Game 30: Michigan at Minnesota Recap

Dylan Burkhardt


Joe already touched on most of the basics, but here is a more in depth look at the numbers from Michigan’ 70-63 win in Minnesota. These numbers don’t show the heart, resilience, and mental toughness that this Michigan team has exhibited. There have been a number of tough losses that could have derailed this season, but Michigan continues to stay the course and battle every night.

Michigan’s offense was really clicking. Early in the game it was the ridiculous hot shooting but, as Minnesota adjusted, the focus shifted in the second half. Michigan attempted 76% of its first half field goals from three point range but that number shifted to 23% in the second half. Michigan shot very well from three point range, 43%, and was 13 of 27, 48%, from inside the arc. The Wolverines turned the ball over on just 9% of their possessions and rebounded 22% of their missed shots. Michigan rarely got to the line but made the most of the charity opportunities, connecting on 8 of 9 attempts.

Michigan’s defense wasn’t great, surrendering 1.08 points per trip, but the Wolverines gutted out enough stops down the stretch to escape with a win. The Gophers rebounded 36% of their missed shots, 53% in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. Minnesota had just 9 turnovers, dividing out to a turnover rate of just 15% which is the best mark for Minnesota all year. In the end, the difference was Michigan’s ability to keep Minnesota off of the free throw line. The Gophers rely on the charity to provide a significant portion of their offense and only attempted eight free throws in this game.

I’m not going to do a complete player bullets section but a couple players deserve specific recognition. Darius Morris was phenomenal and really took control of this game when Michigan could have let it slip away, He scored 11 second half points on 5 of 9 shooting and finished the game with seven assists to just one turnover. Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to grow into a scoring machine, scoring 22 points on 7-11 (5-8 3pt) shooting. Minnesota made the mistake of not designing its defense around Hardaway and he made them pay early on. Zack Novak obviously made the big plays down the stretch and also grabbed five defensive rebounds. Stu Douglass provided a huge lift with his shooting, connecting on 4 of 8 triples. Matt Vogrich, Colton Christian, and Evan Smotrycz all provided some production off the bench. Smotrycz grabbed five boards, Christian three, and Vogrich two. Vogrich also knocked down a three and had a pair of assists.

A loss could have effectively ended Michigan’s at-large hopes but a win allows them to live another day. Saturday’s game against Michigan State looks to be one of the most important rivalry games for both teams in recent history. Not only could Michigan sweep the Spartans for the first time since 1997, both teams are still playing for an NCAA tournament berth.

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  • Michigan4

    It is hard not to love Zack Novak. Mbakwe is easily to most physical player in the big ten and Novak never backed down. After getting posterized, most players would have been intimidated, but not him. This was honestly one of the most impressive games of Zack’s career and he absolutely deserves all the recognition he can get. What a game!!

  • JimC

    Does it ever seem like this team is one solid power forward away from being top 10?
    Still, I thought Christian played well for his minutes…even if he didn’t score, 3 DRebs in 4 minutes is good work.
    But maybe if he & Horford can bulk up a little (and learn how to score put backs!) they can fill that gap.

    today only…GO BOILERS!
    (wouldn’t it be great to slam the door shut on Sparty’s season this Sat.)

    • Nick

      I agree with each and every word of this post. Go Boilers.

  • ForeverBlue23

    Hearing JB talk about how personally he and Stu take losses reminded me of how down Novak was after the Wisconsin game. It was great to see him play the major role (3 pointer, steal and pass) in the critical sequence yesterday. It was exactly the kind of return his ever-present effort and toughness deserved.

  • JimC

    My other question: doesn’t the committee look at ‘last 10 games’ (back in the day, they used to consider this) ?
    That would be helpful for us.

    • Beast1530

      The committee said that they try not to put too much weight on the last 10 games. They want to look at the season as whole.

    • Brick

      Yes they do. It is one of the factors they use. They may try not to put too much weight on the last 10 games but it is one of the factors at the end of the day.

    • champswest

      More specifically, the committee can look at any thing that it chooses to.

  • ScottM

    The last ten games are no longer an “official” criteria but can (I suppose will) be used at the discretion of the committee members.

  • MichMan

    @ JimC, I personally believe that Michigan st. winning today helps us more than Purdue winning. As much as i dislike Mich st. the win at there place is the only thing propelling us into bubble talk. Them making the tourny would only boost or resume not hinder it. Sometimes we need to put away our pride for a greater cause(michigan making the tourny)… Go Blue…

    • Laura

      But we need the 4 or 5 seed in the BTT. They win today we might not get it

      • champswest

        And, if MSU gets knocked out of the tourney there is one more spot available for us (and if MSU finishes 1-3 or worse, they could be out).

    • ScottGoBlue

      Purdue winning clearly helps us much more. If MSU wins, then they and Illinois finish ahead of us. We would land in the 6-seed territory at best (rather than 5, as others point out) unless MSU loses to Iowa on Wednesday. Which would be a wash for us anyway. No, it’s “Boiler Up” today for M fans. And none of this matters unless we take down Sparty on Saturday. We can do it.

      Go Blue!

      • Jeff

        I agree with both points. We need the MSU win(s) to look good, but I think it would be much more advantageous to be in the 4/5 game. Illinois is much more beatable than the top-3. I guess I’m rooting for Purdue.

  • Dylan Burkhardt

    Msu winning would do a couple things. First, it would make it very unlikely that Michigan ends up in the 4/5 game. Second, it would boost MSU’s RPI a bit which could help Michigan a bit but I’m not sure how much.

    • Jeff

      Basically, I think we want Purdue to win, but we want MSU to stay in the top-50.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I don’t care how it affects their RPI or our chances, I want to see MSU lose the next two so that the loser of our game does not go to the tourney.

    • MichMan

      Where is our quality wins then? I feel if State doesnt make it to the Dance we will need to make it to the finals of the BTT in order for us to make it. Our top win will be Harvard.

      • maxwell’s demon

        I want Michigan to be the reason MSU is not dancing.

        • JimC

          I’m with maxwell on that.

          It looks like Sparty is going down today anyway folks. Hey, they are still known around the country by rep. If we sweep them, it will help, no matter what their RPI is.

  • KAB

    Dylan,who do we want to win?

  • ScottGoBlue

    Dylan, any way you can tone down the “IMVU” ads on the site? I know you’ve gotta get income to keep this great site going. But they’re a bit much.

  • MichMan

    I hope you are all right about Purdue winning helps us more.. Just fearful if State doesnt make it that it could end up hurting us more then helping. A 4 or 5 seed would be nice for a change though. Go Blue.. and Purdue i guess for today…

  • Chris

    Purdue or MSU? I’ve read earlier comments and understand all the implications of each team winning. I know that an MSU win will result in less favorable seeding and would allow msu to jump higher in the B10 standings. But with an MSU win, their RPI will rise, making Michigan’s win in East Lansing (and hopefully next Saturday) that much more appealing to the committee. With a purdue win, Michigan can close the gap with MSU when it comes to conference standings. I’m just curious which one of these outcomes is more favorable…sparty on?

    • Ryan

      I am torn.
      Could a win today and wednesday for Sparty put them in the top 25 RPI? If not then I feel like Purdue is the best bet. I do not see Sparty going outside the top 50 with a loss today and a win Wednesday.

  • ScottM

    I think if state wins today it helps. That would mean that Texas and UM would be the only teams this year to win at Breslin.

    • um basketball fan

      I think we want Sparty to lose, by the same reasoning. That would mean Purdue, Texas and UM are the only teams to win at the Breslin Center. That’s not bad company to keep. A Sparty win means they have one more T25 win and we don’t. A loss would make them one less bubble team to worry about.

      Also, an MSU win would put them at 10-7 in Big Ten play before they come see us, assuming they win against Iowa (I’m guessing they’re going to want revenge for the last time those two teams met). That means they’d have a better conference record AND a T25, tipping us just off the bubble, in my opinion.

      So I agree with other comments and say we should be “Boiler-ing Up” today.

      • Chris

        u make some great points there. ill retract my “sparty on” and be boilering up from here on out.

  • KAB

    Lunardi has Michigan in the feild..

  • KAB

    I did not see it on Espn but the announcer’s on ESPN said,(as of this morning Lunardi has Michigan in the feild).

    • Ryan

      Yep, he announced that on sports center late last night! exciting!

  • KAB

    Sorry for the old news!!

  • Giddings

    Sounds like everybody wants to be in the 4/5 game. I’m not so sure… if we beat Illinois in the 4/5 game, it would give us another Top 50 win, but then we’d have to deal with OSU (of course a win there would be huge). If we get the 6 seed and beat IU, then we get a shot at redemption (and a Top 25 win) vs. Wisconsin.

    • Jeff

      Yeah, I see your points. Here’s how I view it. If we’re the six seed: Game against the 11 seed is a no win situation, win does nothing for us, loss and we’re out. Also could be playing IU in their arena. Win that game and we’re still sweating big time. Then beat the 3 seed and we’re in.

      If you are the 4/5 seed. Almost surely playing Illinois. Lose that game, probably in trouble, but not as bad as losing to the 11 seed above, still have some shot. Win that game, we’re still nervous, but not as nervous as the above if we lose to the 3 seed. Beat the 1 seed and we’re in. I don’t think there will be a huge difference between the 1 and 3 seeds.

      Basically, as a 6 seed, we will have to win two in BTT tourney, but as a 5 seed one could possibly be enough.

      • Mith

        I disagree, I think the even a win against the #11 might be enough. I think with a win against MSU and the soft bubble, we’re in a very similar boat to two years ago.

        • Jeff

          I agree that they MIGHT, but I think it’s a pretty big might. A win over Illinois in the 4/5 game would give a bigger comfort level (though not 100%). You have to remember that the bubble starts shrinking rapidly this time of year. Virginia Tech just went from precarious bubble team to sitting pretty last night. There will be more teams doing that. Three B12 bubble teams won yesterday. Two or three spots will disappear during conference tournaments. It happens every year.

  • billiam

    As “MIchMan” said “sometimes we need to put away our pride.”

    1.) we all would agree that this team is young
    2.) Young teams get better as they get more experience.
    3.) Assuming we get to the NCAA, we’d most likely lose our fist game.
    4.) Assuming NIT, we could win the whole thing, playing multiple games.
    Therefore: Isn’t the NIT better for us??

    Am I just crazy, or is the NIT really better for us? What does the NCAA get us other than pride?

    • grandchamp

      Big stage experience and once you get in the dance anything can happen.

      • grandchamp

        National exposure also helps recruiting.

    • Brad

      I don’t think you’re giving this team enough credit. A Beilein Team in the NCAA tourney can do damage. When a team has good guardplay and can shoot the 3 (which we have), they can win games. Mich wasn’t expected to beat Clemson two years ago, but they did, and then took Oklahoma to the wire….I don’t get how the NIT is a better outcome than the NCAA tourney..? Because we could maybe play a worse team and win a game or two?

      • um basketball fan

        NCAA all the way. Agree completely w/ Brad about Beilein teams. General rule for his teams: when filling out your bracket, however far ESPN projects them to go, bet on them going one step further. :)

      • Justin

        Um, I remember Oklahoma crushing us

    • Mith

      Yeah, I’m thinking you’re crazy. Does anyone really care who wins the NIT? Seriously? I’d rather go out in the first round of the NCAA anytime than win the whole NIT.

      • Joel

        Totally agree. Let’s go dancing baby!!

    • Kenny

      If we are in the big dance, this team has ability to hang around with the best teams in the country, and is able to make some noise.

      • Justin

        I agree

  • evan

    ncaa tourney would go along way in helping us play against a quality opponent than going to nit

  • SJWolv

    Next week’s game is on CBS regional. I live in Cali, so I am getting the PAC 10 game. Does CBS have a reverse mirror like abc football or do I pray someone is streaming the game?

    • cner16

      I am pretty sure you can watch it on I watched the purdue-osu game from the ugli last week.

  • wayman britt

    UM gutted out a win at the end. Very Nice. Boy if we only could have won of those other big games losses.

    Really thought Stu played excellent defense on Hoffarber. Most of his points came against Morris. They both will have to bring their “A” defense game against Lucas.

  • JimC

    Sparty is back to ‘lost the will to live’ mode, apparently. 20 point loss, wow.

  • Giddings

    That Sparty loss means that we are almost guaranteed a spot in the 4/5 game if we beat them on Saturday. I say “almost” because if PSU wins both of their remaining games (OSU and @ Minny) and Illinois wins at least one (@ Purdue and IU), we would fall back to the 6 seed.

    • billiam

      so…99%. OSU losing to PSU is 1% chance.

  • Jeff

    I really think MSU needs to beat Iowa. They lose that one, and even if we beat them, those two top-50 wins could go poof. I’d like to see PSU split their final two and slip into the top-50, but not pass us for top-5 in conference. Definitely rooting for Harvard and probably Clemson too. Man, this is enough to make my head spin.

    • Beast1530

      Pretty sure that Clemson won’t climb to RPI top 50.

  • KAB

    Agreed,we are sitting pretty for a five seed!

  • Mike

    Hey KenPom understanding type people,
    What kind of chance does KenPom give UM against MSU @ home?

    • grandchamp

      62% not counting the thumping that they took today.

  • TRUBLU78

    I dont know if its good for us er not………but I love seeing Sparty smacked at home! We got their number Sat(IHOPE) and I think were in…….either way State was preseason #2, were were picked to finish last in conference! So MSU is the dissapointment……in State.

    Lets go SAT>>>>>>>>BEAT STATE

  • Kenny

    has ever a preseason #2 missed the tournament? love to see it happening this year.

    • TRUBLU78


      • Justin

        short answer: yes

  • Chris

    what am i going to do this week…such a long break between games i dont know what to do with myself

    • Jeff

      Root for every bubble team to lose and for the rest of the Big Ten to fall correctly so that we get a first round bye in the BTT.

  • MaizeNBlueJ

    Wisconsin game is up at

    I’ll have the Minnesota game up once I have enough copies out of this one.

  • UMQuasi

    I’m all for thinking about different scenarios, but most of you guys are talking about us getting the 4/5 seed as if beating State is a given. I know it’s at home against a struggling team who we beat at their place, but it’s far from a lock.

    MSU has had a rough year, but there is a reason why they were thought to be a National Title contender at the beginning of the year. They can be a great team on any given day.

    • sven

      It’s is a lock. Bet your life savings on it.

      • J.D.

        Yeah they just got completely routed at home by like 20 points. The only reason they started out second is by mistake, look at where they are now. The only reason there still high in the rpi is because of where they started.

        • Beast1530

          RPI is based on a formula, not preseason ranking.

          RPI = (WP * 0.25) + (OWP * 0.50) + (OOWP * 0.25)

          WP: Winning percentage
          OWP: Opponent winning percentage
          OOWP: Opponent’s opponent winning percentage

          Home win counts as .6 win, road win counts as 1.4, home loss counts as 1.4, road loss counts as .6 and neutral counts as 1 for both win and loss.

          The OWP is calculated by taking the average of the WP’s for each of the team’s opponents with the requirement that all games against the team in question are removed from the calculation

          The OOWP is calculated by taking the average of each Opponent’s OWP. Note that the team in question is part of the team’s OOWP. In fact, the most re-occurring opponent of your opponents is team in question

          It basically rely on SOS plus your record. MSU’s SOS is pretty high.

          To say that MSU’s RPI is high is because MSU started out high in preseason. That is wrong. Everybody starts out at an equal ground and it will change once the season starts.

    • Jeff

      I’m personally not looking at it as a lock. I’m just saying any scenario that involves us in the 4/5 game includes a win over MSU. If we lose that game, the 4/5 game and, likely, the NCAAs become a moot point.

  • scottm

    How are the seats in Sec 5 of Crisler? Thinking of going to game Saturday but don’t want to drive 500 miles for bad seats.

    • Brian W

      It depends on high up the seats are. If you can get row 32 or less, the seats won’t be that bad.

    • Ed

      There are 42 or 43 rows. I think I’m in row 40 of section 5. It’s kindof nosebleed, but I don’t care. I will be chanting “NIT NIT” at Sparty the entire game. This game could just about seal a bid. What are you waiting for? Drive it bro.

      • Section 30, Row 28

        Thanks for planning to be there…even if you are sitting in the nosebleeds. I had season tickets that high for once. It’s not that bad.

        If we can’t get Wolverine fans to buy the extra seats, you can bet Spartan fans will. I can’t tell you how tired I am of sitting in Crisler for the MSU games with seemingly half of the arena filled with Green and White.

        • BK

          Scottm – If you decide not to make the trip, I’d be willing to take those tickets off your hands.

  • BK

    Anyone know where to get tickets for the MSU game? I can’t figue out if it’s sold out or if we’re just trying to keep sparty out of our gym.

  • Kainkitizen

    Hey Guys, the game is probably sold out. It looks like some folks are selling there tickets on for the game depending on where you wanna sit and how much you wanna pay for a ticket. I agree to this on going issue of why buy the season special for the state game tickets then when it’s time for the game, they just sell them off. The admin office needs to get a handle on this before it gets way out of hand for our team and crisler arena representation.

  • Rob

    Anybody know whether or not the shoes the team wore during the Minnesota game are available for the public? I bought the ones they wore during the NCAA Tourney 2 years ago and I was actually really impressed with them