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Derick’s 3 Thoughts: Bucknell

November 17th, 2014 by Derick Hutchinson


UM-Bucknell

Fans got their first look of the 2014-15 Michigan basketball team on Saturday afternoon, when the Wolverines discarded Hillsdale College 92-68. Now Bucknell comes to town after winning their opener in a much closer battle: 75-72 over Marist.

John Beilein’s teams haven’t always jumped out to fast starts. In 2013 Michigan was 6-4 and the season seemed to be spinning out of control before the Wolverines righted the ship and won the Big Ten by three games.

Game two comes to Crisler on Monday night as the Bison prepare to take on the offensively-charged Wolverines. Michigan will look to build off a strong finish against Hillsdale and avoid another slow start. Here are three thoughts to keep in mind while Michigan and Bucknell battle on the hardwood.

1. Don’t overlook the Bison

Michigan is one of the top contenders in the best conference in college basketball, so it should have no problem disposing of Bucknell in the Crisler Center. But the Wolverines can’t come into this matchup unprepared and disappear for stretches like they did against Division II Hillsdale.

Bucknell has won 20 or more games in three of their last four seasons and upset the Big Ten’s Penn State in Happy Valley last season. That win came in the second game of the year, when the teams were still working to find their identities. Michigan needs to come out of the tunnel strong and put the Bison away early.

Beilein won’t simply be able to put Caris LeVert on Bucknell’s top scorer to shut down the opposing offense Monday, as five players scored in double figures for the Bison in their opener against Marist. LeVert stifled Hillsdale’s Stedman Lowry after the freshman scored 11 of his team’s first 15 points in the opening five minutes.

Beilein’s young team will have plenty of chances to beat up on inferior competition, but it will want to bring it’s A game against the perennial Patriot League powerhouse Monday night.

Former Michigan graduate assistant Dave Paulsen returns to the Crisler Center as head coach of Bucknell

Former Michigan graduate assistant Dave Paulsen returns to the Crisler Center as Bucknell’s head coach (Getty Images)

2. Find a way to get the post involved

Michigan’s guards put on quite an offensive show in the opener, as Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin and LeVert each scored at least 20 points and combined for 63 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. LeVert even made a bid for a triple-double, falling just two boards and a dime short on the night.

But as the nonconference schedule continues, Michigan should look to establish its trio of 6’9″ post players as stiffer competition looms. When the Big Ten season starts, the Wolverines will need contributions from the big men, even against elite post players like Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Purdue’s A.J. Hammons and Northwestern’s Alex Olah.

Yes, the offense will run through the talented guards all season, as it did through Trey Burke in 2012 and Nik Stauskas last season. But if Michigan can add an offensive presence in the paint, it will free up even more open shots for the sharpshooters.

Take a look at the performance of the big men on Saturday. Mark Donnal, Ricky Doyle and D.J. Wilson combined to shoot six for eight from the field, scoring 18 points. If that trio continues to score with such efficiency, Michigan should really use these early-season games to develop the three freshmen.

Donnal and Doyle spent most of their time in the paint, grabbing five rebounds in 35 combined minutes on the floor. If Michigan works those two into the offense, it will be much more difficult for opposing teams to cheat toward the countless three-point threats around the arc in Beilein’s sceme.

Wilson, on the other hand, is much more likely to factor into the offense with a bigger role. The versatile forward played just nine minutes against Hillsdale, but can score inside and out, even knocking in a couple of three-pointers from the corner against Wayne State in the team’s exhibition matchup.

If Michigan doesn’t get the post involved during the early games when Michigan clearly holds the upper hand, then it will never happen. Tonight is the first chance to really help the three forwards spark their offense at the college level.

3. Keep up that freshmen hustle

One of the most documented themes of this Michigan basketball season is the youth of Beilein’s roster. A roster that lacks any seniors (counting Max Bielfeldt as a redshirt junior) will definitely hit some speed bumps due to lack of experience. But the important thing is to make up for that hole with hustle plays.

Beilein played six freshmen Saturday that figure to take on significant roles this season in Kameron Chatman, Aubrey Dawkins, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Wilson, Doyle and Donnal. Those players demonstrated their enthusiasm to be playing major college basketball against Hillsdale, stuffing the boxscore with what you might call “hustle stats.”

Perhaps the most important number from this group was eight: The total offensive rebounds the Wolverines pulled down in the opener. Donnal led the team with three offensive boards, Abdur-Rahkman added two and Wilson and Chatman each had one. The rest of the team failed to record an offensive rebound, but the hustle of those four players gave Michigan eight extra possessions for its deadly offense.

On the other side of the court, Donnal and Chatman led the charge on defense with a combined six steals. For a Wolverines defense that struggled to contain shooters, steals were the most effective way to stifle the Chargers’ offense. As coach Bacari Alexander said at halftime of the opener, the offense was sparked by these steals as the defense turned directly into points on the other end.

Chatman’s four steals were particularly impressive as he struggled on offense in his first college game, making one of seven field goal attempts and scoring just four points. Chatman showed great maturity, not letting his shooting woes stop him from making a major impact on the defensive end.

Michigan hoops preview: Bucknell

November 17th, 2014 by Justin Potts


UM-Bucknell
Michigan (1-0) vs Bucknell (1-0)
Monday, Nov. 17 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 8:00 p.m. EST | Big Ten Network
Offense
92.0 Points/gm 75.0
(30-58) 51.7 Field Goal % 41.7 (25-60)
(11-19) 57.9 3-pt FG % 35.0 (7-20)
(21-25) 84.0 Free Throw % 75.0 (18-24)
21.0 FT Made/gm 18.0
35.0 Reb/gm 41.0
16.0 Assists/gm 15.0
6.0 Turnovers/gm 7.0
Defense (2013-14)
68.0 Points/gm 72.0
(27-58) 46.6 Field Goal % 42.1 (25-57)
(10-23) 43.5 3-pt FG % 42.9 (12-28)
28.0 Opp. Reb/gm 29.0
11.0 Steals/gm 4.0
4.0 Blocks/gm 2.0
Individual Leaders
Derrick Walton Jr (22.0), Zak Irvin (21.0) Points/gm Dom Hoffman (14.0), John Azzinaro (13.0)
Caris LeVert (8.0), Mark Donnal (4.0) Reb/gm Dom Hoffman (9.0), John Azzinaro (6.0)

___________________________________________________________________________________

Michigan opened its season with a 92-68 win over Division II Hillsdale College on Saturday afternoon. Tonight, the Wolverines will take the court for the first time against a Division 1 foe when they welcome Bucknell to the Crisler Center for the opening game of the Progressive Legends Classic.

Michigan and Bucknell have never faced each other, but if the name sounds familiar it is because the Bison have appeared in the NCAA Tournament several times in recent years, most recently in 2013.

Head coach Dave Paulsen served as a graduate assistant at Michigan during the 1989-90 season — the year after Michigan’s national championship — and received his Master’s degree from Michigan in 1993. He has followed a similar rise up the ranks as John Beilein, though he hasn’t reached the same heights, going from Division III St. Lawrence to Division II Le Moyne to Division III Williams to Bucknell, his first Division I stint. And he has had success everywhere he’s been with a 377-199 career record and a Division III national championship in 2002-03 while at Williams.

From the 2010-11 to 2012-13 seasons, Bucknell went 78-25 with two NCAA Tournament appearances, but last season the Bison finished just 16-14 overall and 11-7 in the Patriot League.

This season, Bucknell was picked to finish fifth in the Patriot League and opened the season with a 75-72 win over Marist on Friday. Three starters from last year’s team are back, but the biggest loss was Patriot League Player of the Year Cameron Ayers, who finished second in the conference in scoring with 15.4 points per game and 16.2 points in conference games. He was also the team’s best three-point shooter with 62 made threes. By comparison, Nik Stauskas made 92 last season and Zak Irvin was second on Michigan’s team with 62.

Junior guard Chris Hass is the leading returning scorer. The 6’5″, 184-pound Pellston, Mich. native averaged 11.1 points and 4.0 rebounds last season while shooting 42.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from downtown. However, he managed just five points on 2-of-10 shooting in the season opener on Friday. Joining him in the backcourt are 6’3″, 196-pound senior Stephen Kaspar and 6’0″, 190-pound junior Ryan Frazier. Kaspar averaged 6.5 points per game last season and scored 10 in the opener. Frazier averaged 4.2 and managed six on Friday.

Junior Dom Hoffman, a 6’7″, 222-pound forward, led the Bison with 14 points and nine rebounds on Friday, while 6’9″, 227-pound freshman Nana Foulland rounded out the starting lineup at center and scored just two points.

Sophomore guard John Azzinaro came off the bench to score score 13 points and grab six rebounds, while freshman J.C. Show joined him in the backcourt off with 12 points off the bench. Sophomore forward D.J. MacLeay was the only other player in double figures with 11 points off the bench.

As a team, Bucknell shot 41.7 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from three-point range while out-rebounding Marist 41 to 29.

Bucknell will provide a tougher test for Michigan’s young team than Hillsdale did on Saturday, and it will be a good early-season test before Michigan visits Brooklyn, N.Y. next week for the final four of the Progressive Legends Classic. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network at 8 p.m.

Frank Clark dismissed from team

November 17th, 2014 by Justin Potts


Frank Clark(John T. Greilick, Detroit News)

Senior defensive end Frank Clark has been dismissed from the team according to a statement released by Brady Hoke on Monday morning. Clark was arrested late Saturday night for alleged domestic violence at a hotel in Perkins, Ohio.

The statement read:

“Frank Clark has been dismissed for violating team rules from the Michigan football program. This is a tragic situation. Our student-athletes will be held accountable when their actions fail to meet the standard we have at Michigan. There is a legal process that will occur and we respect that process.”

According to the police report obtained by the Sandusky Register, Clark allegedly ‘punched [his girlfriend] in the face, grabbed [her] by her neck, slammed her to the ground, and pinned her to the bed.’

Clark was held in the Erie County jail without bond until his hearing which is scheduled for Monday morning in Sandusky Municipal Court.

As we detailed in late July, Clark endured a rough childhood, growing up surrounded by gangs, drugs, and violence in the Baldwin Village section of Los Angeles. He managed to escape to Ohio, where he was mentored by Ted Ginn Sr. at Glenville High School and eventually received a scholarship offer to Michigan. He described his reluctance to even go back to L.A. to visit his mother, choosing instead to avoid the potential troubles and distractions that he could run into. He also described his intentions to work with inner-city children after graduation to help them find a way out like he did.

However, none of that excuses his actions from Saturday night.

During his freshman year, Clark was arrested on felony theft charges after he stole a laptop from another student’s dorm room. He paid fines and served one year of probation, but had stayed out of trouble until his arrest over the weekend.

With two games remaining in his career, Clark was having the best season of his career with 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and one fumble recovery. His tackles for loss ranked third in the Big Ten behind only Ohio State’s Joey Bosa and Wisconsin’s Vince Biegle. For his career, he recorded 120 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and one interception.

Hopefully, Clark can use the punishment received from the judge as a learning experience and continue the upward trajectory his life was on before this incident, rather than wind up back in Baldwin Village. More importantly, my thoughts and prayers are with the victim.

First Look: Maryland

November 17th, 2014 by Justin Potts


FirstLook-Maryland

A 10-9 win over Northwestern last weekend gave Michigan its first two-game winning streak of the season and moved the Wolverines one game closer to bowl eligibility. The season’s second bye week allowed Brady Hoke’s squad to rest and prepare for the final two weeks. This Saturday, Maryland comes to town for the first time as a member of the Big Ten, and for the first time since 1990, fresh off of a 37-15 loss to Michigan State. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare through 10 games.

Maryland Statistics & Michigan Comparison
Maryland | Michigan Rank Defense Rank
Points Per Game 28.8 | 20.7 65 | 109
29.0 | 20.4 82 | 18
Rushing Yards 1,139 | 1,541 1,983 | 1,032
Rush Avg. Per Game 113.9 | 154.1 111 | 77
198.3 | 103.2 97 | 7
Avg. Per Rush 3.5 | 4.5
4.3 | 2.8
Passing Yards 2,298 | 1,685 2,385 | 1,976
Pass Avg. Per Game 229.8 | 168.5 66 | 112 238.5 | 197.6 83 | 24
Total Offense 3,437 | 3,226 4,368 | 3,008
Total Off Avg. Per Game 343.7 | 322.6 111 | 114 436.8 | 300.8 97 | 8
Kick Return Average 25.1 | 19.0 9 | 106 21.1 | 21.6 70 | 79
Punt Return Average 12.4 | 6.5 18 | 87 9.0 | 11.9 T89 | 114
Avg. Time of Possession 27:26 | 30:14 114 | 60
32:34 | 29:46
3rd Down Conversion Pct 31.0% | 38.0% 116 | 83
38.0% | 38.0% 52 | 49
Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards 28-161 | 18-111
103 | T50
28-207 | 27-231
T23 | 32
Touchdowns Scored 35 | 24
34 | 23
Field Goals-Attempts 14-14 | 12-17
17-23 | 15-19
Red Zone Scores (23-25)92%|(25-29)86% 7 | 42
(32-41)78%|(27-33)82% 35 | T51
Red Zone Touchdowns (17-25)68%|(19-29)66% (22-41)54%|(16-33)48%
Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) .060 | -.253
55 | 94
-.045 | -.275 58 | 35

Maryland entered its first season in the Big Ten with hopes of competing for the East Division crown. The Terrapins started the season 4-1, the only loss a three-point defeat against West Virginia. But then Randy Edsall’s squad found out just how tough it is to compete week in and week out in a major conference, even one as weak as the Big Ten.

Ohio State went into College Park and handed Maryland a 52-24 loss. The Terps responded with a 38-31 win over Iowa, but got pounded by Wisconsin, 52-7 the following week. Two weeks ago, Maryland pulled out a one-point win at Penn State, 20-19, but after a bye week, got thumped by Michigan State, 37-15 this past Saturday.

Schedule
Date Opponent Result
Aug. 30 James Madison W 52-7
Sept. 6 at South Florida W 24-17
Sept. 13 West Virginia L 37-40
Sept. 20 at Syracuse W 34-20
Sept. 27 at Indiana W 37-15
Oct. 4 #20 Ohio State L 24-52
Oct. 18 Iowa W 38-31
Oct. 25 at Wisconsin L 7-52
Nov. 1 at Penn State W 20-19
Nov. 15 #12 Michigan State L 15-37
Nov. 22 at Michigan
Nov. 29 Rutgers

Maryland’s offense has been fairly similar to Michigan’s this season, but the main difference is the Terps have been able to score more points, averaging 8.1 points per game more than Michigan. The seven points scored against Wisconsin and 15 against Michigan State were the only two games with less than 20 points scored.

The main reason for Maryland’s offensive success was receiver Stefon Diggs, who had 52 receptions — second in the Big Ten — for 654 yards and five touchdowns through nine games. But he suffered a lacerated kidney against Penn State and will miss the rest of the regular season. The Terps have the sixth-best passing offense in the Big Ten, averaging 229.8 yards per game. Without Diggs against Michigan State this past Saturday, Maryland managed its fourth-best passing output of the season, but they were playing from behind the entire game. Freshman Juwann Winfree stepped up with four receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown, besting his season total yardage by 16 yards.

The running game is a different story. Quarterback C.J. Brown is the team’s leading rusher, and he’s not Denard Robinson or Braxton Miller. He’s averaging just 3.2 yards per carry and has 40 more carries (117) than the next running back, Wes Brown. Of his 375 rushing yards, 75 came on one touchdown run in Week 3. That all results in Maryland being the third-worst rush offense in the Big Ten and 111th nationally, averaging 113.9 yards per game. Michigan State held them to just six yards on 17 carries on Saturday.

Maryland’s defense is where the biggest troubles lie. The Terps allow 8.6 points more than Michigan allows, have the Big Ten’s third-worst rush defense, and third-worst pass defense. Those two units rank 97th and 83rd nationally. In total, Maryland allows 136 more yards per game than Michigan does. While Michigan has allowed just three of 10 opponents to reach 30 points, and five of 10 to score 20 or more points, Maryland has allowed more than 30 points five times and more than 20 points six times.

There have been some big performances by opponents against Maryland this season as well. West Virginia passed for 511 yards, their highest total of the season. In fact, 376 yard is WVU’s next-highest passing total this season. Iowa passed for 317, their second-highest of the season. Syracuse rushed for 370 yards, 81 more than any other game this season. In fact, Syracuse has been held below 200 yards in eight of 10 games.

On special teams, Maryland is pretty solid, ranking ninth nationally in kick returns and 18th in punt returns. However, Diggs was a big part of that, ranking sixth in the Big Ten with a 23.9-yard kick return average. Kicker Brad Craddock has made all 14 field goal attempts with the longest made in the Big Ten this season, 57 yards.

Like the Northwestern matchup last week, this game should be an evenly matched contest of two very average teams. Unlike Northwestern, Maryland’s defense is vulnerable, so Michigan’s offense shouldn’t have as much trouble moving the ball and scoring points. Expect a close game, but higher scoring than the Northwestern game.

Key Players
Passing Comp-Att Yards TD INT Average/Game
C.J. Brown 127-236 1,477 9 6 147.7
Rushing Attempts Yards TD Long Average/Carry
C.J. Brown (QB) 111 380 5 75 3.4
Brandon Ross 64 256 2 23 4.0
Wes Brown 68 255 4 33 3.8
Jacquille Veii  (WR) 14 93 2 23 6.6
Receiving Receptions Yards TD Long Average/Game
Stefon Diggs (out) 52 654 5 77 72.7
Deon Long 35 389 1 41 38.9
Marcus Leak 18 276 3 46 27.6
Brandon Ross (RB) 14 212 2 90 21.2
Wes Brown (RB) 12 128 0 38 12.8
Defense Solo Assisted Total Tackles TFL-Yds Sacks-Yds
Sean Davis (DB) 69 25 94 3.0-11 0-0 (8 PD)
Cole Farrand (LB) 50 41 91 4.0-9 0-0 (7 PD)
Andre Monroe (DL) 31 21 52 11.0-74 8.5-63
Darius Kilgo (DL) 25 12 37 7.0-30 2.0-16 (3 FR)
Yannick Ngakoue (LB) 22 10 32 12.5-74 5.5-44 (2 PD)
Kicking FG Made FG Att Long XP Made XP Att
Brad Craddock 14 14 57 34 34
Punting Punts Yds Avg. In-20 50+
Nathan Renfro 71 2,923 41.2 20 11
Full Stats

Stay tuned for more on Maryland in the coming days.

Banner day: Michigan 92 – Hillsdale College 68

November 15th, 2014 by Sam Sedlecky


Michigan vs Hillsdale 11-15-14(MGoBlue.com)

As Michigan prepared to kick off their 2014-15 college basketball season, there was one more thing to take care of before tip-off — celebrating last year’s success by raising their Big Ten Championship banner.

John Beilein did the honors of handing out championship rings to his returning players while newly minted captains Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert presented Beilein with his own ring and Michigan’s freshmen looked on from the corner. While divvying them out, Beilein said he simply told the players, “Let’s do it again.”

The accomplishment was remembered briefly, the banner was raised, and the next quest began.

Hillsdale, a Division II squad playing the game as an exhibition, came out firing, perhaps taking advantage of a little lackadaisical Wolverines squad. Stedman Lowry nailed two deep threes and a layup to help the Chargers jump out to a 12-3 lead just over four minutes in.

Mark Donnal opened the scoring for Michigan before the mini Hillsdale run was stemmed by back-to-back-to-back triples from the Big Three of Derrick Walton, Jr., Zak Irvin, and Caris LeVert, respectively.

Hillsdale stayed level with Michigan for a few more minutes, but the Wolverines closed the half on a 31-14 after being tied at 19 midway through the first stanza.

Four Factors
Michigan Hillsdale
61.2 eFG% 55.2
25.8 OReb% 15.6
8.7 TO% 20.3
43.1 FTR 8.6

The Chargers’ efforts to mount a second half comeback never got them within double digits as Michigan cruised to a 92-68 victory.

For Michigan, those Big Three carried the load offensively, combining for 63 of the Maize and Blue’s final output. Impressively, Walton, Irvin, and LeVert each eclipsed 20 points individually while also dishing out 13 assists to two turnovers together.

The defense certainly has some work to do, but after the game, Beilein credited most of Hillsdale’s success to a talented roster that sticks together and plays more like a program than a team. Kyle Cooper led the way for the Chargers with a big double-double of 28 and 10 while Lowry finished as the only other double-digit scorer, adding 15.

Michigan’s freshmen continue to come along slowly, but provided some quality minutes today. Kam Chatman notably played 30 minutes and recorded four points, rebounds, and steals, but went just 1-for-7 from the field and lost his man multiple times on defense to lead to easy opposition points. Ricky Doyle led the freshmen in scoring with seven points in nine minutes, but redshirt freshman Mark Donnal was clearly the best big man for Michigan, scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds in 26 minutes.

There was nothing too extraordinary about today’s win, but it was refreshing to see the offense firing again, as the Wolverines made 51.7 percent of their field goals and a crazy 57.9 percent of their threes.

Beilein certainly recognizes a quality program in an opponent, but he’s built one heck of a program here in Ann Arbor. That program’s goals are one game closer to glory again.

Quick Hitters:

 All of Michigan’s freshmen saw action, with Austin Hatch entering in the final minute to a rousing applause. Chatman impressed with his knowledge of the offense and will clearly lead his classmates in minutes early on; he displayed very nice control on a terrific steal at halfcourt, behind-the-back dribble to shimmy past a defender, and excellent and-one finish. Aubrey Dawkins saw only six minutes but made a three and leapt out of the gym to grab an offensive rebound while Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman only played five minutes and went 0-for-2 from the floor.

 Michigan is off to a good start in the turnover department, turning it over on just 8.7 percent of their possessions while forcing Hillsdale into a 20.3 percent turnover rate, leading to a whopping 25-0 advantage in points off turnovers. The Wolverines recorded 11 total steals, with Chatman, Donnal, and Albrecht all getting multiple takeaways, on a variety of passes picked out of mid-air leading to breakaways.

 Caris LeVert finished just one assist and two rebounds shy of a triple-double in 33 minutes, but when asked about his play after the game, Beilein was quick to praise his nine assists and zero turnovers. LeVert looked extremely smooth and in control with the ball in his hand and facilitated much of Michigan’s offense. Zak Irvin’s stroke looked very good, and he nailed three mid-range jumpers from just inside the three-point line a la Glenn Robinson III.

Beilein Tie Watch:
(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

Three Stars:

***Caris LeVert***
20 points (7-of-12 FG, 4-of-6 3pt, 2-of-3 FT), eight rebounds, nine assists, one steal, one block, zero turnovers in 33 minutes

**Derrick Walton, Jr.**
22 points (5-of-8 FG, 3-of-4 3pt, 9-of-10 FT), four rebounds, four assists, one steal, one turnover in 34 minutes

*Zak Irvin*
21 points (8-of-12 FG, 3-of-6 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), one rebound, one steal, one turnover in 29 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
03 Kameron Chatman* 1-7 0-0 2-3 1 3 4 2 4 0 1 1 4 30
34 Mark Donnal* 3-4 0-0 3-4 3 1 4 0 9 1 2 1 2 26
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 5-8 3-4 9-10 0 4 4 1 22 4 1 0 1 34
21 Zak Irvin* 8-12 3-6 2-2 0 1 1 1 21 0 1 0 1 29
23 Caris LeVert* 7-12 4-6 2-3 0 8 8 1 20 9 0 1 1 33
02 Spike Albrecht 2-7 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 4 2 1 0 2 16
05 D.J. Wilson 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 0 2 0 0 1 0 9
12 M-A Abdur-Rahkman 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
24 Aubrey Dawkins 1-2 1-1 0-0 2 1 3 0 3 0 0 0 0 6
30 Austin Hatch 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
32 Ricky Doyle 2-2 0-0 3-3 0 1 1 1 7 0 0 0 0 9
44 Max Bielfeldt 2-2 0-0 1-1 1 0 1 0 5 0 0 2 1 7
Totals 30-58 11-19 21-25 8 27 35 7 92 16 6 4 11 200
Hillsdale College 27-58 10-23 4-5 5 23 28 21 68 18 14 5 2 200
Full Stats

Michigan basketball 2014-15 season preview: Caris’ turn

November 15th, 2014 by Sam Sedlecky


2014-BBall-FreshmanPreview-2014-15Preview

Every year, college basketball starts in mid-November and ends with the conclusion of the Big Dance in early April. The season seems to pass in a flurry of magical moments, the kind where you blink your eye and they’re gone.

The time in between, on the other hand, feels like an eternity.

But just like the cool wind has begun to bring a crispness to the Michigan air and the leaves have all fallen to their cruel death, basketball is finally back. Excitement will brew and hearts will break, but most of all, it will be one hell of a ride.

(Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

Caris LeVert looks to step into Trey Burke’s and Nik Stauskas’ role as go-to guy for the young Wolverines (Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

For Michigan fans, it’s an increasingly familiar start to the season. The football season has been a lost cause for what seems like many months, and all faith lies in the hands of John Beilein — the coaching savior of the program. After sending a trio of sophomores off to the NBA following another deep run in the Dance, the Wolverines will be breaking in a host of new faces while relying on a core of three young veterans to lead.

Caris LeVert, the one-time Ohio commit and Michigan after-thought, is the undisputed go-to guy. Zak Irvin, the former Indiana Mr. Basketball and freshman just-a-shooter, will look to flank LeVert and prove that his offseason strides are for real. And Derrick Walton, the sophomore point from Detroit, will run the show with a quiet confidence.

Joining those three are five true freshmen and one redshirt freshmen who have yet to see real playing time but will all be forced to contribute in some way. Ricky Doyle and Mark Donnal, two raw big men, will do their best to replace Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford, and Mitch McGary. Kameron Chatman and D.J. Wilson, two West Coasters, will try to make fans forget about Glenn Robinson III. Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, two late signees that didn’t get a look from any big name school other than Michigan, will fight for minutes with a chip on both shoulders.

But one other returning player perhaps best emulates the whole Michigan team. In the spring of 2012, John Beilein reached out to an under-sized point guard that no one wanted. In fact, this player had gotten so little attention that he felt the need to spend an extra year in prep school. After finishing up there, however, still the biggest school that came calling before Michigan was Brown.

As a freshman, Spike Albrecht played his role all year until nearly springing the Wolverines to a National Championship. After his 15 minutes of fame, Albrecht returned to be a backup yet again, but performed in the same way he was asked to. This season, the junior will again come off the bench, but he will play the way he needs to in order to help the whole team be successful.

Albrecht is still under-sized, unathletic, and underwhelming. Michigan as a whole has also been consistently over-looked since Beilein took over with his unorthodox style. But like Albrecht, Michigan plays the way they are supposed to, overcomes expectations, and consistently surprises.

After losing so much talent and production from last season, many continue to write the Wolverines off as a flash in the pan. Yes, pundits have finally become smart enough to pencil the Maize and Blue into the NCAA Tournament, but they don’t really take their chances of doing much in the Big Ten or on the national stage seriously.

Well, guess what? With another banner going up in Crisler this afternoon, maybe it’s time to start taking John Beilein and his Michigan program seriously. Sure, the unknowns abound. But throughout the course of the season, the baby steps will turn into leaps, and the Wolverines will be competing for all the glory – like usual.

Predictions:
Top Five Scorers Top Five Rebounders
Caris LeVert Mark Donnal
Derrick Walton Caris LeVert
Zak Irvin D.J. Wilson
D.J. Wilson Ricky Doyle
Kameron Chatman Zak Irvin
Top Five Assists Top Five Three-Point Shooters (%)
Derrick Walton Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert Zak Irvin
Spike Albrecht Derrick Walton
Kameron Chatman Spike Albrecht
Zak Irvin D.J. Wilson
Superlatives
Most improved player: Zak Irvin
Most valuable freshman: D.J. Wilson
Most valuable player: Caris LeVert
Final record: 27-9 (13-5 Big Ten)
Conference finish: T1
Postseason: NCAA Tournament, Elite Eight

Michigan hoops preview: Hillsdale College

November 14th, 2014 by Justin Potts


UM-Hillsdale College
Michigan vs Hillsdale College
Saturday, Nov. 15 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 2:00 p.m. EST | ESPN3
Offense (2013-14)
73.9 Points/gm 73.1
(945-1,982)47.7 Field Goal % 48.5(676-1,394)
(319-794) 40.2 3-pt FG % 39.6 (227-573)
(527-691) 76.3 Free Throw % 78.2 (395-505)
14.2 FT Made/gm 14.6
31.4 Reb/gm 34.0
14.2 Assists/gm 16.3
9.3 Turnovers/gm 12.3
Defense (2013-14)
65.1 Points/gm 66.1
(905-2,035) 44.5 Field Goal % 42.1 (624-1,481)
(201-632) 31.8 3-pt FG % 34.0 (188-553)
31.2 Opp. Reb/gm 29.0
4.9 Steals/gm 5.3
2.7 Blocks/gm 3.4
Individual Leaders
N. Stauskas (17.5), G. Robinson III (13.1) Points/gm Tim Dezelski (22.9), Kyle Cooper (13.5)
Mitch McGary (8.3), Jordan Morgan (5.0) Reb/gm Tim Dezelski (9.6), Kyle Cooper (6.2)

___________________________________________________________________________________

Michigan doubled up Wayne State 86-43 in its only exhibition on Monday, getting 16 points from Caris LeVert and 13 from Zak Irvin. More importantly, John Beilein was able to get six new freshmen into the game to get their feet wet and work out some nerves. The nerves were certainly there as Kameron Chatman airballed his first two three-point attempts while others missed layups and free throws. The best moment of the night, however, belonged to Austin Hatch, who scored the first point of his college career, drawing a standing ovation when he sank a free throw.

On Saturday afternoon, the young Wolverines get a chance to gain further experience against similar competition, but this time it counts.

Only 70 miles southwest of Ann Arbor lies tiny little Hillsdale College, a small liberal arts school of less than 1,500 students. Despite being just five percent the size of Michigan’s undergraduate enrollment, the Chargers will travel to Ann Arbor for the season opener for both teams.

Hillsdale went 18-9 last season and 14-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the same conference as Michigan’s exhibition opponent from Monday, Wayne State. Hillsdale finished seventh in the conference, three spots ahead of Wayne State, and beat the Warriors 69-67 in their only matchup. As the seventh seed in the GLIAC Tournament, Hillsdale ended its season with a 67-47 loss to eventual champion Findlay.

This season, Hillsdale has to find a replacement for All-GLIAC first team forward Tim Dezelski, who averaged 22.9 points — which ranked third in the conference — and 9.6 rebounds — which led the conference — per game. He became the only player in NCAA Division II to reach 600 points, 250 rebounds, and 100 assists.

The go-to role will now fall on junior forward Kyle Cooper, a preseason All-GLIAC North Division second team selection. The 6’7″, 225-pound Northville native was the team’s second-leading scorer (13.5 points) and rebounder (6.2 rebounds) a year ago. The only other returning starter is point guard Zach Miller, a 5’8″, 165-pound junior from Chicago, Ill, who averaged just 4.3 points and 1.2 rebounds.

Junior center Jason Pretzer will be the biggest man on the court at 7’0″, 250. He averaged 3.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. Despite his size, he blocked just three shots all season. The other big man is Rhett Smith. The 6’7″, 225-pound junior played just 3.5 minutes per game last season, averaging 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds.

The Chargers were picked to finish fourth in the GLIAC North Division this season behind Michigan Tech, Grand Valley State, and Lake Superior State. Statistically, Hillsdale was pretty similar to Michigan last season, as you can see in the chart above. But with so many newcomers on both teams and the disparity in level of competition, that doesn’t mean much.

Expect John Beilein to mix and match rotations similar to Monday, hoping to gain more consistency and cohesion with his young guys, but since this one counts, he’ll stick with the starters a bit more.

The game will not be televised, but will be shown on ESPN3. For those unable to access ESPN3, you can follow @SamSedlecky on Twitter for live updates. If you are going to the game, make sure to get there early for the 2013-14 Big Ten Championship banner ceremony.

Michigan basketball position preview: The bigs

November 14th, 2014 by Sam Sedlecky


2014-BBall-FreshmanPreview-BigMen

Now that we have already broken down Michigan’s freshmen and analyzed the point guard and wing positions, let’s preview the biggest unknown for the Wolverines — the bigs. Michigan graduated Jordan Morgan and lost Jon Horford and Mitch McGary to transfer and the NBA Draft, respectively, last season. Now, the Maize and Blue look to replace the lost production with a stable of inexperienced big men and one rarely used senior.

The Starter

#34 Mark Donnal – 6’9, 240 – Redshirt Freshman
2013-14 stats: N/A (redshirt)
Projected 2014-15 stats: 5.3 pts (55% FG, 35% 3pt, 68% FT), 3.8 reb, .5 ast, .4 blk, .4 stl, .4 TO, 20 min/game

With a year of practice under his belt, Mark Donnal looks to be the safe bet to start at the five – at least early in the season. The Toledo native provides Beilein with yet another shooting threat, and Donnal has bulked up after being far too skinny to play last season.

But there is clearly work to be done. In Michigan’s exhibition win over Wayne State, Mark Donnal started down low but looked timid at times and struggled to deal with contact around the basket. With his body starting to fill out, Donnal simply needs to be strong with the basketball in his hands, get good position on the boards, and battle with what he has. He’ll look to add more muscle next offseason, but it’s very difficult to put on any weight during the grueling season.

This year, Donnal won’t be asked to carry much of the scoring load, but I really like his versatility and all-around game. When I scouted him in a high school game, Donnal shot beautifully from deep but also showcased an array of face-up and back-to-the-basket moves for easy finishes at the rim in addition to a couple monster dunks and blocks. The competition is obviously a few steps above the high school level, but Donnal’s outside-in skillset is hard to deny.

Donnal also runs the court very well and showcased an intelligent Euro-style slap-out on offensive misses in the exhibition game. Most players simply look to corral the rebound, but Donnal knows that if he can’t grab it, he can at least try to slap it back outside, where his guards are likely to get the rebound.

The Backups

#32 Ricky Doyle – 6’9″, 245 – Freshman

For a complete look at Doyle, please see his freshman preview.

Ricky Doyle is the yin to Mark Donnal’s yang. Where Donnal excels further from the basket and should develop into a nice perimeter threat while continuing to work on his game down low, Doyle is a true old-school post. Doyle loves to catch the ball with his back to the basket, make one move, and put it up. Beilein raved about Doyle’s hook shot during Media Day, and Doyle’s willingness to bang in the post makes him the most similar returning player to Jordan Morgan.

Doyle’s strengths this year will lie in his rebounding ability and his passing. He had a couple nice dishes on Monday despite not recording an assist, and his 2/2 line from the field should be pretty typical – he’s not going to shoot or score much, but he is also not going to take many risky shots. Doyle’s big body and strength will be key when Michigan faces the likes of Arizona, Wisconsin, and Syracuse this year.

So while Doyle’s skillset seems most typical and perhaps the safest of Michigan’s bigs, his shortcomings make him the clear backup at this point. The worry with keeping Doyle on the floor too long stems from two areas: defense and handling. Doyle has worked long and hard in the weight room to improve his strength and quickness, but he is still clearly too slow to defender quicker bigs or provide adequate help defense.

During Media Day, Assistant Jeff Meyer was going through a simple defensive shuffle drill with everyone. When Meyer pointed left, the players needed to shuffle as quickly as possible that direction; when he pointed right, they’d change direction. The majority of the players were able to take two or three shuffle steps in both direction every time Meyer pointed; Doyle, however, would barely get his shuffle foot down once before having to shuffle the opposite way. In another drill where the bigs practiced hedging screens, Doyle let Spike Albrecht split through him and the screened defender as if no one was there two straight times. Beilein had to stop the drill and give Doyle a word of advice.

When it comes to handling, Doyle almost treats the ball as a grenade that would explode if it hit the floor. He is far from a confident dribbler at this point and will be an easy pick-pocket if he holds onto the ball too long. Throughout the season, you may even be able to count the number of dribbles Doyle takes on two hands.

#5 D.J. Wilson – 6’9″, 220 – Freshman

For a complete look at Wilson, please see his freshman preview.

Wilson’s natural position at Michigan will end up being on the wing, as previewed in our piece earlier this week, but he will also see some minutes at the five backing up Donnal and Doyle. Like Donnal, Wilson presents a deep threat that will force defenses to spread the floor.

Unlike either Donnal or Doyle, though, Wilson lacks the size to bang too much with opposing bigs. Wilson will likely be a fouling liability if he is to play big minutes at the five, but I still think his versatility and shot blocking provide some interesting options for Beilein down low.

Right now, Wilson looks a little bit more comfortable on the wing facing up, but he’ll continue to learn both positions and is willing to help out wherever he is needed.

#44 Max Bielfeldt – 6’7″, 245 – Senior
2013-14 stats: .8 pts (28.6% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 0% FT), 1.1 blk, .1 blk, .1 stl, .1 TO, 4.7 min/game
Projected 2014-15 stats: 0.8 pts (40% FG, 30% 3pt, 50% FT), 1.0 reb, .1 blk, .1 stl, .2 TO, 2 min/game

Max Bielfeldt committed to Michigan over Illinois a few years back but has found himself buried on the depth chart throughout his college career to date. This year, it looks like he again finds himself behind three freshmen at the five and may be relegated to providing strong leadership in practice and in the locker room.

Unfortunately for Bielfeldt, he simply lacks the size, skill, and athleticism to compete at center at the highest level right now, but he certainly showcases strong effort on the court. In the exhibition game, Bielfeldt sat out the entire first half but came in early in the second half and had a nice spurt resulting in five points, an offensive rebound, and two blocks in just seven minutes of play, so he’s certainly making a case.

We may see some spot minutes from Bielfeldt early on in the season as Michigan breaks in a slew of new big bodies who could struggle with foul trouble, but as those freshmen continue to mature and grasp the offense, Bielfeldt’s minutes will start to decline.

Minute Breakdown:

5-spot (traditional center):
20 Mark Donnal
14 Ricky Doyle
4 D.J. Wilson
2 Max Bielfeldt

Michigan basketball position preview: The point guards

November 13th, 2014 by Sam Sedlecky


2014-BBall-FreshmanPreview-PointGuards

After taking a look at the three wing spots yesterday, let’s take a look at the point guard position today. With Michigan returning its two primary floor generals, there’s not much up for debate, so let’s see how things will run.

The Starter

#10 Derrick Walton Jr. – 6’0″, 185 – Sophomore
2013-14 stats: 7.9 pts (42.9% FG, 41% 3pt, 79.3% FT), 3.0 reb, 2.9 ast, .6 stl, .1.5 TO, 26.7 min/game
Projected 2014-15 stats: 12.0 pts (45% FG, 41% 3pt, 82% FT), 3.5 reb, 4.1 ast, 1 stl, 1.3 TO, 32 min/game

In the summer of 2011, John Beilein and his staff sent out offers to three different coveted point guards: Monte Morris, Demetrius Jackson, and Derrick Walton Jr. Walton was the first of the trio to jump at the offer, and it’s been an outstanding fit so far. Like Trey Burke before him, Walton probably committed with the idea that he would have a year or two to apprentice under Michigan’s then-star point guard, but Burke of course left after his sophomore season, leaving Walton the keys to the offense.

As a freshman, Walton performed about as well as could be expected, and had game-changing performances in road victories at Michigan State and Ohio State. He’s certainly not making any friends among rival fan bases, and that has made him all the more loved in Ann Arbor. In his first season, Walton scored when he needed to, but more often deferred to Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, and Glenn Robinson III.

With two of those three gone, Walton will take on a bigger overall role this season. Not only will he be asked to shoot and score more, but he will also be charged with finding LeVert, Zak Irvin, and Michigan’s bigs in scoring positions consistently off the dribble and pick-and-roll. Walton is Michigan’s quickest player and arguably the best slasher on the team. He is also a very good shooter from range and the best returning free throw shooter.

One area for improvement this year will be in finishing at the rim. Walton has no trouble getting to the hole and is excellent at drawing contact, but his 42.9 percent mark from the field should go up a couple ticks.

The Backups

#2 Spike Albrecht – 5’11″, 175 – Junior
2013-14 stats: 3.3 pts (40.4% FG, 38.7% 3pt, 77.8% FT), 2 ast, 1.1 reb, .5 stl, .4 TO, 14.7 min/game
Projected 2014-15 stats: 5 pts (43.5% FG, 40% 3pt, 80% FT), 2.5 ast, 1.4 reb, .7 stl, .7 TO, 15 min/game

Spike Albrecht has been a consistent, if quiet, role player for Michigan the past two seasons and will look to take on a slightly bigger role this year with an even younger roster. Albrecht knows he’s not the scorer or the athlete that Walton is, but he uses his own toolset to make a difference when called upon.

It’s no secret that John Beilein loves the veteran presence and fundamentally solid play that Albrecht can provide in buckets, and though Albrecht’s star will probably never be brighter than during the first half of the 2013 National Championship game (or immediately after when one of his teammates tweeted at Kate Upton from Spike’s account), he will do enough this season to be a thorn in the side of opposing teams. Beilein has already said that he’s calling on both Walton and Albrecht to shoot more from deep, which is good news for Spike, but his patented move will always be the corner drive and cross-court dish to an open shooter on the opposite corner.

This year, look for more of the same from Spike, who should also see about half of his minutes come with fellow point guard Walton on the floor.

#12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 6’4″, 175 – Freshman

For a complete look at Abdur-Rahkman, please see his freshman preview.

Rahk will only be an emergency option at point this season, but he has the raw skills right now to develop into an intriguing prospect down the line. His height is ideal for a Beilein point guard who plays off screens a lot, and his quickness and driving ability are great for the fast break and drawing fouls. I also really like the Pennsylvania native’s potential to grow into a lock-down man defender with his plus foot speed, length, and energy.
Abdur-Rahkman will see very few, if any, minutes as the primary ball-handler this year, but he should see spot minutes here and there on the wing as he continues to learn the offense. Next year will be his chance to compete for primary backup duties, but he’ll need to spend many hours in the gym working on his shot if he wants to win the role.

Minute Breakdown:

2-spot (traditional shooting guard):
32 Derrick Walton Jr.
8 Spike Albrecht

Big Ten power rankings: Week 11

November 12th, 2014 by Derick Hutchinson


Power Rankings_header

East Division
1. Ohio State (8-1, 5-0) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat #8 Michigan State 49-37 This Week: Sat at Minnesota (7-2, 4-1), 12pm, ABC

J.T. Barrett’s improvement over the course of the regular season is a real testament to Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. The freshman looked lost in the spread offense early in the season, but has now led the Buckeyes to 49 or more points in six of their last seven games. With the win over Michigan State, Ohio State will likely represent the East Division in Indianapolis, barring an implosion in its final three games.

2. Michigan State (7-2, 4-1) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to #14 Ohio State 37-49 This Week: Sat at Maryland (6-3, 3-2), 8pm, Big Ten Network

Does the loss to Ohio State make this season a failure for Mark Dantonio’s squad? The Spartans came into 2014 with the goals of winning the Big Ten and participating in the first college football playoff. Now, with losses to its top two opponents, Michigan State has only one impressive win: Against Nebraska.

3. Michigan (5-5, 3-3) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat Northwestern 10-9 This Week: Bye (11/22 vs Maryland)

If there’s ever such a thing as an ugly win, Michigan mastered the art in Evanston Saturday. The Wolverines needed a missed field goal, three turnovers and two fourth down stops to stay in the game, and then Trevor Siemian fell backwards on the game-deciding two-point conversion. But at the end of the day, Michigan has its first two-game winning streak of the year and a real chance to gain bowl eligibility after the bye week.

4. Maryland (6-3, 3-2) – Down 1
Last Week: Bye This Week: Sat vs #8 Michigan State (7-2, 4-1), 8pm, Big Ten Network

Maryland had a bye week to prepare for Michigan State’s trip to Byrd Stadium, and the Spartan loss won’t do the Terps any favors. An angry Spartan team will be visiting Maryland Saturday night as Maryland looked to take over second place in the East.

5. Penn State (5-4, 2-4) – Even
Last Week: Beat Indiana 13-7 This Week: Sat vs Temple (5-4, 3-3), 12pm, ESPN2

Saturday was the perfect remedy for Penn State’s four-game losing streak: A matchup with Big Ten bottom-feeder Indiana. The Nittany Lions struggled to move the ball, putting up just 13 points on Indiana’s atrocious defense, but allowed just one touchdown to pull out the 13-7 win. Penn State will need a win against Temple or Illinois to become bowl eligible.

6. Rutgers (5-4, 1-4) – Even
Last Week: Bye This Week: Sat vs Indiana (3-6, 0-5), 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

There wasn’t a team in the Big Ten that needed a bye week as badly as Rutgers did this weekend. The Scarlett Knights raced out to a 5-1 start this season before hitting their first Big Ten gauntlet stretch. Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin combined to outscore Rutgers by a total score of 135-41. Now Indiana visits in a game Rutgers absolutely needs to win.

7. Indiana (3-6, 0-5) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Penn State 7-13 This Week: Sat at Rutgers (5-4, 1-4), 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Will Indiana pick up a conference win this season? It’s tough to say, as its best chance came at home against a reeling Penn State team Saturday. With a two-game road stretch upcoming, Indiana can look at the finale against Purdue as an opportunity.

B1G East Week 11

West Division
1. Nebraska (8-1, 4-1) – Even
Last Week: Bye This Week: Sat at #25 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1), 3:30pm, ABC

The biggest road trip of the season is coming up for Nebraska, as a win in Madison would all but clinch the West Division crown. The Cornhuskers’ best win on the season is against a solid Miami team at home, so this weekend will go a long way in determining if they’re the real deal.

2. Minnesota (6-2, 3-1) – Up 2
Last Week: Beat Iowa 51-14 This Week: Sat vs #14 Ohio State (8-1, 5-0), 12pm, ABC

Is there any question that Jerry Kill did his job during a bye week? After Minnesota dropped the ball in Illinois, it came back and rocked Iowa’s world at home. The Gophers put up a season-high 51 points on one of the stronger defenses in the conference to improve to 4-1 in the Big Ten. Now Minnesota gets a real test as it catches OSU off a huge win in what could really bring Kill’s team into the national spotlight.

3. Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) – Down 1
Last Week: Beat Purdue 34-16 This Week: Sat vs #13 Nebraska (8-1, 4-1), 3:30pm, ABC

Wisconsin cruised through a potential trap game Saturday, pounding Purdue 34-16 in West Lafayette with the matchup against Nebraska looming. This weekend’s matchup will decide the inside track for the ticket to Indy.

4. Iowa (6-3, 3-2) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to Minnesota 14-51 This Week: Sat at Illinois (4-5, 1-4), 12pm, Big Ten Network

The bottom of the West Division is so bad that the Hawkeyes get the nod at No. 4 simply for being bowl eligible. A 37-point loss to Minnesota didn’t technically change Iowa’s goal of winning the Big Ten, but there’s no doubt the Hawkeyes simply don’t have it this season.

5. Illinois (3-6, 1-4) – Up 1
Last Week: Bye This Week: Sat vs Iowa (6-3, 3-2), 12pm, Big Ten Network

Illinois had a bye week after being pounded by the Buckeyes in Columbus. The reeling Hawkeyes come to town next.

6. Northwestern (3-6, 2-4) – Up 1
Last Week: Lost to Michigan 9-10 This Week: Sat at #10 Notre Dame (7-2), 3:30pm, NBC

Northwestern played one of the ugliest games of the season Saturday, scoring just nine points and handing the game to Michigan by failing on a predictable two-point conversion. Now a trip to Notre Dame will likely be loss No. 5 in a row.

7. Purdue (3-7, 1-5) – Down 2
Last Week: Lost to #25 Wisconsin 16-34 This Week: Bye (11/22 vs Northwestern)

Purdue posted almost identical losses to start November, falling by 21 to Nebraska and 18 to Wisconsin. Now Northwestern will visit for what promises to be an unglamorous sixty minutes.

B1G West Week 11