|Who: Maryland Eastern Shore (1-9) at Michigan (8-3)|
|Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI|
|When: 3:00 p.m., December 17th, 2016|
Michigan faces the lowest KenPom ranked team on its schedule on Saturday afternoon as it hosts Maryland Eastern Shore. The Hawks are just 1-9 this season with their lone win coming against Central Penn College — a USCAA Division II team.
There aren’t many bright spots on Maryland Eastern Shore’s resume. The Hawks are ranked 309th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 337th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They also rank 289th or worse in eFG%, offensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate — on offense and defense.
Eastern Shore has done a good job of not turning the ball over, but it hasn’t helped much when it shoots just 42% inside the arc (323rd). This team can shoot the three fairly well (35%) and unlike some of Michigan’s recent opponents (UCA, Texas) they’ll take a slightly above average number of three-point attempts.
Defensively, Eastern Shore plays a zone on 39% of its possessions so Michigan should see plenty of that. The Hawks also will press once every 10 possessions and have a better than average ball screen defense. They also allow a lot of threes (43.2% of field goal attempts) and two-thirds of made shots against UMES are assisted.
6-foot-6 senior Bakari Copeland is a 14 points per night scorer and the best defensive rebounder on the Hawk roster. He is the primary offensive option, but he hasn’t been very efficient, making just 40% of his twos and 33% of his threes.
6-foot-2 junior Ryan Andino is the shooter to track. Andino is 34-of-73 from three-point range and is the only Eastern Shore player with double-digit made threes this season. He’s not a threat to do much else as he’s just 6-of-23 (26%) inside the arc.
Sophomore forward Dontae Caldwell has great rebounding numbers for a 6-foot-5 player, and he’s also a good slasher. He’s made 55% of his twos while posting a free throw rate of 46%. The one thing he can’t do: hit from the perimeter where he’s just 5-of-24.
The point guard spot is split between Logan McIntosh, a 6-foot-3 junior, and Thomas Rivera, a 5-foot-11 senior. Both players have impressive assist rates, but McIntosh is more of a driver (he shoots more twos and gets to the line) while Rivera is a sneaky three-point threat (7-of-16) but just 7-of-27 inside the arc.
- More freshmen minutes: We saw more freshmen minutes against Central Arkansas and I’d expect we see even more tonight. Xavier Simpson and Ibi Watson need their opportunities as they will likely come in handy at some point in Big Ten play. It’s a bit trickier to get Jon Teske minutes because I think Moe Wagner and Mark Donnal need reps as well and there is only 40 minutes to go around.
- Get Walton on track: Derrick Walton has been in a bit of an offensive funk (3 of last 12 from three) and it would be a good time to get him going ahead of Big Ten play.
- Keep on shooting: Early on this season I questioned how good of a shooting team this would really be, but things are starting to click over the last two games — Michigan hit 19 (UCA) and 14 (UCLA) triples in back-to-back games. There will be plenty of three-point shooting opportunities against UMES to keep that rolling.
This is the last sub-200 KenPom guarantee game left on Michigan’s schedule (next week’s game is against 149th ranked Furman) and should be the most straightforward game remaining this season. KenPom projects aa 77-53 Wolverine win and gives Eastern Shore just a 2% shot at the upset.