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Posts Tagged ‘ESPN College GameDay’

First Look: #8 Wisconsin

Monday, November 13th, 2017

(David Stluka)

Michigan closed its three-game cupcake stretch with it third straight win, improving to 8-2 on the season and 5-2 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines outscored Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland 105-34 to stay within reach of at least a share of the Big Ten East. But it won’t come easy as a pair of top-10 foes remain in Wisconsin and Ohio State. Michigan travels to Madison to face unbeaten Wisconsin this Saturday. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare through the first 10 games of the season.

Wisconsin & Michigan team stats comparison
Offense Defense
Average Rank Average Rank Average Rank Average Rank
36.3 24th 27.9 70th PPG 13.4 3rd 16.4 9th
2,450 2,078 Rush Yds 815 1,103
245.0 18th 207.8 30th Rush/Gm 81.5 1st 110.3 9th
5.2 4.9 Rush Avg 2.8 3.3
1,881 1,652 Pass Yds 1,661 1,445
188.1 95th 165.2 111th Pass/Gm 166.1 7th 144.5 2nd
4,331 3,730 Total Off. 2,476 2,548
433.1 37th 373.0 94th Total Off./Gm 247.6 1st 254.8 3rd
21.9 52nd 19.6 99th KR Avg 18.7 29th 15.6 3rd
6.0 84th 8.2 54th PR Avg 6.2 51st 7.1 63rd
35:46 2nd 32:25 18th Avg TOP 24:14 27:35
52% 1st 33% 112th 3rd Down% 29% 10th 24% 1st
14-76 23rd 27-187 104th Sacks-Yds 35-261 4th 33-233 5th
47 34 TDs 14 20
10-12 (83%) 14-19 (74%) FG-ATT 12-15 (80%) 8-13 (62%)
40-47 (85%) 61st 29-33 (88%) 39th Red Zone 19-27 (70%) 7th 19-23 (83%) 60th
32-47 (68%) 18-33 (55%)  RZ TD 8-27 (30%) 14-23 (61%)
2.78 28th 2.31 52nd OFEI/DFEI 1.13 6th 1.40 15th
31.9 35th 28.9 53rd S&P+ 14.2 1st 18.2 6th

If you like defensive football this game is for you. Wisconsin and Michigan both rank in the top two or three in every defensive statistic in the Big Ten and in the top ten nationally. But the Badgers also feature a pretty good offense, better than Michigan’s and much better than the offenses Michigan has faced the past few weeks.

When the next College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday Wisconsin will present an interesting case study. They’re one of only four unbeaten teams remaining — along with Alabama, Miami, and UCF — but have played one of the worst schedules in the country. This past Saturday’s 38-14 win over Iowa was the first time they’ve played a ranked team this season, and Iowa is now 6-4 and only ranked because they applied the Kinnick Stadium at night curse on Ohio State a week ago.

Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule featured Utah State, Florida Atlantic, and BYU, who have gone a combined 15-16 so far this season. Then the Badgers opened Big Ten play with Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Maryland, Illinois, and Indiana before hosting Iowa. In other words, they get to skip the gauntlet that the teams in the East Division have had to endure, facing only Michigan and skipping Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State completely.

Do the Badgers deserve to be ranked in the top four come Tuesday? By record, yes. But one could easily argue that if they had played the schedule of a team in the East Division, they would likely have at least one if not two losses. Time will tell as they host Michigan this Saturday and then will get to face the East champion in the Big Ten championship game two weeks later.

Like a typical Wisconsin team, the Badgers get it done with their defense and their running game. The running game ranks second in the Big Ten and 18th nationally, averaging 245 yards per game. Their lowest rushing output of the season was 109 yards against Northwestern’s 7th-ranked rush defense, which gives hope that Michigan’s 9th-ranked rush defense can hold them in check. The Badgers have topped 200 yards rushing in eight of 10 contests and have topped 300 yards twice — a 357-yard performance against Florida Atlantic and 353 yards against Nebraska. Illinois was the only other defense to hold them below 200.

The passing game, however, is more like Michigan’s, ranking 10th in the Big Ten and 95th nationally with an average of 188.1 yards per game. Wisconsin has topped 200 yards passing four times this season, but has done so only once since Week 3. In their last seven games they’re averaging 167.7 passing yards per game, which is right about Michigan’s average. In their last three, the average is down to just 146.7. Michigan has the nation’s second-best pass defense, giving up just 144.5 yards per game through the air, and with Wisconsin’s leading receiver, Quintez Cephus, out for the year, that bodes well for the Wolverines.

Defensively, Wisconsin is the best in the nation, statistically at least. The Badgers rank 1st in the Big Ten and 3rd nationally in scoring defense (13.4 points per game), 1st and 1st in rush defense (81.5 yards per game), 2nd and 7th in pass defense (166.1 yards per game), and 1st and 1st in total defense (247.6 yards per game).

Only four opponents have topped 100 rushing yards against Wisconsin this season. Maryland had the most success with 143 yards on 4.1 yards per carry. Illinois had 134 yards on 4.1. But Wisconsin has shut down its last two opponents, holding Indiana and Iowa to a combined 65 yards on 47 carries (1.4 yards per carry). Now, before you get too worried, both of those running games rank in the 100s nationally and 10th and 11th in the conference.

Wisconsin’s pass defense hasn’t allowed more than 271 yards in a game this season. Six of ten opponents have thrown for 155 yards or fewer including Iowa, who passed for just 41 yards last week.

Clearly, Wisconsin is one of the best teams Michigan has faced all season, at least statistically. Just how good the Badgers are remains to be seen given the strength of their schedule. But the same can be said for Michigan, who has lost to the only two good teams they’ve played. Michigan can win, but it will take a complete performance to do so.

Near upset: #6 Wisconsin 69 – Michigan 64 OT

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Michigan vs Wisconsin(Teresa Mathew, UMHoops)

ESPN’s College Gameday was in Ann Arbor for Michigan’s matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean anyone was really expecting a good game between the two teams at opposite ends of the experience spectrum.

The Badgers, led by the eccentric but outstanding Bo Ryan, came in as the 6th-ranked team nationally, boasting a lineup replete with size, experience, talent, and cohesiveness. Frank Kaminsky, a preseason All-American 7-footer, is arguably one of the three best players in the country, but he’s joined by fellow senior Josh Gasser, junior (and surefire first-rounder) Sam Dekker, and experienced sophomores Nigel Hayes — a skilled big man — and Bronson Koenig. Coming off the bench, Ryan prefers another senior and another pair of sophomores being weaned into a handful of minutes per game. On Saturday night, not a single visiting freshman checked into the game.

Wisconsin returned just about everyone coming off a trip to the Final Four last season, and they’ve looked the part so far this year, with their only losses coming to Duke and a puzzling fall at Rutgers, where Kaminsky sat out and point guard Traevon Jackson injured himself in the second half.

Compare that to this season’s Michigan outfit, which is now down to nine scholarship players and starts two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior – along with a bench full of more freshmen and walk-ons – and you see why the Badgers entered the evening as double-digit favorites. And though the Wolverines were just one round away from dancing in Dallas with the Badgers, injuries and NBA attrition have forced coach John Beilein into playing multiple lineups with almost no experience; on Saturday night, five freshmen and two sophomore walk-ons logged minutes for the home Maize and Blue.

For much of the night, the inklings of the Badgers’ superiority proved accurate, with Wisconsin jumping out to an early seven-point lead, enduring Michigan’s first-half run, then bringing it back to seven at the break before opening the lead up to 11 four minutes into the second half.

Dekker used his 6’9″ frame and athleticism to shoot over and drive past the defense on his way to eight first-half points, Koenig knocked down three of four shots for seven, and bigs Hayes and Kaminsky pitched in six a piece before the break. Michigan also displayed some nice balanced scoring, with six different players getting on the board in the first half, but no one scored more than Max Bielfeldt’s six. The Wolverines stuck in the game by taking advantage of an uncharacteristic six first-half giveaways from the Badgers – prompting Bo Ryan to quip that he was pondering opening a bakery because of so many turnovers in one of the more bizarre jokes I’ve ever heard in a press conference – and an even more surprising five offensive rebounds, including three for Bielfeldt that were all put back up and made.

The sloppy play for the Badgers wouldn’t continue forever, though, as the visitors turned it over just once in the second half, allowing them to use their full possessions and dominate with their size. A couple times, Spike Albrecht was comically caught trying to body up Kaminsky, who had his way in the post for much of the game to the tune of 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting without a single triple attempt.

Four Factors
Michigan Wisconsin
49.1 eFG% 53.9
36.7 OReb% 29.0
15.4 TO% 13.7
22.2 FTR 37.3

Despite the odds, Michigan still fought back as they have so many times this season. Missing leader Caris LeVert for just the second game, the Wolverines seemed to move the ball a little better around the perimeter with less reliance on the three. After falling down early in the game, Bielfeldt stepped up down low for three offensive boards and buckets to help the home squad take a 17-16 lead before fellow big man Mark Donnal checked in to score four more quick points, including one bucket on a pretty 15-foot turnaround fadeaway baseline jumper to keep Michigan up two with 3:13 remaining.

The Maize and Blue wouldn’t score the rest of the half, however, while Wisconsin quickly reeled off nine points courtesy of a Hayes and-one and buzzer-beating three and a ferocious dunk from Dekker, who had to leave the court after converting the three-point play due to a sizable amount of blood coming from his hand.

Early in the second half, it looked like Wisconsin would finally escape the ties of Michigan’s dizzying array of defenses and run away with it, but four straight buckets from four different Wolverines and a pair of Derrick Walton free throws tied things up at 38 midway through the second half. A Bronson Koenig three finally halted Michigan’s 11-0 run, but Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman stepped right up and nailed a three of his own to knot it up again.

With a veteran savvy that is becoming increasingly rare in college basketball, however, the Badgers remained unfazed and immediately scored seven in a row to go up 48-41 with just 7:33 remaining. It looked like the book would finally be closed on the evening, but Michigan fought back valiantly with five straight from Zak Irvin and a huge pair of makes from Rahk and Walton to cut things to two with 22 seconds left right after Josh Gasser missed the front end of his 1-and-1 try.

Michigan, with no choice but to foul, sent Koenig to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity, and happily saw the second miss. Walton quickly got fouled, drained a pair to cut the lead to one, then Aubrey Dawkins put Koenig back to the line for two.

This time, the sophomore made good on both to give Wisconsin a three-point lead with just 10 seconds remaining.

The Wolverines would have one chance to send it to overtime, and with Bo Ryan electing not to intentionally foul, Dawkins caught a pass from Walton on the left wing, went up to shoot – drawing two defenders – and deftly laid it back off to an open Walton on the left.

The shot hung in the air for a few memorable moments before finding nothing but net, causing Crisler to erupt in a deafening roar as Michigan took it to OT.

Unfortunately for the terrific crowd and the scrappy Wolverines, the dream comeback died shortly after. Frank Kaminsky started off the extra period with an incredible and-one finish over Ricky Doyle, then Josh Gasser hit a three after a Michigan turnover to put Wisconsin up six before Beilein’s team knew what hit them.

And although the Wolverines had mustered up comeback after comeback all night long, this lead proved insurmountable. Kaminsky would finish the overtime period with eight of his game-high 22 while Gasser pitched in the three and Dekker made one free throw, giving Wisconsin the 69-64 win.

After the epic battle, Beilein said there would be no moral victories taken despite the encouraging performance, but that Michigan will certainly learn from the loss and continue to key in on what they did well.

It’s hard to not see this game as a positive for Michigan performance-wise, though, even if they let another potential season-changing win fall through their grasp.

Nine different Wolverines scored, led by Derrick Walton’s 17, while only Wisconsin’s starting five got on the scoreboard. Particularly encouraging for Michigan also was the collective output of bigs Doyle, Donnal, and Bielfeldt, who combined for 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 13 rebounds, including six offensive, while doing about as well as you could hope against the likes of Kaminsky and Hayes down low. That pair scored 32 points, but it took them 23 shots to get there.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Rahk) was another bright spot, as the freshman scored nine points on four shots and showed positive signs for the third straight game, according to Beilein. Rahk continues to display a better grasp of the offense and greatly increased confidence, but perhaps most impressive has been the drastic improvement in his outside shot. The knock on the Philadelphia native coming in was his inability to provide a deep threat, and he certainly struggled shooting earlier this year, but his shot looks terrific right now, and he has not been afraid to take the big ones.

The Wolverines will now face a Nebraska team this Tuesday coming off a home win over Michigan State before a gauntlet of games awaits in February.

At this point, Michigan has lots of catching up to do in order to have even an outside shot at making the Big Dance, but if they can play like this on a nightly basis, there should be a few reasonable opportunities for big wins in the near future.

The first step has been taken. Now the effort must be sustained.

Quick Hitters:

• In his press conference, Beilein confirmed that Michigan was fouling on purpose at the end of the first half, but that, looking back on it, they executed very poorly. The Wolverines had two fouls to give, but the confusion started when Walton, who already had one foul on the night, picked up a second foul some 30 feet from the hoop with 19 seconds on the clock. Michigan fouled again with nine seconds remaining, but that still gave Wisconsin plenty of time to score, which they capitalized on with a corner three from Nigel Hayes.

The controversial strategy from Beilein is designed to take advantage of “free” fouls at the end of the half in order to give the other team very little time to get set up and finish with a bucket, but in order to work, Michigan would like to leave the team with four seconds or fewer to operate. By fouling with 19 seconds left, the strategy was destined to fail, as Michigan couldn’t possibly utilize just one more foul to give effectively with so much time left.

Three Stars:

***Derrick Walton Jr.***
17 points (4-of-12 FG, 2-of-5 3pt, 7-of-8 FT), five rebounds (two offensive), two assists, one steal, one turnover in 39 minutes

**Max Bielfeldt**
9 points (4-of-6 FG, 1-of-3 3pt, 1-of-2 FT), five rebounds (three offensive) in 13 minutes

*Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman*
9 points (3-of-4 FG, 1-of-1 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), two rebounds in 23 minutes

Final Game Stats
21 Zak Irvin* 5-15 2-6 0-0 1 1 2 0 12 2 1 0 1 40
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 4 3 2 0 1 0 24
32 Ricky Doyle* 1-3 0-0 2-2 1 4 5 3 4 0 0 0 0 23
02 Spike Albrecht* 1-4 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 2 1 0 0 25
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 4-12 2-5 7-8 2 3 5 4 17 2 5 0 1 40
03 Kameron Chatman 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 22
04 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 3-4 1-1 2-2 0 2 2 4 9 0 0 0 0 23
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
34 Mark Donnal 3-5 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 0 6 0 0 0 0 11
44 Max Bielfeldt 4-6 1-3 0-0 3 2 5 3 9 0 0 0 0 14
Totals 23-54 7-20 11-12 11 22 33 20 64 8 9 1 2 225
Wisconsin 24-51 7-21 14-19 9 21 30 12 69 12 8 1 4 225
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: #6 Wisconsin

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Michigan (12-7, 5-2) vs #6 Wisconsin (17-2, 5-1)
Saturday, Jan. 24 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 7:00 p.m. EST | ESPN
64.9 Points/gm 73.8
(425-1,033) 41.1 Field Goal % 48.9 (494-1,011)
(156-441) 35.4 3-pt FG % 35.8 (132-369)
(227-309) 73.5 Free Throw % 74.2 (282-380)
11.9 FT Made/gm 14.8
31.8 Reb/gm 34.4
12.4 Assists/gm 12.9
9.9 Turnovers/gm 7.8
61.6 Points/gm 54.6
(435-999) 43.5 Field Goal % 40.9 (399-976)
(125-362) 34.5 3-pt FG % 34.9 (90-258)
34.1 Opp. Reb/gm 27.6
6.1 Steals/gm 5.1
1.9 Blocks/gm 3.9
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (13.7) Points/gm Frank Kaminsky (16.9), Sam Dekker (12.6)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.7) Reb/gm Frank Kaminsky (8.2), Nigel Hayes (6.9)
*Out for season


Although Michigan’s postseason is hanging on by the thinnest of threads, the Wolverines stand just a half game out of first place in the Big Ten one-third of the way into conference play. Tonight, when Michigan hosts sixth-ranked Wisconsin in front of a nationally televised ESPN audience, it gets a prime opportunity to seize the quality win its resume lacks. Let’s take a look at the Badgers.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Frank Kaminsky (F) 30.4 16.9 53.4 40.4 75.6 8.2 2.4 1.4 1.8 1.1
Sam Dekker (F) 27.4 12.6 52.7 35.6 69.0 4.9 1.2 1.2 0.5 0.3
Nigel Hayes (F) 31.4 12.5 55.3 36.8 69.6 6.9 1.9 0.9 0.6 0.7
Josh Gasser (G) 29.4 7.2 45.2 40.3 85.4 2.7 1.5 0.5 0.1 0.8
Bronson Koenig (G) 22.1 5.6 43.5 37.0 87.5 1.4 2.1 0.5 0.2 0.3
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) 18.6 6.5 43.5 35.4 66.7 3.2 0.8 0.9 0.1 0.4
Vitto Brown (F) 8.8 2.8 48.8 00.0 58.8 2.1 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.3
Zak Showalter (G) 7.3 2.7 40.7 14.3 85.7 1.3 0.3 0.1 0.2 0.4
Riley Dearring (G) 3.1 1.0 40.0 42.9 00.0 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1
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
Jan. 31 at #25 Iowa
Feb. 3 #23 Indiana
Feb. 7 Northwestern
Feb. 10 at Nebraska
Feb. 15 Illinois
Feb. 18 at Penn State
Feb. 21 Minnesota
Feb. 24 at #13 Maryland
Mar. 1 Michigan State
Mar. 5 at Minnesota
Mar. 8 at Ohio State
*Battle 4 Atlantis, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Wisconsin began the season as the favorite to win the Big Ten and opened with seven straight wins, capturing the Battle 4 Atlantis crown before falling to Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Another winning streak carried the Badgers into Big Ten play before Rutgers of all teams stopped the streak at eight just two weeks ago. But Wisconsin responded with a 15-point win over Nebraska and a 32-point thumping of 25th-ranked Iowa.

The Series

Michigan leads the all-time series 91-67 and 56-21 in Ann Arbor. Last season, the teams split their matchups, each winning on the road. Michigan beat Wisconsin 77-70 at the Kohl Center and Wisconsin returned the favor 75-62 in the Crisler Center. John Beilein is 2-12 all-time against Wisconsin.


• Senior guard Traevon Jackson broke his foot in a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 11 and will miss tonight’s game. He had started 84 consecutive games

• Wisconsin ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring (73.8 points per game) and first in scoring defense (54.6). The Badgers’ plus-19.2 scoring margin also leads the conference

• Wisconsin ranks second in the Big Ten in shooting percentage (48.9) and seventh in three-point shooting (35.8)

• Wisconsin ranks 12th in the Big Ten in three-point shooting defense (34.9 percent), ahead of only Northwestern and Purdue

• Senior Frank Kaminsky ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.9 points per game), second in rebounding (8.2), fifth in blocked shots (1.8), and first in defensive rebounds per game (6.6)

• Sophomore Nigel Hayes ranks fifth in the Big Ten in rebounding (6.9 per game)

Michigan hoops preview: Michigan State

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Michigan vs MSU banner
#21/25 Michigan (14-4, 6-0) vs #3/3 Michigan State (18-1, 7-0)
Saturday, Jan. 25 | East Lansing, Mich. | 7 p.m. EST | ESPN
77.2 Points/gm 79.9
(489-1,005) 48.7 Field Goal % 47.8(545-1,141)
(152-398) 38.2 3-pt FG % 38.5 (146-379)
(259-348) 74.4 Free Throw % 70.0 (282-403)
14.4 FT Made/gm 14.8
33.4 Reb/gm 39.5
15.6 Assists/gm 17.8
9.2 Turnovers/gm 11.5
63.7 Points/gm 63.9
(428-993) 43.1 Field Goal % 37.9(412-1,087)
(100-307) 32.6 3-pt FG % 31.3 (125-400)
31.1 Opp. Reb/gm 33.9
6.0 Steals/gm 8.0
2.9 Blocks/gm 5.3
Individual Leaders
N. Stauskas (18.5), G. Robinson III (13.9) Points/gm Gary Harris (18.3), Adreian Payne (16.2)
Mitch McGary (8.3), Jon Horford (5.1) Reb/gm Branden Dawson (8.7), Adreian Payne (7.7)


Following back-to-back wins over top 10 teams Michigan has played itself to the top of the Big Ten and set up the early game of the year for the conference title race against heated instate rival Michigan State. ESPN College GameDay will be on hand for Saturday’s battle between the only two teams still unbeaten in the Big Ten and the winner will gain the upper hand. The team that Michigan beat on Wednesday, Iowa, is the only other Big Ten team with fewer than three conference losses and the Hawkeyes have yet to play MSU.

Can Michigan pull off a win in the Breslin Center in the face of what is sure to be the most intimidating atmosphere it will face all season? Remember, since its 61-57 upset in East Lansing on Jan. 27, 2011 no one in the conference has a better record than the Wolverines. Or will the Spartans protect their home court and end Michigan’s eight-game winning streak? Let’s take a look.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Gary Harris (G) 32.2 18.3 43.1 33.3 83.8 4.5 2.8 1.9 0.3 2.1
Adreian Payne (C)* 28.8 16.2 52.4 43.9 80.3 7.7 1.5 1.7 1.0 0.7
Keith Appling (G) 32.4 15.6 47.0 42.6 72.2 3.6 4.6 2.0 0.5 1.2
Branden Dawson (F)* 28.4 10.2 60.4 00.0 57.9 8.7 1.9 1.4 0.9 1.2
Denzel Valentine (G) 28.0 7.6 38.6 30.2 71.4 6.0 3.9 1.6 0.5 1.2
Matt Costello (F) 16.2 3.5 56.4 00.0 53.3 3.2 0.7 0.6 1.7 0.3
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Travis Trice (G) 20.3 7.1 41.4 41.8 75.0 1.2 2.2 1.1 0.2 1.2
Kenny Kaminski (F) 10.8 5.2 51.3 54.8 62.5 1.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4
Alex Gauna (F) 8.9 2.1 68.0 00.0 30.0 1.6 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.1

The big news coming out of East Lansing this week was an injury that Branden Dawson (6’6″, 225) suffered on Thursday. While watching film, he slammed his hand on a table, breaking a bone and requiring surgery that will keep him out of action for four to five weeks. That’s a huge loss for the Spartans’ front court as Dawson leads the team with 8.7 rebounds per game and also adds 10.2 points and about a block per game. In nine of the 18 games he has played this season he recorded at least ten rebounds, so his presence will surely be missed.

Starting in his place will be redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski (6’8″, 225). It will be the first start of his career, but he presents a different challenge than Dawson does. Though a couple inches taller than Dawson, Kaminski isn’t as big of a presence down low, however, he’s a threat to step out and hit a three. He has made 17-of-31 attempts, leading the team in three-point percentage. In fact, he has only taken eight two-pointers so far this season, so Michigan’s defense won’t be able to back off Kaminski.

Dawson’s injury isn’t the only one on the team as senior center Adreian Payne (6’10”, 245) has missed the past four games with a sprained foot. Tom Izzo said that the chances of Payne playing on Saturday are “slim to none” but anyone who knows the rivalry knows Izzo is likely downplaying the chances as a bit of gamesmanship. But even if Payne plays he won’t be 100 percent, and if he doesn’t, Michigan State will miss his 16.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

The other big man that will start is sophomore Matt Costello (6’9″, 240). He averages 16 minutes per game, but has seen 22 or more in three of the last four games in Payne’s absence. In those four, he’s averaging 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds, both of which are higher than his season-long averages. In the Spartans’ overtime victory over Minnesota two weeks ago, Costello totaled seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks, his best performance of the season.

The backcourt is led by shooting guard Gary Harris (6’4″, 210), one of the leading candidates for Big Ten player of the year. The sophomore is averaging 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and nearly three assists per game. He shoots a lot of threes – 14 more than Nik Stauskas has taken – at a 33.3 percent clip, but in his last two games he has made 6-of-10 from downtown. In fact, Harris has made 15-of-22 overall from the field in the last two games against Illinois and Indiana, and he’ll need to keep up the same rate if the Spartans are to win.

Senior point guard Keith Appling (6’1″, 185) also finds himself on player of the year watch lists, averaging 15.6 points and 4.6 assists per contest. While he has taken a little more than half the number of threes as Harris, Appling is making them at a better rate (42.6 percent). However, unlike Harris, he is in a bit of a rut, having made just one of his last ten from downtown and 10-of-32 overall in the last three games.

Sophomore wing Denzel Valentine (6’5″, 225) is not a great shooter (38.6 overall and 30.2 three-point), but is the team’s third-leading rebounder and will have to hit the glass hard with Dawson and likely Payne out. Valentine averages 7.6 points and six rebounds per game, but has stepped it up the last two games, averaging 12.5 points and nine boards.

Junior guard Travis Trice (6’0″, 170) is the other guard that sees a lot of action, averaging 7.1 points and 2.2 assists per game. Heh as only scored in double figures five times this season, but he’s a capable shooter at 41.4 percent overall and 41.8 percent from three.

The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 8 McNeese State W 98-56
Nov. 12 #1 Kentucky^ W 78-74
Nov. 15 Columbia W 62-53
Nov. 18 Portland W 82-67
Nov. 22 Virginia Tech* W 96-77
Nov. 23 Oklahoma* W 87-76
Nov. 29 Mount St. Mary’s W 98-65
Dec. 4 North Carolina# L 65-79
Dec. 14 Oakland W 67-63
Dec. 17 North Florida W 78-48
Dec. 21 at Texas W 92-78
Dec. 28 New Orleans W 101-48
Dec. 31 at Penn State W 79-63
Dec. 31 Nebraska W 67-57
Jan. 4 at Indiana W 73-56
Jan. 7 #3 Ohio State W 72-68 OT
Jan. 11 Minnesota W 87-75 OT
Jan. 15 at Northwestern W 54-40
Jan. 18 at Illinois W 78-62
Jan. 12 Indiana W 71-66
^Champions Classic, *Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, #Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Like Michigan, Tom Izzo’s squad has really challenged itself with its non-conference schedule. That has been one of Izzo’s philosophies since he has been at Michigan State and one of the reasons his teams are always tough down the stretch in Big Ten play.

The second game of the season was a matchup with then-No. 1 Kentucky in Chicago and the Spartans won by four. They beat Oklahoma (currently ranked 25th) by 11 in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and won by 14 at Texas in MSU’s only true road game before conference play began.

The only loss came at the hands of North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Tarheels were able to dominate the glass, outrebounding Michigan State by 11 – something Michigan hopes to repeat with Dawson and Payne out.

In Big Ten play, the Spartans have survived a pair of overtime games, topping Ohio State by four and Minnesota by 12. Outside of those two, Michigan State has played three of the bottom five in the conference – Penn State, Northwestern and Illinois – and Indiana twice.

The Series

Michigan holds a 95-76 all-time lead in the series, but Michigan State leads 48-36 in East Lansing. Michigan has lost its last two at the Breslin Center including a 75-52 defeat last season, but stunned the Spartans there on Jan. 27, 2011. Overall, Michigan has won four of the last six in the series, but the home team has won the last five.


• Michigan is 6-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since the 2002-03 season

• Nik Stauskas has recorded three straight 20-point games and nine so far this season, the most in the Big Ten

• Tomorrow’s meeting will be the fifth straight in which both teams are nationally ranked

• Gary Harris and Zak Irvin were high school teammates at Hamilton Southeastern in Fishers, Ind.

#19 Michigan 56 – #6 Ohio State 51

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#19 Michigan (20-7, 10-4) 25 31 56
#6 Ohio State (21-5, 10-4) 20 31 51

Novak and the Wolverines took five charges to stymie Sullinger and the Buckeyes (photo by Tony Ding, AP)

Michigan capped off an incredible day with a prime-time, nationally televised win over 6th-ranked Ohio State. The day began with ESPN College Game Day broadcasting live from the Crisler Center, continued with six football commitments for the 2013 class (more on that to follow), and culminated with a 56-51 win over the Buckeyes.

Michigan scored the first six and never looked back, holding the lead for the rest of the game. The lead grew to as much as 10 in the second half and the closest Ohio State ever got was one at 17-16 with five minutes left in the first half.

It was clear from the onset that John Beilein’s game plan was to control the tempo offensively and jump the high screens and double-team Jared Sullinger in the post, forcing the Buckeyes to settle for shots from the outside. And it worked to perfection.

Michigan held OSU to just 10-of-26 shooting (0-for-9 from three) in the first half, but the Wolverines shot just 37.5 percent themselves from the field, allowing the Buckeyes to stay within striking distance. In the second, Michigan hit 13-of-23 and held the Buckeyes to just nine field goals.

The Buckeyes turned to Sullinger in the second half, and he finished the game with 14 points, but the Michigan defense harassed him all game, drawing a pair of charges and keeping him out of rhythm. It was Deshaun Thomas who almost singlehandedly kept the Buckeyes in the game, scorign 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while Sullinger struggled and William Buford was held to just six points on 3-of-12 shooting.

For Michigan, it was the Trey Burke show as the freshman dominated Ohio sophomore point guard Aaron Craft, scoring 17 points and five assists while holding Craft to just four points, three turnovers, and two assists. With Ohio State trying to claw back in the final minutes, Burke hit a layup with 1:20 remaining and a jumper with 14 seconds remaining, both to put the Wolverines back up by two possessions.

On the former, Burke pulled Craft out near midcourt and beat him off the dribble to the left, drove the lane and converted a layup. On the latter, he drove through traffic to the right and lofted up a floater that kissed off the glass to seal the win.

Tim Hardaway Jr added 13 and hit both threes he attempted, while Jordan Morgan played perhaps his best game of the season, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 boards.

The win was Michigan’s first over Ohio State since a 73-64 victory on Jan. 3, 2010 and keeps Michigan in contention for its first Big Ten title since 1986. The Wolverines stand a game behind Michigan State in the loss column with four games to play. The Spartans remaining schedule includes road games at Purdue, Minnesota, and #20 Indiana, and home tilts with Nebraska and current-#6 Ohio State. Michigan returns to action on Tuesday at Northwestern and will look to close out the home portion of its schedule undefeated next Saturday against Purdue.

Final Game Stats
52 Jordan Morgan* 5-8 0-0 1-1 2 9 11 2 11 1 0 0 2 35
00 Zack Novak* 3-7 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 4 6 0 0 0 0 28
01 Stu Douglass* 3-9 1-5 0-0 0 2 2 1 7 1 0 0 1 38
03 Trey Burke* 6-14 0-1 5-8 1 1 2 2 17 5 3 0 0 37
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 4-5 2-2 3-5 0 3 3 2 13 0 4 0 0 38
13 Matt Vogrich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
22 Blake McLimans 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+
23 Evan Smotryca 1-4 0-2 0-0 1 4 5 3 2 1 1 0 0 18
45 Colton Christian 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 22-47 3-13 9-14 4 21 25 15 56 8 8 0 3 200
Ohio State 19-49 3-16 10-15 12 22 34 13 51 9 13 0 7 200

Game 2 Preview: Notre Dame

Friday, September 9th, 2011

It’s been quite a start to Brady Hoke’s career at Michigan. His parade was rained on last week in a 34-10 win over Western Michigan in two-and-a-half quarters. Instead of getting a full game to assess his team’s progress heading into his first rivalry game, he has 17 minutes less of tape to review including just 35 offensive plays.

On the flip side of that, so does Notre Dame. The Irish don’t get a full game of tape to scout Michigan, which may be a blessing in disguise. Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges didn’t have to reveal much to beat Western and he said as much after the game.

Michigan v. Notre Dame
Saturday Sept. 10
8 p.m. ET
1-0 Record 0-1
Western Michigan 34-10 Wins
Losses South Florida 20-23
34 Scoring Offense 20
193 Rushing YPG 117
98 Passing YPG 391
291 Total Offense 508
10 Scoring Defense 23
96 Rush Defense YPG 126
183 Pass Defense YPG 128
279 Total Defense YPG 254
3 Takeaways 0
0 Giveaways 5
2/0 Sacks By/Allowed 2/2
3-of-6 (50%) Third-down Conv. 5-of-14 (35.7%)
0-for-0 Field Goals 0-for-1 (0%)
44 Net Punt Avg. 27.4

This Saturday will mark the first time in the storied history of Michigan football that it will play a night game in the Big House. ESPN’s College GameDay will be live from Ann Arbor on Saturday morning and Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said the demand for tickets is as great as it has ever been for a single game.

Both teams will be wearing retro uniforms to commemorate the occasion and Michigan will be honoring former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard at halftime.

Notre Dame enters the contest amid controversy from within. It too, had a rain-soaked affair last weekend, but finished the game, and everyone on South Bend wishes it had never been played.

After a dismal first half, in which ND fell behind 16-0, head coach Brian Kelly pulled starting quarterback Dayne Crist. Sophomore Tommy Rees came in and played well, earning the starting nod for this week’s game.

Notre Dame will try to salvage its season on Saturday and win for just the second time in the last six meetings. Do they have what it takes? Let’s see.


As mentioned above, Kelly decided that Tommy Rees is the right man for the job just a week after deciding that Crist was the man for the job coming out of fall camp. Rees threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Irish back into the game, but he also threw two interceptions. Last season, Rees started the final four games, all wins, completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,106 yards, 12 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

Denard Robinson was considered by some analysts a disappointment last week, but he still turned in a solid performance in less than three quarters of action. He completed 9-of-13 passes for 98 yards and also rushed eight times for 46 yards. Most importantly, he didn’t make any mistakes to keep Michigan from winning.

Last season against Notre Dame, Robinson electrified the nation with 28 carries for 258 yards and two touchdowns and completing 24-of-40 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown.

Edge: Michigan

Running Backs:

Notre Dame’s run game didn’t do much last week but still racked up a 100-yard rusher. Junior Cierre Wood carried 21 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, averaging five yards per carry. Aside from Wood, only Jonas Gray carried the ball more than twice. The pass game is what worked for the Irish, at least in the second half.

For Michigan, one of the big questions entering week one was which back would step up. It was Fitzgerald Toussaint who carried the ball 11 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns in less than three full quarters. Michael Shaw provided a nice complement with four carries for 54 yards including a 44-yard touchdown romp in the third. Brady Hoke hopes Toussaint can be the every down back all season, but I won’t get carried away after just one game.

Edge: Push

Jordan Kovacs and the Michigan secondary have a tough task with Michael Floyd on Saturday (photo by Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)

Receivers and Tight Ends:

Notre Dame has the best receiver on either team and Michael Floyd is the most feared player in this game. Last week, he caught 12 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Against Michigan last season, he only caught five for 66 yards, but two years ago, he caught seven passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Michigan’s secondary will have its hands full with Floyd.

The Irish also have a talented tight end in Tyler Eifert who caught six passes for 93 yards last week. Junior Theo Riddick was supposed to do big things this season but had just 32 yards on three catches last week. Nevertheless, he’s talented enough to do some damage.

Michigan also has a very talented starting group of receivers and tight ends although no superstar like Floyd. Robinson only threw nine passes last week so it’s easy for outside observers to say Michigan doesn’t have threats, but Junior Hemingway, Roy Roundtree, and Kevin Koger would have something to say about that. Hemingway has the ability to stretch the defense and get the jump ball while Roundtree was the Big Ten’s second leading receiver a year ago. Add in Kelvin Grady, Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, and Drew Dileo, and Michigan has a bevy of wideouts to do some damage.

However, I think the Irish have the advantage here because of Floyd and a much more pass-heavy offense.

Edge: Notre Dame

Offensive Line:

Notre Dame has an upperclassman-heavy offensive line with two juniors and three senior starters, but it’s not a super deep unit. Last week, it gave up a pair of sacks and paved the way for just 117 rushing yards. Still, it has a pair of good ones in left tackle Zach Martin and guard Trevor Robinson.

Michigan has a strong line led by center David Molk and left tackle Taylor Lewan. It was one of the best units in the nation in sacks allowed, though much of that had to do with Robinson’s escapability. However, I’m still not sold on the line’s conversion to a different blocking system under Al Borges. We’ll see how well it does against a talented Notre Dame defensive line this week.

Edge: Push

Defensive Line:

Notre Dame has a pretty good defense and held South Florida to respectable numbers last week. The Bulls rushed 42(!) times for 126 yards – just three yards per carry. The Irish were also able to record a pair of sacks. The unit is led by nose guard Sean Cwynar and ends Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson. Those same guys were unable to stop Robinson last season but have been preparing for him.

“We spent obviously a great deal of time in making sure we have answers to defend the run portion of a quarterback,” said Kelly.

For Michigan, Mike Martin is the man in the middle and he helped hold Western Michigan under 100 yards rushing. While Michigan’s D got off to a slow start last week, by midway through the second quarter, it was getting heavy pressure on WMU quarterback Alex Carder. Hoke and Greg Mattison chose to use a heavy rotation last week, regularly subbing in Will Heininger, Jabreel Black, and Nathan Brink. The big question this week will be whether the line can be as effective against a better offense.

Edge: Push

Michigan-Notre Dame Series By the Numbers

Series Record

Michigan leads 22-15-1
Michigan Points 802
Notre Dame Points 637
Record at Ann Arbor Michigan leads 12-7
At Michigan Stadium Michigan leads 8-6
Record at Notre Dame Michigan leads 9-8-1
At Notre Dame Stadium Tied at 7-7-1
Record at Neutral Site Michigan leads 1-0
Games Decided by 3 Points or Less ND leads 4-2-1
Games Decided by 7 Points or Less Tied at 9-9-1
Longest UM Winning Streak 8 (1887-1908)
Current Michigan Streak Won 2
Last 10 Games Michigan leads 6-4
Biggest Michigan Win 38-0 (2003 and 2007)
Biggest Michigan Loss 35-12 (1943)
Last Michigan Home Win 2009
Last Michigan Road Win 2010
Last Notre Dame Home Win 2008
Last Notre Dame Road Win 2005


Notre Dame has the best linebacker on the field in junior Manti Te’o. Last season, he tallied 133 tackles, including 13 and a forced fumble against Michigan. Alongside Te’o, the Irish feature a good edge rusher in Darius Fleming.

For Michigan, linebacker was a weakness last season, but Kenny Demens had a decent game last week and freshman Jake Ryan showed some ability to get to the quarterback. Other than that, the group didn’t stand out against Western. Brandon Herron became the first Wolverine to return two for touchdowns since the 1940s.

Edge: Notre Dame


Captain Harrison Smith who is the only player in ND history to total 200 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 15 pass breakups and he leads the Irish secondary. It should be a much improved group from last year, having given up just 128 yards passing last week, and featuring a number of returning upperclassmen.

Michigan gave up a bunch of yards to Western last week and lost Troy Woolfolk to an ankle injury early in the game. He seems to be healthy enough to return this week and Michigan will need him to face Floyd. J.T. Floyd is the other starter who had a pretty solid game last week, while sophomore Courtney Avery continues to develop. The star of the defense is probably former walk-on Jordan Kovacs who was the main beneficiary of Mattison’s blitz package last week.

Edge: Notre Dame

Special Teams:

Notre Dame has an All-American kicker, David Ruffer, who hit 23-of-24 field goal attempts last season, and an experienced punter in Ben Turk. In the return game, the aforementioned Riddick gives the Irish a home run threat any time he touches the ball.

Michigan’s kicking problems last season are well-known and the jury is still out for this season. Brandon Gibbons didn’t attempt a field goal last week, but had an extra point blocked. Freshman punter Matt Wile had a great debut, averaging 41 yards per punt. Michigan’s return men, Kelvin Grady and Jeremy Gallon, didn’t do much to call this unit a threat at this point.

Edge: Notre Dame


Brian Kelly came under a lot of heat after last week’s sideline tirades that are making even Notre Dame fans yearn for Charlie Weis. Ok, so maybe not, but even Kelly admitted this week that he lost his cool. He’s obviously a good coach, having turned around both Central Michigan and Cincinnati, but it remains to be seen whether he can succeed at Notre Dame. So far, he hasn’t fared any better than his predecessor.

Brady Hoke is very similar in that he turned around two mid-majors on his way to the Michigan gig, but he has surrounded himself with greatness. Bringing in Mattison was a fantastic move to turn around the defense. It may show right away, but rest assured it will be much improved simply with better coaching and schemes.

Edge: Michigan


Saturday’s matchup marks the first ever night game in Michigan Stadium history. College GameDay will be live from Ann Arbor and the Big House will be fired up.

Edge: Michigan

Despite last week’s results, I still think Notre Dame is probably the better overall team, but it’s close. This may be the most evenly matched these two teams have been in years. Notre Dame is favored slightly, but I think it’s going to come down to the very end. The electricity in the Big House will propel Michigan to victory.

Prediction: Michigan 34 – Notre Dame 31

Good to Know:

Michigan leads the all-time series 22-15-1 and is 12-7 against the Irish in Ann Arbor

Saturday marks the 10th time ESPN GameDay visits the Big House. Michigan is 7-2 in the previous nine and 13-7 overall in games hosted by GameDay

Michigan has won it’s last nine regular season non-conference games entering this matchup

Michigan is one of just 10 teams to have a winning record against Notre Dame

Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison served as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 1997-2004. ND defensive line coach/special teams coordinator Mike Elston was a linebacker at Michigan from 1994-96 and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan in 1999-2000.