Nothing But ‘Net – Week #11 – 01/08/2024 – Season On The Brink

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week, and they lost both of them.  On Thursday (01/04/2024), they lost to Minnesota 73-71 in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (01/07/2024), they lost to Penn State 79-73 in the Palestra, in Philadelphia.  The losses lower Michigan’s record to 6-9 (1-3 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

This season is officially “on the brink”.  Michigan had to win at least one of these games to stand any chance of a respectable season.  Instead, they let two very winnable games slip away.

Game Flow

Michigan led for at least half of the game vs. Minnesota, but they could never pull away.  They led by 4 points (37-33) at halftime, and they led for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half.  Minnesota led for the next few minutes, but the game was all tied up (59-59) with 6:04 to go.  That was it, though: Minnesota led the rest of the way, although UM got within 2 points a couple times.  Michigan actually a 3-point shot to win and a 2-point shot to tie in the last few seconds, but they missed them.

The PSU game was very frustrating.  Michigan dominated early, up 12-2, 28-16, and 36-22.  They were in control of the game, but they started letting it slip away.  They were still up 10 at halftime (37-27), but they absolutely stunk in the 2nd half.  They were just horrible.  They threw away their hard-fought 10-point lead quickly, and once PSU got ahead, they were done.  They frittered away 9 of the 10 points in the first 3:27 of the 2nd half, leading by one point (42-41) with 16:33 to go.  They managed to hang onto a 1-3 point lead for the next couple minutes, but PSU finally went ahead 51-49 with 11:36 left, and that was the game.  Michigan never got close after that, and looked terrible doing it.


The game stats            for the Minnesota game were miserable: 41.4% shooting overall, 31.6% from deep, and 77.3% from the line.  Michigan actually won the rebounding battle (35-34), and tied in the turnover battle (9-9).  It was a close game, and the difference was poor shooting by Michigan.

The game stats for the PSU game were decent: 50.0% shooting overall, 33.3% from deep, and 65.0% from the line.  Michigan won the rebounding battle (39-31), but they killed themselves in the turnover battle: 19-7.  That’s how they lost the game: turnovers.

Who Started?

The starters were Nimari Burnett, Dug McDaniel, Olivier Nkamhoua, Tarris Reed, Jr., and Terrance Williams II.

Who Looked Good?

Nkamhoua hit double figures in both games: 16 and 13 points.  He also had 8 and 9 rebounds.

Burnett also hit double figures in both games: 17 and 10 points.

Williams had one mediocre game and one very good game: 7 and 24 points.  He was the leading scorer in the PSU game.  24 points is a new career high for him.

McDaniel had a decent week: 9 and 11 points.  He was badly outplayed by PSU’s point guard.

Reed had one good game and one mediocre game: 14 and 5 points.  He had 11 rebounds vs. Minnesota, for a double-double.

Will Tschetter had 5 and 4 points off the bench.

Tray Jackson had 3 and 5 points off the bench.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

No one had a not-so-good week.

Who Else Played?

Youssef Khayat played in both games, and scored 0 and 1 points.

Jaelin Llewellyn played in the PSU game, and missed both of his shot attempts.

Who Didn’t Play?

George Washington III was the only scholarship player who didn’t play in either game.

None of the Scout Team players played in either game: Ian Burns, Harrison Hochberg, Jackson Selvala, and Cooper Smith.

Jace Howard is still recovering from an injury, and not playing yet.  He’s expected back “later in the season”.

What Does It Mean?

This team is broken.  Their morale is shot.  They expect to lose, and they expect bad things to happen.  It a real shame, because they have decent talent, they just can’t seem to play a complete game any more.  I’ll be surprised if they win another game this season.  Yup, 6-26.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan only plays one game.  On Thursday (01/11/2024, 7:00 p.m., FS1), they play at Maryland.

Maryland is currently 9-6 (1-3 in Big Ten).  They beat UCLA, but they lost to Davidson and UAB.  They’ve got a 7-footer and two 6’11” guys, so they’ll beat Michigan in the paint.  I don’t expect Michigan to stand much of a chance against Maryland, but they might hang around before they lose in the last minute.

Check back next week to find out what happened and why.

Go Blue!