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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Carmody’

Michigan vs Northwestern preview/quick thoughts

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013


#2 Michigan v. Northwestern
Thursday, Jan. 3 | 7pm ET | ESPN2
13-0 (0-0) Record 9-4 (0-0)
Slippery Rock 100-62
IUPUI 91-54
Cleveland State 77-47
Pittsburgh 67-62
Kansas State 71-57
NC State 79-72
Bradley 74-66
W. Michigan 73-41
Arkansas 80-67
Binghamton 67-39
West Virginia 81-66
E. Michigan 93-54
C. Michigan 88-73
Wins Texas Southern 79-49
Miss. Valley St. 81-68
Fair. Dickinson 80-53
Delaware St. 69-50
TCU 55-31
Illinois St. 72-69 OT
Baylor 74-70
Texas State 74-68
Brown 63-42
Losses Maryland 57-77
Illinois-Chicago 44-50
Butler 65-74
Stanford 68-70
80.1 Points Per Game 67.8
58.5 Scoring Defense 59.3
389-for-761 (51.1%) Field Goal % 300-for-698 (43.0%)
293-for-729 (40.2%) Def. Field Goal % 277-for-696 (39.8%)
112-for-275 (40.7%) 3-point % 108-for-280 (38.6%)
80-for-261 (30.7%) Def. 3-point % 74-for-221 (33.5%)
151-for-207 (72.9%) Free Throw % 173-for-255 (67.8%)
11.6 FT Made/Game 13.3
37.4 Rebounds Per Game 35.3
28.8 Opp. Reb. Per Game 34.7
16.4 Assists Per Game 17.2
9.7 Turnovers Per Game 11.3
5.2 Steals Per Game 5.6
2.6 Blocks Per Game 3.7
G – Trey Burke (17.8)
G – Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.8)
Leading Scorer G – Reggie Hearn (14.5)
G – Drew Crawford (13.5)
F – Glenn Robinson (5.9)
F – Mitch McGary (5.6)
Leading Rebounder F – Jared Swopshire (6.0)
G – Reggie Hearn (5.5)

At the beginning of November, the Michigan Wolverines were a preseason top-five team with a questioning fan base and a young, inexperienced team. Two short months and an undefeated non-conference season later, Michigan is now undoubtedly one of the best and most talented teams in the country, finding themselves entering Big Ten season as the only unblemished team in the conference. Tonight (7pm on ESPN2) they will travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on the depleted Northwestern Wildcats, the one major conference team that has still never made an NCAA Tournament. Here are your quick hitters for Michigan:

  1. Stay Disciplined: When you play against Northwestern, you know to prepare for the cut-heavy Princeton-style offense that Bill Carmody employs for the Purple and Black. Northwestern will rarely take ill-advised shots without exhausting the shot clock and lacks the athleticism to fast-break Michigan to death. What the Wildcats will do plenty of is shoot from deep and cut inside. The whole point of the Princeton-style offense is to get players in position to make easy baskets. With smart passes and positioning, Northwestern provides an immense challenge to teams that may be more athletic and talented overall but lacking in discipline. Luckily for Michigan, John Beilein is used to Carmody by now and has not had too much trouble with Northwestern, going 6-4 against them in his time at Michigan. With more talent, length, and athleticism at his hands, Beilein should have his team very well-prepared. Still, Michigan has struggled on the defensive end of the court, and with Northwestern shooting 38.6% from downtown as a team, there has to be some concern that the Wolverines will be sent back to Ann Arbor with their first loss of the season. Michigan needs to stay with Dave Sobolewski and Kale Abrahamson, who each shoot 35 percent or better from three, to avoid disaster. Alex Marcotullio is another shooter to watch out for, and even though the lefty is struggling this season while shooting only 31.8 percent from downtown, he can go off at any time.

    NW suffered a huge blow when Drew Crawford was lost for the season

  1. Wear them Down: John Beilein is known for sticking with a fairly concrete seven- to eight-man rotation, and this season is no different, as only five Wolverines average better than 20 minutes per game and two more play more than 10. In much the same manner, Carmody has been forced into a short bench this season after losing Drew Crawford, by far the team’s best athlete, scorer, and overall player, for the rest of the year to injury during the non-conference season and Jershon Cobb in the offseason. They’ll also be without current leading scorer Reggie Hearn who suffered a sprained ankle against Stanford. Northwestern will likely play at least Sobolewski and senior Jared Swopshire for 30-plus minutes while Marcotullio should also see significant playing time. Beyond that, a number of unproven Cats will get some run, but it’s really anyone’s guess as to which ones will stick. If Michigan can wear the unathletic Northwestern team down with the transition game, the Wolverines should come out on top. If Northwestern can successfully slow the game to a crawl and limit Michigan’s fast break, it could be very close. Michigan has obviously been great offensively, shooting 51.1 percent from the floor and 40.7 percent from three, but their questionable defense gives Northwestern a shot if they can’t wear the Wildcats down. Northwestern will also look for a secondary option to get hot and be the hero tonight. Freshmen Alex Olah, Tre Demps, Abrahamson, and Mike Turner are all guys that have flashed potential but have not put it together. A big game from any of those would go a ways toward helping the upset cause.
  1. Quiet the Crowd: Even though this is already Michigan’s 14th game this season, tonight is just the second time the Wolverines will play a true road game so far. The Maize and Blue took down a mediocre Bradley team in Peoria back in early December by just eight points, something Northwestern will certainly be looking back on and looking to capitalize on with a rowdy home crowd. The Wildcats will need to prove their worth in Big Ten play if they are to have any prayer of dancing in March, and they would want nothing more than a conference-opening win over Michigan this evening. The Wildside student section will still be out on break, but the rest of the Northwestern faithful will pack the house to cheer on their team. Michigan’s alumni base in Chicago should help neutralize the noise a bit, but there is no doubt that Carmody’s team is going to give it their best shot. Nik Stauskas, who continues to lead the whole country in three-point shooting percentage, mentioned in yesterday’s media meeting that he relishes taking his talents on the road; he and his teammates must stay calm when Northwestern makes their runs if Michigan is to remain undefeated.

Prediction: Purdue’s win last night over 14th-ranked Illinois shows just how tough it is to win on the road in the Big Ten. If one thing is for certain, tonight’s Big Ten opener will be a dog fight. Neither team makes a ton of mistakes and both like to shoot the ball from deep, but in the end, Michigan’s superior talent will get the job done. Stauskas will quiet the crowd a number of times with threes while Trey Burke continues his candidacy for the Naismith Award with another 20-plue point outing. With Tim Hardaway, Jr.’s status still up in the air, both teams need to be prepared for any scenario. Wolverines pull it out, 77-68.

Michigan Hoops Preview: Northwestern

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012


On Sunday, Michigan dominated then-16th-ranked Wisconsin, ultimately knocking the Badgers out of the ranking. Tonight, Michigan faces a tough trap game against a better-than-you-think Northwestern squad.

#13 Michigan v. Northwestern
Wed., Jan. 11
6:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Ann Arbor, Mich.
13-3 (3-1) Record 11-4 (1-2)
Ferris State 59-33
Towson 64-47
W. Illinois 59-55
#8 Memphis 73-61
UCLA 79-63
Iowa State 79-66
Oakland 90-80
Ark. Pine-Bluff 63-50
Alabama A&M 87-57
Bradley 77-66
Penn State 71-53
Minnesota 61-56
#16 Wisconsin 59-41
Wins Texas Pan-Am 60-36
LSU 88-82
Tulsa 69-65
Seton Hall 80-73
Stony Brook 63-58
Georgia Tech 73-60
Miss. Valley State 92-67
Texas Southern 81-51
C. Connecticut St. 70-64
E. Illinois 87-72
Penn State 68-56
#6 Duke 75-82
Virginia 58-70
#11 Indiana 71-73
Losses #8 Baylor 41-69
#21 Creighton 79-87
#2 Ohio State 54-87
Illinois 56-57
70.1 Points Per Game 70.9
59.6 Scoring Defense 65.6
407-for-856 (47.5%) Field Goal % 371-for-828 (44.8%)
342-for-847 (40.4%) Def. Field Goal % 360-for-832 (43.3%)
135-for-370 (36.5%) 3-point % 135-for-367 (36.8%)
105-for-303 (34.7%) Def. 3-point % 92-for-269 (34.2%)
173-for-248 (69.8%) Free Throw % 187-for-265 (70.6%)
10.8 Free Throws Made/Game 12.5
33.9 Rebounds Per Game 31.5
30.6 Opp. Rebounds Per Game 36.3
14.0 Assists Per Game 16.7
11.9 Turnovers Per Game 10.0
5.1 Steals Per Game 6.5
2.5 Blocks Per Game 4.3
G – Tim Hardaway (15.9)
G – Trey Burke (13.8)
Leading Scorer G – John Shurna (18.7)
G – Drew Crawford (17.3)
F – Evan Smotrycz (6.6)
F – Jordan Morgan (5.7)
Leading Rebounder G – John Shurna (6.1)
G – Drew Crawford (5.0)

Northwestern comes in at 11-4 and 1-2 in Big Ten play. Three of the Wildcats’ four losses have been to ranked teams, #8 Baylor, #21 Creighton, and #2 Ohio State. The other was a one-point loss to Illinois, who just upset Ohio State last night. Though Northwestern doesn’t have a win over a ranked team, the Wildcats have beaten 11-4 LSU at home and Georgia Tech on the road in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The rest of the schedule has been made up of cupcakes that Northwestern has handled rather easily.

Northwestern is led by two players, John Shurna and Drew Crawford. Shurna has been in Evanston for an eternity and leads the Big Ten, averaging 18.7 points per game this season.  He also leads the Wildcats in rebounds with 6.1 per contest. He has hit 41-of-97 three-pointers (42.3 percent), although his rate has tailed off a bit in Big Ten play so far, having hit only 6-of-19 (31.6 percent). He scored 37 against LSU, 32 against Eastern Illinois, and 25 against Georgia Tech, so he has the ability to fill it up. Ohio State and Baylor each held him to just 11 points on 5-of-18 and 4-of-19 shooting, respectively, so he can be slowed down.

Crawford ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 17.3 points per game and ranks second on the team in rebounding with five per game. While he has attempted fewer threes than Shurna, he shoots at a slightly better clip, having hit 29-of-67 (43.3 percent) so far this season. He poured in 34 against Creighton, 28 against Tulsa, and 27 against Seton Hall, so like Shurna, he can make you pay. The only game he was held to single digits was last Wednesday’s loss to Illinois when he scored just eight on 3-of-12 shooting.

Outside of Shurna and Crawford, the Wildcats have a bunch of role players. The team’s third-leading scorer is freshman guard Dave Sobolewski at 8.3 points per game. He’s also a pretty good three-point shooter, having connected on 22-of-62 (35.5 percent). Scoring-wise, he’s had his ups and downs. He scored a career high 20 against Penn State, but has been held to six or fewer points seven times this season.

Inside, the Wildcats rely on 6’11″ senior center Luka Mirkovic, who averages 7.4 points and just 4.3 rebounds a game and senior forward David Curletti who averages 3.7 points.

As you can see, the Wildcats aren’t an inside team and love to shoot the three. They have done it to nearly the exact same tune as Michigan, having made the exact same amount in three less attempts. Like years past Bill Carmody’s squad likes to control the tempo and rely on sound fundamentals and outside shooting. Look for Michigan to get the ball down low to Jordan Morgan and try to attack the basket more than usual. But I caution you to look to lightly at this game as Northwestern has won three of the last four meetings.