recent UM/Maryland game, hopefully with a better result.
Come on down to Crisler on Wednesday and tune by on Sunday, then check back next week to see what happened, and why.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they won both of them. On Wednesday (02/10/2016), they won at Minnesota 82-74, then on Saturday (02/13/2016), they beat (#18) Purdue 61-56 in Crisler Arena. The two wins raise Michigan’s record to 19-7 (9-4 in the Big Ten).
Both of these games featured exciting endings, with different setups. In the Minnesota game, Michigan led for most of the game, by as many as 19 points early in the 2nd half, then let Minnesota sneak back in and get within 2 points in the last 2:00. Michigan went on an 8-2 run to end the game, for a very exciting finish. In the Purdue game, Purdue led for most of the game, although UM was usually within 5-6 points. With 3:13 left in the game, Purdue went up by 6 points (56-50), and things were looking pretty gloomy. Notice the Purdue score at that point, and the final score; UM went on an 11-0 run to end the game, which was really exciting. The crowd was really into it, and Crisler was as loud as I’ve heard it this season.
So, what did we learn about this season’s UM team this week? We learned that they have more mental toughness than they showed in last week’s two blowout home losses. We also learned that they can win a game when they don’t shoot well, even against a Top-25 team.
The stats for the Minnesota game are pretty impressive. After several poor shooting performances, UM shot very well in this game. They shot very well overall (28-for-52 = 53.8%), they shot very well from 3-point range (14-for-25 = 56.0%), and they shot free throws just OK (12-for-20 = 60.0%). They lost the rebounding battle (33-28) and the turnover battle (10-7), but they shot well enough to make up for it.
The stats for the Purdue game are surprisingly bad. It’s hard to believe UM beat anyone with a game like this, much less a Top-25 team. They shot very poorly overall (20-for-55 = 36.4%), they shot 3-pointers terribly (5-for-20 = 25.0%), but they did hit their free throws (16-for-22 = 72.7%). Here’s the shocker of the week, maybe of the whole season: even though Purdue has one of the tallest and most experienced teams in the country, with a 7’0″ guy and a 7’2″ guy, and even though Purdue is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, UM out-rebounded them, 39-35 (11-7 on the offensive boards). That is truly amazing. Michigan also won the turnover battle (6-9). Those 7 extra possessions really helped.
There was one other big story during the Purdue game: Caris LeVert is back! He went out with a vaguely-described “lower left leg injury” in the waning minutes of Michigan’s big win at Illinois (“Donnal-Fest”) on 12/30/2015, the first game of the Big Ten season. Since then, he had missed 12 games before he entered the Purdue game with 12:59 left in the 1st half. He looked pretty good out there, and seemed to move at his normal speed without any sign of a limp. He played for 11 minutes, and took (and missed) one shot and one free throw, grabbed 5 defensive rebounds, and had one assist and one turnover. He didn’t play at all in the 2nd half. It was good to see him back out there, and he got a very good ovation from the crowd. Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back in playing shape quickly and contribute during the important games down the homestretch.
With LeVert unavailable or not ready to start, Coach Beilein went with his new regular starting lineup: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (MAAR), Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton Jr. None of the starters hit double figures in both games, but 4 of the 5 hit double figures in one game. MAAR had 16 and 9 points, Irvin had 4 and 22, Robinson had 14 and 4, and Walton had 26 and 6. The 5th starter, Donnal, had 8 in both games.
As you can see, Irvin, Robinson, and Walton all had real “up and down” weeks. Irvin was just terrible vs. Minnesota, but he carried Michigan on his back in the Purdue game. Robinson had a solid game vs. Minnesota, but he couldn’t get open for a shot vs. Purdue. And Walton, whoa. He had a career game vs. Minnesota, but was still scoreless (on 0-for-9 shooting) until there was just 2:06 left in the Purdue game. He had missed several easy, open jump shots, and seemed doomed to be the first starter to go scoreless this season, when he made an incredible driving layup high off the glass over the outstretched arms of a Purdue 7-footer. It was the most difficult shot he took all day, and it was the only one that went in. He was fouled on the shot, but he missed the free throw. He made up for it by hitting the next 4 free throws to seal the win. So, he scored all 6 of his points in the last 2:06, during “crunch time”.
The bench didn’t contribute very many points this week:
Once again, Michigan needs more bench scoring.
This week, Michigan plays two more Big Ten games, both on the road. On Tuesday (02/16/2016, 7:00 p.m., ESPN), they play at Ohio State, then on Sunday (02/21/2016, 1:00 p.m., CBS), they play at (#2) Maryland.
OSU is currently 16-10 (8-5 in the Big Ten), with one impressive win (Kentucky, on a neutral floor), and several embarrassing losses (Texas-Arlington, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, and Maryland [not a bad opponent, but the score was 100-65]). They’re 12-4 at home, so they’re not unbeatable, but Michigan will have to play very well to beat them in Columbus.
Michigan has already played Maryland once, and beat them in Crisler Arena with probably their best game of the season. Maryland will be looking for revenge, they were just upset by Wisconsin on Saturday, and they’re playing for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, so this will be Michigan’s most difficult road game of the season.
Tune by on Tuesday and Sunday, then check back next week to see what happened, and why.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they lost both of them. On Tuesday (02/02/2016), they lost to (#22) Indiana 80-67, then on Saturday (02/06/2016), they lost to (#10) Michigan State 89-73. Both games were in the “friendly” confines of Crisler Arena. The two losses lower Michigan’s record to 17-7 (7-4 in the Big Ten).
These were two of the worst games Michigan has played in a while, and they were very similar. In both games, Michigan got behind early, and never got close in the last 30 minutes. In both games, the other guys were on fire, and Michigan’s defense didn’t come close to stopping them. They were both good old-fashioned butt kickings.
The Indiana game featured one of the most impressive runs I have ever seen in major college basketball. With 13:48 left in the 1st half, UM was up on Indiana 17-6. With 9:05 left, UM still led 24-20. At halftime, it was 45-24, Indiana. Yup, a 25-0 run over the last 9:05. But that wasn’t the end of the run. IU added 3 more points to make it a 28-0 run, before Michigan finally scored with 18:36 left in the game. That’s 10 minutes and 29 seconds between baskets. Amazing. During that run, Michigan missed dunks, layups, short jumpers, long jumpers, 3-pointers, and free throws. Nothing was going in. It was disgusting.
Michigan State had a few demoralizing runs in their game, but nothing like 28-0. Michigan was cold in both games, and when they aren’t hitting their 3-pointers, they stand little chance, especially against Top-25 teams.
After managing to go 7-2 in the first half of the Big Ten season, Michigan fell flat in the first two games of the second half of the season. They have played 10 games now without their best player, Caris LeVert, who missed two more games this week with a left ankle injury. He is still listed as “day to day”.
So, what did we learn about this season’s UM team this week? We learned that they don’t stand much chance when their 3-pointers aren’t falling, but we already knew that.
The stats for the IU game are depressing. Michigan shot very poorly overall (27-for-62 = 43.5%), they shot 3-pointers very poorly (7-for-23 = 30.4%), and they shot free throws very poorly (6-for-11 = 54.5%). They got clobbered on the boards (44-30), but they did win the all-important turnover battle (10-18). Yippee!
The stats for the MSU game are about as bad. Once again, UM shot very poorly overall (26-for-58 = 44.8%), they shot 3-pointers extremely poorly (8-for-28 = 28.6%), but they did shoot free throws well (13-for-16 = 81.3%). Once again, they got crushed on the boards (35-20), but they dominated in the turnover battle (9-19). Another moral victory!
With LeVert still unavailable, Coach Beilein went with his new regular starting lineup: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (MAAR), Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton Jr. Only one of the starters hit double figures in both games: Irvin, with 16 points vs. IU and 19 points vs. MSU. Robinson and Walton were the only other starters to hit double figures in one game. Robinson had 14 and 2 points, and Walton had 7 and 11 points. That’s right, Robinson got held to 2 points, on 1-for-5 shooting, vs. MSU. Ugh. The other two starters didn’t help much. MAAR had 7 and 6 points, and Donnal had 2 and 4.
The bench contributed more points than usual this week. Kameron Chatman had 2 and 5, Andrew Dakich had 2 and 3, Aubrey Dawkins had 5 and 14, Ricky Doyle had 6 and 4, and DJ Wilson had 6 and 5. Moritz Wagner didn’t play in the IU game, and failed to score in the MSU game. Why the increased bench scoring? More “garbage time” in two blowout losses.
This week, Michigan plays two more Big Ten games. On Wednesday (02/10/2016, 9:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at Minnesota, then on Saturday (02/13/2016, 2:00 p.m., ESPN), they play (#18) Purdue, in Crisler Arena.
Michigan has already played Minnesota once, an unimpressive 74-69 win in Ann Arbor on 01/20/2016. Since then, Minnesota has gone on to lose 4 more games. They are now 6-17 (0-11 in the Big Ten). Even though Michigan is coming off two dismal home losses, and playing Minnesota on their home floor (“The Barn”), I still expect Michigan to win this game.
Purdue is another matter. Michigan has already played them as well, and they got thumped 87-70 in West Lafayette on 01/07/2016. Purdue is big and tall, athletic, and ranked. UM has not done very well against ranked teams recently. It should be another tough game, and could look a lot like the IU and MSU games.
Tune by on Wednesday, and come on down to Crisler on Saturday, then check back next week to see what happened, and why.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they won both of them. On Wednesday (01/27/2016), they beat Rutgers 68-57 in Crisler Arena, then on Saturday (01/30/2016), they beat Penn State 79-72 in Madison Square Garden (New York City). The two wins raise Michigan’s record to 17-5 (7-2 in the Big Ten).
Both of these wins fall solidly into the “a win is a win” category. PSU is pretty weak (again) this season, but Rutgers is really bad. These were games that UM could have won by 40-50 points, but they shot poorly (when they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot), and they let inferior opponents hang around for most of the game. We can just hope that Michigan plays with more focus against the “upper division” opponents coming right up.
Michigan started off the Rutgers game ice cold. They missed their first 5 shots (along with a turnover), and Rutgers went ahead 6-0 in the first 3:00. UM finally started scoring, but they didn’t catch Rutgers until they tied it up (20-20) with 5:27 left in the 1st half. Yes, Rutgers led for the first 15 minutes of the game. Ugh.
Once UM finally got the lead, they never trailed. They went on a 12-2 run to get a double-digit lead (32-22) with 1:06 left in the half, and led by 7 (34-27) at halftime. They kept the lead around 8-10 points for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half, before Rutgers crept to within 5 points (48-43). Michigan pushed the lead back up to the 8-10 range, and kept it there the rest of the game. They never managed to pull away, but they also did a good job of keeping Rutgers from getting too close.
The PSU game was a little better. Michigan started much better than they had in the Rutgers game, and led 13-5 after the first 5:00. They did let PSU tie the game (13-13), but then they built the lead back up to 10 points (27-17) with 7:07 left in the half. UM hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead by 12 (38-26) at halftime, and they kept the lead above 10 points for most of the 2nd half. Once again, they couldn’t put PSU away, but they never let them get closer than 5 points in the 2nd half.
Once again, it was impressive that Michigan won both games without their best player, Caris LeVert, who missed two more games this week with a left ankle injury. He has now missed 8 games, and is still listed as “day to day”.
So, what did we learn about this season’s UM team this week? Nothing new. It was a replay of last week’s two wins over “lower division” opponents.
The stats for the Rutgers game are pretty dismal. Michigan shot poorly overall (20-for-49 = 40.8%), they shot fairly well from 3-point range (11-for-28 = 39.3%), but they did shoot free throws well, and often (17-for-20 = 85.0%). They (barely) lost the rebounding battle (30-29), but they did win the turnover battle (10-14). It really helped that Rutgers shot 3-pointers terribly (3-for-18 = 16.7%).
The stats for the PSU game aren’t much better. UM shot poorly overall again (25-for-55 = 45.5%), they shot 3-pointers very poorly (6-for-20 = 30.0%), and they shot free throws pretty well (23-for-31 = 74.2%). They (barely) lost the rebounding battle again (36-34), and they won the turnover battle (7-11). The big difference in this game was free throws. UM hit 23 of them, while PSU only hit 11 (in 15 attempts). That’s 12 points right there.
With LeVert still unavailable, Coach Beilein went with his new regular starting lineup: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (MAAR), Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton Jr. Two of the starters hit double figures in both games: Donnal, with 10 points in each game, and Walton, with 14 and 13 points. Walton also had 10 rebounds in the PSU game, for another double-double.
The other three starters hit double figures in one game: MAAR had 3 and 15 points, Irvin had 8 and 20 points, and Robinson had 18 and 9 points. Irvin had 12 rebounds in the Rutgers game, for a double-double.
The bench contributed a few points this week. Aubrey Dawkins had 11 and 7 points, and Ricky Doyle had 4 and 5 points. That’s it. Kameron Chatman and Moritz Wagner both played in the Rutgers game, but failed to score. Andrew Dakich and DJ Wilson both played in the PSU game, but failed to score. Michigan could really use more bench scoring.
This week, Michigan plays two more Big Ten games. On Tuesday (02/02/2016, 9:00 p.m., ESPN), they play (#19) Indiana, then on Saturday (02/06/2016, 2:00 p.m., CBS), they play (#12) Michigan State. Both games are in Crisler Arena.
Indiana is currently 18-4 (8-1 in the Big Ten). They’re tied for 1st place in the league, one game ahead of Michigan. They don’t have any impressive wins (Notre Dame is the closest), but they have a couple not-so-impressive losses (Wake Forest and UNLV), and a couple understandable losses (Duke and Wisconsin). They have an even hotter offense than Michigan, and a reasonable defense to go with it. It’s going to be a tough game.
Michigan State started the season 13-0, and were ranked #1 for a few weeks. Since then, they’ve gone 5-5, all in the Big Ten, for a record of 18-5 (5-5 in the Big Ten). Three of their losses are understandable (Iowa [twice] and Wisconsin), but they also lost at home to Nebraska. They have a decent offense, and a powerful defense. It’s also going to be a tough game.
Come on down to Crisler for both games, and check back next week to see what happened, and why.