Nothing But ‘Net – Week #11 – 01/06/2020 – Road Woes

UMGOBLUE.COM

The (#12) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this week, and they lost it.  On Sunday (01/05/2020), they lost at (#14) Michigan State 87-69.  The loss drops Michigan’s record to 10-4 (1-2 in the Big Ten).

What Happened?

Michigan still hasn’t won a true road game this season (0-3).  They never led in the Louisville game back on 12/03/2019, they trailed the entire 2nd half in the Illinois game on 12/11/2019, and they never led in the MSU game this week.  They just let the game slowly get out of reach.  It’s maddening to watch.  The deficit was 8-12 points in the 1st half, and 12-16 points in the 2nd half.  Every time Michigan would start to creep a little closer, MSU would go on a quick run to extend the lead further.

Stats  

The stats for the game are sad.  Michigan shot pretty poorly overall (25-for-69 = 36.2%), they shot 3-pointers very poorly (5-for-23 = 21.7%), and they shot free throws poorly (14-for-22 = 63.6%).  They lost the rebounding battle badly (43-34), but won the turnover battle (10-13).  The 3-point shooting is what doomed them.  They missed wide-open (or reasonably open) 3-pointers at critical moments, and they couldn’t recover.

Who Started?

The starters were Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, Jr., Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske, and Franz Wagner.  Johns started in place of Isaiah Livers, who is out indefinitely with a groin injury.

Who Looked Good?

Teske was the leading scorer, with 15 points.  He shot 6-for-12 overall, 1-for-3 from deep.

Simpson had 14 points and 8 assists, but he shot a lousy percentage:  6-for-18 overall, 1-for-6 from 3-point range.

Johns played hard, scoring 12 points, including a 3-pointer.

Wagner was the only other Michigan player in double figures, with 10 points.

David DeJulius almost hit double figures, with 8 points.  He didn’t shoot very well: 3-for-9 overall.

Austin Davis did a respectable job out there, with 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Brooks had a terrible game: 2 points on 1-for-5 shooting.

Colin Castleton also had a disappointing game: 0 points on 0-for-4 shooting.

Who Else Played?

Coach Howard emptied the bench at the end of the game, so everyone who was healthy played: C.J. Baird, Cole Bajema, Jaron Faulds, Adrien Nuñez, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, and Luke Wilson.  None of them attempted a shot.

Who Didn’t Play?

As mentioned above, Livers was injured and didn’t play.

What Does It Mean?

Is Michigan as bad as they’ve looked in their 3 true road games, or as good as they looked when they beat a pair of Top-10 teams in back-to-back games in the Bahamas?  They certainly have the talent to win the games they’ve been losing, but they seem to get flustered too easily by a large, loud, hostile crowd.

Can Michigan still contend for the Big Ten title?  Not likely, but not impossible.

Will Michigan make it to the Big Dance?  Probably, but they need to win a few road games.

Will Michigan still be ranked this week?  Probably not.  They don’t deserve it.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games, one home and one on the road.  On Thursday (01/09/2020, 7:00 p.m., FS1), they play Purdue in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/12/2020, 1:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at Minnesota.

Purdue is currently 9-6 (2-2 in the Big Ten), with a couple impressive wins ([#20] VCU and [#5] Virginia), a few understandable losses (Texas, Florida State, and [#17] Butler), and a couple less impressive losses (Marquette and Nebraska).  They have height (7’3” Matt Haarms), but no real star.  This is a team that Michigan should beat, and needs to beat, but they’ll have to play their “A” game to do it.

Minnesota is currently 8-6 (2-2 in the Big Ten), with a couple impressive wins (Clemson and [#6] Ohio State), a few understandable losses (Oklahoma, Butler, Iowa, and Purdue), and a couple less impressive losses (Utah and DePaul).  They have some height (a couple 6’10” guys), but no real star.  This is another team that Michigan should beat, but as we’ve seen, it’s tough to win on the road, especially in the Big Ten.  Minnesota always plays well in The Barn, so this is going to be another tough one.

Check back next week to see how Michigan did.

Go Blue!