Game 3: Gardner-Webb at Michigan Preview

Dylan Burkhardt
Who: Michigan (2-0) vs. Gardner-Webb (3-1)
Where: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
When: Sunday, November 21st, 2:00PM
TV: ($)
Radio: MGoBlue, 1050 AM/950 AM/Sirius Ch. 127

After another stifling defensive performance against seemingly subpar competition, Michigan welcomes Gardner-Webb into the friendly confines of Crisler Arena. True college hoops junkies will remember the Runnin Bulldogs for their 2007 upset of Kentucky in the 2K Sports Classic. The problem with high profile upsets in November is that they don’t always stand for much. Fast forward to 2010 andĀ Gardner-Webb has fallen on tough times, finishing second to last in the Big South last season despite one of the most experienced rosters in the conference.

This season, they return just 41-percent of the minutes from last season’s team and are predicted to finish dead last in the Big South. Early returns have been slightly encouraging, as the Runnin’ Bulldogs knocked off Charlotte on the road. However, that win might not mean much after George Mason rolled Charlotte by 22 points last night in the Charleston Classic.

6-foot-4 senior Jonathan Moore is the Bulldogs’ best returning player, averaging 18.5 points and 7 rebounds in his first four games while shooting 51% from the field and a very impressive 44% from three point range on 25 attempts. 6-foot-6 215lb sophomore forward Stefon Johnson is the main low post scoring threat and second leading scorer for the Bulldogs, averaging just under 11 points per game.

Gardner-Webb lacks size up front where their only player over 6-foot-7 is 6-foot-10 freshman Michael Byron, who averages 5 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes per game (with one start). Joshua Henley is only 6-foot-3 but the 215 pound guard is a rebounding machine, averaging almost 10 rebounds per game. Two more guards, Laron Buggs and Luke Davis, round out the core of the Gardner-Webb rotation.

As you would expect with such a guard centric roster, Gardner-Webb attempts 37% of their field goals from outside the arc. The more surprising statistic for the Bulldogs offense is that they have done a very good job on the offensive glass, rebounding 38% of their missed shots this season. Games versus Virginia Intermont and Mary Washington have obviously skewed some of the statistics at this point, especially on defense. Virginia Intermont and Mary Washington averaged .72 points per possession while Florida State and Charlotte combined to average a significantly better, but still respectable, 1.03 points per trip. Based on limited sample size I’d say that Gardner-Webb’s defense isn’t terrible but it shouldn’t pose Michigan any major problems.

Pomeroy projects Michigan by twenty in a 74-54 game. I’ll go with Michigan 70, Gardner-Webb 52 in a 66 possession game. Michigan has looked better each time out and it would be encouraging to see them keep that trend alive with #10 Syracuse looming large next Friday. Three random predictions:

  • Blake McLimans hits his first three point shot.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. stays out of foul trouble and bounces back with 15+ points.
  • Michigan’s defense holds a third straight opponent below .80 points per possession, a feat last year’s squad never accomplished.
  • AG2

    According to, Michigan has allowed the 2nd lowest eFG% in the nation, second only to the Boilermakers. How much of that do you think is Michigan’s defense and how much of it is because our opponents just plain don’t shoot well?

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      That’s the big question… Hopefully it’s something of a mix. The defensive statistics are ridiculous right now, so they are bound to come down to earth somewhat.

  • Ryan F

    Sounds like Henley vs. Novak should be an interesting matchup.

  • C weezy

    Hopefully they could use Blake a lil bit more down low (sort of like the Heat used Bosh the other night) and that would definiteley free up some more outside shooting…

    • Beast1530

      post up game is not Blake’s forte and he still doesn’t have the bulk to post up against bigger players. Camping out and shooting three is more of his game. If he can hit a couple of threes, that would open up the inside for other players to penetrate.

  • Go Blue

    Bummed the game wont be on TV. Seems like last year almost all of these games were televised on BTN.

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      It’s not on live, but it is going to be aired Monday on the BTN at 2:30 in the afternoon. I’ll be posting a 720P HD torrent of it sometime later in the week, if you’re interested.

      • Trevor

        Thanks much for posting these torrents. It’s really great to be able to see extended play when circumstances don’t allow for catching the game live.

        • MaizeNBlueJ

          Your welcome, man. I’ll get as many games as I can. Unfortunately, some of them just won’t be on TV and I might miss them.

  • Beast1530

    Wow, Minnesota upset UNC.

  • Brick

    Great win for Minn. Helps the B10 too. 20 for Hoffarber. I can’t help thinking that if he played for Mich I would have been reading four years of posts about how he can’t create his own shot and that he is not athletic enough to play D in the Big 10.

  • AG2

    I’m stunned, too. I didn’t see the game so I don’t know how they made Harrison Barnes go 0-12.

  • TheYooper

    Just a minor complaint, but the 9~ish minute video that was posted on the Trey Burke commit post isn’t available anymore.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Seems to work for me. Try again maybe?

      • TheYooper

        It’s working again. Odd… oh well, thanks anyways.

  • AG2

    Dylan, what do you hear about the Derrick Nix situation in East Lansing? Is Nix really considering leaving?

  • steve

    is the syracuse game going to be on tv in ann arbor somewhere?

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      I’m not sure, but I checked and it appears that I get HD Net here, so if nothing else, there will be torrents for the final two Legends Classic games as well.

  • Ed

    Is this Gardner Webb or Gardner White we’re playing?

  • Ryan

    I will be home for thanksgiving break. I think I get it as well. Have never heard of it though.

  • rlc

    Morgan’s offensive efficiency numbers will go through the roof after this outing.

  • umAlum

    Hey, it looks like we’ve found our center: Jordan Morgan. He’s really a special player, and considering the physical boost he provides, Blake should sit. Much as Morris is stepping up to fill Manny’s shoes as a playmaker, Morgan is stepping up to fill DeShawn’s through rebounding and post presence. Blake contributes zero rebounding against weak competition and has yet to hit a three (not quite sure how a three-shooting center is supposed to help us… the Toronto Raptors have an ace outside shooter in the 7-foot Bargnani and yet they inhabit the underbelly of the NBA due to his relative weakness in the post). Just one man’s opinion.