Merry Christmas, if that’s what you’re into, otherwise, Happy Holidays.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they won it. On Thursday (12/21/2017), they beat Alabama A&M 97-47 in Crisler Arena. The win raises Michigan’s record to 11-3 (1-1 in the Big Ten).
Make no mistake: Alabama A&M is one of the worst teams in Division I basketball. They are now 0-12 on the season, and they stood no chance against Michigan. They were scheduled as an easy “guarantee” game right before Christmas, and that’s how it played out. Michigan led the whole way, but AAMU kept it close for the first few minutes. Once UM got the lead up over 10 points, the rout was on. Everyone got to play, and it was an easy, low-stress game.
The stats for the game are about what you would expect, except for free throw shooting. Michigan shot very well overall (36-for-60 = 60.0%), they shot 3-pointers very well (15-for-32 = 46.9%), but they were terrible from the free throw line again (10-for-18 = 55.6%). They won the rebounding battle (31-28), and they really won the turnover battle (12-25). Those are the kind of stats you’d expect in a blowout.
Who Looked Good
The starters were Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Eli Brooks, Charles Matthews, Duncan Robinson, and Jon Teske. Moritz Wagner was still out with a foot injury. He probably could have played, but he wasn’t needed, so he got more rest.
The undisputed star of the game was Matthews, with a career-high 31 points, on very efficient shooting: 12-for-15 overall, 2-for-5 shooting 3-pointers. He even shot free throws pretty well: 5-for-7.
Robinson has snapped out of his shooting slump, which is a big relief. He had 18 points, and also shot efficiently: 6-for-8 overall, 5-for-7 shooting 3-pointers.
The other starter in double figures was MAAR, with 14 points. He also shot very efficiently: 5-for-6 overall, 4-for-5 shooting 3-pointers.
Even though Teske only scored 7 points, he played well. He had 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, and he played solid defense. Michigan didn’t need him to score much in this one, which was fine.
Isaiah Livers had his best game so far. He almost hit double figures (9 points), and he was the leading rebounder (7). He hustled all over the floor, and he was very active on defense.
Austin Davis looked OK out there as the backup center. He still had too many fouls (3 fouls in 12 minutes), but at least he didn’t foul out of this game, after getting 5 fouls in 7 minutes in the UDM game last week. He scored 4 points, got 5 rebounds, and even had a blocked shot.
Jordan Poole did what he was supposed to do: he played hard and fast, and looked for his shot. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit many of his shots (1-for-3), and only scored 4 points.
Ibi Watson is another player who is supposed to generate “instant offense”. He scored 6 points on 2-for-5 shooting.
Who Looked Not-So-Good
Brooks was the only starter who didn’t have a very good game. He had 0 points, but he did dish out 4 assists, with 0 turnovers.
After a few good games, Zavier Simpson had an off night. He also had 0 points, and a couple turnovers.
Jaaron Simmons played 8 minutes, and failed to score. He continues to slide down the bench.
Who Else Played
Other than Wagner, who was injured, everyone played.
C.J. Baird scored 2 points.
Brent Hibbitts didn’t score, but he had an assist.
Naji Ozeir scored 2 points.
Rico Ozuna-Harrison was just added to the team in the last week. He’s a 5’11”, 165 pound freshman guard, and he’ll be part of the scout team. He failed to score, but he did get a rebound.
Luke Wilson failed to score.
The Big Picture
We can’t learn much from a lopsided blowout of an inferior opponent, but at least Michigan took care of business, and didn’t “play down” to the competition.
Predicted Win Total
Michigan won a “Should Win” game, so the Predicted Win Total doesn’t change.
This week’s Predicted Win Total is: 18
Here’s a chart of the Predicted Win Totals for each week:
Predicted Win Total
This week Michigan only plays one game. On Saturday (12/30/2017, 6:00 p.m., BTN), Michigan plays Jacksonville in Crisler Arena.
Jacksonville is currently 4-10, and is a notch better than Alabama A&M, but still not a serious threat to Michigan. Their wins have all been against other weak teams, and they’ve lost a few to weak opponents.
Check back next week to see what happened, and why.