Nothing But ‘Net – Week #14 – 01/28/2013 – Number One?

The (#2) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won them both. At the same time, (#1) Duke got hammered on the road by (#25) Miami (FL), so it sure looks like Michigan is going to be ranked #1 in the AP Poll this week!

The two games that Michigan played last week were good, solid wins against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams. On Thursday (01/24/2013), they beat Purdue 68-53 in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/27/2013), they beat Illinois 74-60 in Champaign. The two wins raise UM’s record to 19-1, 6-1 in Big Ten play. They are tied for 1st place in the Big Ten.

In both games, Michigan fell behind early, but didn’t panic. In fact, Purdue actually had a 1-point lead (33-32) at halftime, the only time UM has trailed at halftime at home this season. However, in both games, Michigan slowly but surely erased the deficit and built a lead, then protected it. In the Purdue game, Michigan was still behind (40-39) with 15 minutes left, then they went on a quick 10-0 run to get a lead that they never lost. In the Illinois game, Michigan led for most of the game, but it was close (2-4 points) for most of the 1st half. In the 2nd half, UM pushed the lead out to double digits, and mostly kept it there. They did let Illinois get within 4 points (41-37) with 16:41 left in the game, but that’s when Michigan pulled away.

The stats for the Purdue game are much nicer than the ones for the Illinois game. In the Purdue game, Michigan shot pretty well overall (27-for-55 = 49.1%), and pretty well from 3-point range (7-for-16 = 43.8%). They shot free throws pretty well (7-for-10 = 70.0%), and they won the rebounding battle (35-29) and the turnover battle (10-12). Michigan shot pretty well overall in the Illinois game (31-for-59 = 52.5%), but not so well from 3-point range (5-for-15 = 33.3%). They were mediocre from the free-throw line (7-for-13 = 53.8%), they lost the rebounding battle (35-36), but they won the turnover battle (12-15). Overall, they played well enough to win, but not up to the level they set in some of their more impressive victories. Still, a win is a win. Just ask Duke.

Individually, 3 players hit double figures in both games:

The 5th starter, Jordan Morgan had 6 points vs. Purdue, but 0 points vs. Illinois. He only played 91 seconds in the Illinois game before he injured his ankle. He didn’t return to the game. His status isn’t known at this time.

The bench players had mixed success scoring:

  • Spike Albrecht – 0 and 0 points.
  • Max Bielfeldt – DNP and 4 points. Max had to play a lot more minutes in the Illinois game, with Morgan out, and he did fine.
  • Jon Horford – 2 and 7 points. Jon also had to play a lot more minutes in the Illinois game, with Morgan out, and he also did fine.
  • Caris LeVert – 2 and 0 points.
  • Mitch McGary – 6 and 6 points.

Michigan only got 10 points from the bench in the Purdue game, but they got 17 points vs. Illinois, which is more like it.

This Week

After a couple games against lower-division teams, Michigan has one more relatively easy game, then they start a brutal 4-game stretch. This week, they play Northwestern on Wednesday (01/30/2013, 6:30 p.m., BTN) in Crisler Arena, then on Saturday (02/02/2013, 9:00 p.m. EST, ESPN) they play at (#7) Indiana. They should beat Northwestern fairly easily, but the game at IU will be Michigan’s toughest test yet. If they can win that one, they’ll be in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten title.

Check back next week to see what happened, and why.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #13 – 01/21/2013 – A Big Road Win

The (#5) University of Michigan men’s basketball team won a big game on the road last week, after looking terrible in the beginning of their previous game, a 56-53 loss to Ohio State. On Thursday (01/17/2013), they beat (#9) Minnesota 83-75. The win raises UM’s record to 17-1, 4-1 in Big Ten play. They are tied for 2nd place in the Big Ten.

In their loss to OSU, Michigan started the game playing terribly, and they dug themselves into a hole that they spent the next 30 minutes digging out of. Not so in the Minnesota game. They came out playing hard from the opening tip, and never let Minnesota get very far ahead. Minnesota’s biggest lead was 6-2, in the opening minutes. They were still ahead, 13-10, with about 14 minutes left in the 1st half, when Michigan got it going. The Wolverines went on a nice 16-3 run, to open up a 10-point lead (26-16) with 8 minutes left in the 1st half, and they never trailed again. Minnesota managed to cut the deficit to 2 points a couple times, including 30-28 with about 4 minutes left in the half, but Michigan managed to counter every Minnesota run. Michigan led by 6 (36-30) at halftime, and pushed the lead right back to 10 points (42-32) in the first 1:20 after halftime. From there, they got the lead up as high as 19 points (58-39) with 12:30 left in the game, then they held off Minnesota down the stretch to win by 8.

It was an impressive win, and it showed that Michigan does have the ability to win a big game on the road against a Top-10 opponent in a (very) hostile environment. Minnesota really wanted this one, and they played hard, but Michigan had the weapons to beat them.

The stats are pretty impressive as well, especially for a Big Ten road game. Michigan shot very well overall (28-for-51 = 54.9%), and they shot well from 3-point range (10-for-20 = 50.0%). They shot free throws well enough to win (17-for-25 = 68.0%), but they lost the rebounding battle (25-33). They did win the turnover battle (12-15), but 12 turnovers is a lot for this season’s Michigan team.

Individually, 3 players hit double figures:

  • Trey Burke – 18 points (and 9 assists, just missing a double-double).
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. – 21 points (on only 8 shots!).
  • Nik Stauskas – 11 points. Back in the “double figures” club again, after missing it last game.

The other 2 starters almost hit double figures:

Coach Beilein played more bench players than usual for a close game. They had mixed success scoring:

Michigan got 15 points from the bench, which is a little better.

This Week

After only playing one game last week, Michigan has two games this week. On Thursday (01/24/2013, 7:00 p.m., ESPN), they play Purdue in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/27/2013, 6:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at (#23) Illinois. These are both games that Michigan should win, but the Big Ten is very unpredictable this season, and a road game at Illinois is always tough.

Check back next week to see what happened, and why.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #12 – 01/14/2013 – Back To Earth

Realistically, I knew they couldn’t do it, but deep inside I kept thinking “they could go undefeated this season”. Wrong. The (#2) University of Michigan men’s basketball team finally lost, after winning their first 16 games. They played two games last week, and they won the first and lost the second. On Wednesday (01/09/2013), they beat Nebraska 62-47 in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/13/2013), they lost to (#15) Ohio State 56-53 in Columbus. The win and the loss leave UM with a record of 16-1, 3-1 in Big Ten play. It’s a real shame that UM lost, since (#1) Duke finally lost on Saturday, and Michigan would have been ranked #1 if they could have snuck by OSU. UM was the last unbeaten team to lose.

Even though Michigan beat Nebraska by 15 points on Wednesday, they looked pretty weak doing it. Nebraska is easily the worst team in the Big Ten, and Michigan should have throttled them by 35 points. The less said about that game, the better. As the Nebraska game was going on, I kept thinking “if Michigan plays like this on Sunday vs. Ohio State, they’ll get beat”. Well, they did play poorly again at OSU, and they lost. They didn’t play bad for most of the OSU game, just the first 10 minutes and the last minute. That was enough to doom them. They actually led the game 3-0, then they couldn’t buy a basket. By the time they finally woke up and started playing their normal game, they were down 26-3. That’s right: a 23-3 run. They managed to cut the deficit down to 12 at halftime (34-22), and they even tied the game up (46-46) with 6:00 left in the game, but they couldn’t hit any of their clutch baskets down the stretch, and that was the game. With 16 seconds left, they were only down 2 points (52-50) with the ball, and they missed a 3-pointer that would have given them the lead.

I don’t want to look at the stats, but I’m sure they’ll tell us what went wrong in both games. The Nebraska stats are sad: UM shot poorly overall (21-for-54 = 38.9%), and they shot terribly from 3-point range (3-for-17 = 17.6%). They shot a lousy percentage (65.4%) from the free-throw line, but they went there often, and that was the difference in the game. They were 17-for-26 at the line, and Nebraska was 3-for-7. Those 14 extra points are almost exactly the margin of victory. Michigan did win the rebounding battle decisively (47-30), and they barely won the turnover battle (5-6).

The Ohio State stats aren’t that bad, just bad enough to lose: Michigan shot poorly overall again (18-for-47 = 38.3%), and they shot poorly from 3-point range (6-for-20 = 30.0%). They shot pretty well from the free-throw line (11-for-15 = 73.3%), they tied in the rebounding battle (30-30), and they barely lost the turnover battle (13-12). It was just a matter of shooting poorly from the field.

Individually, only 2 players hit double figures in both games:

  • Trey Burke – 18 points vs. Nebraska, and 15 vs. OSU.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. – 15 and 12 points. Tim also had 11 rebounds vs. Nebraska, for a double-double.

There were 2 players who hit double figures in one game:

  • Glenn Robinson III – 14 and 8 points.
  • Nik Stauskas – 13 and 0 points. Yes, after hitting double figures in every game since the opener, Nik finally fell short. Way short. He was 0-for-3 in the OSU game.

The 5th starter is Jordan Morgan. He had 0 and 5 points, but he did have 11 rebounds in the Nebraska game.

Since both games were close, Coach Beilein didn’t play many bench players. They had mixed success scoring:

Michigan really needs more scoring from the bench.

This Week

It will be interesting to see how Michigan responds to their first loss of the season. They only have one game this week, but it’s another tough one: on Thursday (01/17/2013, 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN), they play at (#8) Minnesota. Minnesota is having a great season, and they’re really tough to beat in Minneapolis. I expect the game to be close and tense.

Check back next week to see what happened, and why.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #11 – 01/07/2013 – A Great Start To Conference Play

The (#2) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won them both handily. On Thursday (01/03/2013), they beat Northwestern 94-66 in Evanston, then on Sunday (01/06/2013), they beat Iowa 95-67 in Crisler Arena. The wins raise UM’s record to 15-0, and their conference mark to 2-0. It’s a great way to start Big Ten play.

Even though the two scores (94-66 and 95-67) may look very similar, the games were very different. In the Northwestern game, UM jumped out to an early 20-4 lead and never looked back, but in the Iowa game, Michigan trailed 7-0 after 2 minutes, and still trailed by 4 (23-19) with 6:00 left in the half. The game was tied (29-29) with 3:30 left, then UM went on a very impressive 17-6 run to end the half with an 11-point lead (46-35). Iowa never got any closer in the 2nd half, and UM won going away. UM looked lethargic for much of the 1st half, but once they started their run, they were unstoppable.

The Iowa game was a very important lesson for this young Michigan team, and their fans. UM has had things pretty easy so far this season, leading from start to finish in many games, and winning all 15 of them by an average of about 23 points. They have seen very little hardship, and they haven’t had to play from behind for very long. Iowa gave them a reminder of what it’s like to be in a tense, competitive game, at least for 16:30 of the 1st half. There are plenty of tougher opponents coming up, and soon, and we’ll find out just what this Michigan team is made of, and how well they handle pressure and adversity. So far, they’ve been up to every test, but the tests are going to get a lot harder.

The stats for both games are very nice. Against Northwestern, UM shot really well overall (34-for-57 = 59.6%), and really well from 3-point range (13-for-22 = 59.1%). They shot OK from the free-throw line (13-for-19 = 68.4%), and they crushed NW on the boards (41-25). They tied in the turnover battle (12-12). They shot almost as well overall in the Iowa game (36-for-62 = 58.1%), but not as well from 3-point range (10-for-22 = 45.5%). They shot exactly the same from the free-throw line (13-for-19 = 68.4%). They crushed Iowa on the boards, by almost the same margin as NW (41-26), and they barely won the turnover battle (6-7).

Individually, 4 players hit double figures in both games, which is very impressive:

  • Trey Burke – 23 points vs. NW, and 19 vs. Iowa. Trey also had a career-high 12 assists vs. Iowa, for another double-double. One of these assists came on a great play: the Iowa defender was guarding him closely near center court, and he actually managed to poke the ball away from Trey and tried to grab the loose ball. Trey controlled it, and he was mad! He blew past the Iowa defender, drove towards the basket, drew a defender, and passed to Glenn Robinson III for a slam. The look he gave the Iowa defender after that play was classic.
  • Glenn Robinson III – 10 and 20 points. Glenn also had 10 rebounds against Iowa, for his first career double-double.
  • Nik Stauskas – 10 and 13 points. Nik had a poor week shooting 3-pointers, for him. He “only” shot 2-for-7 at Northwestern, and 3-for-6 vs. Iowa. He’s still shooting 53.7% (44-for-82) for the season.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. – 21 and 19 points. Tim came back from his minor ankle injury strong, after only missing one game.

The only starter who didn’t hit double figures in both games was Jordan Morgan, with 12 points at NW, and 4 points vs. Iowa. However, he did have 13 rebounds in the Northwestern game, for another double-double.

Since both games were under control with 4 minutes left, Coach Beilein played every healthy player on the bench. They had mixed success scoring:

  • Eso Akunne – 0 and 0 points.
  • Spike Albrecht – 0 and 0 points.
  • Max Bielfeldt – 4 and 1 points.
  • Caris LeVert – 6 and 9 points. Caris is looking more and more comfortable out there, and he’s in the regular mix of players. He’s played some point guard, and he’s done just fine.
  • Blake McLimans – 0 and 2 points.
  • Mitch McGary – 4 and 5 points. Mitch also had 8 rebounds vs. NW and 11 rebounds vs. Iowa. However, that doesn’t tell the story. Mitch sparked the run that turned the Iowa game around with one of the sweetest blocked shots I’ve ever seen at any level of basketball. An Iowa player was flying to the hoop for a big dunk, when Mitch went up with him and slammed it away to a Michigan player for a fast-break dunk on the other end. It really got the crowd going. Mitch also got a defensive rebound with 3 seconds left in the 1st half, dribbled it to mid-court, and found Glenn Robinson III for a lay-in at the buzzer. This also got the crowd going.
  • Corey Person – 4 and 0 points.
  • Matt Vogrich – 0 and 3 points.

Jon Horford and Josh Bartelstein are both still injured and not playing. They should both be back in action soon.

This Week

The Big Ten season marches on, and Michigan has two games this week. On Wednesday (01/09/2013, 7:00 p.m., BTN), Michigan plays Nebraska in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/13/2013, 1:30 p.m., CBS), they play at Ohio State. Nebraska is not very good, and I expect Michigan to beat them easily, but the OSU game will be Michigan’s toughest game so far this season. It’s really hard to beat OSU in Columbus, but we still don’t know how good this Michigan team really is. We’ll find out on Sunday.

Check back next week to see what happened, and why.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #10 – 12/31/2012 – A Perfect Non-Conference Season, Mid-Term Grades, And Big Ten Preview

Happy New Year (tomorrow

The (#2) University of Michigan men’s basketball team only played one game last week, and they won it handily. On Saturday (12/29/2012), they beat Central Michigan 88-73 in Crisler Arena. The win raises UM’s record to 13-0, and since this is their final non-conference game, they ended up with a perfect record. They also beat 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).

The good news is that Michigan won the game, and kept their perfect record intact. The bad news is that they looked shaky on defense against a mediocre CMU team. Those 73 points are the most any team has scored against UM this season, and that includes games against Top-25 teams like (#23) North Carolina State (scored 72 points), (#24) Pittsburgh (scored 62 points), and (#25) Kansas State (scored 57 points). They held Bradley to 66 points, Arkansas to 67 points and West Virginia to 66 points. It was very discouraging to see CMU run and gun so easily against Michigan.

So, how did CMU do it? With rebounding: they out-rebounded Michigan decisively (38-29) including 11 offensive rebounds. Up until this game, UM has done a good job of keeping their opponents off the glass on defense, but not this time. The rest of the stats: UM shot pretty well overall (35-for-68 = 51.5%), but not so well from 3-point range (11-for-29 = 37.9%). However, most of those missed 3-pointers were shot by the scrubs in the closing minutes of the game; if you take those shots out, UM really shot 50.0% (11-for-22) from beyond the arc. Michigan shot free throws just OK (7-for-11 = 63.6%), but they won the turnover battle handily (3-15).

Individually, 3 players hit double figures:

That’s 3 of the 5 starters. The other 2 starters were Jordan Morgan, with 8 points, and Caris LeVert, with 9 points, another career-high. LeVert started in place of Tim Hardaway Jr., who missed the first game of his career with a minor ankle injury. At this point, it isn’t clear how long Tim will be out. The other injured player is Jon Horford, who is still recovering from a minor knee injury. He should be back in action in another week or two.

Since the game wasn’t very close most of the time, Coach Beilein played every healthy player on the bench. They didn’t chip in much scoring:

Mid-Term Grades

It’s not quite the middle of the season, with 13 non-conference games played and 18 conference games left to go, but it’s close enough for Mid-Term Grades:

Freshman Eligibility

Spike Albrecht – B

Spike does a pretty good job of giving Trey Burke a rest for 6-8 minutes per game, but he’s just a “placeholder”. He doesn’t have the athletic ability to create his own shots and drive to the basket with authority like Trey does. Still, he doesn’t panic when he’s out there, and he tosses in a 3-pointer every now and then.

Max Bielfeldt – B-

Max has had minor injury problems so far this season, and has only played in 7 of the 13 games. When he’s been in, he’s looked solid, if unspectacular. He’s a strong kid, and he knows where the ball is going, so he gets a fair share of the rebounds while he’s on the floor. He’s not much of a scoring threat, but he’s turning into a pretty good post defender.

Caris LeVert – B

For the first 6 games of the season, it looked like Caris was going to be redshirted, then he played in the Bradley game, and every game since. He even started the CMU game, in place of the injured Tim Hardaway, Jr. He has a nice 3-point stroke, he’s fast, he’s athletic, and he has good “court vision”. He could still stand to put on a few pounds of solid muscle, but that’s going to have to wait for summer.

Mitch McGary – B

Mitch has been the 6th man all season, and he brings a lot of energy to the game when he comes in. He’s pretty good at using his size and bulk underneath, and he runs the floor pretty well. He’s getting better at defense every game, and he’s going to be an important player in Big Ten play, against some of the taller/bigger centers.

Glenn Robinson III – A-

Glenn has played very well so far, although many of his points are “quiet points” that sneak up on you. As advertised out of high school, he is VERY athletic, with great speed and leaping ability. He has also shown a better-than-expected touch from 3-point range, and he’s turning into a solid defender.

Nik Stauskas – A

Nik is the star of the class so far. In fact, he is one of the best 3-point shooters in all of college basketball. But, he has done much more than stand beyond the arc and rain in 3-pointers. He has 45 rebounds, 15 assists, 3 blocked shots, and 7 steals. He has helped bring the ball up court against pressure, he has driven to the basket with authority, and he has played pretty good defense. In short, he’s much more of a complete player than we expected. After being the co-6th man (with Mitch McGary) for the first 6 games, he replaced Matt Vogrich in the starting lineup, and he hasn’t looked back. He has scored in double figures in every game except the opener (vs. Slippery Rock), and he’s been the leading scorer a few times. His only bad habit is when he tries to get too fancy with some of his behind-the-back or no-look passes.

Sophomore Eligibility

Trey Burke – A+

Trey has been awesome so far this season. Just awesome. He has shown a mature NBA game in just about every facet. He leads the team in scoring (by 41 points), assists (by 65), minutes (by 27), and steals (by 6). He is shooting a great percentage, both overall and from 3-point range, he’s running the offense well, he’s playing great defense, and he’s being a true leader.

Jon Horford – B

Jon has only missed 3 games due to injury, but it seems like much more. When he’s been in, he’s played well. He has a spring/bounce to his step that few other players have. He’s shown a real talent for blocking shots and playing tough defense. His offensive game is a little behind.

Junior Eligibility

Tim Hardaway Jr. – A-

When Tim is good, he’s very good, but when he’s having an “off” game, he disappears. He’s had a couple small shooting slumps, especially from 3-point range, but he still manages to score, usually by driving to the basket. He’s great in transition.

Blake McLimans – C-

I like Blake, and I really want to see him succeed, but when he’s in the game, he just doesn’t deliver. He’s supposed to be a great 3-point shooter, but he hasn’t really shown it. He plays way shorter than 6’10”, and he tends to hang out around the 3-point line instead of under the basket. He only gets in during “garbage time” these days, which is a shame.

Jordan Morgan – B+

Jordan doesn’t have flashy stats, but he knows his role and delivers. He’s a good rebounder, and a good defender.

Senior Eligibility

Eso Akunne – C

Eso hasn’t played much, mostly in “garbage time”, but when he’s in there, he has a tendency to fire up 3-pointers every chance he gets.

Josh Bartelstein – Inc.

Josh has only played in 2 games so far, and hasn’t scored yet. He injured his ankle, and is still working back into playing form. He is the captain of the team, and his leadership skills are fine, but he’s not having much of a senior season on the floor.

Corey Person – Inc.

Corey has played in 6 games so far, but all of it has been in “garbage time”.

Matt Vogrich – C-

Matt started the season as a starter, and gave it his best effort, but Nik Stauskas was playing too well to keep him on the bench instead of starting him. Since he’s been relegated to the bench, Matt has done less and less with the few minutes he’s managed to get on the floor, and now he’s only playing during “garbage time”. It’s a shame, because he can shoot 3-pointers almost as well as Stauskas, but he seems to have lost his touch.

Big Ten Preview

Here are the current Big Ten standings:

Team

Big Ten

Overall

Wins

Losses

Percent

Wins

Losses

Percent

Michigan

0

0

0.000

13

0

1.000

Illinois

0

0

0.000

13

1

0.929

Indiana

0

0

0.000

12

1

0.923

Minnesota

0

0

0.000

12

1

0.923

Iowa

0

0

0.000

11

2

0.846

Michigan State

0

0

0.000

11

2

0.846

Ohio State

0

0

0.000

10

2

0.833

Nebraska

0

0

0.000

9

4

0.692

Northwestern

0

0

0.000

9

4

0.692

Wisconsin

0

0

0.000

9

4

0.692

Penn State

0

0

0.000

8

4

0.667

Purdue

0

0

0.000

6

6

0.500

However, I don’t expect that order at the end of the season. Here are my predictions:

Team

Big Ten

Overall

Wins

Losses

Percent

Wins

Losses

Percent

Indiana

15

3

0.833

27

4

0.871

Michigan

14

4

0.778

27

4

0.871

Ohio State

13

5

0.722

23

7

0.767

Michigan State

12

6

0.667

23

8

0.742

Wisconsin

11

7

0.611

20

11

0.645

Illinois

10

8

0.556

23

9

0.719

Minnesota

8

10

0.444

20

11

0.645

Northwestern

7

11

0.389

16

15

0.516

Iowa

6

12

0.333

17

14

0.548

Purdue

5

13

0.278

11

20

0.355

Penn State

4

14

0.222

12

18

0.400

Nebraska

3

15

0.167

12

19

0.387

Here’s Michigan’s Big Ten schedule:

Date Opponent Location Time (ET)
01/03/2013 (Thu) Northwestern Evanston, IL 7:00 p.m.
01/06/2013 (Sun) Iowa Ann Arbor, MI 12:00 p.m.
01/09/2013 (Thu) Nebraska Ann Arbor, MI 7:00 p.m.
01/13/2013 (Sun) Ohio State Columbus, OH 1:30/4:30 p.m.
01/17/2013 (Thu) Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 7:00 p.m.
01/24/2013 (Thu) Purdue Ann Arbor, MI 7:00 p.m.
01/27/2013 (Sun) Illinois Champaign, IL 6:00 p.m.
01/30/2013 (Wed) Northwestern Ann Arbor, MI 6:30 p.m.
02/02/2013 (Sat) Indiana Bloomington, IN 9:00 p.m.
02/05/2013 (Tue) Ohio State Ann Arbor, MI 9:00 p.m.
02/09/2013 (Sat) Wisconsin Madison, WI 12:00 p.m.
02/12/2013 (Tue) Michigan State East Lansing, MI 9:00 p.m.
02/17/2013 (Sun) Penn State Ann Arbor, MI 12:00 p.m.
02/24/2013 (Sun) Illinois Ann Arbor, MI 1:00/4:00/6:00 p.m.
02/27/2013 (Wed) Penn State State College, PA 6:30 p.m.
03/02/2013 (Sat)or

03/03/2013 (Sun)

Michigan State Ann Arbor, MI 5:15 p.m.or

1:00/4:00 p.m.

03/06/2013 (Wed) Purdue West Lafayette, IN 7:00 p.m.
03/10/2013 (Sun) Indiana Ann Arbor, MI 1:00/4:00/6:00 p.m.

As you can see, there is a really tough 4-game stretch in the middle of the season, starting with the game at Indiana on 02/02, and ending with the game at Michigan State on 02/12. That’s 4 tough games in 10 days, 3 of them on the road in the 3 toughest arenas in the Big Ten. If Michigan can win 2 of those 4 games, they’ll be in good shape.

Also, every Big Ten team plays 18 conference games, with 7 opponents twice (home and away) and 4 opponents only once. In Michigan’s case, the 4 teams they only play once are: Iowa (home), Minnesota (away), Nebraska (home), and Wisconsin (away). Having to play at Wisconsin is a bad break.

For a complete look at the Big Ten schedule this season, check out my Big Ten Report. The first article for this season has been posted today, and there will be a new article every Monday morning until the last Big Ten team has been eliminated from postseason play. Check it out.

This Week

The Big Ten season starts today, and Michigan has two games this week. On Thursday (01/03/2013, 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2), Michigan plays at Northwestern, then on Sunday (01/06/2013, 12:00 p.m., BTN), they play Iowa, in Crisler Arena. These are both games that Michigan should win, but every game is a battle in the Big Ten, and every win is precious.

Check back next week to see what happened, and why.

Go Blue!