The (#9) University of Michigan men’s basketball team only played one game last week, and they won it easily. On (Black) Friday (11/23/2018), they beat Chattanooga 83-55 in Crisler Arena. Michigan’s record is now 6-0.
Time for more Questions & Answers:
Q: Thanksgiving leftovers?
A: It was a smallish crowd on the day after Thanksgiving for a game that Michigan was heavily favored to win. Most of the crowd looked like they had eaten too much turkey the day before. The team, on the other hand, was sharper and more focused than they’ve been at home this season. They never trailed, opened an early lead, built on it steadily, and looked good doing it.
Q: Who looked good for Michigan?
A: Everyone looked pretty good, but a few players stood out:
- Ignas Brazdeikis was the leading scorer (20 points), along with 7 rebounds. He even shot 2-for-4 from 3-point range.
- Jordan Poole was the other starter in double figures, with 14 points and 6 rebounds. He also shot well from 3-point range: 2-for-3.
- Isaiah Livers was the only other Michigan player in double figures, with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting (2-for-3 from 3-point range).
- Jon Teske only scored 7 points, but he pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds.
- Eli Brooks continued his improved play, with 9 points, including another 3-pointer.
- Austin Davis scored 6 points on 3-for-4 shooting.
- C.J. Baird hit another 3-pointer!
Q: Who looked not-so-good?
A: A couple players had sub-par nights:
- Charles Matthews just couldn’t get anything going in this game. He did finish with 8 points, but he shot poorly (2-for-9 overall, 0-for-2 from 3-point range).
- Zavier Simpson ran the team OK, but he only had 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers.
Q: Who else played?
A: Since this was a blowout, everyone got to play at the end:
- Colin Castleton hit a free throw, for one point.
- David DeJulius went 0-for-3.
- Brandon Johns, Jr. went 0-for-1.
- Adrien Nuñez went 0-for-1.
- Luke Wilson didn’t attempt a shot.
Q: How were the team stats?
A: Not bad. Michigan shot pretty well overall (29-for-59 = 49.2%), they shot 3-pointers fairly well (8-for-22 = 36.4%), and they shot free throws decently (17-for-24 = 70.8%). They won the rebounding battle handily (44-31) and the turnover battle decisively (5-13). Full stats here.
Q: What did we learn?
A: We learned that Michigan can actually play a good solid game against an overmatched opponent. They “played down” to their first two “guarantee game” opponents (Norfolk State and Holy Cross). We also learned that Michigan has several options for secondary scorers (Poole and Livers this time).
Q: What’s next?
A: After a quiet week for Thanksgiving, Michigan plays two tough games this week, both at home. On Wednesday (11/28/2018, 9:30 p.m., ESPN), they play (#7) North Carolina, then on Saturday (12/01/2018, 3:30 p.m., ESPN), they play (#24) Purdue. The UNC game is part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and the Purdue game is the first of two early-December Big Ten games that every Big Ten team has to play to fit in the new 20-game league schedule.
North Carolina is currently 6-1, with wins over Stanford and UCLA, and a loss to Texas. They are very good, with an imposing roster. They have two 6’10” guys and one 6’11” guy. This is going to be a very challenging game.
Purdue is currently 5-1, with no impressive wins, and a loss to (#13) Virginia Tech. They are also very good, with a tough roster. The good news is that Isaac Haas (7’2″) is finally gone, but the bad news is that his replacement (Matt Haarms) is even taller (7’3″), but not as talented. This is also going to be a challenging game.
While UNC and Purdue are both very good opponents, Michigan can beat both of them if they keep playing the way they did at Villanova and in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Tournament two weeks ago.
That’s it for this week. Come on down to Crisler for the big games.
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