Nothing But ‘Net – Week #14 – 01/30/2017 – Another Week, Another Split

Quick Look

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won one and lost the other. On Thursday (01/26/2017), Michigan beat Indiana 90-60 in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/29/2017), they lost at Michigan State 70-62. The win and the loss

leave Michigan with a record of 14-8 (4-5 in the Big Ten).

What Happened

This is the 5th week in a row where Michigan has won one game and lost the other, but this week included a huge win and a rivalry loss. Look at that score again from the IU game: 90-60. The game wasn’t even that close. Unfortunately, Michigan couldn’t keep the momentum from the IU game going vs. MSU. When UM is hitting their 3-pointers, everything else falls into place, and they look great. When they are cold from 3-point range, everything else falls apart, and they look terrible. That’s what happened this week.

Michigan started hot vs. IU, and never cooled off. The won both halves by 15 points (50-35 and 40-25), and they never let IU even get close for the entire 2nd half. It was very impressive.

On the other hand, Michigan never got hot vs. MSU, and the game was close most of the time. Michigan actually led by one point (40-39) with 14:53 to go in the 2nd half, before MSU went on a 12-2 run to give them a lead they never gave up. Even though they were playing from behind for most of the 2nd half, UM stayed close, and actually got within 4 points (66-62) in the final minute, but could get no closer.

Let’s look at the stats. In the IU game, Michigan shot very well overall (31-for-49 = 63.3%), they shot 3-pointers very well (11-for-20 = 55.0%), and they shot free throws well enough (17-for-24 = 70.8%). They won the rebounding battle (23-20) and the turnover battle (6-16). It was total domination.

The stats for the MSU game aren’t nearly as pretty. Michigan shot very poorly overall (19-for-56 = 33.9%), they shot 3-pointers terribly (7-for-26 = 26.9%), but they did shoot free throws well (17-for-19 = 89.5%). Michigan actually won the rebounding battle, barely (33-32), but they uncharacteristically lost the turnover battle (13-11). All those turnovers, combined with anemic 3-point shooting, cost Michigan the game.

Who Looked Good

Michigan had 6 players, including all 5 starters, in double figures for the IU game, but only 2 players in double figures for the MSU game.

Derrick Walton Jr. was Michigan’s leading scorer in both games, with 21 and 24 points. He hit 14 of 15 free throws vs. MSU, and almost had a double-double, with 9 rebounds (3 offensive). He had a great week.

Moritz Wagner was the only other Michigan player to hit double figures in both games, with 14 and 10. On the downside, he had 4 fouls and 4 bad turnovers vs. MSU.

DJ Wilson had a solid game against IU, with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots, but he had a tougher time against MSU, with only 8 points.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 12 points vs. IU, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and he played great defense. He had a quiet game (5 points) vs. MSU, and had a tougher time on defense.

Duncan Robinson had 13 and 8 points, and did a decent job on defense for a change.

Who Looked Not-So-Good

Zak Irvin may have had 12 points vs. IU, but he almost single-handedly cost Michigan the MSU game, with 0 points on 0-for-8 shooting. He also had 3 turnovers vs. MSU. Ugh.

Mark Donnal had a quiet week, with 3 and 7 points.

Xavier Simpson played in both games, and scored 2 points (on free throws) vs. IU. He was scoreless vs. MSU. When he’s out there, Michigan is essentially playing 4-on-5 on offense, since he refuses to shoot.

Who Else Played

Jon Teske played in both games, but failed to score.

Ibi Watson played in both games, and scored 2 points (on free throws) vs. IU. He was scoreless vs. MSU. He still looks lost out there.

Fred Wright-Jones played in the MSU game, but failed to score.

Brent Hibbitts played in the IU game, but failed to score.

Sean Lonergan played in the IU game, but failed to score.

Who Didn’t Play

Everyone played in at least one of the games this week.

The Big Picture

Michigan is still “on the bubble” for an NCAA Tournament bid. They need to win 6 of their remaining 9 Big Ten games to stand a decent chance. They need to do better than a split every week.

What’s Next

This week Michigan only plays one game, at home. On Saturday (02/04/2017, 6:00 p.m., ESPN2), Michigan plays Ohio State in Crisler Arena. This is another “toss up” game.

OSU is currently 13-9 overall, 3-6 in the Big Ten. They did beat MSU in Columbus, but they have also lost to Florida Atlantic. The rest of their wins and losses are all predictable.

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

Go Blue!