Who: Michigan (7-2) vs Oakland (7-5)
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills
When: Saturday, December 20th, 4:02 PM ET
TV: FSD (Reair on Fox Sports Atlantic at 7:00 PM / Possible stream at channelsurfing.net)
Preview: Stat Sheet
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)
Laval Lucas-Perry’s debut has finally arrived. Frankly, coming into this year I didn’t expect much from this team before December 20th and now I don’t know what to think. I figured that Michigan would struggle with teams like UCLA, Southern Illinois, Duke, and Maryland and be sitting a lot closer to 500 than 7-2. Now if they can pull off wins over Oakland, Florida Gulf Coast, and NC Central they are looking at a potential record of 10-2 headed into the conference season. Most impressive is the fact that they have achieved all this without the help of LLP.
Michigan will ease Laval into the rotation, I would expect around 20 minutes or so today. There is no need to force the issue when you have a team that’s playing good basketball. A bit of a checklist on what to watch for with Laval:
- Where does he play on offense and defense? Is he playing the one or the two? Does he play at the top or bottom of the 1-3-1?
- Does he look comfortable distributing it? How does he shoot the three?
- What lineup combinations are out there? Does Beilein play Grady with LLP? LLP with Novak?
Oakland is a solid program in the state of Michigan who really put themselves on the map when Rawle Marshall (the fighter) led them to an NCAA berth in 2005. I would expect they will be near the top of the Summit conference again this year. It’s also important to look at their non-conference schedule and understand some of the reasoning behind it. Oakland plays a lot of games in short time periods to try and help prepare them for the Summit tournament because that’s the only way in for a team in their conference. This scheduling makes the Michigan game Oakland’s third in less than a week (Rochester on Sunday and Wisc-GB Thursday).
Oakland is still without Derick Nelson, the 6-5 wing averaged 17 ppg last year but is out with a broken foot. Their go to guys on offense are Erik Kangas and Jonathan Jones. Kangas is a 6-3 guard averaging 16.6 ppg who is the Grizzlies main deep threat with a career three point percentage just under 40 percent. Jonathan Jones is a point guard from Okemos who plays 38.4 mpg and averages 14.5 ppg along with 5.4 apg. Jones can change a game with his speed and seeing him and Grady go head to head should be fun.
As a team Oakland tends to play a little faster than Michigan, they average 69 possessions per game to Michigan’s 66. Michigan shoots the ball better with an eFG% of 53% compared to OU’s 50.4%. Oakland gets more offensive rebounds as they rebound 34.5% of their missed shots compared to Michigan’s 30.7. However Oakland turns the ball over 21.5% of their possessions compared to Michigan’s 18.2%.
Last year Michigan broke the century mark against Oakland but also gave up 87 points. Michigan fans should worry if Kangas gets hot and Michigan comes out flat. The Palace will probably be about a third full (TICKETS ARE STILL ON SALE) so energy might be a little down. Hopefully the addition of LLP to the lineup will have Michigan fired up and ready to go on Saturday and Michigan can get by with a solid win.
Let’s hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments.