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Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Michigan’s College Football Playoff rooting guide: Nov. 14

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Cardinals Stadium

Only four weekends separate us from when the College Football Playoff and bowl game selection committees will make their final decisions and determine the fate of teams that have earned the right to play in the postseason.

Through Week 10, more than 100 FBS teams have been realistically eliminated from playoff contention. Michigan, an enormous long shot to make the Final Four, is one of the teams still in the hunt. But since the Wolverines already lost two games, they need a ton of help over the next four weeks.

Yes, it would take a Hollywood movie-type finish to the season for Michigan to slip into the top four. But until that last glimmer of hope dies, Michigan fans should enjoy the team’s first meaningful home stretch in almost a decade.

We’ll stick with the movie theme as we break down the first of the final four Saturdays. If you’re a Michigan fan holding out hope, here’s what you should root for.

“I really, really need you”

In honor of Sanka Coffie from Cool Runnings, these teams completely hold Michigan’s fate in their hands. These are the teams that Michigan absolutely needs victories from on Saturday in order to keep the Wolverines’ CFP hopes alive. If even one of these teams falls, Michigan’s CFP dreams die.

No. 14 Michigan (away) against Indiana (3:30pm, ABC): The only absolutely essential game for Michigan this weekend is its own contest in Bloomington. Thanks to a pair of early losses, the Wolverines don’t have any room for error. As soon as they drop a third game, it’s all over.

Result: Michigan 48 – Indiana 41 (2OT)

“It could happen!”

In honor of JP from Angels in the Outfield, this is the “It could happen” group. These are the teams Michigan is rooting for that have a legitimate chance to win on Saturday. Wins by these teams either help the Wolverines move up in the rankings or improve their resume (in order of kickoff time).

South Carolina (home) against No. 11 Florida (12pm, ESPN): Florida will win the SEC East and play in the conference championship game, so there’s another loss in the future. But after a 9-7 win over Vanderbilt last week, a loss to 3-6 South Carolina would drop Florida well below Michigan.

Result: Florida 24 – South Carolina 14

No. 3 Ohio State (away) against Illinois (12pm, ABC): This one might be tough to understand, but Michigan actually needs the Buckeyes to be undefeated when they come to Ann Arbor. A win against a top two team in the country would prompt a big jump for the Wolverines.

Result: Ohio State 28 – Illinois 3

No. 13 Michigan State (home) against Maryland (12pm, ESPN2): Even more surprising than rooting for Ohio State? Michigan needs MSU to bounce back against Maryland. The Wolverines already need the Spartans to lose next weekend in Columbus to have a shot to win the Big Ten, so this week’s game is very important. If Michigan State loses to Maryland and makes it three straight against in Columbus, it’ll drop out of the top 25. That would make Michigan’s loss in October much less forgivable.

Result: Michigan State 24 – Maryland 7

No. 18 Northwestern (home) against Purdue (12pm, BTN): Northwestern is Michigan’s best win of the season. As long as Pat Fitzgerald’s team keeps winning, Michigan’s resume gets better and better. If the Wildcats lose to Purdue, everything they’ve worked for comes crashing down.

Result: Northwestern 21 – Purdue 14

No. 2 Alabama (away) against No. 17 Mississippi State (3:30pm, CBS): Here’s another strange one, but Michigan needs Alabama to lose for two reasons. First, the CFP committee has proven it WILL NOT penalize Alabama for losing, no matter the conditions. Nick Saban’s team lost at home to an unranked team and still sits ahead of five of the six unbeaten teams in the country. So since Alabama will stay ahead of Michigan no matter what happens, the Wolverines might as well avoid being jumped by Mississippi State in the process.

Result: Alabama 31 – Mississippi State 6

Iowa State (home) against No. 8 Oklahoma State (3:30pm, ESPN): Oklahoma State burst onto the scene when it stomped TCU by 20 last weekend. Now, with both Oklahoma and Baylor coming to town over the next two weeks, Michigan needs a team like Iowa State to do the dirty work and knock off the undefeated Cowboys. With no conference championship game, Big 12 teams will have a hard time bouncing back from losses like that.

Result: Oklahoma State 35 – Iowa State 31

No. 12 Oklahoma (away) against No. 6 Baylor (8pm, ABC): Since the Bears lost their starting quarterback to a neck injury, the entire country has been waiting for them to slip up. Once they do, their fall in the polls will be a long one. Without a quality victory to its name, Baylor would fall out of contention with a home loss to Oklahoma. As far as the Sooners, they’ve still got games against TCU and Oklahoma State on the horizon. Michigan can hope for a slip up in one of those contests.

Result: Oklahoma 44 – Baylor 34

No. 5 Iowa (home) against Minnesota (8pm, BTN): If you actually think Michigan has a chance to slip into the top four, you need Iowa to keep winning and head into the Big Ten Championship Game with a 12-0 record. That would mean another opportunity for a top five win.

Iowa 40 – Minnesota 35

“It’s just not believable, Cotton”

In honor of Pepper Brooks, from Dodgeball, these are the true underdog stories. These teams have almost no chance to win, but if they do, it would really help Michigan.

N.C. State (away) against No. 16 Florida State (12:30pm, ESPN3): Another incredible oversight by the CFP committee: Florida State lost a game last weekend and didn’t drop a single spot. Yes, it was to the No. 1 team in the country on the road, but a loss is a loss. If N.C. State pulls an unlikely upset, FSU becomes an afterthought.

Result: Florida State 34 – N.C. State 17

Wake Forest (away) against No. 4 Notre Dame (3:30pm, NBC): Wake Forest is really, really bad. As Notre Dame’s second loss, this would likely drop the Irish out of the top 15.

Result: Notre Dame 28 – Wake Forest 7

Arkansas (away) against No. 9 LSU (7:15pm, ESPN): LSU got pounded against Alabama last week and now faces a streaking Arkansas team. Another loss would devastate Leonard Fournette and Company.

Result: Arkansas 31 – LSU 14

Arizona (home) against No. 10 Utah (10pm, FS1): “How can you ask me to root for Rich Rod’s team!?” Because Arizona is irrelevant on the national scale and Utah is ranked ahead of Michigan. Yes, a Utes loss would diminish Michigan’s opening-week game, but Utah could still win the Pac-12 South and finish in the top 15 with two losses. As long as the Utes stay in the top 25, it’s more important for Michigan to jump them in the poll.

Result: Arizona 37 – Utah 30

Oregon (away) against No. 7 Stanford (7:30pm, FOX): Oregon is starting to play a bit better, but this game is still a long shot. If Stanford losses its second game of the season, Michigan will definitely jump ahead of the Cardinal because of a win against their only common opponent: Northwestern.

Result: Oregon 38 – Stanford 36

Blown out: #3 Arizona 80 – Michigan 53

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

UM vs Arizona(Rick Scuteri, AP)

Following back-to-back home losses to NJIT and Eastern Michigan, a reeling Michigan squad had the unenviable task of traveling to Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday to face the third-ranked Arizona Wildcats. And unlike the close game Michigan played against Villanova in the Legends Classic three weeks prior, the Wolverines were wiped off the floor by Arizona, 80-53.

Arizona scored the first two points of the game, but Michigan answered with a Zak Irvin three-pointer. Arizona big man Kaleb Tarczewski responded with a jumper and Michigan never led again. The Wolverines were able to hang around in the early going thanks to a three by Kameron Chatman to tie the game at six, but after a Chatman free throw and Derrick Walton jumper, Michigan went on a three-and-a-half minute scoring drought. It allowed Arizona to jump out to a 20-9 lead before Walton scored again.

Four Factors
Michigan Arizona
37.3 eFG% 46.4
16.7 OReb% 41.0
21.2 TO% 25.7
29.4 FTR 33.9

A Caris LeVert three got Michigan within six, but that was as close as Michigan would get the rest of the way. Arizona took a 36-25 lead into the half.

The Wildcats put to rest any hope of a second half comeback, scoring the first 12 points of the half to break the game open. Irvin scored Michigan’s first basket of the half over five minutes in, but Arizona answered right back with a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson three. The Wildcats continued to widen the lead, getting as high as 36 points with four minutes to play, and finishing with a 27-point win.

Irvin was Michigan’s only player in double figures with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He made 2-of-6 three-point attempts. LeVert, Chatman, and Ricky Doyle each scored eight, while Walton contributed seven. Chatman led the team with four rebounds, while Walton led with five assists.

As a team, Michigan shot just 35.2 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from downtown. Arizona shot 58.2 percent and 35.3 percent from three-point range. Arizona out-rebounded Michigan 40-26. The Wildcats were led by Stanley Johnson’s 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and had four others in double figures. Tarczewski and Gabe York each scored 15, while Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley chipped in 10 apiece.

Michigan fell to 6-4 on the season and has a week off before it hosts SMU (6-3) next Saturday. The Wolverines will close out the non-conference portion of the schedule with Coppin State the following Monday before beginning Big Ten play on Dec. 30. Michigan faces an uphill climb to make the NCAA Tournament and will certainly need to win the next two to have any chance.

Final Game Stats
03 Kameron Chatman* 3-8 1-4 1-2 0 4 4 4 8 2 2 0 3 19
34 Mark Donnal* 2-2 1-1 0-0 1 0 1 2 5 0 0 0 0 10
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 2-7 0-2 3-7 0 3 3 0 7 5 0 0 1 34
21 Zak Irvin* 6-13 2-6 0-0 2 0 2 2 14 0 1 0 0 24
23 Caris LeVert* 2-9 2-5 2-2 0 3 3 2 8 2 5 0 1 35
02 Spike Albrecht 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 1 3 3 0 0 1 26
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
24 Aubrey Dawkins 0-3 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 12
32 Ricky Doyle 3-5 0-0 2-2 1 2 3 3 8 0 1 0 0 23
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-4 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 11
Totals 19-54 7-26 8-13 6 20 26 18 53 12 12 1 7 200
Arizona 32-55 6-17 10-20 9 31 40 15 80 19 11 3 5 200
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview & Sam’s 3 thoughts: #3 Arizona

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Michigan (6-3) at #3 Arizona (8-0)
Saturday, Dec. 13 | Tucson, Ariz. | 5:15 p.m. EST | ESPN
74.2 Points/gm 76.0
(206-453) 45.5 Field Goal % 49.8 (235-472)
(75-176) 42.6 3-pt FG % 36.8 (50-136)
(107-139) 77.0 Free Throw % 67.5 (164-243)
13.4 FT Made/gm 18.2
32.8 Reb/gm 35.6
13.9 Assists/gm 14.8
8.8 Turnovers/gm 11.6
63.9 Points/gm 60.1
(189-419) 45.1 Field Goal % 39.6 (183-462)
(61-154) 39.6 3-pt FG % 34.5 (48-139)
30.5 Opp. Reb/gm 29.1
6.0 Steals/gm 8.9
2.3 Blocks/gm 3.9
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (18.6), Zak Irvin (16.1) Points/gm Stanley Johnson (13.8), Hollis-Jefferson (12.7)
Caris LeVert (5.6), Derrick Walton Jr (4.7) Reb/gm Hollis-Jefferson (6.7), Stanley Johnson (6.4)


A college basketball season is often likened to a roller coaster ride. There’s plenty of ups, plenty of downs, lots of twisting and turning, and sometimes sick stomachs. If Michigan’s season is anything like Millennium Force, the Wolverines are nearly touching the sidewalk. Just one week ago, Michigan welcomed the New Jersey Institute of Technology to Ann Arbor, only to be stunned by the team matching up with a top-25 squad for the first time ever. A few days later, the Wolverines looked to bounce back against Washtenaw county co-habitants Eastern Michigan, but again left the home crowd in a state of shock after what can only be described as a rancid offensive performance.

Today, the going gets a lot tougher, as the Maize and Blue face their first true road test against the third-ranked Arizona Wildcats (5:15pm, ESPN). Michigan is already at the bottom of the hill, but a third straight loss could see the cart begin to rattle off the rails. A win, of course, would do wonders for the young squad trying to figure it all out. Here are my three thoughts on today’s battle.

1. Battle at the 4: If Michigan is to have any hope today against Arizona’s stacked roster, they are going to need something out of the four spot. For my money, the Wildcats’ 6’7″, 220-pound Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is one of the most fearsome college players in the country, and though he doesn’t even start for Sean Miller, he is an absolute wrecking ball, averaging 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game. The sophomore can jump out of the gym, drive to the rim with no concern for safety, and crash the glass with an intensity rarely seen on the basketball court. To make matters worse, the four has been Michigan’s biggest cause for concern in what has been a shaky start to the year.

True freshman Kameron Chatman, who most thought was destined to play at Arizona before he surprisingly committed to Michigan last fall, is a talented player, but has a long way to go before fully grasping John Beilein’s offensive and defensive concepts. Chatman has been beat far too often on off-ball defense, has looked lost at times offensively, and appears to be struggling with his confidence. In Tuesday’s loss to EMU, Chatman made a nice move to drive baseline and would have had an easy layup or dunk with one more dribble, but instead decided to skip pass over to Spike Albrecht behind the three-point line, resulting in yet another empty possession for the Wolverines. When Chatman has been off, Albrecht has come in to give Michigan a smaller but more veteran two-point lineup.

Today, I’m not sure how feasible that will be with Arizona’s size. In addition to Hollis-Jefferson, the Wildcats also run out 6’7″, 245-pound super freshman Stanley Johnson, 6’9″, 230-pound Michigan wrecker Brandon Ashley, and 7’0″, 245-pound behemoth Kaleb Tarczewski. A Michigan lineup featuring both Albrecht and Walton, who are each dealing with injuries, could see one of them giving up six inches and 50 pounds if Miller takes advantage with substitutions of his own. Today, Chatman needs to grow up a little bit and focus on defense, box out, and play with confidence.

2. Mix it Up: This piece of advice goes for both ends of the court today for the visiting Wolverines. Against Eastern Michigan, Michigan was baffled offensively against the 2-3 zone for almost the entire 40 minutes, and only managed 42 points on 43 shots. Of those 43 shots, only a handful were good looks around the basket, and nearly half of them came from long range, where Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin combined to make all four of Michigan’s triples. I can guarantee that if Michigan only makes 19 percent of their threes again today, it is going to be an ugly loss. Arizona will not play much zone, but Michigan still needs to vary their offense and look for a variety of shots. Whether that means working the back door, focusing more on the pick-and-roll, or even trying to mix in some pick-and-pop with Mark Donnal, the Wolverines need to keep the Wildcats honest to open up the looks both inside and outside. Look for Beilein to draw up a couple plays from the get-go to try to get some open looks from downtown for LeVert, Irvin, and Walton. If they knock them down, the confidence should rise and Michigan will have a fighter’s chance.

Defensively, the Wolverines could also stand to throw some different looks at Arizona. NJIT’s offense ripped through Michigan’s porous defense to the tune of 72 points on 64.7 percent shooting from deep and 55.2 percent from inside the arc. Arizona’s size and strength down low has the potential to destroy Michigan’s inexperienced centers and wings defensively, and if the Wolverines play uninspired man defense again, they will wish they had never gotten on the plane to Arizona in the first place. In last year’s thrilling home loss to Arizona, Michigan was torn apart by Ashley, Tarczewski, and future NBA Lottery pick Aaron Gordon down low, allowing them to combine for 46 points on 57 percent shooting inside the three-point line and 20 rebounds. Today, look for Michigan to double down on all of Arizona’s big men while also mixing in some 1-3-1 on occasion to give the Wildcats a little to think about.

3. Dominate the Easy Points: Points are hard to come by, especially when facing a team like Arizona that has the size, athleticism, and savvy to shut down anyone. Beilein’s Michigan teams, on the other end, have been the best scoring team in the country for two years running, but it looks like early attrition to the NBA has finally started to show for the Maize and Blue. Michigan has gone through some long scoring droughts against Villanova, NJIT, and Eastern Michigan already this year, and a few minutes with doughnuts on the scoreboard against Arizona will spell doom. The Wolverines really need to put their heart and soul into each possession on both sides of the floor, but will especially have to take advantage of every “easy points” situation. For me, easy points include free throws and fast breaks. The Wolverines need to make their free throws and win the battle at the charity stripe, and can absolutely not afford to leave points on the table when presented with an odd-man fast break situation off turnovers.

Prediction: As evidenced by these three keys, Michigan will need to do a lot right and hope Arizona does a lot wrong to come out with a head-turning win. The Wolverines need to hit shots, play with intensity on defense, and act like they are competitors on the big stage. Unfortunately, I think Arizona’s size down low and experience at the guard spots will be too much to handle for the visitors, but it will be closer than many expect. I like the Wildcats today, 68-63.

Michigan earns highest ranking since Feb. 3

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Michigan vs Minnesota 3-1-14(

Michigan’s win over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon combined with Michigan State’s loss to Illinois clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the Wolverines for the second time in three years. With two games remaining — at Illinois on Tuesday and home against a surging Indiana squad on Saturday — Michigan needs just one win to secure its first outright Big Ten title since 1986.

Saturday also saw losses by the number four, five, seven, nine, 10, 11, 15, 17, and 24 teams in the nation (in addition to the 18th-ranked Spartans). On Sunday, No. 22 Ohio State became the 11th top 25 team to fall over the weekend. March madness has truly arrived, which makes for plenty of movement in this week’s polls.

Michigan moved up four spots to 12th in both polls, the highest the Wolverines have been since the first week in February when they stood 10th. Wisconsin is still the highest ranked Big Ten team despite needing two wins and two Michigan losses this week to earn a share of the conference title. The Badgers are ninth in the AP Poll and 11th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Michigan State dropped to 22nd in both, while Iowa remained just inside at 24th and 25th, respectively. Ohio State fell out of both after losing both games last week.

As far as Michigan’s non-conference opponents, Arizona remained third in both polls, while Duke moved up to fourth in both. Iowa State continues to hover in the middle, this week at 16th and 17th.

Nebraska’s loss to Illinois last week dropped the Cornhuskers out of the RPI and Kenpom top 50, which takes away two of Michigan’s victories over top 50 teams. The Wolverines now have seven instead of nine. If the ‘Huskers can top Indiana and Wisconsin this week they’ll likely move back in for the final revision of the regular season.

As far as individuals are concerned, Nik Stauskas’ was edged out for Big Ten Player of the Week by Indiana’s Will Sheehey despite another big week with 15 points against Purdue and 21 against Minnesota. The senior Hoosier forward, who averaged just around 10 points per game, scored 30 points against Iowa and 19 against Ohio State. Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors with 13 points against Nebraska and eight against Michigan State. This is notable because Michigan plays both of these players this week, Nunn on Tuesday and Sheehey on Saturday.

The full national rankings are below.

AP Poll Coaches Poll
Rank Team Rank Team
1 Florida (27-2) 1 Florida (27-2)
2 Wichita State (31-0) 2 Wichita State (31-0)
3 Arizona (27-2) 3 Arizona (27-2)
4 Duke (23-6) 4 Duke (23-6)
5 Virginia (25-5) 5 Virginia (25-5)
6 Villanova (26-3) 6 Villanova (26-3)
7 Syracuse (26-3) 7 Syracuse (26-3)
8 Kansas (22-7) 8 Kansas (22-7)
9 Wisconsin (24-5) 9 Louisville (24-5)
10 San Diego State (25-3) 10 San Diego State (25-3)
11 Louisville (24-5) 11 Wisconsin (24-5)
12 Michigan (21-7) 12 Michigan (21-7)
13 Creighton (23-5) 13 Creighton (23-5)
14 North Carolina (22-7) 14 North Carolina (22-7)
15 Cincinnati (24-5) 15 Cincinnati (24-5)
16 Iowa State (22-6) 16 Saint Louis (25-4)
17 Saint Louis (25-4) 17 Iowa State (22-6)
18 Southern Methodist (23-6) 18 Southern Methodist (23-6)
19 UConn (23-6) 19 UConn (23-6)
20 Memphis (22-7) 20 Memphis (22-7)
21 New Mexico (22-5) 21 New Mexico (22-5)
22 Michigan State (22-7) 22 Michigan State (22-7)
23 Oklahoma (21-8) 23 Oklahoma (21-8)
24 Iowa (20-9) 24 Kentucky (21-8)
25 Kentucky (21-8) 25 Iowa (20-9)

Michigan holds steady in national rankings

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Michigan vs Purdue(

Michigan split its games last week, topping Purdue 75-66 on Thursday night and falling at Indiana 63-52 on Sunday afternoon. While Indiana is struggling this season, a win at Assembly Hall never a given and that was reflected in Michigan’s standing in this week’s national rankings.

In the AP Poll, Michigan stayed at 10th, one spot behind Michigan State which lost a non-conference game to Georgetown on Saturday. In the USA Today Coaches Poll, Michigan dropped two spots to 16th, in between Saint Louis and non-conference opponent Iowa State.

Only two other Big Ten foes are still ranked in both polls. MSU is ninth and eighth, while Iowa 17th and 13th. Both Wisconsin and Ohio State dropped out of the AP Poll but are still holding on in the Coaches at 24th and 25th, respectively.

As far as non-conference opponents, Arizona suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday and dropped to second in the AP and third in the Coaches. Duke stands at 11th in both polls after an overtime loss to new No.1 Syracuse. Iowa State ranks 16th and 17th.

Michigan has a chance to get back in the win column on Wednesday when it hosts Nebraska, but the big game will be Saturday at Iowa in a game that will either knock the Hawkeyes out of the Big Ten title race or make Michigan State the frontrunner.

The full national rankings are below.

AP Poll Coaches Poll
Rank Team Rank Team
1 Syracuse (21-0) 1 Syracuse (21-0)
2 Arizona (21-1) 2 Wichita State (23-0)
3 Florida (19-2) 3 Arizona (21-1)
4 Wichita State (23-0) 4 Florida (19-2)
5 San Diego State (19-1) 5 San Diego State (19-1)
6 Villanova (19-2) 6 Villanova (19-2)
7 Cincinnati (21-2) 7 Cincinnati (21-2)
8 Kansas (16-5) 8 Michigan State (19-3)
9 Michigan State (19-3) 9 Kansas (16-5)
10 Michigan (16-5) 10 Louisville (18-4)
11 Duke (17-5) 11 Duke (17-5)
12 Creighton (18-3) 12 Creighton (18-3)
13 Saint Louis (20-2) 13 Iowa (17-5)
14 Louisville (18-4) 14 Kentucky (16-5)
15 Texas (17-4) 15 Saint Louis (20-2)
16 Iowa State (16-4) 16 Michigan (16-5)
17 Iowa (17-5) 17 Iowa State (16-4)
18 Kentucky (16-5) 18 Texas (17-4)
19 Oklahoma State (16-5) 19 Oklahoma State (16-5)
20 Virginia (17-5) 20 Gonzaga (20-3)
21 Oklahoma (17-5) 21 Virginia (17-5)
22 Connecticut (17-4) 22 Pittsburgh (18-4)
23 Gonzaga (20-3) 23 Oklahoma (17-5)
24 Memphis (16-5) 24 Wisconsin (17-5)
25 Pittsburgh (18-4) 25 Ohio State (17-5)

Michigan ascends back into AP Top 10

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Michigan dance team vs Iowa(

A week after re-entering the national rankings for the first time since the beginning of December, Michigan has ascended back into the top ten. An eight day span that included wins against three top ten teams – perhaps the best eight day span in program history – has put Michigan in control of the Big Ten title race and back in the national picture.

The Wolverines moved up 11 spots in each poll, from 21st to 10th in this week’s AP Poll and from 25th to 14th in the Coaches Poll. The team that Michigan beat on Saturday, Michigan State (18-2, 7-1), dropped from third in both polls to seventh in the AP and sixth in the Coaches. Iowa (16-4, 5-2) dropped to 15th and 12th, while Wisconsin (17-3, 4-3) fell out of the top ten to 14th and 13th. Ohio State (16-4, 3-4) had the Big Ten’s biggest free fall of the week, dropping to the bottom of the rankings at 24th and 23rd, respectively.

As far as Michigan’s non-conference opponents, Arizona (20-0) remains No.1 in both polls; Iowa State (15-3) stands at 16th and 18th; and Duke (16-4) is 17th and 16th.

In addition to shooting up the rankings, Michigan hauled in several weekly awards. Nik Stauskas was named Big Ten Player of the Week and also’s Player of the Week after averaging 22.5 points 3.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and one steal per game. The Canadian sharpshooter shot 57.7 percent overall, 60 percent from three-point range (9-of-15), and made 6-of-7 free throws last week.

Freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr. was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after a 19-point, six-rebound, four-assist performance against Michigan State. He made 4-of-8 shots from the field, 2-of-2 three-pointers, and 9-of-10 free throws to help Michigan seal its fifth win in the past seven against its instate rival.

Michigan returns to action this Thursday at home against Purdue (13-7, 3-4) at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

The full national rankings are below.

AP Poll Coaches Poll
Rank Team Rank Team
1 Arizona (20-0) 1 Arizona (20-0)
2 Syracuse (19-0) 2 Syracuse (19-0)
3 Florida (17-2) 3 Wichita State (21-0)
4 Wichita State (21-0) 4 Florida (17-2)
5 San Diego State (18-1) 5 San Diego State (18-1)
6 Kansas (15-4) 6 Michigan State (18-2)
7 Michigan State (18-2) 7 Louisville (17-3)
8 Oklahoma State (16-3) 8 Kansas (15-4)
9 Villanova (17-3) 9 Villanova (17-2)
10 Michigan (15-4) 10 Oklahoma State (16-3)
11 Kentucky (15-4) 11 Kentucky (15-4)
12 Louisville (17-3) 12 Iowa (16-4)
13 Cincinnati (19-2) 13 Wisconsin (17-3)
14 Wisconsin (17-3) 14 Michigan (15-4)
15 Iowa (16-4) 15 Cincinnati (19-2)
16 Iowa State (15-3) 16 Duke (16-4)
17 Duke (16-4) 17 Pittsburgh (18-2)
18 Pittsburgh (18-2) 18 Iowa State (15-3)
19 Saint Louis (18-2) 19 Massachusetts (17-2)
20 Creighton (17-3) 20 Creighton (17-3)
21 Massachusetts (17-2) 21 Saint Louis (18-2)
22 Memphis (15-4) 22 Memphis (15-4)
23 Oklahoma (16-4) 23 Ohio State (16-4)
24 Ohio State (16-4) 24 Gonzaga (18-3)
25 Texas (16-4) 25 Oklahoma (16-4)

Inside the Numbers: When records and polls lie

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

Note: “Inside the Numbers” has returned. With only the bowl game remaining for Michigan football, this column will turn most of its attention to the Michigan men’s basketball team for the remainder of the athletic year. This is the first such installment. Enjoy!

Panic. Michigan is 6-4. This became Michigan’s record when Nik Stauskas’ three-quarters-court heave ricocheted harmlessly off the backboard as the buzzer echoed throughout the Crisler Center last Saturday. It signaled that Michigan had fallen to the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats by two points at home. The loss snapped the Wolverines’ home non-conference winning streak at 20 games.

Panic. Michigan is 6-4. The Wolverines suffered their fourth loss this season on December 14th. Last season, U-M did not lose its fourth game until February 12th, when U-M’s rival from East Lansing beat it by 23 points, handing the Maize and Blue its only double-digit loss of the season. That was 60 days later in the season than when this year’s squad earned its fourth loss.

Panic. Michigan is 6-4. Last season, Michigan was one of three teams that never fell out of the Top 10 in the Associated Press Poll, with the other two being Indiana and Duke. This year, the AP ranked U-M at #7 in the preseason. Now, just seven weeks later, the Wolverines received only three measly votes in the AP Poll.

Panic. Michigan is 6-4. This is the third time in John Beilein’s seven years at Michigan that the Wolverines have been defeated at least four times before New Year’s Day. The first two times it happened were in 2007-08 and 2009-10. Those are the only two U-M teams under Beilein that did not appear in the NCAA Tournament. Further, both of those teams finished with sub-.500 records.

Panic. Michigan is 6-4. Since 2003, only one team that appeared in the national championship game has opened the following season with a worse record. That distinction belongs to the 2011-12 Butler Bulldogs, a team that started its season 4-6 before accepting an invitation to play its post-season basketball in the College Basketball Invitational—two tiers below the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan is KenPom's eighth unluckiest team in the nation (

Panic. Michigan is 6-4. Except Michigan’s record is a lie because U-M currently is playing as a Top 25-caliber and Big Ten-championship-contending squad.

Each year, a debate ensues about the validity of advanced statistics in basketball. Basketball traditionalists do not invest much faith in them, relying on team records, polls, and RPI to evaluate a basketball team. Others rely on advanced statistics, which look past wins and losses and, instead, evaluate a basketball team by how it performs on a per-possession basis. A per-possession evaluation accounts for variables in basketball, such as margin of victory, strength of schedule, and tempo, that a win-loss record cannot embody.

Ken Pomeroy is one of the biggest proponents of advanced statistics in college basketball. Pomeroy owns and operates a website,, which provides and analyzes these statistics. To analyze them, he created an algorithm that evaluates all 351 NCAA D-1 basketball teams on a per-possession basis and then ranks them accordingly. Pomeroy’s algorithm is complex, but there is a simple way to describe how it works. First, the algorithm calculates how much a team would outscore an average NCAA D-1 team in 100 possessions. Second, the algorithm ranks each team based on that margin of victory or defeat in descending order. Therefore, for example, if Team A would outscore an average NCAA D-1 team by 25 points in a 100-possession game, then the algorithm would rank it higher than Team B if Team B would outscore an average NCAA D-1 team by only 10 points in a 100-possession game.

As warned earlier, this is a very basic explanation about how advanced statistics work in basketball. Advanced statistics have much more depth to them. Basketball fans should learn how advanced statistics work if they have not already because these statistics will broaden their knowledge of the game. But the above explanation will provide a sufficient foundation to help Michigan fans understand why they need not panic about the Wolverines’ 6-4 record.

As of yesterday, despite Michigan’s 6-4 record, Pomeroy’s algorithm ranked the Wolverines #23 in the nation. Even though U-M has suffered four losses before New Year’s Day, the algorithm projected that only 22 other schools would outscore an average NCAA D-1 team in a 100-possession game by more than the margin Michigan would. Not only does Pomeroy’s algorithm view Michigan as a Top 25-caliber team, it believes that this year’s squad is better than the one that won Michigan’s first Big Ten regular-season championship since 1986 in 2011-12.

Then why does Michigan have a 6-4 record? Because the Wolverines have experienced more bad luck to open the season than almost every other team in the country.

One must remember that Pomeroy’s algorithm evaluates a team on a per-possession basis, not by its record. Accordingly, if Team A would beat an average NCAA D-1 team by only one point in a 100-possession game, and Team B would lose to an average NCAA D-1 team by only one point in a 100-possession game, the algorithm would view Team A and Team B as being nearly equal because there would be only a two-point difference between Team A and Team B.

Yet, if Team A played an average NCAA D-1 team in a 100-possession game 10 times and won each time by one point, and Team B played an average NCAA D-1 team in a 100-possession game 10 times and lost each time by one point, Team A would be 10-0 and Team B would be 0-10 despite being essentially equal teams. Pomeroy quantifies this effect as “Luck.” To explain “Luck” to his readers, Pomeroy wrote, “Essentially, a team involved in a lot of close games should not win (or lose) all of them. Those that do will be viewed as lucky (or unlucky).”

So why is Michigan 6-4, rather than 9-1 or 8-2? Because Michigan has won most of its games in convincing fashion and lost all of its games in the final few possessions. Accordingly, as of yesterday, Pomeroy’s algorithm ranked the Wolverines 344th out of 351 NCAA D-1 teams in his “Luck” category. His algorithm believes that Michigan is the eighth unluckiest team in the country.

This is why Michigan’s record is so poor through its first 10 games, not because U-M is that much worse than the squad that played for a national championship last season. For example, if the Wolverines prevent Charlotte’s Terrence Williams from tipping in his own air ball with 0.4 seconds left in the game to beat U-M, 63-61, they likely beat the 49ers in OT.

The best example is Michigan’s loss to Arizona on Saturday. First, if Caris LeVert or Mitch McGary corral the rebound from T.J. McConnell’s missed jumper with less than a minute left, U-M maintains its one-point lead and likely wins. Second, after McConnell rebounded his own miss, if the officials do not whistle McGary for a ticky-tacky blocking foul that sent Nick Johnson to the free-throw line and allowed the Wildcats to take the lead, U-M likely wins. Finally, if Stauskas’ jumper falls rather than rattling in and out with 18 seconds left, U-M regains the lead and is one stop away from a win.

Despite the disappointing start, Michigan is still considered a top team (

Flip those two games, and Michigan is 8-2 with a home win against #1 Arizona and two road losses to Iowa State and Duke—both of which are ranked and have a combined 16-2 record. Not only would Michigan fans not be panicking, they would be contemplating a Big Ten regular-season championship, especially because U-M likely still would be ranked in the Top 15 of the AP Poll.

It is amazing how one or two plays can affect the perception of a team. And this is why records and polls lie. Flip the Charlotte and Arizona games, give Michigan an 8-2 record and a Top 15 ranking, and this still would be the same Michigan basketball team. The Wolverines would be only slightly better than they are now, if at all, if they had won those two games. Pomeroy’s algorithm recognizes this, even if Michigan’s record and the polls do not.

However, the Maize and Blue still need to have a sense of urgency because, unfortunately, the NCAA Tournament selection committee does not use Pomeroy’s algorithm or rankings as part of its criteria. Instead, it looks at the two criteria that most hurt Michigan’s resume right now: win-loss record and RPI. Therefore, Michigan cannot wait any longer to prove to basketball traditionalists that it is a Top 25-caliber team.

The Wolverines’ current level of play suggests that the wins should start to come if it maintains that level, but U-M cannot afford to lose many more close games. U-M needs those wins, especially against high-caliber opponents. If the Wolverines start to earn those wins, the NCAA Tournament selection committee will believe that the Wolverines are deserving of a high seed. Otherwise, U-M will receive a low at-large seed, hindering its odds to make another run in the NCAA Tournament, or risk not making the tournament at all.

Thus, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is that Michigan beat Stanford at the Barclays Center this Saturday. First, Michigan will be a slight favorite over the Cardinal. A win against the school from Palo Alto would be U-M’s second quality win of the season thus far, with Florida State being the first. Second, the NCAA Tournament selection committee generally will offer an at-large bid to a Big Ten school that finishes the regular season with 20 wins and a .500 conference record. If Michigan loses to Stanford, it likely will have a 7-5 non-conference record, needing a 13-5 record in the nation’s best conference to hit the 20-win mark. This is not a situation in which the Wolverines want to find themselves.

Nevertheless, this year’s Michigan hoops team has still been very, very good. If it sustains this level of play, in time, it will reappear in the AP Top 25 and be a strong contender for a Big Ten championship. Although Michigan is by no means flawless and still has weaknesses it needs to remedy, the team will be just as good as many of you expected it to be prior to the season.

Panic. Michigan fans need not do it. At least not yet.

Three Notes You Should Know Before Michigan-Stanford

  1. • Michigan has had a 20-point scorer in nine straight games—the longest such streak at Michigan during John Beilein’s tenure. Nik Stauskas has been the most vital player to this streak, scoring at least 20 points in six times during this span. The other players who have helped maintain it are Caris LeVert, who has topped 20 points three times, Zak Irvin, and Glenn Robinson III.
  1. • The Wolverines are shooting 39.2 percent on three-pointers this season. This is a higher percentage than any prior Michigan team under Beilein could muster. Look for U-M to take advantage of this against Stanford, which is ranked #241 in three-point defense and allows opponents to make 36.1 percent of their three-pointers.
  1. • New York City treated Michigan very well last season. The Wolverines played three games there—two at Madison Square Garden and one at the Barclays Center—and beat three major-conference opponents—Pittsburgh, Kansas State, and West Virginia—by an average margin of 11.1 points. The Maize and Blue will travel back this Saturday to play the Stanford Cardinal at the Barclays Center.

You can follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewCHallett

Slipped away: Arizona 72 – Michigan 70

Saturday, December 14th, 2013


For the longest time this afternoon, it seemed that Michigan would finally shake some early-season doldrums to get a much-needed win. Glenn Robinson III came out to play, scoring 16 first-half points in what was easily his best extended stretch of play in his young career. Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert picked up the pace in the second half, combining for 19 of their 29 total points after the break. Even Spike Albrecht got it going with 10 total points.

In basketball, however, a big win usually takes a strong performance from the opening tip to the final buzzer, and the Wolverines simply couldn’t hold the number one team in the country at bay down the stretch, falling 72-70 to the Arizona Wildcats.

Arizona’s big advantage over Michigan, and against just about every other team in the country this season, is their size and athleticism inside. Earlier this year, Florida State caused all sorts of trouble for Michigan with their big men before Stauskas took over and led the Maize and Blue to victory, but the Seminoles’ big men are certainly not as talented overall as these Wildcats.

Throughout the first half, Michigan was able to simply out-shoot Arizona and played very solid defense. Still, the Wildcats rebounded nearly 43 percent of their own misses but could not convert those second and third chances into buckets. Michigan, on the other hand, rebounded only 33 percent of their misses but managed to score seven points off those opportunities to Arizona’s two.

Glenn Robinson III had his best game of the season in the losing effort (

Then came the second half, and the tides turned. The Wildcats continued to use their front line of Brandon Ashley, Aaron Gordon, and Kaleb Tarczewski to crash the boards, finishing with an overall offensive rebounding rate just under 50 percent, and scored six second-chance points in the latter half to help bolster their efforts while Michigan rebounded fewer than a quarter of their missed shots in the second half and only got two points on those boards.

Jon Horford was well aware of Arizona’s prowess on the glass, saying afterward, “I almost imagined their coach telling them, ‘just go throw it up at the rim, we’re going to get the offensive rebound anyway.'”

Unfortunately, that seemed to be the case all day long.

Sean Miller’s team simply put on a post-play clinic in the second half, resulting in a shot chart that is simply a blob of circles around the numbers 11, 21, and 35 within three feet of the basket. Michigan played valiantly on defense at times in the first half, but when the Wildcats really focused on getting the ball inside late in the game, the Wolverines had no answers, as Gordon, Ashley, and Tarczewski combined to score 20 points in the paint after the break.

Offensively, John Beilein’s squad was very good but struggled late, only mustering three buckets in the last eight minutes of play. Glenn Robinson III, who looked like the lottery pick many have projected him to be in the first half, was perfect before halftime with 16 points on seven shots, but went silent in the last 20 minutes, scoring only four more points on just two shots. His aggressiveness early gave Michigan a small lead and a step-back three to end the first half sent the Wolverines into the locker room up by nine, but Robinson was stifled by Gordon for the better part of the second half.

Now with four tough losses in the books before conference season has begun, Michigan needs to pull together and start closing out some of these close games. It’s becoming more and more apparent every game that Trey Burke’s late game presence has been missed immensely, and today, Derrick Walton, Jr. sat on the bench for 26 minutes and watched Spike Albrecht get the playing time in the crunch.

Despite those blemishes, though, Michigan still seems to be hopeful and will look to improve off today’s loss.

Jon Horford, who played 17 productive minutes with four blocks and four rebounds, was particularly upbeat.

“It’s just something that’s going to help us grow. Mentally, I feel like we’re becoming more and more connected. As a team, I feel like everybody is more on the same page. Everybody has a more positive attitude…I feel like by the time Big Ten (season) gets here, we’re gonna be rolling.”

Nik Stauskas was also about as positive as can be after such a tough defeat.

“I don’t think anyone on this team is worried. If you look at our losses right now, Duke we were there down the stretch, today we were right there, Iowa State we were right there, Charlotte we were right there. It’s just a matter of closing out games right now, something we haven’t done, but as far as being worried about it, I don’t think anyone is.”

With another big game next week Saturday in Brooklyn against Stanford, Michigan needs to keep a positive attitude and close out victories. It’s not time yet to fret about potential postseason destinations, and with each of the 20 remaining regular season games, the Wolverines have plenty of opportunities to strengthen their resume.

The time is now, however, to take advantage of those opportunities.

Three Stars:

***Brandon Ashley*** – 18 points (8-of-16 FG, 0-of-1 3pt., 2-of-2 FT), six rebounds, one assist, one block, zero turnovers in 34 minutes
**Glenn Robinson III** – 20 points (8-of-9 FG, 2-of-2 3pt., 2-of-3 FT), four rebounds, two turnovers in 37 minutes
*Nick Johnson* – 14 points (3-of-9 FG, 2-of-4 3pt., 6-of-6 FT), five rebounds, four assists, one steal, one turnover in 36 minutes

Quick Hitters:

• Both teams were excellent from the free throw line all game long, as Michigan made 14 of their 17 attempts and Arizona made 14 of 15. Gabe York missed the Wildcats’ only freebie with one second left, and though it looked intentional, Sean Miller said after the game that he did not instruct York to miss. Nick Johnson was phenomenal from the stripe down the stretch, making all six of his attempts with fewer than 30 seconds to go while Mitch McGary made all four of his big free throws as well late in the second half. Michigan was also in the bonus much earlier than Arizona after halftime but didn’t take advantage with aggressive play.

• Neither team was particularly sloppy with the ball, but Michigan had a few late turnovers that really hurt their chances. Ultimately, the Wolverines coughed it up 11 times to just nine from Arizona (only three of which were in the second half), and four different Michigan players had two turnovers.

• John Beilein was very conservative with the use of his freshmen today, showing a very short leash on Derrick Walton, Jr. and only giving Zak Irvin five minutes. After the game, Beilein pointed to strong play from Spike Albrecht as the reason Walton’s minutes were limited, but during the game he didn’t seem happy with the way Walton was running the offense. In their 19 combined minutes, Walton and Irvin only combined to take two shots, both three-point misses, and neither seemed very comfortable in the big game environment. Irvin got a few minutes late on defensive substitutions but wasn’t able to stay with Nick Johnson on the inbounds plays and had to resort to fouling.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 8-9 2-2 2-3 0 4 4 1 20 0 2 0 0 37
10 Derrick Walton Jr.* 0-3 0-1 1-2 0 0 0 2 1 1 1 0 0 14
11 Nik Stauskas* 4-11 1-4 5-5 1 5 6 2 14 2 1 1 0 38
04 Mitch McGary* 2-3 0-0 4-4 3 1 4 3 8 0 2 0 0 22
23 Caris LeVert* 6-15 2-5 1-1 0 0 0 2 15 2 2 1 1 38
02 Spike Albrecht 3-4 3-4 1-2 0 3 3 1 10 4 2 0 1 24
10 Jon Horford 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 3 2 0 1 4 1 17
21 Zak Irvin 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
52 Jordan Morgan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Totals 24-48 8-17 14-17 6 18 24 17 70 9 11 6 3 200
Arizona 27-61 4-10 14-15 17 20 37 18 72 14 9 2 5 200
Full Stats

Sam’s 3 thoughts: Arizona

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Despite a somewhat disappointing start to the 2013-14 Michigan basketball campaign, the Wolverines still have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of and statements to make; after all, the conference season hasn’t even begun yet. Tomorrow, however, marks another chance for Michigan to make some noise in the college basketball world before the Big Ten comes calling and once again turn doubters into believers as the top-ranked team in the country, Arizona, comes to town. Here are my three quick thoughts on the matchup up with Sean Miller’s Wildcats.

Fight Inside: There is really nothing out of the ordinary about how the Arizona Wildcats operate. Sean Miller, one of the best combinations of recruiter and Xs and Os coaches in the country in my opinion, fields a talented and big roster that simply plays hard on both sides of the court. On offense, Arizona doesn’t settle for too many bad jumpers and will usually look to get the ball in the paint at least once per possession to one of 7’0″ sophomore Kaleb Tarczewski, 6’8″ sophomore Brandon Ashley, or 6’9″ freshman Aaron Gordon. If these three are consistently converting layups and dunks inside on Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Jon Horford, and company, Michigan might as well give up before the tip, but if the Wolverines can battle inside and deny the easy bounce pass, they should be able to make life difficult enough to stay in it.

Michigan's big men will have their hands full with Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, and Aaron Gordon down low (Christian Peterson, Getty Images)

Arizona is not a particularly good free throw shooting team (just 66 percent from the line) and is generally not a team that will kill you from outside the arc either (37.7 percent from three), so Michigan can afford to be aggressive and look for some takeaways. The matchup to watch inside will be Mitch McGary bodying up against Tarczewski, Nik Stauskas’s former teammate. Tarczewski has a couple inches on McGary, as will Ashley and Gordon on their Wolverine counterparts, but if the Maize and Blue play strong interior defense and perhaps throw a few different zone looks in from time to time, things should be looking up for the home team.

Stay Even Outside: While freshman Aaron Gordon gets the lion’s share of the hype on this Arizona team, I really think the strongest part of Sean Miller’s team is his backcourt. Junior two-guard Nick Johnson is Arizona’s biggest threat to take over any game and can cause mismatches with his solid frame and fundamental play while fellow junior guard T.J. McConnell often draws comparisons to Aaron Craft with his nearly two steals per game average. This potentially spells trouble for Michigan’s backcourt, which is still struggling to shut down dynamic guards and is frankly very young.

Derrick Walton, Jr. has certainly lived up to some lofty expectations so far, but he is not Trey Burke. Walton has undoubtedly been solid overall and is able to knock down shots while finishing at the rim when he gets into the paint, but the freshman has had some turnover issues. Likewise, Nik Stauskas, who will start opposite Walton in the backcourt, has been phenomenal on offense, but a matchup with Nick Johnson will not be easy for the sophomore for the Canadian sophomore. If John Beilein’s backcourt can hold steady with Arizona’s, I like Michigan’s chances. Perhaps Caris LeVert would be best in guarding Johnson, but then Stauskas would be left to man up with a much bigger opponent. Regardless of what happens, Michigan’s guards need to be up to a big task.

Ride the Crowd: Arizona has obviously been playing better basketball than Michigan so far this year, with wins over Duke, San Diego State, and UNLV, among others, to go along with no losses, but home court rules college basketball. With the holidays just around the corner, many of Michigan’s students may be going home before this Saturday’s game, but the Crisler Center should still be rocking with a wild sellout crowd.

Inexplicably, Michigan’s Athletic Department sold the band’s seats to this game, so a DJ will take place of the instruments; still, what should be the most raucous crowd of the season will pay unmeasurable dividends to the home Wolverines. The key for Michigan will be to come out of the gates strong and then to ride the momentum and the crowd noise to keep Arizona at bay. If all of Michigan’s players show up, and they certainly should rise to the occasion, the Wolverines can slay the giant.

Prediction: With a whole week to prepare for tomorrow’s game, John Beilein certainly has drawn up a game plan that should give Michigan a nice leg up, considering Arizona had to play Wednesday night. Still, Arizona will fire away continuously and will have the size advantage all day. Ultimately, though, I think Beilein’s expertise and home court advantage will carry the Wolverines to a thrilling 74-71 victory.

Hoops opponent preview: Arizona

Friday, December 13th, 2013

#NR/25 Michigan (6-3) vs #1/1 Arizona (10-0) – Ann Arbor, Mich. – 12pm EST – CBS
80.3 Points/gm 77.4
(251-541) 46.4 Field Goal % 50.2 (278-554)
(85-220) 38.6 3-pt FG % 37.7 (57-151)
(136-184) 73.9 Free Throw % 66.0 (161-244)
15.1 FT Made/gm 16.1
37.9 Reb/gm 41.5
16.4 Assists/gm 15.9
9.3 Turnovers/gm 12.4
62.1 Points/gm 58.0
(211-506) 41.7 Field Goal % 36.4 (203-557)
(50-155) 32.3 3-pt FG % 27.2 (44-162)
32.0 Opp. Reb/gm 27.2
6.4 Steals/gm 5.0
2.7 Blocks/gm 5.7
Individual Leaders
Nik Stauskas (18.9), Caris LeVert (13.9) Points/gm Nick Johnson (15.7), Brandon Ashley (12.3)
Mitch McGary (8.9), Jon Horford (5.2) Reb/gm Aaron Gordon (8.5), Brandon Ashley (6.6)


Michigan rebounded from its loss at Duke with its best offensive performance of the season last Saturday. The Wolverines broke 100 for the first time since the first game of 2012 and doubled up Houston Baptist 107-53. Granted, the level of competition was a major step down from the Blue Devils, but it gave Michigan some confidence heading into tomorrow’s showdown with the undefeated and top-ranked Arizona Wildcats. Plus, Michigan got a week to rest and prepare for the big matchup. Can the Wolverines pull off the upset? Let’s take a look at Arizona:

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Nick Johnson (G) 29.6 15.7 50.0 35.6 82.2 3.8 2.4 2.4 0.9 0.7
Brandon Ashley (F) 27.0 12.3 61.0 58.3 73.3 6.6 0.7 2.0 0.7 0.6
Aaron Gordon (F) 30.1 11.9 46.9 37.5 44.7 8.5 1.4 1.6 1.3 0.4
Kaleb Tarczewski (C) 26.0 9.7 60.0 00.0 73.5 6.5 0.7 2.1 1.4 0.1
TJ McConnell (G) 30.2 7.4 48.3 35.0 57.9 3.9 6.7 2.0 0.3 1.8
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (F) 22.9 9.1 54.4 33.3 63.6 5.0 1.8 0.6 0.8 0.7
Gabe York (G) 18.8 7.6 40.0 39.5 76.5 2.3 1.0 0.6 0.2 0.3
Jordin Mayes (G) 5.6 0.6 23.1 00.0 00.0 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.0 0.3
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 8 Cal Poly W 73-62
Nov. 11 Long Beach State W 91-57
Nov. 14 at San Diego State W 69-60
Nov. 18 Fairleigh Dickinson* W 100-50
Nov. 19 Rhode Island* W 87-59
Nov. 27 Drexel* W 66-62
Nov. 29 #6 Duke* W 72-66
Dec. 3 Texas Tech W 73-71
Dec. 7 UNLV W 63-58
Dec. 11 New Mexico State W 74-48
*NIT Season Tip-Off

While Michigan got a week off to rest some injuries, work out some kinks, and come up with a game plan for tomorrow, Arizona had to play Wednesday night. The Wildcats easily dispensed of New Mexico State, but certainly won’t be as fresh as Michigan. The Wildcats have played two common opponents so far this season, beating Long Beach State 91-57 (Michigan beat LBSU 85-61) and Duke 72-66. The latter came in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Arizona is still unbeaten, but the Wildcats aren’t without close games. Drexel jumped out to a 27-8 lead in the first 13 minutes of the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal, but Arizona fought back and won 66-62. Last Saturday, UNLV held a three-point halftime lead over Arizona but the Wildcats held the Rebels to just 16 second half points and won 63-58.

Arizona also has faced a tough road environment, coming away with a win at San Diego State on Nov. 14, so when they invade the Crisler Center tomorrow they will be battle tested.

The Series

This will mark the first time Arizona has visited Ann Arbor. The teams have met eight previous times with Arizona holding a 6-2 edge. Seven of those eight were in early season tournaments or neutral sites. The only other meeting on campus was a Michigan win at Arizona on Dec. 30, 1987.


• Michigan has won 20 straight home non-conference games. The last loss was a 67-60 loss to Kansas on Jan. 9, 2011.
• Michigan has had a 20-point scorer in each of its last eight games.
• Mitch McGary is averaging a double-double over his last five games (10.6 points and 10.4 rebounds).