Nothing But ‘Net – Week #18 – 02/24/2020 – Two Huge Road Wins

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, both on the road, and they won both of them.  On Wednesday (02/19/2020), they beat Rutgers 60-52 in Piscataway (NJ), then on Saturday (02/22/2020), they beat Purdue 71-63 in West Lafayette (IN).  The two wins raise Michigan’s record to 18-9 (9-7 in the Big Ten).  Michigan is now in 7th place in the Big Ten.

What Happened?

These were two very impressive wins.  Rutgers had been undefeated (17-0) at home so far this season, and Michigan has always had a tough time winning at Purdue, so both games were far from a sure thing.  Michigan played well in both games, and deserved to win them both.

After their traditional slow start, Michigan finally pulled ahead of Rutgers 8-6 with 16:03 left in the 1st half.  They pushed the lead as high as 8 points (16-8) at the 13:03 mark, then let Rutgers climb back into the lead, 22-21 with 7:05 to go in the half.  The lead went back and forth for the rest of the half, with Rutgers hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead 31-28 at halftime.  Did I mention slow starts?  That applies to the 2nd half as well: Rutgers went on a 6-0 run to start the 2nd half, making it 37-28 with 17:40 to go.  It took Michigan all the way to the 10:07 mark to finally pull ahead, 42-41.  They never trailed again, getting the lead as high as 9 points a couple times, and winning by 8.

Michigan had a much better start in the Purdue game, leading 3-2 at the 18:11 mark.  Purdue went ahead by 2-4 points for a couple minutes, then UM went back ahead 10-9 with 12:50 to go.  Purdue took the lead for the last time (11-10) with 11:26 left in the half, and then Michigan went ahead for good 12-11 at the 10:12 mark.  Michigan slowly pushed the lead up to 15 points, which is where it stood at halftime (36-21).  Michigan kept the lead in the 13-15 point range for most of the 2nd half, but Purdue finally got it down to 8 points a few times, although that was as close as they got, with Michigan winning by 8 points.

Stats  

The stats for the Rutgers game are solid, but nothing special.  Michigan shot fairly well overall (21-for-47 = 44.7%), they didn’t shoot 3-pointers very well (6-for-23 = 26.1%), and they shot free throws decently (12-for-18 = 66.7%).  They lost the rebounding battle (37-34) and the turnover battle (10-9).  They won the game with defense, holding Rutgers to 22-for-63 (34.9%) overall shooting, 3-for-18 (16.7%) from 3-point range.

The stats for the Purdue game are worse than the Rutgers stats.  Michigan shot poorly overall (25-for-65 = 38.5%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (6-for-25 = 24.0%), and they shot free throws poorly (15-for-23 = 65.2%).  They lost the rebounding battle (45-39), but they did win the turnover battle (3-12).  Once again, they won the game with defense.

Who Started?

The starters for the Rutgers game were Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, Jr., Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske, and Franz Wagner.  Johns started in place of Isaiah Livers, who was injured, again.  Fortunately, he was recovered from his injury by the Purdue game, so he started in that game instead of Johns.

Who Looked Good?

Wagner was the only Michigan player to hit double figures in both games, with 12 points vs. Rutgers and (team high) 22 points vs. Purdue.  He finally shot a good percentage from 3-point range (3-for-5) in the Purdue game, but had a rough time from deep in the Rutgers game (1-for-6).  He was the leading rebounder in the Rutgers game, with 8.

Livers looked good in the one game he played (Purdue), with 19 points and 6 rebounds.  He didn’t shoot very well (5-for-11, 1-for-5 from deep), but he did shoot free throws well: 8-for-8.

Simpson had one good game (team high 16 points vs. Rutgers) and one bad game (4 points vs. Purdue).  He actually played pretty well in the Purdue game, except for his shooting: 0-for-10 overall, 0-for-5 from 3-point range, and 4-for-8 shooting free throws.

Teske had one mediocre game (5 points vs. Rutgers) and one decent game (11 points vs. Purdue).  He needs to get his offensive game going again.

Brooks didn’t hit double figures in either game (9 and 4 points), but he played well.  He missed most of the 2nd half of the Purdue game with a nose injury.

David DeJulius played well off the bench, scoring 10 and 6 points.

Austin Davis continued to play well, although not as well as the past few weeks: 2 and 3 points.

Colin Castleton only played in the Rutgers game, and he did well, with 5 points and 4 rebounds.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Brandon Johns, Jr. had a lousy week, with 1 and 2 points.

Adrien Nuñez only played in the Rutgers game, and failed to score.

Who Else Played?

As mentioned above, Livers didn’t play in the Rutgers game, due to injury.

Who Didn’t Play?

The practice squad (C.J. Baird, Cole Bajema, Jaron Faulds, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, and Luke Wilson) didn’t play in either game.

What Does It Mean?

This was another good week for Michigan.  After a terrible start (0-5) in true road games, Michigan has now won 4 true road games in a row.  They have won their last 5 games in a row, and 7 out of their last 8 games.  These results have helped their chances for making the NCAA Tournament greatly.  There are 4 games left in the regular season, and they need to win at least 2 of them to make the Big Dance.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games, one at home and one on the road.  On Thursday (02/27/2020, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2), they play Wisconsin in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (03/01/2020, 4:00 p.m., CBS), they play at (#25) Ohio State.

This is Michigan’s only game against Wisconsin this season.  Wisconsin is currently 17-10 (10-6 in the Big Ten), tied with 3 other teams for 2nd place.  They have beaten Ohio State (twice), Penn State, and Maryland, but they have lost to St. Mary’s, Richmond, New Mexico, Purdue, and Minnesota.  They have a lot of height (two 7’0” players, a 6’11” player, and a 6’10” player), and a couple stars (D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison).  They are tough at home (13-1), but not so much on the road (4-6).  Michigan can certainly beat them, but they’ll have to play the way they’ve been playing lately to do it.  Anything less than their “A” game won’t cut it.

Michigan has already played, and lost to, OSU this season.  Back on 02/04/2020, OSU won in Crisler 61-58.  That was the game where the refs called a “flagrant 1” on Simpson with 33 seconds left, handing the game to OSU.  Since then, OSU has gone 3-2, with wins over Rutgers, Purdue, and Maryland, and losses to Wisconsin and Iowa.  They are now 18-9 (8-8 in the Big Ten), in 10th place.  They still have the Wesson boys, and they’re still going to be tough to beat, especially in Columbus.  However, if Michigan can play the way then did vs. Rutgers and Purdue, they stand a fighting chance.

Check back next week to see how Michigan did.

Go Blue!

Will Howard’s Team-Building Tactics Win Tonight’s Game?

Sunday’s win marked the 105th win of Teske’s and Simpson’s career, making them the winningest Michigan men’s basketball players in the program’s history. Juwan Howard commented on the performance of the duo during the game, saying that Simpson “made some great decisions with the basketball; he did a really good job of controlling the temp of the game . . .  it was a very solid game for him.” 

Howard also spoke at length about how disciplined and how mature this team is. His players are also mirroring that mantra, with Franz Wagner and Brandon Johns Jr. speaking at length about the determination and dedication the team has found approaching tournament season, with Johns Jr. commenting on the outlook of the team, “I feel like we’re back in the beginning of the year a little bit; we’re all just so connected, trusting each other, knocking down shots, trusting in our game; it just feels great.” 

Howard’s ability to bring the team together has clearly been a top priority and based on the looks of the team at this point in the season, it has paid off. Johns Jr. gives credit for the team’s success to the team bonding that Howard has organized, “We’re having more team-bonding sessions, just really getting to know each other more, understanding each other, as well as working out together.” And the bonding has clearly helped, with both Brookes and Johns Jr. commenting that they are back to being the same team as they were earlier this season when they were 7-0.

With the team finding its rhythm and Livers on the road to recovery, the Wolverines appear mentally and physically ready to face Rutgers on their home court, and hopefully end the Scarlet Knight’s undefeated home record tonight. 

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #17 – 02/17/2020 – Two Solid Wins

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.

What Happened?

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.

Stats  

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 Started?

The starters for both games were Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers, Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske, and Franz Wagner.  This is the “real” starting lineup, when everyone is healthy.

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?

The rest of the practice squad (Jaron Faulds, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, and Luke Wilson) didn’t play in either game.

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.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games, both on the road.  On Wednesday (02/19/2020, 7:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at Rutgers, then on Saturday (02/22/2020, 2:00 p.m. EST, ESPN), they play at Purdue.

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.

Go Blue!

By the Numbers: Comparing Harbaugh’s First 5 Seasons

Last January, Phil and I discussed a comparison of Jim Harbaugh’s 4-year coaching record to the last 4 years of Lloyd Carr’s coaching career (Harbaugh and Carr each had an advantage in 7 metrics, with 3 ties).  My general feeling was that Harbaugh had returned Michigan to the level at which Lloyd had left it. In my eyes, that made the 2019 season pivotal for the Harbaugh era.  Phil and I wondered whether the program would continue to rise, and I was certainly optimistic.

Now, in February of 2020, we have more information to process, and we can complete a 5-year analysis.  After Michigan completed a frustrating 9-4 season in 2019, and the 2003 Big Ten Championship season (10-3) gets added to the Carr side of the ledger, the comparison swings in Lloyd Carr’s favor.   Carr has an advantage on 7 metrics, Harbaugh in 4, with 2 ties. The advanced metrics were ignored for lack of 2003 & 2004 data, but Lloyd’s 3-year average would have been 3 more wins for him. This seemed like bad news for a Harbaugh optimist like myself.  So, I wanted to extend the comparison to see how the Harbaugh era, as it stands right now, compares to some other notable college football coaches.

METHOD

In addition to Lloyd Carr, I chose these coaches to compare to Harbaugh: Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio, Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Brian Kelly, James Franklin, & Chris Petersen.  From the Carr comparison, my curiosity immediately jumped to Jim Tressel’s final five seasons at Ohio State.  After completing that comparison, I wanted a better apples-to-apples comparison so I wanted to use the first five seasons (of their current tenure) for the rest of the coaches I selected.  In addition to comparing the coaches’ records through their first five seasons, I also wanted to be able to use consistent metrics. The advanced statistical rankings didn’t exist back into the early 2000s, and recruiting has also changed significantly since then.  Each metric was compared head-to-head with Harbaugh’s results to create an Advantage %. Records and stats came from Sports-Reference.com.  Recruiting rankings came from 247sports.comF+, FEI, & S&P+ rankings come from FootballOutsiders.com.   Here are the 17 metrics that I compared:

  • Final Rankings in F+, FEI, & SP+  systems (SP+ now on ESPN in 2019)
  • Overall W-L record
  • Offensive Pass Yds / Game & Rush Yds / Game
  • Points Scored / Game
  • Defensive Pass Yds / Game & Rush Yds / Game allowed
  • Defense Points Allowed / Game
  • Big Ten W-L record (if applicable)
  • W-L Record vs. OSU (or record vs. Michigan for OSU coaches)
  • W-L Record vs. MSU (record vs. Michigan for Dantonio)
  • W-L Record vs. Notre Dame (record vs. Michigan for Kelly)
  • W-L Record in Bowl Games
  • Number of NFL Draftees
  • Recruiting Class Rank (cycle following the season)

RESULTS

ANALYSIS

The summary table above lists the coaches from least favorable comparison for Jim Harbaugh (Jim Tressel – final 5 seasons) to most favorable (James Franklin) sorting by ascending Harbaugh Advantage Percentage.  Using this method, Jim Harbaugh falls between Lloyd Carr (final 5 seasons) and Chris Petersen’s 5-year tenure at Washington. 

If we only look at the initial 5-year start for each coach (removing Tressel & Carr), it’s clear that Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are in a league of their own.  Urb won a national title during the first playoff season in year 3, and made a return to the playoff in year 5. Saban won his 2nd national title at Alabama in year five, and went back-to-back in year six.  

Once you move past those two historically successful coaches, there is a very tight grouping between Jim Harbaugh and the other 5 coaches I selected.  Each coach averaged a 9-4 record through his first 5 seasons. I was surprised that using my Advantage Percentage, Harbaugh compares favorably to all 5 of those coaches, despite Brian Kelly reaching the BCS Championship game in year 3.  I also included each coach’s Year 6 record for a possible glimpse into the future. Year 6 results range from unacceptable (7-6 for Dantonio) to achievable (11-2 in 2019 for Franklin).  

One other interesting note on Big Ten record: If Harbaugh had managed one more B10 victory, his average record would have rounded up to 7-2, and it would have been +1 over Carr.  Had he suffered one more loss, the average record would have rounded to 6-3 and been -1 to Carr. The program has clearly returned to the Carr level. I think we’re all very anxious to take the next step forward.

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #16 – 02/10/2020 – A Tough Loss, And A Glorious Victory

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, both at home, and they lost one and won the other.  On Tuesday (02/04/2020), they lost to Ohio State 61-58, then on Saturday (02/08/2020), they beat (#16) Michigan State 77-68.  The loss and win leave Michigan with a record of 14-9 (5-7 in the Big Ten).  Michigan is still tied for 11th place in the Big Ten.

What Happened?

The OSU game was close and exciting for the first 39 minutes and 27 seconds, then the refs hijacked it and gave it to OSU.  Michigan had a slow start, and OSU led 16-7 with 8:52 to go in the 1st half.  Yes, that means that Michigan scored 7 points in the first 11 minutes.  Ouch.  They finally woke up, and actually grabbed the lead, 22-21, with 3:31 left in the half.  OSU took the lead back, and led by 1 point (28-27) at halftime.  Michigan got the lead back to start the 2nd half (30-28 at the 17:53 mark), then the lead seesawed back and forth, with neither team able to get more than 3-4 points ahead.  Michigan trailed by 1 point (57-56) with 33 seconds left, when the refs took over.  Zavier Simpson drove to the basket, and was fouled hard.  As he fell to the floor, he grabbed the jersey of the OSU player who fouled him.  The refs called a shooting foul on the OSU player, which was correct, then called a “flagrant 1” foul on Simpson for grabbing the jersey, which was BS.  Simpson made both free throws, so Michigan momentarily led 58-57, but the OSU player got to shoot 2 free throws for the flagrant foul, and then OSU got the ball.  With only 33 seconds left, Michigan was forced to foul intentionally, and OSU made their free throws.  Still, UM had a last shot to tie it up, but they missed.  The “flagrant 1” call ruined the game.

Actually, the officiating for the OSU game was terrible the whole game, but the “flagrant 1” call was the icing on the cake.  The OSU players were traveling all over the place, and refs missed it.  The refs also allowed a lot of pushing and shoving both ways and didn’t call it.  It was a really poor job.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

The popular narrative is that MSU coach Tom Izzo is a coaching god, one of the all-time greats, a master tactician, but he sure wasn’t any of those things in this game.  He’s got one of the best players in the country (Cassius Winston) on his team, but Izzo subbed him out repeatedly for the weakest point guard in the Big Ten, Foster Loyer.  Loyer played 10 minutes, sometimes along with Winston, but often with Winston on the bench, and he did nothing but foul: 0-1 shooting, 1 rebound, 4 fouls.  I can’t believe Izzo actually recruited this guy, and I can’t believe he actually plays him in a non-cupcake game.  But, “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”.  Sparty on, Tom.

Thanks in part to Loyer’s “contributions”, Michigan led almost the entire game.  It was 0-0 for quite a while, before MSU took their only lead of the game, 1-0, with 17:30 to go.  Michigan went up 3-1 at the 16:41 mark, then MSU tied it 3-3 with 15:53 to go.  It was still 3-3 at the 13:53 mark, which means a combined 6 points scored in 6+ minutes.  Wow.  Michigan took the lead back for good at this point, with a 3-pointer, and hit 2 more 3-pointers in the next 2:31 to go up 12-3 at the 11:22 mark.  At this point, State had 3 points in 8 minutes and 38 seconds.  Impressive!  Both teams finally started scoring, and the UM lead was in the 5-7 point range for most of the half.  It got as high as 10 points (25-15) with 5:06 left in the half, and should have been 8 points (29-21) at halftime, but Michigan committed a dumb foul with 1 second left that gave MSU 2 free points, so it was 29-23 at halftime.  Michigan kept the lead in the 4-6 point range for the first few minutes of the 2nd half, then MSU made their move.  They got within 1 point several times (31-30, 33-32, 36-35, and 39-38), and were within 2 points (42-40) with 13:27 left in the game.  That was their last gasp, though, as Michigan pushed the lead back up to 8 points (48-40) at the 12:09 mark, and kept it in the 8-10 point range the rest of the way.  The closest State got was 6 points (72-66) with 40 seconds left, but Michigan made enough free throws to win comfortably.  It was a great win over a ranked team.

Let’s have a little talk about sportsmanship.  I usher sections 209 and 210 in Crisler Arena, and there were a fair number of State fans in both sections.  When it became obvious that Michigan was going to win, the State fans started leaving early, usually with their heads down as they headed for the exits.  Most of them had behaved just fine, with the occasional “Go Green”, but nothing objectionable.  Then there was the State fan sitting in Section 210, Row 22, Seat 1: he got more and more agitated as the game went on, and he really didn’t like it when the Maize Rage started their “Little Brother” chant.  When he and his female companion got up to leave with 22 seconds left, he threw his drink cup at me, walked over and got in my face, then punched me in the stomach and hustled for the exit.  I was more stunned than hurt, but it sure surprised me.  He never said a word, just punched and ran.  So, I notified my supervisor and filed a police report, but I doubt anything will come of it.  I’d like to see him banned from coming back to Crisler, if the authorities can identify him.  He was a big guy (6’3”, 230 pounds), about 55-60 years old, with short gray hair.  If you think you know him, send me a message (dmontag@umgoblue.com), and I’ll pass it on to the police.

Stats  

The stats for the OSU game are confusing.  Michigan shot poorly overall (20-for-60 = 33.3%), but they shot 3-pointers decently (10-for-31 = 32.3%), and they shot free throws very well (8-for-9 = 88.9%).  They won the rebounding battle handily (42-31), but they lost the turnover battle (12-8).  These stats are good enough to win most games, and they might have won this one if the refs hadn’t hijacked it.

The stats for the MSU game are pretty good.  Michigan shot just OK overall (24-for-64 = 37.5%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (11-for-28 = 39.3%), and they shot free throws well enough to win (18-for-23 = 78.3%).  They won the rebounding battle (46-40), but lost the turnover battle (10-7).  Michigan won this game because they controlled the boards and shut down MSU’s 3-point shooting (6-for-23 = 26.1%).

Who Started?

The starters for the OSU game were Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, Jr., Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske, and Franz Wagner.  Johns started in place of Isaiah Livers, who missed 3 more games because of a groin injury.  Livers was healthy enough to start in place of Johns in the MSU game.

Who Looked Good?

Simpson was the leading scorer in both games, with 15 and 16 points.  He also had 5 and 8 assists, and 7 and 4 rebounds.  He had a very good week shooting 3-pointers: 3-for-7 and 4-for-7.

Brooks almost hit double figures in both games, with 8 and 11 points, including two big 3-pointers in the MSU game.  He had a rough week shooting: 3-for-12 (2-for-8 from deep) vs. OSU, and 2-for-10 (2-for-5 from deep) vs. MSU.  He did a nice job guarding Winston in the MSU game.

I’m still not sure whether Wagner looked “good” or “not-so-good”.  On the one hand, he almost hit double figures in both games (8 and 8), and he was the leading rebounder in the OSU game (14).  On the other hand, his shooting percentages continue to trend downward: 2-for-12 (2-for-8 from deep) vs. OSU, and 2-for-5 (0-for-2 from deep) vs. MSU.  He is a key component in the offense, and he needs to start hitting his 3-pointers.

Livers looked good in the one game he played (MSU): 14 points on decent shooting (5-for-10, 2-for-5 from deep).

Johns had a solid week, with 8 and 7 points.  He shot 3-pointers well, just not often enough: 2-for-3 vs. OSU, and 1-for-2 vs. MSU.

David DeJulius had a pretty good week, with 5 and 10 points.  He played some solid defense against Winston in the MSU game.

Austin Davis continued his strong play this week.  He scored a career-high 11 points (on 4-for-4 shooting) vs. OSU, and chipped in 4 more points (on 2-for-3 shooting) vs. MSU.  He played very good post defense, without committing silly fouls.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Teske had a quiet week, with 3 and 7 points.  He did have 6 and 8 rebounds.

Colin Castleton only played in the OSU game, and failed to score.

Who Else Played?

No one else played.

Who Didn’t Play?

As mentioned above, Livers was injured and didn’t play in the OSU game.

Adrien Nuñez didn’t play in either game.

The practice squad (C.J. Baird, Cole Bajema, Jaron Faulds, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, and Luke Wilson) didn’t play in either game.

What Does It Mean?

Michigan kind of held even this week.  They should have won the OSU game, but it was an upset that they beat MSU.  These results helped their chances for making the NCAA or NIT Tournaments, but didn’t change much in the Big Ten race; they’re still in 11th place, and they still stand no chance of contending for the title.  It would be nice if they could move up to 10th place or better, so they won’t have to play on Wednesday in the Big Ten Tournament.  There are 8 games left in the regular season, and they need to win at least 6 of them to make the NCAA Tournament, or 2 of them to make the NIT Tournament.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays two games, one on the road and one at home.  On Wednesday (02/12/2020, 9:00 p.m. EST, BTN), they play at Northwestern, then on Sunday (02/16/2020, 1:00 p.m., CBS), they play Indiana in Crisler Arena.

Northwestern is currently 6-16 (1-11 in the Big Ten).  They are all alone in last (14th) place.  They have a few quality wins (Providence, Bradley, and Boston College), but have lost to the likes of Merrimack, Radford, and Hartford.  They have some height (three 6’10” players), but no real star.  This is another rare opportunity for Michigan to win a true road game, but they’ll have to play well.

Indiana is currently 15-8 (5-7 in the Big Ten).  They are tied with Michigan for 11th place in the Big Ten standings.  They have impressive wins over (#17) Florida State, UConn, Notre Dame, (#11) Ohio State, and (#11) Michigan State.  Their significant losses are to Wisconsin, Maryland (twice), Rutgers, Penn State, and Purdue.  They have some height (one 6’11” player and one 6’10” player), and no real star.  This is another game that Michigan can win, if they play well.

Check back next week to see how Michigan did.

Go Blue!