Game 3: Michigan vs. Creighton Preview

Dylan Burkhardt


Who: Michigan (2-0) vs. Creighton (2-1)
Where: Milk House, Orlando, FL
When: Thursday, November 26th, Noon EST
: ESPN2,
Radio: MGoBlue, WTKA (AM 1050), Sirius Ch. 127/XM Ch. 105
Line: Michigan –5
Old Spice: Bracket, Preview
More: Interview Preview


The lights are finally on. Michigan has rolled through Northern Michigan and Houston Baptist but those games were little more than glorified exhibition games. We have waited patiently for this season and it’s finally here. This weekend will provide fans with a chance to see Michigan take on some very tough competition.

Michigan’s first game against Creighton provides an interesting test. The Jays are a perennial Missouri Valley power house and, judging by their fans behavior, a team that is relishing the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

John Beilein and Creighton head coach Dana Altman have gone head to head before, in a first round 2005 NCAA tournament game. Beilein’s Mountaineers came away victorious, 63-61, thanks to a blocked three point shot and break away dunk in the closing second. In a game that featured plenty of threes and few free throws, the shocking number was the turnovers. West Virginia turned the ball over on 26% of their possessions, an incredibly high number for a Beilein led team.

Creighton lost MVC player of the year Booker Woodfox to graduation but the cupboard is far from dry. The Jays are incredibly deep, with 10 players averaging more than 12 minutes per game and five scoring in double figures.

In the backcourt, P’Allen Stinnett is averaging 12.6 points and 4 assists per game. Junior college transfer Darryl Ashford has given the Jays a wing scorer but they Jays also have several three point threats. Kaleb Korver and freshman Ethan Wragge are both deadly outside shooters who can’t be left open.

Similarly to Michigan, the Jays run a perimeter oriented offense. They aren’t a great rebounding team and love to shoot three pointers. They also have begun to implement some aspects of the dribble drive offense that John Calipari made famous.

Creighton has a very small lineup and this could be one of the first games where Michigan might actually have a size advantage. The main low post presence is 6-foot-9 junior Kenny Lawson who is averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds per game. Wayne Runnels is a 6-foot-6 forward who leads the Jays in rebounds with just over 7 per game.

For more on Creighton’s personnel, make sure to check out my Q&A with The White and Blue Review.

With two teams that are so reliant on the three point shot, shooting is obviously going to be huge. It’s always interesting to see how both teams react to an early start time in a smaller gym. With Creighton’s various styles of defense it will also be interesting to see whether Michigan is able to hold onto the ball as well as they have early this year (TO% under 10%).

The biggest advantage for Michigan is that I’m not sure that Creighton has anyone that can guard DeShawn Sims or Manny Harris. They have plenty of bodies to run at Harris but no elite level stopper. Kenny Lawson is big but he should have trouble with DeShawn’s inside outside presence. Because of these tough match-ups, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Creighton play around with several defenses.

Have a great Thanksgiving and Go Blue. Thoughts and predictions are welcome in the comments.

  • Crap.

  • rlc

    Stu Douglass! Ole!

  • Someone should have been parked under the basket. Wow.

  • rlc

    Well, this gives Manny a chance to catch up with Evan Turner in the all-important triple-double race…

  • Tweeter

    too worried about the three to guard the basket. but i dont understand why you dont pick up full court to prevent a guy from getting a full steam run at the hoop.

  • Wes Mantooth

    What’s with Manny’s poor free throw shooting? He’s missed 5 in the second half. That’s the game right there…

  • Manny needs some turnovers to catch Turner.

  • sven

    Sims has also missed 5 or 6 bunnies.

  • rlc

    Helluva catch by Peedi to give Manny his tenth dime.

  • Manny taking over in OT. One rebound away from triple double.

  • Nick

    Does Manny need one rebound or one assist for a triple double? Announcers say he needs one rebound. But ESPN boxscore says he needs one assist.

  • Gordon

    Announcer just called Manny “Manny Jackson,” who after a quick Google search I found out was a Harlem Globetrotter. Awesome.

  • Nick

    NOVAK!!!! Beast.

  • Manny needs a board. He’s got 11 dimes.

  • MarcO

    Guys, stop worrying about the stats. This team needs a W.

  • Nick

    Manny’s gotta work on those free throws.

  • Gutty, gutty performance from Michigan. Manny struggled for much of the game but took over. Post game later. Pay attention in the next game.

  • rlc

    A lot of things worried me about this game; whether Manny got his triple-double was right up there with what socks Eso Akunne was wearing.

  • Gordon

    Not every day somebody has a terrible game and goes 20-9-11.

  • rlc

    Creighton’s a really solid team. I hope Carter’s knee is OK.

  • Cameron


    Now go enjoy your holiday, Dylan.

  • Tweeter

    I think they were standard, white, no-show adidas. Seriously though, UM survives not only Creighton but the officials. What a terribly officiated game. UM got no calls for about 37 minutes, then the officials started calling every little bump, then in OT they called nothing. Just an odd game.

    Good to see LLP, Novak both step up and score. Amazing that Manny was that close to a triple-double. I thought this was one of his worst games over the last two years.

    Gotta love this team for getting the job done against a very game Creighton team. Game ball to Douglass for his thirty foot three in regulation.

  • JB

    I’m thankful i didn’t have a heart attack. great game to win. tomorrow will be tough since we’ll be gassed.
    have a great turkey day. save a turkey eat a blue jay.
    more fresh less corperryale! Go Blue!

  • JB

    p.s. huge props to LLP today

  • Tyler

    Great game guys, gotta give it up to Creighton but in the end the maze and blue prevailed. Everybody stepped up and it was good to see D-mo shooting more.

    My only concern is with that full court press Stu worries me a lot he’s not to good with handles (Better than last year) but still stressful I agree with JB almost had a heart attack…

    Go Blue!

  • Erik

    Mannys missed FTs cost me a prediction :)

    good game though. Overtime this early is an invaluable tool for this young team.

  • AG2

    im thankful for the W. Now see if the lions win!

  • Erik

    Also, I hope our Creighton friends come back for their medicine.

  • Congrats to the Wolverines and you Michigan fans. The better team won today. I am not one for “moral” victories, but the fact we could take a team like Michigan to overtime bodes well for the Jays. Good luck the rest of season. I know you will be in the Big Dance. Hopefully we will, too, and maybe have a chance for rematch.

  • JayRich

    JayFan….first off nice name! Second, you are the type of fan blogs are made for….Good Luck as well

  • Giddings

    Whew, I’m exhausted. What a game, players on both teams really stepped up, and as I mentioned the atmosphere was great. Very impressed with the Creighton fans, and by the end our section woke up as well. Xavier looks like the team to beat in this game, they’ve got some impressive athletes. Although Kenny Frease seems to travel every time he touches the ball.

  • JimC

    Creighton is a tenacious, physical team. I feel exhausted just having watched that! But a great win for M!!!

  • Erik

    This Xavier Marquette game has been close throughout. Both teams would be a tough match for UofM. We’ll need our threes to fall to win our next one. Grease is a huge dude. I think the key to winning next round is Gibson

  • Erik

    Sorry “grease” should have been “frease”. Stupid auto-fill on my phone…

  • gooter9

    Nice win. Definitely a lot of teaching moments for Beilein but we got the job done. Go Blue!

  • Ken in Vegas

    Just got back from The Milk House. Thank god we won that game. My vacation depended on it. I was literally shaking. You would have thought I was watching the Final Four the way I was yelling.

    I was very impressed with Creighton’s play and especially impressed with their fans. I would have to say that they were the louder bunch. However, a jovial Michigan fan told our section that he tipped the local high school band. Next thing you know, they were playing the Victors on almost every time out. It was awesome. I was wondering “Did they learn that at half time?” I thought Novak was awesome and Manny just took the game over when we needed it the most. Did that facial dunk look as awesome on TV as it did in person? Maybe his best dunk yet.

    I stayed to watch the Xavier/Marquette game, and I have to say that tomorrow looks like another huge challenge. Marquette was fast, athletic, and physical. They were hitting their shots too. Hopefully the 131 zone throws them off. I imagine that they have been preparing for Xavier and may not have had the time to prepare for it. Great day overall.

    Giddings, I’ll be tailgating in the parking lot before the game tomorrow if you want to share a beer. You can shoot me an email at if you want to exchange numbers. Go Blue!!