The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they won both of them. On Wednesday (02/12/2020), they beat Northwestern 79-54 in Evanston (IL), then on Sunday (02/16/2020), they beat Indiana 89-65 in Crisler Arena. The two wins raise Michigan’s record to 16-9 (7-7 in the Big Ten). Michigan is now tied for 8th place in the Big Ten.
After starting the season 0-5 in true road games, Michigan has now won 2 in a row, with a virtual road win in there when they beat Rutgers in Madison Square Garden, technically a neutral site game. Sure, the two teams they beat are the bottom two teams in the league (Nebraska and Northwestern), but any road win is a good win this season. And, Michigan didn’t just win the game at Northwestern, they dominated. Michigan had their traditional slow start, trailing 4-0 at the 14:29 mark, 9-3 at the 13:55 mark, then 13-6 at the 12:26 mark, before they finally got going. They ripped off a quick 14-2 run, to go up 20-15 with 8:24 to go, then pushed the lead to 15 points (33-18) with 2:42 left. They still led by 15 (38-23) at halftime. They opened the 2nd half with a nice 10-2 run to put the game out of reach, 48-25, with 16:01 left, then they just toyed with Northwestern the rest of the way. The closest NU got was 12 points (58-46) with 7:00 to go, but Michigan pushed the lead back into the 20s, and kept it there until the final horn. It was a dominating victory.
In the IU game, the lead seesawed back and forth for the first 6 minutes, before Michigan went ahead for good at the 13:32 mark. Michigan pushed the lead as high as 12 points a few times in the 1st half, settling for a 7 point lead (41-34) at halftime. IU got it down to 5 points (41-36) in the opening minute of the 2nd half, but that was as close as they’d get. UM pushed the lead into the 10-12 point range, then into the 18-20 point range, and kept it there the rest of the game, winning by 24 points. It was also a dominating victory.
The stats for the Northwestern game are solid. Michigan shot well overall (30-for-64 = 46.9%), they shot 3-pointers well (7-for-20 = 35.0%), and they shot free throws well (12-for-15 = 80.0%). They won the rebounding battle handily (45-32), as well as the turnover battle (8-10). They dominated in every phase of the game.
The stats for the IU game are impressive. Michigan shot very well overall (31-for-54 = 57.4%), they shot 3-pointers very well (9-for-17 = 52.9%), and they shot free throws well (18-for-22 = 81.8%). They won the rebounding battle convincingly (37-21), but lost the turnover battle (8-7). Michigan won this one with 3-point shooting, holding IU to 3-for-12 from deep.
Who Looked Good?
Brooks hit double figures in both games (18 and 13 points), and was the leading scorer in the NU game. He shot a good percentage from 3-point range in the NU game (4-for-8), but not so good vs. IU (1-for-4).
Livers was the only other Michigan player in double figures for both games (17 and 12 points). He had a rough time shooting 3-pointers in the NU game (0-for-5), but he got better in the IU game (2-for-4).
Wagner had a mediocre game vs. NU (5 points), but he was the leading scorer in the IU game with 16 points.
Simpson also had a mediocre game vs. NU (4 points), but a good game vs. IU (12 points). He also had 11 assists vs. IU, for a double-double.
Brandon Johns, Jr. was another player with a mediocre game vs. NU (4 points), but a good game vs. IU (14 points). He shot 3-for-3 from 3-point range vs. IU.
David DeJulius had a decent week, with 7 and 2 points. He played a lot of point guard, and he did a nice job.
Austin Davis is getting better every game. He is now the most effective big man on the team, ahead of Teske. He scored 9 points in each game this week, and he played solid defense. He shot 4-for-4 vs. NU and 4-for-6 vs. IU. For the season, he is shooting 37-for-51 (72.5%), the 2nd best percentage on the team.
Colin Castleton played in both games, and he contributed. He had 5 points vs. NU and 2 points vs. IU.
Cole Bajema also played in both games, and made a 3-pointer in each game. His shot vs. IU was from about 26 feet to beat the shot clock. He is the leading shooter on the team this season, shooting 8-for-10 (80.0%) overall, and 3-for-5 (60.0%) from 3-point range.
Who Looked Not-So-Good?
Teske had a quiet week, with 6 points in each game. He did have 8 and 7 rebounds. The team needs him to get back to playing the way he did in the first half of the season.
Who Else Played?
Adrien Nuñez played in both games, and scored 1 point vs. NU.
C.J. Baird played in the IU game, but failed to score.
Who Didn’t Play?
What Does It Mean?
This was a good week for Michigan. True, they were favored in both games, but they played well, and won convincingly. These results helped their chances for making the NCAA or NIT Tournaments, and improved things in the Big Ten race. There are 6 games left in the regular season, and they need to win at least 4 of them to make the NCAA Tournament. They have now won enough to make the NIT Tournament.
Michigan has already played, and beaten, Rutgers this season. Back on 02/01/2020, Michigan beat (#25) Rutgers 69-63 in Madison Square Garden, which was technically a neutral site game, but actually a home game for Rutgers. Now, Michigan gets to play them in the RAC (Rutgers Athletic Center), where they’re 17-0 this season. They are currently 18-8 overall (9-6 in the Big Ten). This will be a challenging game.
Michigan has also already played, and beaten, Purdue this season. Back on 01/09/2020, Michigan beat Purdue 84-78 in 2OT in Crisler Arena. They are currently 14-12 (7-8 in the Big Ten). This will also be a challenging game. Michigan has had a hard time winning in West Lafayette.
Check back next week to see how Michigan did.