Who: UCLA vs. Michigan
Where: Madison Square Garden
When: 9:30PM EST
Radio: WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050), WCHB-AM (1200)
I’m traveling today so I have to stick to a short game post. Make sure to check out my 5 reasons why Michigan can and can’t beat UCLA for more analysis. This is a big game whether it is a measuring stick, statement game, or whatever else. On paper this is a game UCLA is supposed to win, but it’s against the one elite team that Beilein has consistently fared well against. There are a lot of factors that come into play when you play at a site like the Garden: UCLA is traveling across the country, NBA arenas and rims can lead to cold shooting, and Michigan will most likely be the crowd favorite.
It should be a fun one and I’ll give this Michigan team a fighting chance. The Arizona pre-season NIT game from a couple years back comes to mind — Michigan played with Arizona til the end losing 61-60 in overtime. I could see a similar path for this game where Michigan is in the game but UCLA just has too much in the end.
My biggest fear with this game is one of the UCLA freshman just going wild and having a huge night. I think Manny, Collison, and Shipp will get theirs. The question is who steps up. DeShawn Sims has had the tendency to disappear in some big games but Michigan will really need him tonight. Win or lose this game will tell us a lot about this team and how much work needs to be done this season.
What They Are Saying:
- Ups and downs â€” U-M basketball coach expects both
“It’s a measurement game for us to see where we are,” Beilein said. “We’ve had four competitions against outside universities and we’ve done OK. Now we’re playing one of the greatest traditions in all of college basketball. I think we’ll be able to measure where we are.”
- Michigan’s Sims goes along with his new role
“I’m just going to do my part,” Sims said Tuesday. “It’s all about winning.”
- Beilein, Bruins set for another battle
“(In 2006), we had a terrific team when we were able to go up to California,” Beilein said. “The next year, (senior guard Darren) Collison was hurt when they came to West Virginia. And then we just played them tough last year. I don’t know.”
- UCLA vs. Michigan – Game Preview
A game preview from the other side of the blogosphere courtesy of the Bruin Basketball Report.
- Beilein on WTKA: UCLA game should be closer this year
Let’s hear your predictions!