Nothing But ‘Net – Week #17 – 02/19/2024 – Another Lost Week In A Lost Season

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week, and they lost both of them.  On Tuesday (02/13/2024), they lost at (#14) Illinois 97-68, then on Saturday (02/17/2024), they lost to Michigan State 73-63 in Crisler Arena.  The two losses lower Michigan’s record to 8-18 (3-12 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

It was another lost week in a lost season for the basketball team.  They were crushed in the Illinois game, but they put up a good fight in the MSU game, until the last 7 minutes.  More about that below.

Game Flow

The first few minutes of the Illinois game were OK.  The game was tied at 2-2, and Michigan actually led 5-4 with 16:20 left in the 1st half.  That was Michigan’s only lead of the game.  The score was tied 7-7, and Michigan was only down one point (10-9) with 14:22 to go.  That was the last time it was close.  Illinois went on a 12-2 run to make the score 22-11, and they kept the lead in the 7-9 point range for most of the half.  Michigan snuck back within 3 points (28-25) at the 4:48 mark, but that seemed to wake Illinois up, and they went on a 19-4 run to end the half, up 18 points, 47-29.  The 2nd half was a disaster.  Illinois quickly pushed their lead up to 30 points (67-37) with 14:51 to go.  It got as high as 37 points, before Illinois put in their subs and scrubs for the last 5 minutes.  That allowed Michigan to get as close as 28 points, losing by 29.  It was a good old-fashioned butt-whipping.

The 1st half of the MSU game was a close, seesaw affair, with both teams building up small leads.  The game should have been tied 37-37 at halftime, but the refs made a terrible call and gave MSU 2 free throws with 0.4 seconds left, so MSU led 39-37 at halftime.  Michigan has had a terrible time with the first few minutes of the 2nd half all season, but not in this game.  With 16:45 to go, Michigan was ahead, 48-43.  Instead of wilting, Michigan kept the lead, and actually increased it a little: 53-47 at the 13:13 mark.  MSU tied it (56-56) with 11:28 to go, then went ahead.  In many games this season, once Michigan fell behind in the 2nd half, they were done.  Not this time: they tied it up 61-61, then 63-63, at the 7:01 mark.  Let’s take a minute to look at that score, then remember the final score (73-63).  Yes, that means that Michigan didn’t score a single point in the last 7:01 of the game.  In that stretch, they missed 2 2-point attempts, they missed 2 3-point attempts, they committed 5 turnovers, and they committed 4 fouls.  That’s some miserable basketball.

Stats

The game stats for the Illinois game were horrible, just horrible.  Michigan shot decently overall (24-for-57 = 42.1%), they shot 3-pointers horribly (1-for-10 = 10.0%), and they shot free throws poorly (19-for-28 = 67.9%).  They lost the rebounding battle (38-29) and the turnover battle (11-9).  They lost this game with horrible 3-point shooting and poor rebounding.

The game stats for the MSU game were mediocre.  Michigan shot fairly well overall (24-for-53 = 45.3%), they shot 3-pointers decently (7-for-20 = 35.0%), and they shot free throws poorly (8-for-12 = 66.7%).  They actually won the rebounding battle (35-31), but they lost the turnover battle spectacularly (22-10).  They lost this game with WAY too many turnovers.

Who Started?

The starters for the Illinois game were Nimari Burnett, Jaelin Llewellyn, Olivier Nkamhoua, Tarris Reed, Jr., and Terrance Williams IIDug McDaniel didn’t travel with the team for the Illinois game (indefinite “road suspension”), so Llewellyn started in his place.

The starters for the MSU game were Burnett, Llewellyn, McDaniel, Nkamhoua, and Reed.  Williams didn’t play, due to an undisclosed injury or illness.

Who Looked Good?

Reed had a good week, with double figures in both games: 13 vs. Illinois and 15 vs. MSU.  He also had 7 and 11 rebounds, giving him a double-double vs. MSU.

Nkamhoua hit double figures in both games, with 13 and 11 points.  Unfortunately, he was a turnover machine vs. MSU, with 8!

Williams had a good game in his only game this week, with 17 points vs. Illinois.

McDaniel hit double figures in the one game he played in (MSU), with 13 points.  On the downside, he shot poorly (4-for-13 overall), and he had 5 turnovers.

Burnett had one good game (10 points vs. MSU) and one mediocre game (6 points vs. Illinois).

Llewellyn had one good game (12 points vs. MSU) and one mediocre game (4 points vs. Illinois).  He shot poorly: 1-for-7 (0-for-3 from deep) vs. Illinois, and 4-for-11 (2-for-6 from deep) vs. MSU.

Will Tschetter had a mixed week off the bench, with 8 points vs. Illinois and 2 points vs. MSU.  He shot well vs. Illinois (3-for-4 overall, 1-for-1 from deep) and terribly vs. MSU (1-for-6 overall, 0-for-3 from deep).  His 2 points vs. MSU were all the bench points for that game.  Ugh.

Tray Jackson also had a mixed week off the bench, with 6 points vs. Illinois and 0 points vs. MSU.  Michigan needs a lot more production from him.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

George Washington III played in both games, but didn’t score.  He played for 18 minutes vs. Illinois, and shot terribly: 0-for-4 overall, 0-for-3 from deep.  He played for 2 minutes vs. MSU, and didn’t attempt a shot.

Who Else Played?

Ian Burns played the last 2 minutes of the Illinois game, and went 1-for-2 from the free throw line.

Jackson Selvala played the last 3 minutes of the Illinois game, but didn’t attempt a shot.

Cooper Smith played the last minute of the Illinois game, but didn’t attempt a shot.

Who Didn’t Play?

Jace Howard and Youssef Khayat were the scholarship players who didn’t play this week.  They are both reported to be injured.

Harrison Hochberg was the only Scout Team player who didn’t play this week.

What Does It Mean?

With 18 losses, Michigan is now officially eliminated from the NIT.  The only way they can make it to a postseason tournament is to win the Big Ten Tournament, guaranteeing them a spot in the Big Dance, but that’s extremely unlikely.

What’s Next?

The season drones on.  This week, Michigan plays two games.  On Thursday (02/22/2024, 9:00 p.m. EST, FS1), they play at Northwestern, then on Sunday (02/25/2024, 2:00 p.m., CBS) they play (#2) Purdue in Crisler Arena.

Northwestern is currently 18-8 (9-6 in Big Ten), with impressive wins over (#1) Purdue, Michigan State, and (#10) Illinois, and puzzling losses to Mississippi State, Chicago State, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Rutgers.  They have one noteworthy player: Boo Buie.  He always gives Michigan problems.  They also have some height: a 6’10” player and a 7-footer.  As a side note, they also have 3 players named Blake (Barkley, Preston, and Smith).  This is not your grandfather’s Northwestern team – they’re talented and they’re winning.  They stand a good chance at making the Big Dance.  It would be quite a surprise if Michigan managed to beat them, especially on the road.  I expect a 10-15 point loss.

Purdue is currently 23-3 (12-3 in Big Ten).  Michigan played at Purdue back on 01/23/2024, and they got their butts kicked, 99-67.  I expect more of the same in Ann Arbor, probably a 20-25 point loss.

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

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #16 – 02/12/2024 – One Step Forward…

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week, and they won one and lost the other.  On Wednesday (02/07/2024), they beat (#11) Wisconsin 72-68 in Crisler Arena, then on Saturday (02/10/2024), they lost at Nebraska 79-59.  The win and the loss leave Michigan with a record of 8-16 (3-10 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

The win over Wisconsin was a huge upset, especially given how poorly Michigan has been playing for the last month.  After many games in a row where Michigan has folded when things got tough in the 2nd half, UM kept their composure in the face of adversity vs. Wisconsin and finished the game strong.  Could they carry that momentum into their next game, at Nebraska?  No, not even close.  They got behind early, fell way behind before halftime, and never seriously challenged Nebraska in the 2nd half.  One step forward, one step back.

Game Flow

The Wisconsin game was close early, with tie scores at 6-6, 8-8, 10-10, 11-11, 13-13, and 19-19.  Michigan finally started pulling away with a 10-1 run, to go up 29-20 with 7:28 to go in the 1st half.  They kept the lead in the 5-7 point range for a while, but Wisconsin snuck up, and Michigan was only leading by 1 point (34-33) with 1:58 left.  Fortunately, they finished the half on a 3-0 run, to lead by 4 points (37-33) at halftime.  As they have so many times this season, Michigan had a tough time at the start of the 2nd half.  Wisconsin outscored Michigan 10-5 in the first 3:47, to go up 43-42.  In the last month, whenever Michigan has lost their lead in the 2nd half, they have never regained it.  This game was different.  Instead of folding, Michigan hung in there with Wisconsin, and the lead went back and forth for several minutes.  With 12:29 left in the game, Wisconsin was up by 1 point (48-47).  That was their last lead.  Michigan grabbed the lead at the 12:07 mark, 49-48, and never trailed again.  They got the lead at high as 9 points (63-54 with 5:45 to go), but let Wisconsin get within 2 points (70-68) with 11 seconds to go.  Michigan hit their free throws, and won by 4.  It was Michigan’s best game, and best win, of the season.

Other than the first 5 minutes, the Nebraska game was a disaster.  Michigan actually led once (2-0), and the score was tied 2-2 and 4-4.  Michigan was within 2 points (9-7) with 15:32 left in the 1st half, and then the roof fell in.  Nebraska went on a 13-0 run, and led 22-7 with 11:20 to go.  Michigan made a basket and a free throw to stay within 15 points (25-10) with 9:40 to go, then Nebraska went on another run, this time 18-3, to lead by 30 points (43-13) with 5:21 left.  At that point, the game was over.  I can’t remember the last time Michigan trailed by 30 points in the 1st half.  It was humiliating.  Nebraska led by 20 at halftime, 45-25, and they let Michigan go on a couple mini-runs every now and then, but they never let their lead get below 19 points until the 5:23 mark in the 2nd half, when Michigan got as close as 15 points (70-55).  They pushed their lead back up past 20 points, cruising to a 20-point win.

Stats

The game stats for the Wisconsin game were decent.  Michigan shot pretty well overall (23-for-51 = 45.1%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (7-for-20 = 35.0%), and they shot free throws pretty well (19-for-25 = 76.0%).  They won the rebounding battle (34-28), and tied in the turnover battle (12-12).  They won this game with pretty good shooting and rebounding.

The game stats for the Nebraska game were mediocre.  Michigan shot poorly overall (20-for-62 = 32.3%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (8-for-24 = 33.3%), and they shot free throws pretty well (11-for-15 = 73.3%).  They lost the rebounding battle (43-39) and the turnover battle (14-9).  They lost this game with poor overall shooting, rebounding, and too many turnovers.

Who Started?

The starters for the Wisconsin game were Nimari Burnett, Dug McDaniel, Olivier Nkamhoua, Tarris Reed, Jr., and Terrance Williams II.  McDaniel didn’t travel with the team for the Nebraska game (indefinite “road suspension”), so Jaelin Llewellyn started in his place.

Who Looked Good?

No Michigan player hit double figures in both games this week.

McDaniel hit double figures in the one game he played in (Wisconsin), with 16 points.  On the downside, he shot poorly (6-for-15 overall, 1-for-5 from deep), and he had 0 assists.

Burnett had one good game (18 points vs. Nebraska) and one decent game (8 points vs. Wisconsin).  He was Michigan’s leading scorer vs. Nebraska, and the only Michigan player to hit double figures in that game.

Reed had one good game (12 points vs. Wisconsin) and one decent game (9 points vs. Nebraska).

Williams had a couple decent games, with 10 and 9 points.

Llewellyn had a decent game as a starter vs. Nebraska (8 points), and a mediocre game (5 points) off the bench vs. Wisconsin.  He shot decently vs. Wisconsin (2-for-4 overall, 1-for-3 from deep), but he was lousy vs. Nebraska (3-for-12 overall, 2-for-7 from deep).

Will Tschetter was a little ray of sunshine off the bench, with 11 and 8 points.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Nkamhoua has a mediocre week, with 8 and 3 points.  He shot reasonably well in the Wisconsin game (2-for-5 overall, 1-for-3 from deep), but he was horrible in the Nebraska game (1-for-10 overall, 0-for-3 from deep).  On the positive side, he was the leading rebounder in both games, with 12 and 10.

Tray Jackson had 2 points off the bench in each game, but he did it on terrible shooting: 0-for-2 vs. Wisconsin (2-for-2 shooting free throws), and 0-for-5 overall, 0-for-1 from deep vs. Nebraska (2-for-2 shooting free throws).  Michigan needs a lot more production from him.

Who Else Played?

Harrison Hochberg played the last 2 minutes of the Nebraska game, but didn’t attempt a shot.

Youssef Khayat played the last minute of the Nebraska game, and missed his only shot attempt.

Jackson Selvala played the last 2 minutes of the Nebraska game, and scored the first points of his career, going 2-for-2 from the free throw line.  Good for him!

Cooper Smith played the last 2 minutes of the Nebraska game, but didn’t attempt a shot.

George Washington III played in both games, but didn’t score.  He didn’t attempt a shot vs. Wisconsin, and he was 0-for-2 (both 3-point attempts) vs. Nebraska.

Who Didn’t Play?

Jace Howard was the only scholarship player who didn’t play this week.  Could he be injured?

Ian Burns was the only Scout Team player who didn’t play this week.

What Does It Mean?

While the Wisconsin win was fun (and really unexpected), it was a case of “too little, too late”.  With their 16th loss, Michigan now needs to win the rest of their regular season games (unlikely) and 2 games in the Big Ten Tournament to finish at 0.500 and be eligible for the NIT.  Of course, they could go on a run in the Big Ten Tournament and win it all, guaranteeing them a spot in the Big Dance, but that’s very unlikely.  They have lost too many games to stand any realistic chance of playing in the postseason.

What’s Next?

The season drones on.  This week, Michigan plays two games.  On Tuesday (02/13/2024, 7:00 p.m. EST, Peacock), they play at (#10) Illinois, then on Saturday (02/17/2024, 8:00 p.m., FOX) they play Michigan State in Crisler Arena.

Illinois is currently 17-6 (8-4 in Big Ten).  Michigan has already played Illinois, in Crisler Arena on 01/18/2024, and it didn’t go well.  Illinois won easily, 88-73.  It will be even worse on the road.  Staying within 20 points would be a moral victory.

Michigan State is currently 15-9 (7-6 in Big Ten).  Michigan has already played MSU, on the road on 01/30/2024, and it didn’t go well.  MSU won easily, 81-62.  It should be closer in Crisler Arena, but probably not close enough to matter.  Who knows, maybe UM has another upset in them?  After the Wisconsin win, it’s not inconceivable.

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

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #15 – 02/05/2024 – Rock Bottom

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week, and they lost both of them.  On Tuesday (01/30/2024), they lost at Michigan State 81-62, then on Saturday (02/03/2024), they lost to Rutgers 69-59 in Crisler Arena.  The two losses lower Michigan’s record to 7-15 (2-9 in Big Ten).  They have now lost 5 games in a row, and 10 of the last 11.

What Happened?

Michigan has hit rock bottom for this season.  Losing to MSU on the road isn’t that embarrassing, but losing by almost 20 points makes it a lot worse.  None of that compares to losing by 10 points at home to the second-worst team in the Big Ten.  That’s rock bottom.  This season is over, even though there are still 10 games left to play.

Game Flow

Michigan has been very consistent lately: they build up a decent lead in the 1st half, then throw it away.  Once they get behind, they’re sunk, and they never regain the lead on the way to another tragic loss.  They’ve done it in many games this season, especially lately, and they did it twice this week.  In the MSU game, they pulled out to an early 9 point lead (18-9) with 11:52 to go in the 1st half, then let it slip away.  They were still up by 7 points (35-28) with 1:42 left in the half, but they let MSU go on a quick 5-0 run to end the half, with UM clinging to a 2-point lead, 35-33.  As they have so many times this season, UM came out of halftime and threw the game away.  After leading for most of the 1st half, building up a 9-point lead and watching it fritter away, they let MSU tie the game (39-39) at the 17:42 mark, then let MSU go ahead for good (41-39) just 22 seconds later, and that was the game.  MSU never trailed again, and built up the lead as high as 20 points, winning by 19.

It was more of the same in the Rutgers game, except that this time Michigan waited until later in the game to collapse.  Other than a brief 2-0 lead by Rutgers to start the game, Michigan led for the entire 1st half, by as many as 12 points.  Rutgers had crept back to within 5 points (35-30) with 47 seconds left in the 1st half, when Michigan played things perfectly, and scored 4 points in the last 10 seconds to go into halftime with great positive momentum, up 39-30.  Could this be the end of the “2nd half curse”?  It looked good.  Michigan started the 2nd half strong, pushing their lead up to 15 points (47-32) at the 17:03 mark.  They still led by 12 points (51-39) with 12:43 left, when the wheels started coming off.  Rutgers went on a quick 8-0 run to cut the lead to just 4 points (51-47) at the 10:27 mark.  Michigan kept the lead between 4 and 6 points for a while, and it was still a 6-point lead (57-51) with 7:19 left.  Look at that score: the final score was 69-59, Rutgers.  That means that Rutgers outscored Michigan 18-2 in the last 7:19.  18-2!  In that period, Michigan missed 3 3-pointers, missed 6 2-point shots, and committed 4 turnovers.  That works out to 1-for-10 shooting in 7:19.  Disgusting.

Stats

The game stats for the MSU game were reasonable.  Michigan shot decently overall (20-for-47 = 42.6%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (8-for-20 = 40.0%), but they shot free throws poorly (14-for-26 = 53.8%).  They won the rebounding battle handily (34-26), but they lost the turnover battle badly (13-6).  They lost this game with poor defense, allowing MSU to shoot 55.7% (34-for-61).

The game stats for the Rutgers game were weak.  Michigan shot decently overall (23-for-53 = 43.4%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (7-for-24 = 29.2%), and they shot free throws well, just not enough (6-for-7 = 85.7%).  They lost the rebounding battle badly (40-32), and they were terrible with turnovers, losing that battle 19-9.  They lost this game with terrible rebounding and turnovers, and, most importantly, absolutely horrible 3-point shooting in the 2nd half: 1-for-11!

Who Started?

The starters for the MSU game were Nimari Burnett, Jaelin Llewellyn, Olivier Nkamhoua, Tarris Reed, Jr., and Terrance Williams IIDug McDaniel didn’t travel with the team for the MSU game (indefinite “road suspension”), but he started in place of Llewellyn in the Rutgers game.

Who Looked Good?

No Michigan player hit double figures in both games this week.  No one really looked good in both games.

McDaniel hit double figures in the one game he played in (Rutgers), with 10 points.

Nkamhoua had one decent game (14 points vs. Rutgers) and one mediocre game (9 points vs. MSU).

Williams had one decent game (14 points vs. MSU) and one mediocre game (7 points vs. Rutgers).

Llewellyn had a great game as a starter vs. MSU (18 points), and a lousy game (3 points) off the bench vs. Rutgers.  He’s done this several times this season: he’s great as a starter when McDaniel isn’t available, then he’s lousy off the bench for the home games.

Reed actually had a pretty good week, with 5 and 12 points.  More importantly, he had 9 and 15 rebounds, giving him a double-double vs. Rutgers.

Tray Jackson had 8 and 3 points off the bench.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Burnett had a mediocre week, scoring 8 and 5 points.

Will Tschetter had 0 and 5 points off the bench.

Who Else Played?

Jace Howard only played in the MSU game, where he missed his only shot attempt.

Who Didn’t Play?

Youssef Khayat and George Washington III were the scholarship players who didn’t play this week.

None of the Scout Team played this week: Ian Burns, Harrison Hochberg, Jackson Selvala and Cooper Smith.  Smith is currently injured.

What Does It Mean?

Even though there are still 10 games left in this season, it’s over.  Michigan has played all of the winnable games on their schedule, and lost most of them.  The remaining games are all very low win-probability games.  It’s hard to see another win in there.  Maybe at Rutgers or at Ohio State, but probably not.  They’re looking at a final record of 7-25 (2-18 in Big Ten).

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games.  On Wednesday (02/07/2024, 7:00 p.m., BTN), they play (#6) Wisconsin in Crisler Arena, then on Saturday (02/10/2024, 6:30 p.m. EST, BTN) they play at Nebraska.

Wisconsin is currently 16-6 (8-3 in Big Ten).  They have impressive wins over (#24) Virginia, (#3) Marquette, and Michigan State (twice), and unimpressive losses to Providence, Penn State, and Nebraska.  They don’t have any noteworthy players, but they do have some height: a 6’11” player and a 7-footer.  Michigan stands no chance in this game.  They’ll be lucky to stay within 20 points.

Nebraska is currently 16-6 (6-5 in Big Ten).  They have impressive wins over Michigan State, (#1) Purdue, and (#6) Wisconsin, and unimpressive losses to Minnesota, Iowa, Rutgers, and Maryland.  They have one noteworthy player: Keisei Tominaga.  His production is unexplainable.  He looks like a bad YMCA player, but he still manages to baffle his opponents.  Nebraska also has some height: two 6’10” players and a 6’11” player.  This is not the Nebraska team we’ve gotten used to.  They are in the upper half of the Big Ten, and they are knocking off the big boys.  They should have no trouble dominating Michigan.

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

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #14 – 01/29/2024 – A Truly Lousy Week

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week, and they lost both of them.  On Tuesday (01/23/2024), they lost at (#2) Purdue 99-67, then on Saturday (01/27/2024), they lost to Iowa 88-78 in Crisler Arena.  The two losses lower Michigan’s record to 7-13 (2-7 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

This was truly a lousy week for Michigan basketball.  Losing on the road to the #2 team in the nation is no disgrace, but losing by 32 points hurts.  Losing at home to a lower-division team that you beat 6 weeks ago is bad, but losing by double digits is worse.  Michigan’s season is spiraling down the drain more each week.

Game Flow

The Purdue game was never close.  UM was within one point (3-2) very early, then the roof fell in.  Purdue was up by 11 points (15-4) with 14:59 to go, and they kept the lead around 11 points for the next 10 minutes.  It was still 11 points (34-23) at the 3:21 mark, when Purdue ripped off a 15-2 run to end the half, up 24 points (49-25).  All Purdue had to do in the 2nd half was keep the lead at or above 20 points, and that’s what they did.  The lead got as high as 35 points, before ending at 32 points.  It was total domination by Purdue.  Michigan never stood a chance.

The Iowa game was close early, with the score tied at 2-2, 8-8, 18-18, and 22-22.  Iowa led 27-26 with 7:34 to go in the 1st half, when Michigan went on a 10-0 run to lead by 9 points (36-27) with 5:32 left.  That was the high-water mark for Michigan.  As they have done so many times this season, they got a decent lead, then threw it away.  It was still 6 points (44-38) with 1:10 to go in the half, but it was down to 2 points (44-42) at halftime.  The first 3:14 of the 2nd half was the worst sequence for Michigan this season, at that’s saying something.  Iowa ran off a quick 10-0 run, to go up by 8 points (52-44) with 16:46 to go.  During that stretch, Michigan committed two fouls and one turnover, missed four 2-point shots, and missed two 3-point attempts.  And that was it: they went from 9 points up to 8 points down, and never led again.  They did make a couple runs at the lead, getting within 1 point once (67-66 with 10:06 left), but Iowa led comfortably the rest of the way.

Stats

The game stats for the Purdue game were miserable.  Michigan shot poorly overall (23-for-68 = 33.8%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (9-for-29 = 31.0%), but they did shoot free throws well (12-for-15 = 80.0%).  They lost the rebounding battle badly (46-37), but they tied the turnover battle (7-7).  They lost this game with poor shooting and rebounding.

The game stats for the Iowa game were weak.  Michigan shot pretty poorly overall (27-for-63 = 42.9%), they shot 3-pointers pretty poorly (9-for-26 = 34.6%), and they shot free throws pretty well (15-for-20 = 75.0%).  They won the rebounding battle (32-29) and the turnover battle (9-11).  They lost this game with poor 3-point defense: Iowa shot 8-for-16 from deep.

Who Started?

The starters for the Purdue game were Nimari Burnett, Jaelin Llewellyn, Olivier Nkamhoua, Tarris Reed, Jr., and Terrance Williams IIDug McDaniel didn’t travel with the team for the Purdue game (indefinite “road suspension”), but he started in place of Llewellyn in the Iowa game.

Who Looked Good?

Williams was the only Michigan player to hit double figures in both games, with 10 and 16 points.  He had a lousy week shooting: 4-for-11 vs. Purdue, and 6-for-16 overall (2-for-8 from deep) vs. Iowa.

Nkamhoua had one decent game (13 points vs. Iowa) and one mediocre game (7 points vs. Purdue).  He also had a lousy week shooting: 3-for-9 overall (1-for-5 from deep) vs. Purdue, and 5-for-12 overall (0-for-3 from deep) vs. Iowa.

Burnett also had one decent game (13 points vs. Iowa) and one mediocre game (7 points vs. Purdue).  He had a lousy game shooting vs. Purdue: 2-for-9 overall (1-for-5 from deep), and a decent game shooting vs. Iowa: 4-for-10 overall (3-for-6 from deep).

Llewellyn had a great game as a starter vs. Purdue (16 points), but didn’t attempt a shot off the bench vs. Iowa.

McDaniel scored 13 points in the Iowa game, and didn’t play in the Purdue game.  He shot poorly: 4-for-13 overall (1-for-5 from deep).  He had 6 rebounds and 5 assists, vs. only 1 turnover.

George Washington III had the first good game of his career vs. Purdue, with 10 points on 2-for-4 shooting, all from deep, along with 4-for-4 from the free throw line.  He didn’t play in the Iowa game.

Jace Howard had 7 and 4 points off the bench.

Will Tschetter had 4 and 7 points off the bench.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Youssef Khayat only played in the Purdue game, where he didn’t score.

Reed had a mediocre week, with 6 and 7 points.  He did have 10 and 7 rebounds.

Who Else Played?

Ian Burns played for 2 minutes vs. Purdue.  He didn’t attempt a shot.

Harrison Hochberg played for 3 minutes vs. Purdue.  He didn’t attempt a shot.

Tray Jackson finally returned to action, after missing 4 games with a concussion and broken bone in his nose.  He scored 5 points.  He played wearing a mask.  It was good to have him back.

Jackson Selvala played for 3 minutes vs. Purdue.  He didn’t attempt a shot.

Who Didn’t Play?

Cooper Smith (Scout Team) didn’t play in either game.  He is currently injured.

What Does It Mean?

That was a lousy week, in the middle of a lousy season.  At this point, Michigan is just playing out the rest of the season, seeing if they can win a couple more games.  I still don’t see them winning more than 10 games.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games.  On Tuesday (01/30/2024, 9:00 p.m., Peacock), they play at Michigan State, then on Saturday (02/03/2024, 4:00 p.m., BTN) they play Rutgers in Crisler Arena.

Michigan State is currently 12-8 overall (4-5 in Big Ten).  They have an impressive win over (#6) Baylor, and unimpressive losses to James Madison, Nebraska, and Northwestern.  They have a few noteworthy players (Tyson Walker, Jaden Akins, and Malik Hall), and they have some height: two 6’11” guys.  For a team that started the season ranked in the Top-5, they have massively underachieved.  However, they are still dangerous.  The way Michigan has been playing recently, I don’t expect this to be a close game, say a 15-20 point loss.

Rutgers is currently 10-9 overall (2-6 in Big Ten).  They have impressive wins over Seton Hall, Indiana, and Nebraska, and unimpressive losses to Princeton, Wake Forest, Ohio State, and Iowa.  They don’t have any noteworthy players, but they do have some height: a 6’10” player and a 6’11” player.  This could be Michigan’s last good opportunity for a win, but they’ll have to play better than they’ve been playing recently.

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

Go Blue!

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.

Stats

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!