5 Reasons: UCLA

Dylan Burkhardt

5 reasons why Michigan can beat UCLA…

  • UCLA is young. UCLA turned it over 23 times against Prairie View A&M and beyond Darren Collison and Josh Shipp they lack experience with 5 freshmen in the rotation. Michigan is getting their shot at the giant at the perfect time, the UCLA freshmen we see on Thursday will look nothing like the UCLA freshmen we see in March.
  • John Beilein has had success against UCLA. Beilein knocked off UCLA in both of his last two seasons at West Virginia and somehow kept a Michigan team that didn’t do anything well statistically (besides hold onto the ball) was in the game last year with 9 minutes left.
  • Manny Harris. Manny has stepped up early this year and is averaging 28 points per game and nearly posted a triple double against Northeastern. Jrue Holiday struggled early defending Michael Bramos and picked up 2 quick fouls so I wouldn’t be surprised to see UCLA try to put a bigger guy like Josh Shipp on Manny.
  • UCLA lost Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. These three combined for 41 points, 31 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks in last years game. Against Miami (OH) their replacements (Jrue Holiday, Alfred Aboya, and James Keefe) combined for only 14 points and 9 rebounds. Replacing 3 NBA guys with a freshman and 2 role players isn’t a recipe for success — especially early in the season.
  • UCLA doesn’t have the post presence that dominated Michigan last year. UCLA out rebounded Michigan 47-29 last year and dominated the game down low. Michigan’s post play isn’t any better than last year but Aboya, Keefe, Morgan, and Gordon are basically role players right now. While I expect Michigan to get out rebounded I think that Michigan needs to try to establish DeShawn down low on offense. This will be a chance for DeShawn to show that he can get it done inside this year.

And 5 reasons why Michigan can’t beat UCLA…

  • UCLA has been through it all. UCLA won’t be fazed by playing in the Garden, they have been to three straight final fours. UCLA has had close calls against Michigan but always seems to make the big play when they need it. While there is youth on the roster, Collison, Shipp, and Aboya don’t know anything besides the final four and should be able to provide leadership.
  • Darren Collison. Collison will give Michigan fits up and down the floor on both offense and defense with his quickness. I would expect UCLA to bring the full court pressure early and often to test Michigan’s ball handling. Holding on to the ball is the key for Beilein teams against more athletic teams like UCLA, this will be a big test for Merritt, Grady, Douglass, Novak, and CJ.
  • These freshman can play. Jrue Holiday (8ppg, 1rpg) was the #2 player in the country and J’Mison Morgan (2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg), Malcolm Lee (7ppg, 4rpg), Drew Gordon (4ppg, 5rpg), and Jerime Anderson (1.5 ppg) were all top 50 recruits (Freshman highlights vs Praire View A&M). While they might be having some growing pains I wouldn’t be surprised if any one of these kids got hot this weekend at the Garden.
  • Josh Shipp. Shipp has struggled with his shot early this season while trying to adapt to being the go to guy for the Bruins. However throughout his career it feels like he has just killed Michigan. Shipp has been 7-10 against Michigan the last 2 years for a total of 37 points in two games. Shipp also had 8 points and a steal during UCLA’s 10-0 run that took last years game from 43-43 to 53-43.
  • It’s a neutral site game against a top 10 team. As we all know, Michigan just hasn’t performed on the road or at neutral sites in big games. While this could change on Thursday, I am taking a wait and see approach.

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  • josh

    i totally agree with all your points. Th4e key to this game is the matchups wit Collison. There is no way we can win this matchup, but if we can at least limit turnovers, and somehow not let Collison penetrate, then we can win this game, and actually in my opinion have a good shot at winning. Manny will get his the same way Collison will, but Deshawn and the role players HAVE to step up. Right now UCLA is a top 15 team in the nation but not #4, this is why we can win. In March, as u pointed out Dylan, this team will be a Great team. We picked the right time to play them.

  • MaizeNBlue2

    Anyone else get the feeling that Grady should be starting this game? If anything, he does have the quicks to keep up with Collison. I’m really hoping we can pull this out, because it would be a HUGE early season victory.

  • Tom

    IMO, another key is how the refs call the game. Against Miami(OH), UCLA was allowed to be really aggressive on and off the ball on D…I thought the contact the officials allowed was far to physical and it looked more like football then basketball. It was pretty ridiculous.

    If the refs call the game like a basketball game, I think that furthers UM’s ability to hang with UCLA. However, if UCLA is allowed to clutch, grab, rape and sodomize UM…it is going to be tough for UM to stay close.

    Adding to that, Sims needs to show up…I have little doubt Manny will step up his game. I think the attention Manny will receive from UCLA will open things up some opportunities for Sims can’t just rely on Manny to dish the ball to him. Sims will have to take the initiative to assert his will on the game. And it can’t be him floating on the perimeter jacking trey’s. He’s put a lot of time and effort into improving his inside game…this is the time to show it.

    As a matter of fact, I don’t really even care of Sims struggles, as long as he is putting forth a solid effort and expending his energies trying to do the right thing for his team. As long as he is playing strong, I can forgive a poor shooting night or a few mistakes here or there.

  • KS Hoops

    Good analysis, DB. I agree that Collison’s effectiveness could be the difference.


  • hoosierine

    agree grady is the man that breaks presses. manny will get his, guard tandem/deshawn decide the game.

  • hoosierine

    dylan theres a post on mgoblog about a new commit or something? know anything about it? thanks, love the site

  • a2matt@yahoo.com

    Eso Akunne apparently is accepting a preferred walk-on spot.

  • I want to know more about this Eso Akunne fellow….

    Is he on the team starting now?

  • To answer my own question. Eso is a senior at Gabriel Richard here in Ann Arbor.


  • AG2

    Honestly, Darren Collison is egregiously overrated. If he was any good, why is he still in school?

    They are smaller and less experienced than they were last year. And from what I’ve seen so far, they’re not exactly turnover-free themselves.

    Michigan 67, UCLA 62

  • Hey guys, I just got home. I’ll work on getting a post up about Eso. People have been talking about him potentially walking on for a while. He’s a good player but a little underszied for his game.

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