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Posts Tagged ‘N.C. State’

Michigan 66 – N.C. State 59

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015


UM vs NC State(North Carolina State Athletics)

In a season that has not exactly started off on the right foot for the Big Ten, Michigan did its part tonight in helping the conference along in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge by knocking off North Carolina State by a 66-59 margin in Raleigh.

After a slow, turnover-riddled start against the Wolfpack in which the Wolverines managed only one made bucket in the first eight minutes of game time, John Beilein looked to his bench to get things going. And they did just that.

Trailing 11-7 nearly halfway through the first half, Michigan needed a spark, which newcomers Moritz Wagner and Duncan Robinson ably provided. Robinson, sporting a jumper that’s as quick and clean as ever, swished a triple to cut the lead to one with 10:15 to go in the opening stanza, while Zak Irvin followed suit with a nifty layup to put Michigan ahead by one, then assisted Wagner on another layup to re-take the lead.

Wagner followed that up with a beautiful pass-fake, split-the-defense dunk and Robinson put in his second three of the evening shortly thereafter to give the Wolverines a 21-18 lead, which they would not relinquish.

Robinson would go on to pour in 17 points on five triples and a mid-range jumper, while senior stalwart Caris LeVert led the team with 18 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists on a bevy of nifty dribble-drives and passes that we’ve come to expect from him in his final season.

Four Factors
Michigan N.C. State
57 eFG% 36
8 OReb% 30
17 TO% 11
27 FTR 41

Unfortunately for the visitors, the victory came with a tinge of pain, as Derrick Walton went down late in the first half with what appeared to be a lower left leg injury and did not return for the remainder of the evening.

Still, this is a very welcome win, a win that perhaps seemed highly unlikely after Michigan got run out of the gym in consecutive losses against Xavier and Connecticut in the last couple weeks. North Carolina State, which returned a few starters from last season’s surprise Sweet 16 squad, has also started slow this year, with early losses to William and Mary and Arizona State.

But make no mistake about it: this was a very encouraging performance from a short-handed Michigan team, a win that will certainly boost their RPI (road wins count more than home or neutral court wins) and give them their second straight semi-quality, non-home non-conference victory after they downed Texas to close out the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday. The Longhorns sit within the top 50 on kenpom.com while NC State is just outside at 65.

As promised earlier this year, John Beilein has begun to significantly cut down on the rotation. At this point, it’s very clear that the five spot is a two-man platoon with Ricky Doyle and Wagner going forward while Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman will command the most minutes off the bench at the guard and wing spots. Depending on the severity of Walton’s injury and the length of Spike Albrecht’s recently announced recovery period, Rahk could be in for a major uptick in minutes, and while he’s not a big-time scorer, he’s one of the better defenders on this team and one of the few players that displays strong confidence in driving to the hoop. Robinson, for his part, looks to be more Jon Diebler than Matt Vogrich early on – he didn’t even hit the rim on his first three treys tonight and is now shooting an absurd 60.6 percent from deep through seven games in Division I, with three nights of at least 14 points.

Also encouraging tonight was the resiliency that the Wolverines displayed midway through the second half when the Wolfpack looked primed to turn a double-digit deficit into a lead of their own with a 12-1 run that took a comfortable 45-30 Michigan advantage down to 46-42 in just over four minutes of action.

Irvin once again came through in the clutch, however, with a beautiful assist to Doyle for an uncontested layup and a corner three – his first and only made three of the night (1-of-6) – to bring Michigan’s lead back to 10 on an otherwise tough shooting night for the junior. Robinson also sandwiched five points in that 10-4 spurt.

Caris LeVert would go on to ice the game away late with six straight made free throws.

NC State was paced by sophomore Caleb Martin’s game-high 19 points and 16 from lightning-quick junior Cat Barber, who made an array of tough midrange jumpers. Star sophomore Abdul-Malik Abu was limited to just two points – only the second time he’s failed to reach double-digits this season – on an 0-of-6 mark from the floor despite averaging 12 points per game heading into tonight.

The Wolverines will now travel back to Ann Arbor for their first home game in two weeks this Saturday against a hapless Houston Baptist squad. Derrick Walton’s status is perilously in question – Michigan fans are hoping it is not a recurrence of last season’s foot injuries – but the rest of the team looks to be taking strides in the right direction. And that’s something many teams are not able to say.

Quick Hitters

• Moritz Wagner is quickly becoming Michigan’s best option at center despite an insistence from John Beilein before the season that the young German was destined for the four and had a lot of learning left to do. Ricky Doyle once again got the start this evening, but his play does not seem to have evolved from last year, and his hands appear to be getting more slippery by the minute. Wagner once again displayed the all-around skillset that makes his potential so high with a pair of nice finishes around the hoop, a couple of solid defensive plays, and a near coast-to-coast take on a rebound. His turnaround, defender-splitting dribble-drive-to-dunk finish was the highlight of the night. D.J. Wilson dropped out of the rotation this evening with only one minute of playing time while Mark Donnal did not see the floor. On the wing, Kameron Chatman’s playing time appears to be diminishing, as he saw only five minutes of time along with Spike Albrecht, who is now being limited in practice and games while continuing to recover from a pair of off-season hip surgeries.

• North Carolina State easily won the rebounding battle, grabbing 13 of 43 available offensive rebounds (30.2% OReb) while dominating the defensive glass – Michigan was only able to get two second chances for a measly 8% OReb rate (2 of 25). Beilein has never stressed crashing the offensive glass in order to better limit easy fast break points and run outs, but he certainly will not like this continuing disparity. During the Wolfpack’s second half run, a number of their offensive rebounds saw two NC State players closer to the ball than any Wolverine. Michigan will continue to work on limiting those second chance points for their opponents, but I don’t see them being one of the better defensive rebounding teams during conference season with another guard-oriented offense that almost never has more than one guy over 6-foot-7 on the court at a time. The Wolverines were able to make up for that disparity by connecting on five more shots despite taking 10 fewer attempts (50% to 32.8% from the floor).

Michigan’s Three Stars

***Caris LeVert***
18 points (3-of-6 2pt, 1-of-4 3pt, 9-of-10 FT), nine rebounds, seven assists, one block, two turnovers in 37 minutes

**Duncan Robinson**
17 points (1-of-1 2pt, 5-of-7 3pt), three rebounds, one steal, zero turnovers in 23 minutes

*Moritz Wagner*
8 points (4-of-6 2pt, 0-of-1 3pt), two rebounds (one offensive), two turnovers in 23 minutes

Season Three-Stars Standings

Caris LeVert – 7
Duncan Robinson – 6
Derrick Walton – 3
Spike Albrecht – 1
Moritz Wagner – 1
Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
32 Ricky Doyle* 3-4 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 2 6 0 3 1 0 16
10 Derrick Walton Jr.* 1-1 0-0 2-2 0 2 2 0 4 2 2 0 1 13
21 Zak Irvin* 3-11 1-6 0-0 1 4 5 2 7 4 1 0 0 37
23 Caris LeVert* 4-10 1-4 9-10 0 9 9 2 18 7 2 1 0 37
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 3 2 0 1 0 0 15
02 Spike Albrecht 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 5
03 Kameron Chatman 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 5
05 D.J. Wilson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman 2-4 0-2 0-0 0 4 4 1 4 0 0 0 1 25
13 Moritz Wagner 4-7 0-1 0-1 1 1 2 4 8 0 2 0 0 23
20 Duncan Robinson 6-8 5-7 0-0 0 3 3 3 17 0 0 0 1 23
Totals 24-48 7-20 11-13 2 30 32 20 66 15 11 2 3 200
N.C. State 19-58 4-17 17-24 13 23 36 17 59 8 7 3 6 200
Full Stats

Michigan’s College Football Playoff rooting guide: Nov. 28

Saturday, November 28th, 2015


Cardinals Stadium

Michigan’s College Football Playoff dreams took an enormous hit Saturday night when Michael Geiger’s 41-yard field goal split the uprights and cracked the Buckeyes in Columbus. The Wolverines not only lost a chance to control their own destiny in the Big Ten race, they also missed out on perhaps two opportunities to play against undefeated, top-five opponents.

Now everything falls into the hands of a Penn State that doesn’t look capable of keeping its star quarterback upright, let alone pulling off a monumental upset. Barring something insane, Michigan will have to settle for a nine or 10-win season, which is pretty incredible, considering the direction the program was trending the last seven years.

But until the final game clock hits zero, we’ll keep pursuing those slim championship hopes.

“I really, really need you”

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

No. 10 Michigan (home) over No. 8 Ohio State (12pm, ABC): As always, Michigan has to take care of its own business for any of this to even matter. Jim Harbaugh’s team has done nothing but improve all season and looks like it can compete with almost any team in the country. A win over Ohio State would make the 3:30 kick in East Lansing worth a glance.

Result: Ohio State 42 – Michigan 13

Penn State (away) over No. 5 Michigan State (3:30pm, ABC): This one probably isn’t happening. Michigan State looks to have really hit its stride heading into the final weeks of the season, and Penn State is just limping toward the finish line. If the Spartans win, it’ll be a Big Ten East title for Mark Dantonio.

Result: Michigan State 55 – Penn State 16

“It could happen!”

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

No. 4 Iowa (away) over Nebraska (3:30pm, ABC, Friday): On the off chance that Michigan does get into the Big Ten Championship game next week, it needs an undefeated Iowa, ranked in the top four, to boost its resume. A title game of that magnitude would really propel Michigan into the conversation during the final rankings.

Result: Iowa 28 – Nebraska 20

No. 19 TCU (home) over No. 7 Baylor (8pm, ESPN, Friday): This might be Michigan’s last chance to jump Baylor, as the Bears have only a home date with an awful Texas team remaining. A loss to TCU would put three of the four Big 12 contenders behind Michigan.

Result: TCU 28 – Baylor 21 (2OT)

No. 23 Utah (home) over Colorado (2:30pm, Pac12): Utah has been killing Michigan the last two weeks. Back-to-back losses to Arizona and UCLA has the Utes clinging to the edge of the top 25 and threatening to turn Michigan’s opening loss into a weak one. They cannot afford a loss to Colorado.

Result: Utah 20 – Colorado 14

No. 16 Northwestern (away) over Illinois (3:30pm, ESPNU): The Wildcats have done nothing but help Michigan since being blown out in back-to-back games to the Wolverines and Hawkeyes. Northwestern needs only a win over Illinois to cap off a 10-win regular season and give Michigan one of the best wins (considering the 38-0 score) of the entire football season.

Result: Northwestern 24 – Illinois 14

No. 13 Florida State (away) over No. 12 Florida (7:30pm, ESPN): Since Florida State’s resume pales in comparison to Michigan’s I don’t think a win over Florida would propel the Seminoles into the top 10. Florida, on the other hand, still has the slim chance to jump Michigan if it somehow knocks off Alabama in the SEC title game. A loss to FSU would take care of that worry.

Result: Florida State 27 – Florida 2

No. 9 Stanford (home) over No. 6 Notre Dame (7:30pm, FOX): This is a tough one, because Michigan should pass the loser no matter what if the Wolverines knock off Ohio State. But if Stanford beats Notre Dame, there’s still a chance the Cardinal might lose to UCLA or USC in the Pac-12 title game. That would lift Michigan over both teams if it wins out. Also, Stanford has no business being ranked above Michigan in the first place.

Result: Stanford 38 – Notre Dame 36

No. 11 Oklahoma State (home) over No. 3 Oklahoma (8pm, ABC): There’s definitely a chance Oklahoma State would jump Michigan with a win over vastly over-ranked Oklahoma, but there’s also a chance the Wolverines would hold serve with a win over Ohio State. This is the only scenario that gives Michigan a legitimate shot to shoot above all four Big 12 contenders.

Result: Oklahoma 58 – Oklahoma State 23

“It’s just not believable, Cotton”

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

South Carolina (home) over No. 1 Clemson (12pm, ESPN): Hey, it’s the last week of the regular season, why not root for some chaos? It’s not likely that Clemson can do anything to fall below Michigan at this point, but in a rivalry game, on the road, to a team coming off a loss to The Citadel, anything can happen.

Result: Clemson 37 – South Carolina 32

Auburn (home) over No. 2 Alabama (3:30pm, CBS): The Iron Bowl is one of the biggest crapshoots in college football, and a loss to a bad Auburn team would really put pressure on the committee to (finally) punish Alabama. Would the Crimson Tide fall below Michigan? It would certainly have to be under consideration if Michigan beat Ohio State.

Result: Alabama 29 – Auburn 13

North Carolina State (home) over No. 14 North Carolina (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2): Despite two FCS games and a laughable loss to South Carolina in the nonconference season, North Carolina has ridden a 10-game winning streak over unranked opponents right into the top 15. If the Tarheels did the unthinkable and won the ACC, they might vault Michigan in the rankings. A loss to rival N.C. State would erase any chance of that happening.

Result: North Carolina 45 – N.C. State 34

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

Saturday, November 14th, 2015


Cardinals Stadium

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

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

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

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

“I really, really need you”

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

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

Result: Michigan 48 – Indiana 41 (2OT)

“It could happen!”

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

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

Result: Florida 24 – South Carolina 14

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

Result: Ohio State 28 – Illinois 3

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

Result: Michigan State 24 – Maryland 7

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

Result: Northwestern 21 – Purdue 14

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

Result: Alabama 31 – Mississippi State 6

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

Result: Oklahoma State 35 – Iowa State 31

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

Result: Oklahoma 44 – Baylor 34

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

Iowa 40 – Minnesota 35

“It’s just not believable, Cotton”

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

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

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

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

Result: Notre Dame 28 – Wake Forest 7

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

Result: Arkansas 31 – LSU 14

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

Result: Arizona 37 – Utah 30

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

Result: Oregon 38 – Stanford 36