Game 24: Michigan @ Minnesota: Preview

Dylan Burkhardt

Thanks to a suggestion I am going to start breaking up game previews and recaps so they are more organized, especially for people reading the RSS feed.

DeShawn Sims vs MinnesotaThe Minnesota game at Crisler Arena was ugly, Michigan was outshot 59% to 36% and got flat out embarrassed at home. When I wrote the post game reaction I said “Don’t really know where we go from here… It’s not going to get any better.” Since that game Michigan has a close loss at OSU and a 3 game winning streak. So clearly I was wrong in that regard. Michigan has improved by leaps and bounds in the last month and appears to be moving in the right direction.

Minnesota is 2-3 since the Michigan game including an embarrassing home loss by 24 to Illinois. In terms of momentum it looks like Michigan is heading the right direction while Minnesota is falling off the map quickly (Is it just me or does their season remind anyone of Michigan last year?).

All that being said, this game does not strike me as a game Michigan should or will win. We have struggled against teams that play tough, physical man-to-man (MSU, Purdue, Minnesota) and the Barn is a tough place to play.

Coleman, Tollackson, McKenzie and Westbrook were all in double figures last game while only Manny (19) and Ron Coleman (shockingly with 14 points) were in double figures for Michigan. The encouraging things are Michigan’s recent strong play and the improvement Michigan has shown playing teams twice. Overall I think it is important to temper expectations tonight and not get ahead of ourselves and predict Michigan to win the next 5 games. I think Michigan keeps it close but falls short to a tough Minnesota team in need of a win.

Beilein on the recent success:

“Now it’s all forgotten,” Beilein said. “You go to Minnesota, I’ll be sitting up there on that stool and the crowd will be into it. You try to find your way through another game.”

UMHoops Prediction: Minnesota 70 – Michigan 67

Also be sure to check out for a game preview from the Minnesota side.

  • BenAA

    Michigan gets its revenge tonight.

    I, quite greedily, want to see their win streak still intact for the ILL game which I will be attending.

  • NVE

    There are a few signs pointing towards the win streak continuing, but I have to agree that I would be surprised if they pull off the upset.

    A player like Tollackson can really hurt us inside, and I’m afraid he will. One very surprising aspect of the OSU game is how easily Koufos was scoring inside in the 1st half. I’m not sure why they went away from that. The thinking here is that Minnesota does everything they can to expose that weakness. Plus, they have some shooters to hurt us if we collapse or are slow to rotate defensively. Not a good match-up for us defensively.

    I do like our chances of continued improvement on the offensive side of the ball. The last 3 halves have been stellar, and are much closer to what we can expect in the Beilein era than most of this season. Good ball movement leading to open 3s and driving lanes. If they get physical, Manny and Grady need to take advantage of that by driving to the cup.

    Does Minnesota play much zone? I could only listen to the first game at work, and the game was such a rout that the announcers stopped analyzing what was happening. Anyways, they guy flshing to the high post against the OSU zone was open ALL game, but we rarely fed him the rock. When we did, we almost always scored.

    Minnesota is actually favored by 8…that’s surprising given recent trends.

    U-M – 71
    Minnesota – 76

  • Tubby hates the zone. If Minnesota shoots around 45% or better they will win, but we’ve shot awful lately. Its not you, its us.

  • UMbballDC

    I have to agree. Minnesota always seems like a tough place to play. Even when we had great teams and they were just ok, we had a hard time there. I think that crazy floor of their’s really affects the players’ psyche.

    But I’ll be watching and hoping. One of the few games we get to see out here in Wash. DC.

  • josh

    72 to 65 Michigan. Manny and Deshawn keep it goin. They cant guard Deshawn when he has his confidence going let alone Manny.

  • Again we are showing impressive composure on the road not to fall apart when we got down big early. Right in this one thanks to some hot shooting.

  • JEVOHN!!!! Air Canada!

  • Great half especially after the slow start. Let’s get this road win.

  • old fan

    Not our night. Still seeing good signs, but we reverted in the second half tonight.

  • BenAA

    Awful shot selection in the second half killed us.

    Arrrgggghhhhhh! I am having flashbacks!!!

  • NVE

    Bummed, but not surprised that we struggled so much against that pressure D. We really figured it out towards the end of the first half, but settled for some awful shots over the last 10-15 minutes of the game.

    Gotta beat the Illini on Saturday to regain some swagger.

  • RB

    Valuable lesson learned about selfishness in this game. A couple of guys were playing to get their points in the second half instead of playing to win. And it became contagious as players starting jacking up the first shot they could because they didn’t trust that the ball would come back to them. Pretty much everybody took at least one or two selfish shots in the second half. That leads to 10 or 12 wasted possesions and hence a loss and a wasted effort. Too bad because they were playing very well in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

    I think for a couple of guys this selfishness might be becoming a trend. Chalk it up to youthfulness, I trust Coach B will get them back on the right path.

    Other than the selfishness, there were many improvements since the last Minn game. Also looked like Coach mixed in some 2-3 and maybe even a box and 1… I like it.

  • NVE

    RB –

    Agree wholeheartedly on the issues from last night’s second half, but disagree on the motives behind it.

    Simply put, Manny and Deshawn forced it and it killed the team in the end. Deshawn hoisted up double digit treys, most of them guarded, while Manny put up that 1 to 5 turnover to assist ratio so the stats don’t lie.

    However, I don’t think either guy was ‘trying to get his’, but felt responsibility for the drought and made it worse by getting away from the aggressive play that worked so well in the middle 25 minutes of the game.

    Ultimately, this cost them the ball game, but nobody was playing to get their points. They were playing to win, and that was evident by the obvious intensity displayed all game long by two middling Big Ten teams.

  • I don’t think anyone on this team “plays to get his” either. But sometimes they feel like they have to force to issue (Manny) and sometimes they don’t know a good shot from a bad shot (DeShawn). But then again no one else on the team can score either, so what are they supposed to do?