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Posts Tagged ‘Big Ten Tournament’

Short of a storybook ending, Michigan basketball season a tale of redemption, resiliency

Friday, March 31st, 2017


(Rob Carr, Getty Images)

Spring has arrived, but a dark emptiness seems to permeate through the thick, sticky air. Mother Nature has thrown a curveball at us with dreariness and cold, rain and clouds in lieu of the sunshine and crisp air we have come to expect this time of year as the calendar turns to April.

It’s not just the weather, of course, that’s brought this darkness. It’s the end of Michigan’s wild basketball season that felt like a never-ending story, if only for a moment, before we found that the final pages were missing.

(Dustin Johnson, UM Hoops)

We feel robbed of the beauty we’ve waited for Spring to arrive with for so long, and likewise, we feel robbed of the dream finish that destiny would so surely, we thought, bring for John Beilein’s 10th team in Ann Arbor.

But as with everything else in life, finality is the only certainty, if even it comes prematurely.

At least it was a very good thing while it lasted.

For a long time, this season was not shaping up to be a memorable one, a season that all of us fans hope goes on forever. Michigan sprinted out of the gates with an impressive run through a 2K Classic field that included future NCAA Tournament teams in Marquette and SMU, both of whom were throttled on the way to the Wolverines’ preseason tournament title.

That showing saw Michigan rocket its way into the national polls, but was followed by an underwhelming performance at South Carolina and a rapid return to earth for the season’s expectations. Although, if we had the benefit of foresight at the time, that loss in Columbia wouldn’t seem nearly as bad.

A couple games later, Michigan choked away a home battle versus Virginia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and had another poor performance in a win over a bad Texas team shortly thereafter. The Wolverines would hang with UCLA in Westwood for one impressive, firework-laden half before taking an 18-point loss out West and would later proceed to sweat out a holiday win over a far-better-than-expected Furman squad before conference play kicked off in the New Year.

We all know the story from there. Michigan seemed to run out of gas in what should have been a favorable starting conference schedule, dropping three of their first four and four of their first six with their only two wins coming in home nail-biters over Penn State and Nebraska.

Uncertainties in the latter half of the non-conference season turned into message board maniacs calling for this to be Beilein’s final year.

Two home blowouts over Illinois and Indiana calmed the seas temporarily before a tough loss at Michigan State and a lackadaisical home loss versus Ohio State heard those earlier calls turn into cries for the head coach to be gone — and fast.

(MGoBlue.com)

On that night, Saturday, February 4, Michigan found itself at 14-9 overall and 4-6 in conference play with very few standout wins on their resume. It would take a massive turnaround and a long look in the mirror for the team to fight its way into contention for an NCAA Tournament berth, and no one – not even those closest to the team, I reckon – saw it coming.

But come it did. Derrick Walton Jr. turned into a man possessed, knocking down everything from deep and rekindling his freshman year ability to finish at the rack. Moe Wagner realized his potential after only brief flashes as a rookie, spinning, shuffling, shooting, and driving his way to buckets. D.J. Wilson blossomed from cast-off to potential pro with athletic dishes, drained shots, and opponent shots rejected. And Zak Irvin, whose critics would make you believe he could not compete at the local YMCA, embraced his role as a senior leader and scorer, if merely as a third or fourth option at times.

The team that once left everyone guessing what would happen every time they ran onto the floor began ferociously dispatching each opponent that dared challenge them.

Michigan State was handed its worst loss in years. Indiana was dismantled on its vaunted home court. Wisconsin and Purdue, the clear frontrunners for the Big Ten title, met their fate at the hands of a team on a mission.

By the time March had rolled around, Michigan had pulled off the wholly unexpected, nearly impossible transition from conference also-ran to surefire dancer. Broadcasters still wondered what the team was made of, but those following closely knew that a seismic change had taken place.

The Wolverines were no longer prone to falling apart at the end of a game. They did not let inferior competition dig under their skin. They would not cede a game’s worth of points in a half – not any more, at least.

In reality, this new team could compete with anyone in the country, and in so many different ways. The offense was no longer great – it became otherworldly efficient. The defense was no longer passable – it became a solid unit that forced turnovers and prevented clean perimeter looks.

This team could feel as good about their chances as any other.

And so, with that edge, this team would travel to Washington, D.C., wheels rolling, to give its conference brethren a lesson in basketball.

There’s not much Michigan needed at that point to make a magical March run, the stuff legends are made of. If there was one thing, however, it was a captivating headline.

That story would be served up on a platter in a most harrowing way, as Michigan’s charter plane destined for the Big Ten Tournament skidded 400 yards off the runway, through a fence, and into a field, coming to a startling rest in a shallow ditch after the pilot decided to abort takeoff in extremely high winds.

Still, the team pushed forward with no recognizable timidity. The crash had perhaps brought them closer together, had given them a greater sense of their cause, but it did not change their play. Michigan once again blew through an Illinois team that had labeled the Wolverines as “white collar” in early January, this time in rag tag practice gear because their regular jerseys were stuck on the capsized plane.

Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin would all provide different puzzles throughout the weekend, but the Maize and Blue solved each of them with a veteran mindset and plenty of talent.

With the Big Ten Tournament trophy in hand, Michigan was sent to Indianapolis as a 7-seed in the Big Dance to take on an Oklahoma State team powered by purely offensive fuel. The Wolverines took a dose but returned an even bigger dose of that medicine to the Cowboys to outlast their first round foe in an instant classic with firepower supplied by Walton.

Two days later, the Wolverines faced a Louisville squad that provided a completely different look, with length, athleticism, and defense in spades. Once again, Michigan prevailed, this time behind the sophomore duo of Wagner and Wilson, despite trailing by eight at the halfway point. March would not stop this team’s march, and another classic was in the books.

(MGoBlue.com)

Destiny was still on their side – for one more week, at least.

Unfortunately, that magic ran out too soon and too abruptly. Michigan went toe-to-toe with 3-seed Oregon for 40 minutes but made some uncharacteristic mistakes late in the game, as if their hourglass stepped in the way of what could have been. Derrick Walton’s last shot, a step-back that we had seen him hit so often over the last two months of the season that he may as well have filed for a patent, came up a couple rotations short.

Just like that, the buzzer sounded to signal the end of Michigan’s season. Destiny left the building with a new team in tow.

And that’s how – and why, perhaps – Mother Nature mourns with us today. She, like all of us, was not ready for the suddenness of it all. Storybooks are not supposed to end like this.

But that story, while it was being written, was grand. It was thrilling and exhilarating, mysterious and heartbreaking. It was frustrating at times and, yes, slogging at others. More than anything, though, this story was a memorable one that we won’t soon want to stash away to collect dust, lest we question the power of John Beilein’s teaching prowess paired with the ability of a bunch of talented, fun, good, strong-minded college basketballers.

Just as soon as the final words were penned in this story, however, a new volume’s pages are opening up, waiting to be scribbled upon.

Let’s hope this one is as enjoyable as the last.

(MGoBlue.com)

Michigan hoops preview: #13 (4) Purdue

Saturday, March 12th, 2016


UM-Purdue
Michigan vs #13 Purdue
Saturday, March 12 | Indianapolis, Ind.. | 12 p.m. ET | CBS
Line: Purdue -6.5
Offense
74.8 Points/gm 78.3
(875-1,865) 46.9 Field Goal % 47.3 (884-1,870)
(320-824) 38.8 3-pt FG % 37.3 (252-676)
(397-536) 74.1 Free Throw % 73.9 (485-656)
12.0 FT Made/gm 15.2
32.4 Reb/gm 41.2
15.0 Assists/gm 17.8
9.8 Turnovers/gm 12.2
Defense
67.2 Points/gm 64.7
(815-1,841) 44.3 Field Goal % 39.1 (746-1,908)
(236-683) 34.6 3-pt FG % 31.4 (196-624)
32.8 Opp. Reb/gm 30.1
5.5 Steals/gm 4.3
2.2 Blocks/gm 4.7
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (16.5), Zak Irvin (11.8) Points/gm A.J. Hammons (14.7), Vince Edwards (10.7)
Derick Walton (5.6), Caris LeVert (5.3) Reb/gm Caleb Swanigan (8.4), A.J. Hammons (7.8)

Michigan pulled off the upset it needed to give it a shot at an at-large bid come Sunday. But the work isn’t done yet. ESPN projects the Wolverines’ chances to be 50-50, but a win over Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday would likely be enough to push John Beilein’s squad into the Big Dance.

Michigan and Purdue split a pair of regular season meetings with each team winning on its home floor. Purdue won in West Lafayette, 87-70, on Jan. 7, while Michigan won 61-56 in Ann Arbor on Feb. 13.

In the first, Michigan stayed within striking distance until the 5:11 mark in the second half when Purdue scored 12 straight during a three minute Michigan scoring drought to pull away. In the second, Michigan held Purdue scoreless for the final 3:17, turning a 56-50 deficit at the time into a 61-56 win.

Big men A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan combined for 48 points and 20 rebounds in the two games, but the big difference was guard Raphael Davis and forward Vince Edwards, who scored a combined 27 points in the win but just nine in the loss on 2-of-14 shooting. Michigan will need to limit those two again on Saturday if it wants to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

Michigan 72 – #10 Indiana 69: Bench leads Michigan to upset win over top-seed Indiana

Saturday, March 12th, 2016


Chatman vs Indiana(MGoBlue.com)

When the day started Michigan was staring a second straight NCAA Tournament absence square in the face. Now, the Wolverines are being fitted for their dancing shoes.

It took a near miracle for Michigan to survive Northwestern on Day 2 of the Big Ten Tournament, but 24 hours later, John Beilein’s crew knocked off the outright conference champs to advance to the semifinals.

For Friday’s win, the Wolverines certainly took the route less traveled.

On a day when point guard Derrick Walton went without a field goal and scored just two points, a pair of rarely-used bench options stepped up to salvage the season.

Moritz Wagner gave Michigan a huge boost off the bench, scoring nine points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. He also ripped down a pair of offensive rebounds and played solid defense against an Indiana team that makes a living inside the paint.

Four Factors
Michigan Indiana
52 eFG% 49
29 OReb% 48
16 TO% 24
29 FTR 40

But Wagner’s effort may have been for naught without the last-second heroics of Kam Chatman, a former five-star recruit and starting forward turned bench warmer. Chatman, who forced his way back into the rotation with solid play down the stretch, found himself with the ball in his hands as the clock sped toward triple zeroes.

So he shot, and it’s a good thing he did.

Chatman’s contested three-pointer went in with 0.2 seconds left on the clock and gave Michigan a 72-69 lead.

His final line — 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal and 1 block — won’t jump off the box score, but the sophomore made the only play he needed to: The biggest shot of Michigan’s season in likely the program’s most important game since Aaron Harrison’s miracle shot bounced the Wolverines from the Elite 8 two years ago.

As fate would have it, Chatman was only in the game after Teddy ‘TV’ Valentine’s crew bounced Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman from the game with just over a minute to go. MAAR left the game with 15 points, second only to Zak Irvin, who scored 17 points on 5-13 shooting.

Irvin, a 61.8 percent free throw shooter, went a career best 6-of-6 from the line.

Walton, who made a field goal in all 28 of his regular season games this year, is without a bucket in 77 minutes during the Big Ten Tournament. Instead, he dished out a Big Ten tourney record 12 assists in the win over the Hoosiers, giving him 17 in the two games combined.

Duncan Robinson also had a tough shooting day — just 4 for 12 total and 1 for 6 from beyond the arc — but his last make was a big one, tying the game at 69 with under a minute to play. It was the second straight game Robinson hit a triple with Michigan trailing in the final minute.

Now Michigan will turn its attention to a Purdue team that obliterated Illinois by 31 points in Friday’s second matchup. The Wolverines split two meetings with the Boilermakers this season, but the inside trio of A.J. Hammons, Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Hass will give a much smaller Michigan team fits.

Michigan allowed Indiana to grab 15 offensive rebounds Friday. Beilein will need to shore up that aspect before Saturday’s 1pm tip.

Another upset victory over Purdue would almost guarantee Michigan a spot in the NCAA Tournament. As it stands, the Wolverines are right on the cut line, along with teams like Syracuse, Florida, UCONN and Saint Mary’s.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
34 Mark Donnal* 6-6 0-0 0-1 1 3 4 4 12 0 2 2 1 20
10 Derrick Walton* 0-3 0-3 2-2 1 2 3 1 2 12 2 0 2 36
21 Zak Irvin* 5-13 1-4 6-6 0 5 5 2 17 2 2 0 1 35
22 Duncan Robinson* 4-12 1-6 3-3 0 1 1 3 12 3 1 0 0 34
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman* 6-13 2-4 1-2 2 0 2 5 15 0 1 0 1 34
03 Kam Chatman 2-3 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 2 5 0 0 1 1 8
11 Andrew Dakich 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4
13 Moritz Wagner 3-3 1-1 2-2 2 0 2 2 9 0 0 0 0 16
24 Aubrey Dawkins 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 9
32 Ricky Doyle 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4
Totals 26-56 6-21 14-16 9 16 25 20 72 18 10 3 7 200
Indiana 24-53 4-17 17-21 15 22 37 17 69 13 15 7 6
200
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: #10 (1) Indiana

Friday, March 11th, 2016


UM-Indiana
Michigan vs #10 Indiana
Friday, March 11 | Indianapolis, Ind.. | 12 p.m. ET | ESPN
Line: Indiana -6
Offense
74.8 Points/gm 82.7
(849-1,809) 46.9 Field Goal % 50.2 (910-1,811)
(314-803) 39.1 3-pt FG % 41.9 (312-745)
(383-520) 73.7 Free Throw % 72.0 (432-600)
12.0 FT Made/gm 13.9
32.4 Reb/gm 37.4
14.9 Assists/gm 16.1
9.8 Turnovers/gm 13.6
Defense
67.2 Points/gm 68.8
(791-1,788) 44.2 Field Goal % 44.1 (795-1,803)
(232-666) 34.8 3-pt FG % 34.5 (194-562)
32.6 Opp. Reb/gm 30.3
5.5 Steals/gm 7.0
2.2 Blocks/gm 3.9
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (16.5), Derrick Walton (11.9) Points/gm Yogi Ferrell (17.1), James Blackmon Jr. (15.8)
Derick Walton (5.7), Caris LeVert (5.3) Reb/gm Troy Williams (6.0), Thomas Bryant (5.8)

Michigan stayed alive with a 72-70 overtime win over Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday afternoon. Their reward? A matchup with Big Ten champion Indiana, who beat the Wolverines 80-67 on Feb. 2 in the season’s only meeting to date.

The Hoosiers have high hopes of making a deep NCAA Tournament run after winning the outright Big Ten title and look to capture the Big Ten Tournament crown as well. Michigan can clinch an at-large bid with an upset of Indiana, but will likely have to settle for the NIT if they lose.

Senior guard Yogi Ferrell led Indiana with 17 points and nine assist in the first meeting, while sophomore guard Robert Johnson added 16 points. Ferrell is the Hoosiers’ unquestioned leader, averaging 17.1 points per game, but Johnson has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain he suffered against Purdue on Feb. 20.

Freshman forward OG Anunoby came off the bench to match his season-high of 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and senior guard Nick Zeisloft — a three-point specialist — scored eight.

Michigan made just 7-of-23 three-point attempts in that first meeting and will need to do better than that if they want a chance of winning. More importantly, Michigan must play with the same defensive intensity that it did against Northwestern on Thursday. Indiana made 33 shots in that first meeting — only 10-of-30 from downtown — and if Michigan can’t hold the Hoosiers below 27 field goals today they’ll find themselves in the NIT next week.

Michigan 72 – Northwestern 70 (OT): Wolverines keep tourney hopes alive

Friday, March 11th, 2016


Irvin vs Northwestern(MGoBlue.com)

It took an extra five minutes, but Michigan kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive on Thursday afternoon with a 72-70 overtime win over Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.

In the season’s first meeting, Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman went a combined 1-of-11 from three-point range. But on Thursday, the four combined to make 10-of-22 from downtown to lead the Wolverines to the win in Indianapolis.

Four Factors
Michigan Northwestern
48 eFG% 45
23 OReb% 32
12 TO% 11
34 FTR 18

In the first meeting, Northwestern stormed out to a 17-6 lead and Michigan had to fight back. This time, Michigan raced out to a 18-5 lead and took a 34-25 lead into the locker room. But Northwestern used a 12-3 run over a span of more than five minutes midway through the second half to battle back and tie the game at 52.

Michigan led 59-55 in the final minute, but Alex Olah hit a three to bring the Wildcats within one. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Michigan had to call timeout twice to avoid five-second calls. On the third try, Robinson caught the pass in the corner near Northwestern’s bench and appeared to travel, but it wasn’t called. Instead, he drew a foul and made one of two. But Olah made a put-back at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Robinson kicked off the extra period with a three and then tied the game at 70 with another with just 46 seconds remaining. Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh missed a shot, giving Michigan a chance to win it. Irvin dribbled to his right and pulled up from the right elbow to hit the game-winning shot.

Michigan made 12-of-19 threes for the game and 16-of-20 free throws, outscoring Northwestern from the charity stripe 16 to nine. Robinson led the Wolverines with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 4-of-6 three-point shooting. Irvin added 19 points and eight rebounds, while Abdur-Rahkman scored 14 on 4-of-7 three-point shooting, in addition to eight rebounds. Walton was held to just two points on 0-of-7 shooting, but did add seven rebounds and led the team with five assists.

Northwestern got 21 points from Tre Demps, 20 from Olah, and 19 from McIntosh. Olah also pulled down 13 rebounds. The rest of Northwestern’s lineup combined for just 10 points.

Michigan will face top-seed Indiana in the quarterfinals in a win-and-you’re-in contest. The game tips off at 12pm Eastern on ESPN.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
34 Mark Donnal* 1-3 0-2 0-0 2 1 3 5 2 1 1 1 0 18
10 Derrick Walton* 0-7 0-3 2-2 0 7 7 1 2 5 3 0 1 41
21 Zak Irvin* 6-16 2-6 5-6 0 8 8 0 19 2 1 0 2 42
22 Duncan Robinson* 6-10 4-6 5-7 0 3 3 2 21 1 1 0 0 37
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman* 5-13 4-7 0-1 1 7 8 1 14 3 0 1 0 41
03 Kam Chatman 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 6
05 D.J. Wilson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+
11 Andrew Dakich 1-1 1-1 0-0 1 0 1 1 3 1 0 0 0 6
13 Moritz Wagner 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 2
24 Aubrey Dawkins 1-3 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 8
32 Ricky Doyle 1-3 0-0 4-4 2 1 3 1 6 0 0 0 0 24
Totals 22-58 12-19 16-20 9 30 39 15 72 14 8 2 3 205
Northwestern 25-68 11-27 9-12 14 31 45 18 70 16 7 2 2
205
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: (9) Northwestern

Thursday, March 10th, 2016


UM-Northwestern
Michigan vs Northwestern
Thursday, March 10 | Indianapolis, Ind.. | 12 p.m. ET | Big Ten Network
Line: Michigan -3.5
Offense
74.9 Points/gm 72.1
(827-1,751) 47.2 Field Goal % 45.3 (812-1,792)
(302-774) 39.0 3-pt FG % 35.6 (267-749)
(367-500) 73.4 Free Throw % 66.5 (343-516)
11.8 FT Made/gm 11.1
32.2 Reb/gm 36.2
15.0 Assists/gm 16.5
9.9 Turnovers/gm 10.5
Defense
67.1 Points/gm 65.8
(766-1,720) 44.5 Field Goal % 40.2 (694-1,726)
(221-639) 34.6 3-pt FG % 34.2 (215-629)
32.2 Opp. Reb/gm 34.3
5.5 Steals/gm 3.9
2.2 Blocks/gm 3.8
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (16.5), Derrick Walton (12.3) Points/gm Tre Demps (15.5), Bryant McIntosh (13.6)
Derick Walton (5.7), Caris LeVert (5.3) Reb/gm Alex Olah (5.3), Sanjay Lumpkin (4.9)

Michigan’s NCAA Tournament hopes will be on the line when they face Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament in the first game of the day on Thursday. A win may still not be enough, pending the outcome of a quarterfinal matchup with Indiana, but a loss will surely send the Wolverines to the NIT.

The two met just once during the regular season, which Michigan won 72-63 in Ann Arbor, just two weeks ago. Michigan hasn’t won since then, dropping games to Wisconsin and Iowa, while Northwestern hasn’t lost, winning three by an average of 20 points.

Senior center Alex Olah (7-foot-0, 275) has had his way with Michigan the past three meeting dating back to last season, averaging 22 points and eight rebounds per game. He scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting in the meeting two weeks ago.

Fellow senior Tre Demps (6-foot-3, 202) has also given Michigan fits the past couple meetings, scoring 20 and 14 points, respectively, while making six of his 12 three-point attempts. The guard has been one of the Big Ten’s best scorers during the second half of Big Ten play, averaging 19.9 points and shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range over the last nine games.

Freshman forward Aaron Falzon (6-foot-8, 213) scored 14 points in the first meeting on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-8 three-point shooting. Unlike Demps, that performance was out of character, one of only 11 double-digit games this season and his fourth-highest point total of the season. It was, however, the seventh game he has made four or more threes.

Sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh (6-foot-3, 185) has been hot and cold during the second half of the Big Ten schedule with five games of 14 or more points and six games of eight or fewer. One of the latter was against Michigan two weeks ago when he managed just four points on 2-of-7 shooting. But he has had games of 33, 32, and 28 points this season.

The fifth starter is redshirt junior wing Sanjay Lumpkin (6-foot-6, 220), who didn’t attempt a single shot in 20 minutes of action in the first meeting and fouled out. He’s not a big scorer with just two games in double figures all season — none in Big Ten play — but he is the team’s second leading rebounder, averaging 4.9 per game.

Sophomore forward Gavin Skelly (6-foot-8, 225) came off the bench to score eight points in Ann Arbor two weeks ago, his second-highest scoring game of the season. Freshman center Dererk Pardon (6-foot-8, 230) and sophomore wing Scottie Lindsey (6-foot-5, 205) are the other main contributors off the bench and each scored two points in the first meeting. Pardon poured in 28 points against Nebraska on Dec. 30, while Lindsey has a season high of 26 against New Orleans on Nov. 28. Lindsey is the team’s best three-point shooter (40.7 percent) among those who shoot them regularly.

Michigan came out flat two weeks ago and dug itself a 17-4 hole early on. The Wolverines trailed most of the game until Aubrey Dawkins hit back to back second half threes to tie the game and Kameron Chatman hit a free throw to give Michigan its first lead with 9:15 to play. Another Dawkins three with 4:26 remaining gave Michigan the lead for good and they held on with free throws down the stretch.

Michigan will have to shoot better from three-point range than it did in that first meeting if they want to advance to face Indiana. The Wolverines made just 4-of-15 three-point attempts, but outscored Northwestern 20 to five at the free throw line. While Michigan made nine or more three-pointers in its first eight Big Ten games, they’ve managed to do that just twice in the final 10. Not surprisingly, they went 6-2 in those first eight and just 4-6 in the last 10.

Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, and Duncan Robinson combined to make just 1-of-9 three-point attempts in the first meeting and that won’t happen again today. Michigan should win a close one and keep their Big Dance hopes alive for another day.

Big Ten Tournament bracket set, Michigan to face Northwestern

Sunday, March 6th, 2016


Big Ten Tournament

The Big Ten Tournament gets under way on Wednesday with Minnesota against Illinois and Rutgers against Nebraska. The top two seeds, Indiana and Michigan State, get double byes into the quarterfinals and won’t play until Friday.

Michigan (20-11, 10-8) will face ninth-seed Northwestern (20-11, 8-10) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at 12pm on Thursday in Indianapolis. A win would pit the Wolverines against top-seed Indiana at noon on Friday.

Michigan won the season’s only matchup against Northwestern, 72-63, on Feb. 24. The Wolverines made just four three-pointers in that game, but outscored the Wildcats 20-5 at the free throw line. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led Michigan with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while Derrick Walton added 16 and Aubrey Dawkins 11.

Northwestern, meanwhile, has won three straight since that loss, beating Rutgers, Penn State, and Nebraska by an average of 20 points. In the first meeting, Michigan had no answer for Alex Olah, who scored 19 points, while Tre Demps and Aaron Falzon each scored 14.

Big Ten Tournament
First Four First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championship Champion
Wed, Mar. 9 Thu, Mar. 10 Fri, Mar. 11 Sat, Mar. 12 Sun, Mar. 13
9. Northwestern 70
12pm BTN 8. Michigan 72
8. Michigan 72 12pm ESPN 8. Michigan
1. Indiana 69
13. Minnesota 52
4:30pm ESPN2 12. Illinois 68 1pm CBS
12. Illinois 85 2:25 BTN 12. Illinois 58
5. Iowa 66 2:25pm ESPN 4. Purdue
4. Purdue 89
10. Penn State 75  3pm CBS
6:30pm ESPN2 7. Ohio State 54
7. Ohio State 79 6:30pm BTN 2. Michigan State
2. Michigan State 81
14. Rutgers 72 3:30pm CBS
7pm BTN 11. Nebraska 70
11. Nebraska 89 8:55pm ESPN2 11. Nebraska 86
6. Wisconsin 58 8:55pm BTN 3. Maryland
3. Maryland 97

Michigan hoops preview: Big Ten Tournament vs #6 (1) Wisconsin

Friday, March 13th, 2015


UM-Wisconsin
Michigan (16-15, 8-10) vs #6 Wisconsin (28-3, 16-2)
Friday, Mar. 13 | Chicago, Ill. | 12:00 p.m. EST | ESPN
Offense
64.9 Points/gm 71.7
(707-1,672) 42.3 Field Goal % 48.0 (784-1,635)
(244-681) 35.8 3-pt FG % 35.1 (209-596)
(353-466) 75.8 Free Throw % 75.4 (445-590)
11.4 FT Made/gm 14.4
30.5 Reb/gm 34.0
11.9 Assists/gm 12.4
9.7 Turnovers/gm 7.6
Defense
63.7 Points/gm 55.7
(739-1,651) 44.8 Field Goal % 41.4 (669-1,615)
(201-587) 34.2 3-pt FG % 35.2 (151-429)
34.1 Opp. Reb/gm 27.9
5.5 Steals/gm 4.5
1.7 Blocks/gm 3.6
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (14.0) Points/gm Frank Kaminsky (18.4), Sam Dekker (13.1)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.7)^ Reb/gm Frank Kaminsky (8.1), Nigel Hayes (6.9)
*Out for season, ^Injured

___________________________________________________________________________________

Michigan dominated Illinois on Thursday to avoid a losing season and keep its postseason hopes alive. The Wolverines are still in play for an NIT bid, although it’s far from certain unless the Wolverines beat Wisconsin on Friday. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is in the position Michigan was in a year ago, playing for a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Frank Kaminsky (F) 32.6 18.4 55.9 41.0 75.2 8.1 2.6 1.6 1.6 0.7
Sam Dekker (F) 29.8 13.1 51.5 32.1 69.3 5.5 1.1 1.0 0.5 0.5
Nigel Hayes (F) 32.5 12.0 52.0 37.5 71.9 6.9 2.0 1.3 0.5 0.8
Bronson Koenig (G) 27.6 7.8 41.4 39.8 85.3 1.7 2.2 0.8 0.3 0.3
Josh Gasser (G) 32.1 7.0 42.8 37.7 85.7 3.5 1.6 0.5 0.2 0.7
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Traevon Jackson (G)* 27.4 9.4 45.6 28.6 85.4 1.7 2.9 1.6 0.2 1.1
Duje Dukan (F) 16.6 4.7 37.2 29.4 71.1 2.8 0.7 0.8 0.1 0.2
Vitto Brown (F) 6.8 2.1 45.6 00.0 58.8 1.4 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.2
Zak Showalter (G) 7.7 2.1 37.8 08.3 88.0 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3
Riley Dearring (G)* 2.8 0.8 40.0 42.9 00.0 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1
*Injured
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 14 Northern Kentucky W 62-31
Nov. 16 Chattanooga W 89-45
Nov. 19 Green Bay W 84-60
Nov. 22 Boise State W 78-54
Nov. 26 UAB* W 72-43
Nov. 27 Georgetown* W 68-65
Nov. 28 Oklahoma* W 69-56
Dec. 3 #4 Duke^ L 70-80
Dec. 6 at Marquette W 49-38
Dec. 10 at Milwaukee W 93-54
Dec. 13 Nicholls State W 83-43
Dec. 22 at California W 68-56
Dec. 28 Buffalo W 68-56
Dec. 31 Penn State W 89-72
Jan. 4 at Northwestern W 81-58
Jan. 7 Purdue W 62-55
Jan. 11 at Rutgers L 62-67
Jan. 15 Nebraska W 70-55
Jan. 20 #25 Iowa W 82-50
Jan. 24 at Michigan W 69-64 OT
Jan. 31 at #25 Iowa W 74-63
Feb. 3 #23 Indiana W 92-78
Feb. 7 Northwestern W 65-50
Feb. 10 at Nebraska W 65-55
Feb. 15 Illinois W 68-49
Feb. 18 at Penn State W 55-47
Feb. 21 Minnesota W 63-43
Feb. 24 at #13 Maryland L 53-59
Mar. 1 Michigan State W 68-61
Mar. 5 at Minnesota W 76-63
Mar. 8 at Ohio State W 72-48
Mar. 13 (9) Michigan#
*Battle 4 Atlantis, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge, #Big Ten Tournament

 

The Series

Michigan leads the all-time series 91-68. In this season’s only meeting between the two, Michigan took the Badgers to overtime in Ann Arbor but fell short, 69-64. Michigan was without Caris LeVert at that point, but did still have Derrick Walton, who led the team with 17 points. Michigan had no answer for Frank Kaminsky, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Moving on: Michigan 73 – Illinois 55

Thursday, March 12th, 2015


Spike-Zak vs Illinois(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

After playing a thriller in last year’s Big Ten Tournament and splitting this season’s first two meetings in overtime it seemed natural to expect a closely contested battle when Michigan and Illinois met in the United Center on Thursday afternoon. Instead, Michigan kept its slim postseason hopes alive with a comfortable 73-55 win.

Four Factors
Michigan Illinois
55.1 eFG% 38.1
23.3 OReb% 32.4
14.1 TO% 15.6
13.6 FTR 22.0

Playing with nothing to lose, it didn’t take long for the Wolverines to get going, jumping out to a 14-2 lead through the first six minutes of the game. But a nearly six-minute scoring drought — something Michigan has become accustom to this season — allowed Illinois to come right back and take a 15-14 lead.

Michigan then went on a 15-4 run over the next five minutes to grab a 29-19 lead and cruised into halftime with a 40-23 lead. After the 15-14 Illinois lead, Michigan outscored the Illini 26-8 the remainder of the half.

While this season’s first two meetings featured comeback wins, Michigan wasn’t about to let that happen again. The lead widened to as many as 24 points and the Wolverines finished with an 18-point win.

Michigan shot 49.2 percent from the field and 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from three-point range for the game, while holding Illinois to 37.3 percent and 7.7 percent (1-of-13), respectively. Michigan had four starters in double figures, led by Aubrey Dawkins’ 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 15, Zak Irvin 14, and Max Bielfeldt 10. Abdur-Rahkman led the team with eight rebounds, while Irvin added six and six assists. Spike Albrecht contributed eight points and five assists.

Michigan faces top-seeded Wisconsin at 12pm EST on Friday with a trip to the Big Ten Tournament semifinal on the line.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
44 Max Bielfeldt* 4-7 0-0 2-2 2 2 4 1 10 1 0 1 0 31
02 Spike Albrecht* 2-6 2-3 2-2 1 0 1 0 8 5 2 0 0 39
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman* 6-12 1-1 2-2 2 6 8 3 15 2 2 0 2 38
21 Zak Irvin* 6-15 2-5 0-0 0 6 6 0 14 6 1 0 1 38
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 8-12 2-5 0-0 0 3 3 3 18 0 0 1 2 34
03 Kameron Chatman 0-4 0-1 0-0 0 4 4 3 0 1 1 1 0 19
04 Andrew Dakich 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
34 Mark Donnal 1-1 0-0 2-2 1 1 2 0 4 0 0 0 0 4
32 Ricky Doyle 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 3 2 0 0 0 0 5
Totals 29-59 7-15 8-8 7 25 32 13 73 15 9 3 5 200
Illinois 22-59 1-13 10-13 13 23 36 14 55 5 10 5 4 200
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: Big Ten Tournament vs (8) Illinois

Thursday, March 12th, 2015


UM-Illinois
Michigan (15-15, 8-10) vs Illinois (19-12, 9-9)
Thursday, Mar. 12 | Chicago, Ill. | 12:00 p.m. EST | Big Ten Network
Offense
64.6 Points/gm 69.9
(678-1,613) 42.0 Field Goal % 41.8 (743,1,779)
(237-666) 35.6 3-pt FG % 36.3 (230-634)
(345-458) 75.3 Free Throw % 79.4 (452-569)
11.5 FT Made/gm 14.6
30.5 Reb/gm 34.3
11.8 Assists/gm 12.1
9.7 Turnovers/gm 9.9
Defense
64.0 Points/gm 62.8
(717-1,592) 45.0 Field Goal % 41.4 (694-1,678)
(200-574) 34.8 3-pt FG % 32.0 (196-612)
34.0 Opp. Reb/gm 33.9
5.5 Steals/gm 6.4
1.7 Blocks/gm 3.2
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (14.0) Points/gm Rayvonte Rice (17.0), Malcolm Hill (14.2)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr^ (4.7) Reb/gm Rayvonte Rice^ (6.4), Nnanna Egwu (5.9)
*Out for season, ^Injured

___________________________________________________________________________________

Michigan beat Rutgers on Sunday to finish the regular season with a .500 record at 15-15 and earn a 9-seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Today, the Wolverines face 8-seed Illinois, an opponent that they have played evenly with the past three meetings dating back to last year’s Big Ten Tournament matchup. In that one, top-seeded Michigan avoided upset thanks to a Jordan Morgan game-winner with 7.9 seconds left. This season, Michigan won the conference opener against the Illini in Ann Arbor, 73-65 in overtime, but fell in Champaign, 64-52 in overtime.

This season’s rubber match takes place in the United Center at 11 a.m. local time. Michigan needs a win to avoid a losing season, while Illinois needs to make a run to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Rayvonte Rice (G) 29.8 17.0 48.4 46.2 81.8 6.4 2.0 1.3 0.3 1.8
Malcolm Hill (G) 30.6 14.2 44.6 39.0 77.3 4.8 1.2 1.5 0.2 0.9
Kendrick Nunn (G) 30.2 11.2 40.5 37.1 81.7 3.5 2.0 1.4 0.2 1.2
Ahmad Starks (G) 24.2 8.1 36.0 33.8 82.1 1.6 2.3 1.1 0.1 0.6
Nnanna Egwu (C) 29.5 6.5 43.5 30.3 77.5 5.9 1.0 1.1 1.8 0.8
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Aaron Cosby (G) 25.3 7.8 29.3 31.1 80.0 3.6 1.7 1.3 0.0 0.3
Leron Black (F) 14.5 5.0 47.0 00.0 68.2 4.3 0.1 0.7 0.2 0.3
Jaylon Tate (G) 20.5 3.6 35.2 08.3 85.3 1.3 3.0 1.4 0.1 0.8
Maverick Morgan (C) 9.1 2.6 44.6 00.0 82.6 1.6 0.1 0.5 0.4 0.1
Austin Colbert (F) 7.3 1.8 57.7 75.0 61.5 2.1 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.2
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 14 Georgia Southern W 80-71
Nov. 16 Coppin State W 114-56
Nov. 21 Austin Peay W 107-66
Nov. 24 Brown W 89-68
Nov. 27 Indiana State* W 88-62
Nov. 28 Baylor* W 62-54
Dec. 2 at #15 Miami^ L 61-70
Dec. 6 American W 70-55
Dec. 9 #7 Villanova L 59-73
Dec. 13 Oregon L 70-77
Dec. 17 Hampton W 73-55
Dec. 20 Missouri W 62-59
Dec. 27 Kennesaw State W 93-45
Dec. 30 at Michigan L 65-73 OT
Jan. 3 at #20 Ohio State L 61-77
Jan. 7 #11 Maryland W 64-77
Jan. 11 at Nebraska L 43-53
Jan. 14 at Northwestern W 72-67
Jan. 18 Indiana L 74-80
Jan. 21 Purdue W 66-57
Jan. 24 at Minnesota L 71-79
Jan. 31 Penn State W 60-58
Feb. 3 Rutgers W 66-54
Feb. 7 at Michigan State W 59-54
Feb. 12 Michigan W 64-52 OT
Feb. 15 at #5 Wisconsin L 49-68
Feb. 22 Michigan State L 53-60
Feb. 25 at Iowa L 60-68
Feb. 28 Northwestern W 86-60
Mar. 4 Nebraska W 69-57
Mar. 7 at Purdue L 58-63
Mar. 12 Michigan#
*Las Vegas Invitational, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge, #Big Ten Tournament
The Series

Illinois leads the all-time series 86-79. Michigan had won eight straight until the Illini topped the Wolverines on Feb. 12. Michigan and Illinois are 2-2 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, including last season’s thrilling Michigan win.