Game 25: Michigan at Iowa Preview

Dylan Burkhardt


Who: Michigan (12-12, 5-7) vs. Iowa (9-17, 3-10)
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
When: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 9:05 PM EST
: MGoBlue, 950 AM/WWWW 102.9/1050 AM
Line: Michigan by 4
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Facing consecutive road games for only the second time all year, Michigan heads to Iowa City to take on the struggling Hawkeyes.  If you were wondering, the last time that Michigan won consecutive road games in conference play was January 2003 with wins over Ohio State and Northwestern. Those wins were in the midst of a 13 game winning streak during Daniel Horton’s freshman year.

image darius-morris (caption)  Iowa's Jarryd Cole defends a shot by Michigan's DeShawn Sims, who scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Wolverines. *** The Michigan Wolverines dominated from start to finish in a 60-46 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. DeShawn Sims had 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Manny Harris scored 20 points and six boards. Photos taken on Saturday, January 30, 2010. ( John T. Greilick / The Detroit News )

Since their overtime debacle in Iowa City a year ago, Michigan has handled Iowa with relative ease in the last two matchups. First, a 28 point Big Ten tournament win which featured an impressive 27 point performance from DeShawn Sims. Next, a 14 point home win that was never really that close. Michigan was led, once again, by DeShawn Sims who notched 20 points and 12 rebounds.

More important than DeShawn Sims gaudy scoring totals is the fact that Michigan has locked down the Hawkeyes defensively. Holding them to 45 and 46 points in the last two games.  It took Iowa 7 minutes to score their first field goal last time out and they didn’t break 20 points until the second half.

Neither team has fared particularly well since the two teams faced off just over two weeks ago. Iowa knocked off Northwestern at home but lost to Illinois and at Wisconsin and Purdue. Michigan lost two of their last three but they are coming off of an encouraging road win at Minnesota.

Iowa still lives and dies by the three. They shoot 48.1% (3rd highest nationally) of their field goal attempts from three point range and knock them down at a 32.9% clip. Devan Bawinkal, Matt Gatens, Cully Payne, and Brennan Cougill are all good three point shooters that you don’t want to leave open.

aaron-fullerAaron Fuller battles for a loose ball against Zack Gibson and Zack Novak

Beyond the three point shooters, the player I’m most worried about is Aaron Fuller. The 6-foot-6 sophomore averages 8.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game but he is the one player on the Iowa roster who provides a mismatch versus the Wolverines; battling with Zack Novak at the four. Fuller had 16 points and 8 rebounds despite playing only 26 minutes due to foul trouble in the last game.

Judging from the last two contests, the game plan for Michigan should pretty obvious. Establish DeShawn Sims down low early and defend the Hawkeyes’ three point shooting attack. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims played probably their best two-man game all year at Minnesota, and if they can stay in sync versus Iowa that will bode well for Michigan.

Statistically, even with Michigan’s struggles, Iowa just doesn’t match up with Michigan. Iowa turns the ball over a lot (22.3% of possessions) and doesn’t do anything particularly well on either side of the ball. They are actually best at defensive rebounding, however Michigan had their best offensive rebounding performance of the year in the last match-up.

Michigan should roll in this one, but nothing is guaranteed on the road. If Iowa gets hot from three point range they could make a run and surprise the Wolverines. Pomeroy likes Michigan by 3, giving them a 65% chance at victory. Vegas takes Michigan by 4. Let’s hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments.

P.S.: Michigan is on 2011 super recruit Mike Gilchrist’s list of six schools along with Oregon, Villanova, Texas, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech. Villanova and Kentucky would probably be considered the favorites at this point.

  • Other Matt

    Tweeter, it’s basketball officials in general that are horrendous. I watch NBA games all the time and think “this is why I hate the NBA” at least 5 times a game. Does that stop me from watching? No. It gives me something to fuss over when I don’t want to own up to my team being crappy.

    I’m not even mad about it, honestly. Just baffled that this is how it is. Also constantly unhappy with the commentating except when we get Wayne Larivee who is clearly the best basketball play by play guy on the BTN (unless you want to consider Gus Johnson a BTN guy).

  • Tweeter

    well all of us besides Scott. I actually kinda miss Scott. He reminds me of times when UM still had tourney dreams.

  • Tweeter

    Larivee over Gus Johnson? I dont know about that one. Both do a good job, Larivee prolly better on the play by play, but Johnson just makes me smile with his, “PUUUUUUUUUUUUUURE!”

    I find that most NBA games, the officiating is pretty similar from game to game. You know who is going to get a foul call and when they are going to get it. Whereas in college, its anyone’s guess as to when/what/who on fouls.

  • Drew

    Buddy lost some money on that meaningless cover…ouch

  • Tweeter

    ahh, read your post but somehow missed the paren part. I do consider Johnson as a BTN guy.

  • fresh

    darius really needs to work on his shooting, get that confidence up…..also being that this season is over, i felt like this was a perfect situation to put morris in…….i realized he struggled shooting and look shaken because his shots looked so bad, but he is going to be the kid leading this team the next 3 years…..and he will undoubtedly have over time games and this was an opportunity to get some experience in these types of games and really felt that beilein needed to put him in here……..

  • fresh

    put him in for the last 3 of regulation and overtime

  • other steve

    its not even close… gus johnson is my favorite college bball play by play guy. i love when he calls the opening round games of the NCAA Tourney… He does get excited but its at the right times. Like Tweeter said when he says Puuuuuuuure it brings a smile to my face. i love gus johnson.

    Good win blue!

  • Other Matt

    I don’t consider Gus a BTN guy. He only does like 4 games a year. But yeah, he’s clearly the best. I meant Larivee is the best guy that gets consistent work on the network.

    I agree with what you’re saying about the NBA officials. I just hate that some players have WAY more latitude than others.

  • gpsimms

    yeah it’s funny, i haaaate larivee for football…but i think part of that was because his partner was chris martin, biggest idiot of all time.

    but anyway, i agree he’s ok for hoops pbp, and also agree no one is better than johnson.

    and, for the record, i don’t mine jimmy jackson. i thought he was pretty good. i like him better in studio i guess.

  • Tweeter

    As much as it pains me to say this, I think I prefer Jimmy Jackson to Jimmy King. I havnt heard King do a game in awhile, but he was pretty brutal.

  • AG2

    Stay classy, Mississippi State fans. Think we had problems with the refs tonight?

  • Giddings

    Agree that basketball officials are the worst, but basketball is also the hardest sport to officiate. Tonight was about par for the course.

    We really need to give Iowa credit. They took NW to school last week in the same building and they’ve played good teams like OSU very, very close. When Gatens is in a rhythm he is very tough to guard, it seems like everything just “wants” to fall. And Aaron Fuller played out of his mind tonight. They hit their threes and got inside scoring from Fuller and yet still lost at home. A very solid win for Michigan.

    That said, I agree with gpsimms that the defense and rebounding left much to be desired. Way too many open looks from beyond the arc against a team known for knocking them down, and a lot were due to lazy defensive rotation (reminded me of the game at NW). As for Fuller’s domination I thought Novak did an OK job considering his limits, it would have been interesting to bring more traps on Fuller like we did in OT which forced a tie-up.

  • Throwing things on the court is just ridiculous. Not sure how a fan can resort to that. I’ve been beyond irate at a basketball game before but couldn’t imagine throwing anything on the court. Pathetic.

    That being said.. the officiating in the last minute that I saw was terrible.

  • KDavis

    I just talked my wife into chanting, “Who’s next?!” while I strutted around the house like Goldberg circa ’98 WCW.

    She’s a good sport.

    Gutty win. Jimmy Jackson totally called us Michigan State before correcting himself. That post game interview was awkward because Jimmy Jackson is a dork. The end.

  • Giddings

    8-0 when we score 70+ points this year…

  • JeremyC

    Was Tim Donaghy workin that UK game?

  • KDavis

    Sims and Manny were okay and good and great at different times, but a couple of the other guys stepped up nicely. I talk smack about them from time to time, but nice games by Novak (9/4/5), Stu (9/3), and LLP (13/something/something). If we had those numbers every game from those guys we’d be…well, we’d be better than 13-12.

  • KDavis

    Dylan, any word on Ant?

  • Tweeter

    and to steal a line from everyone’s spartan, if my mother had balls, she would be my father.

    This team is what they are. A below average shooting team, that wins when they play defense, rebound, create turnovers, and dont turn it over themselves. Its pretty easy to shoot well against poor teams, but when UM plays good teams they have to play better D then they did tonight. Occasionally this team can get by against good teams when things go right, but to win consistently they need the D and most of the time this year it just has not been there.

  • KDavis

    Tweeter, can you believe how bad Fuller was out-athleting us?
    ; )

    And you’re dead on. The poor defense bothers me the most. That’s usually just a lack of effort thing.

  • michigan hoops 4eva

    Wow, I can’t believe we won that…finally a little luck coming our way. Harris and Sims were shaky sometimes, but came up big when we needed them.

    And just when I thought LLP was a non-factor, he shows up with 13 points, including some clutch free throws. Good, tough win.

  • The Kuws

    Good win, Blue. These are 18-22 year old kids who haven’t given up when most of their “fans” have. Who knows? Stranger things have happened than a UM title in the BTT. Georgia’s SEC tournament title a couple years ago was a stunner; it can be done in a major conference! (granted that SEC was significantly weaker than this Big Ten) But if the team isn’t giving up, I ain’t either. GO BLUE!

  • True Blue

    Gibson and Sims together? Looks like A Wright had a head injury. I noticed the headband. Did he get hurt at practice?

  • Dirtgrain

    I thought the Harris turnovers were unforgivable, but then he hit those threes. I hope this is a sign of an improving outside shot for Harris. As for the turnovers–grrrrr. His handle is shaky under pressure at times, but I think the two turnovers where it basically looked like he handed the ball to the defender were mental turnovers.

    Sims frustrated too, but he should get the game ball. One post move stands out in my memory. Back to the basket, he moved ridiculously fast, completely losing his defender and getting right to the rim. He missed the layup, but I was still impressed. I’ve seen that sort of quickness and footwork from him before, and I wish he would do it more often (sans the misses). He reminded me of James Worthy then. Maybe he could do some damage in the NBA.

    Regarding getting Morris more minutes at the end, I’ll just say that Douglas benefited from playing those minutes–and he hit a huge three pointer near the end. Morris will get his when he’s good enough that the team will need him out there. Both of those players need practice handling the ball under pressure. Against good, intense defenders, I still don’t feel comfortable with them at the point. Still, Douglas with two turnovers and Morris with none–not too shabby.

    Nine turnovers for the team and seventeen assists–wow.

  • JimC

    Congrats to Deshawn – you’re the new Mr. Big Shot in town!

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  • Kenny

    The team has ability to win the conference tournament and as long as the guys do not give up, they have a chance.