Game 4: Michigan vs. Duke Pre-Game

Dylan Burkhardt

Who: Duke vs. Michigan
Where: Madison Square Garden
When: 7:00 PM EST (30 minutes after SIU/UCLA ends)

PROGRAMMING UPDATE: I’m going to experiment with a LiveBlog tonight. It’ll be a test run but try to participate, should be fun.

Michigan just won their first game over a top 5 team since 1997 (a win over Duke) but their reward a game against the Blue Devils and another double digit spread.

I didn’t catch the Duke game but it looks like they struggled early (the halftime score was the same as our game) before rolling in the second half. The staggering number from Duke’s game last night is they shot 47 free throws and made 40 of them — Duke averages 34 free throw attempts per game . To compare to Michigan’s game last night there were 17 free throw attempts total. As in every game it’s important to stay out of foul trouble. This means Manny can’t pick up the cheap charges and Gibson can’t pick up the ticky-tack fouls around the hoop. Here is the Duke Basketball Report’s take on last night’s Duke vs. SIU game.

Looking down the roster there are the names you are familiar with: Paulus, Henderson, Singler, and Scheyer carry a lot of the weight. Although sophomore Nolan Smith has stepped into a starting role in the backcourt and Paulus now comes off the bench. This gives Duke a much more versatile and athletic option at the point. Duke has the shooters to blow any game wide open if they are left open for three. Henderson was 4-5 from long range last night against the Salukis who are known as a very strong defensive program. Timely three point shooting mixed with getting to the foul line seems to be the Duke recipe for success. The key for Michigan is not letting these guys get the wide open looks from deep that UCLA couldn’t convert.

Looking at our own team some quick thoughts on a couple guys:

  • DeShawn Sims: Has the lightbulb gone on? He looks so much more comfortable down low this year. Big games are where Peedi disappeared last year and now he is stepping up whether he starts or not.
  • Manny Harris: Nothing extraordinary last night and disappeared at times but he hit some huge threes in the second half and the clutch FTs down the stretch.
  • Stu Douglass: Ice in his veins. Those were some huge threes.
  • Zack Gibson: We are going to need something out of him offensively and defensively. Still trying to figure out what he can provide night in and night out.
  • Anthony Wright: He’s gotta get hot sometime and he made some big time passes especially the dime to Peedi late in the game.

The matchups tonight are intriguing as it will probably be Henderson on Harris and Singler on Sims. This matches up arguably the best players on the court. While this team is establishing an identity and proving they aren’t last year’s team it’s important to remember last year’s debacle at Cameron Indoor and not get carried away.

This team has a newly discovered confidence and it will be really interesting to see how it translates to the court tonight. They looked timid early in the UCLA game but took their punches and stayed in the game. By the end of the game they were the ones dictating the pace and play. Do we come out with the same swagger early against Duke? It could be a fun night if we hold onto the ball and hit a couple triples. It’s becoming very clear to me why Beilein has so much success in a tournament atmosphere, there just isn’t enough time for other teams to prepare to face the 1-3-1 and his offense in a night or two.

Lot’s of reactions to U-M’s win last night, here are some highlights:

Let’s hear your predictions for the game tonight in the comments. And a final recommendation: listen to tonights game on mute.

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  • Rob

    What a game last night and WCBN was on hand in NYC for the call. Tonight, if you wish to avoid Dickie V, you can hear Michigan-Duke starting at 7pm on or 88.3 WCBN FM Ann Arbor. GO BLUE!!!!

  • josh

    Dickie V is way too far up the ACC’s A**.

    Go Blue!

  • MaizeNBlue2

    I watched the Duke-SIU game, but I wasn’t paying too much attention. SIU hung tough in the first half. The second half was all Blue Devils. If Duke turns the ball over like they did in the first half against SIU, then we definitely have a chance. The keys to the game are going to be forcing turnovers, taking advantage of those turnovers, and staying out of foul trouble. If we do those things, we’ll be in it at the end, which is all you can ask for.

    I’m going out on a limb and saying Michigan wins 67-65. Here’s hoping for a Wolverine win. Go Blue!

  • Mason

    Arrgh! I won’t be able to see it! I’ll be calling the Toledo-Miami game tonight for UT student radio! Well here’s to a (hopefully) great showing against the Dukies tonight.

  • Two predictions (i know, lame)

    Realistic: Duke 80 – Michigan 67

    Bias: Michigan 64 – Duke 62

  • ryan

    Agreed Benjamin, I would love another win and will be cheering my heart out, but i Think Duke will be too much tonight. What is the spread on the game?
    I will say (trying to be unbiased; Duke: 68-Michigan: 57
    Duke pulls away late.

  • AG2

    I expect a great game from Manny Harris. Being an ACC team, Duke will probably try to run the floor and I don’t think their defense will be as good as UCLA, so I think he’ll manage to drive the lane and get to the foul line like he did vs. Northeastern.

  • Steele

    Prediction(s): Mich keeps it close and a drunk Steele yells at the TV until his lungs hurt. Duke pulls out the win in the end, but it’s a whole lot closer than anyone expects.

    Manny has another solid game and Stu hits a few more big threes…but I guess those are both pretty safe calls.

  • Im mystified why anyone would be calling for Sims to start? Understanding that he is clearly the 2nd best player on the team, I would point out a few factors why he shold not start.
    1. Coach B is much smarter than than us!
    2. UM is undefeated with Sims coming off the bench.
    3. Sims is playing the most consistent basketball of his
    4. He is going to play the same amount of minutes whether
    starts or not and having him and Manny not overlapping
    all the time keeps at least one real scorer on the court.
    Thus helping to prevent some of the dreadful scoring
    droughts from last season.
    5. Although he has not heated up yet, Wright should be
    more confident with the starting gig.

  • Eddie

    look for the boys to pull the offense out above the arc and then run backdoors early and often. with Duke’s trademark pressure perimeter defense, the hope is that UM can take advantage of Duke’s over-agressiveness.

  • Kevin

    I think go blue’s fourth point is the important one. By the time Sims gets in, the defender guarding him has already played for five minutes while Sims is fresh. It also helps minimize those scoring droughts that KILLED us last year.

    I didn’t think Wright played terrible last night, still passed well and played solid D.

    For tonight, I see us staying with Duke the whole way but not quite having enough 62-57. Should be fun either way. Could go either way.

  • gooter9

    Duke/Refs 78 – M 72. We’ll hang w/ them, but they’ll be too much. We’ll get them back in a couple weeks though.

  • tbliggins

    Honestly, all I am hoping for is a good showing. I fear a blow out that undermines alot of the confidence gained yesterday.

    My biggest pet peeve in college hoops is charging fouls. Duke started the flopping and Wisconsin has used it to get a couple of b10 titles. Last nite I had UM benefiting 4-3 on (imo) bad calls of this nature. Any predictions on the outcome of this tonite? I say Duke wins that battle 8-4 and it will drive me insane everytime.

  • Ken in Vegas

    My prediction is 68-61 Duke, due to some last second extend the game three throw shooting. I think this does two things: One, it proves yesterday was not a fluke and we can hang with the big boys. Two, it nets me $40 because I had to let yesterdays winnings ride on a 14 point spread here in Vegas. I wasn’t going to bet on a 10 point spread, but 14 I like. I also like Michigan to cover the 20 point spread tomorrow too. I don’t think I’m being a homer here, at least not consciously.

  • SteveA2

    I wish I had the same faith as all of you, but I just do not see this game being close. Duke is exactly the type of team that will give us problems – athletic across the board, and a ton of shooters. I think they will get good looks against our 1-3-1, and defensively they will force our role players to score at the basket. If a couple of the role players step up (like Douglass last night), then maybe we keep it close. I expect Duke to jump out early and Michigan will need a second half run to make it a game.
    81-62 Duke :(

  • BBall

    I’m hoping for some guys to step up/heat up tonight…Like Grady (that three he made last night was DEEP – needs to finish drives or dish better or draw a foul tonight), Wright or Gibson. Could use one or two buckets from Lee. Wouldn’t hurst for Shepard to play some down on D along with getting a few athletic rebounds and buckets.

    We are going to be loose and confident, hopefully that translates to good shots and making them, not chucks and turnovers. I think we match up physically/athletically better with Duke than UCLA, but Duke is much more experienced and smarter with the ball. If we can shoot more toward 40% from three (1-12 in the first half tonight and we’ll be down by alot more than 6 points), we got a chance….keep the turnovers low again and we can shock the world!

  • Ken in Vegas

    We need UCLA to win big in this game against Southern Illinois. It’s 63-50 with 6 minutes left right now. Basically, we are all UCLA fans for the rest of the season. It’s awesome that they have to go an entire year before getting another shot at us. I’m assuming we play them again next year since it’s been 7 years straight, but I’m not totally sure.

  • I turned this UCLA/SIU game on and it as SIU tied it. UCLA has really stepped it up down the stretch like I feared they would against U-M. 18-2 run for UCLA.

  • Ken — I don’t think we will play them this year. There is a reason they weren’t on the schedule this year…

  • Ken in Vegas

    Holy crap, I’m just as excited about this game as I was for UCLA. Maybe more excited. I think it has something to do with the fact that I know we can win now. It’s like I have a whole new unhealthy level of expectations. We all went from just hoping to have an NIT run to being disappointed if we don’t make the dance. All in one night.

  • Dennis

    I have a Duke friend wanting me to pay off a bet. Does anyone know what the spread on the Nov 21 game was?

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