Nothing But ‘Net – Week #13 – 01/22/2024 – Check It Out: Another Win!

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week, and they won one and lost the other.  On Monday (01/15/2024), they beat Ohio State 73-65, then on Thursday (01/18/2024), they lost to (#14) Illinois 88-73.  Both games were in Crisler Arena.  The win and loss leaves Michigan with a record of 7-11 (2-5 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

I honestly thought that Michigan was going to lose their last 21 games, and finish 6-26.  That’s what makes Monday’s win over OSU so exciting: they aren’t going to lose their last 21 games.  Of course, they started a new losing streak in their next game, but still…

Game Flow

The OSU game was close in the early going, with the score tied (15-15) at the 11:09 mark.  UM started pulling away, and led by 10 points (29-19) with 5:28 to go in the 1st half.  OSU crept back, but Michigan hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to lead by 9 points (37-28).  OSU hung around in the 2nd half, getting to within 4 points several times.  Michigan got hot, and pushed the lead up to 12 points (55-43) with 11:46 to go.  Sounds pretty encouraging, doesn’t it?  Ha!  No lead is safe with this Michigan team.  They went stone cold, and OSU got red hot, and just like that OSU ripped off a 16-0 run, to go up by 4 points (59-55) at the 7:58 mark.  That’s 16-0 in less than 4 minutes.  Yikes!  At this point, we reached an inflection point in Michigan’s season.  In the last 2 games (Penn State and Maryland), they threw away decent halftime leads, and once they got behind in the 2nd half, they never led again.  Not this time.  UM got the lead back, lost it, then got it back again, for good.  With 3:37 left, UM went up by 2 points (63-61), and they never trailed again, winning by 8 points.  This win was very important for the team’s confidence, since it showed them that they could weather some adversity and still win.

The Illinois game was very frustrating.  Illinois kept building decent leads (8-10 points), and Michigan would slowly catch back up, but always just a point or two from the lead.  Once Michigan got close, Illinois would go on a quick run to push the lead back up to 8-10 points.  This happened several times, and the last time was too much for Michigan to overcome.  Michigan actually led once (2-0), and they tied the score once (38-38) with 18:37 left in the game, but they never could make the big basket to get the lead.


The game stats for the OSU game were decent.  Michigan shot fairly well overall (27-for-63 = 42.9%), they shot 3-pointers well (12-for-23 = 52.2%), and they shot free throws well (7-for-10 = 70.0%).  They won the rebounding battle (42-38), but they lost the turnover battle (9-4).  They won this game with good shooting and rebounding.

The game stats for the Illinois game were mixed.  Michigan shot pretty well overall (30-for-63 = 47.6%), they shot 3-pointers very poorly (3-for-13 = 23.1%), and they shot free throws very well (10-for-12 = 83.3%).  They lost the rebounding battle badly (39-29) and the turnover battle as well (9-6).  They lost this game with poor 3-point shooting and lousy rebounding: they allowed Illinois to grab 13 offensive rebounds, leading to 16 second-chance points.

Who Started?

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

Who Looked Good?

Nkamhoua was the leading scorer in the OSU game, with 20 points, and the second-leading scorer in the Illinois game, with 16 points.

Reed was the star of the Illinois game, with 20 points.  He had a mediocre game vs. OSU, with only 6 points, on lousy shooting: 2-for-8.

Williams had a great game vs. OSU (18 points) and a mediocre game vs. Illinois (8 points).  He shot very well vs. OSU (6-for-9 overall, 5-for-5 from deep) and very poorly vs. Illinois (3-for-10 overall, 0-for-4 from deep).

McDaniel hit double figures in both games (15 and 14 points), and he shot fairly well vs. OSU (6-for-16 overall, 3-for-6 from deep), but not so well vs. Illinois (7-for-18 overall, 0-for-4 from deep).

Will Tschetter had 7 and 4 points off the bench.

Jaelin Llewellyn had 0 and 7 points off the bench.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Burnett shot OK in the OSU game: 2-for-4 overall, 1-for-2 from deep, for 7 points.  He shot very poorly in the Illinois game: 1-for-5 overall, 0-for-0 from deep, for 4 points.  He was the leading rebounder vs. OSU, with 10 boards.

Jace Howard played in both games, but didn’t score.  He was 0-for-1 vs. OSU, and didn’t attempt a shot vs. Illinois

Youssef Khayat only played in the Illinois game, where he didn’t attempt a shot.

Who Else Played?

No one else played.  No one else was available to play.  Michigan’s bench is very thin.

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.  Smith is currently injured.

Tray Jackson wasn’t available to play, since he was in the “concussion protocol” after being injured in the Penn State game two weeks ago.  He should be available going forward, but it sure is taking a while.

What Does It Mean?

OK, now that Michigan’s long losing streak is over, they need to sprinkle in a few wins the rest of the way.  I still don’t see them winning more than 10 games.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games.  On Tuesday (01/23/2024, 9:00 p.m., Peacock), they play at (#2) Purdue, then on Saturday (01/27/2024, 5:00 p.m., FS1) they play Iowa in Crisler Arena.

Purdue is currently 17-2 (6-2 in Big Ten).  They have impressive wins over (#11) Gonzaga, (#7) Tennessee, (#4) Marquette, (#1) Arizona, and (#9) Illinois.  Their two surprising losses were to Northwestern and Nebraska.  They have two noteworthy players: Fletcher Loyer and Zach Edey.  Fletcher is the younger, much more talented, brother of Foster Loyer, who played (poorly) at Michigan State.  Zach Edey is the reigning National Player of the Year, and at 7’5”, he deserves it.  Tarris Reed, Jr. is going to have his hands full in this one.  I don’t expect Michigan to come within 20 points of Purdue any time in the 2nd half.

Iowa is currently 11-7 (3-4 in Big Ten).  Michigan beat them in Iowa City back in December, and since then they’ve beaten a few middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams: Rutgers, Nebraska, and Minnesota.  Even though Michigan beat them handily at their place, I expect this to be a close, exciting game.  This is one of the few games left on Michigan’s schedule that they might win, so they need to play their “A” game.

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

Go Blue!