Save the RPIs and bubble breakdowns for now. There’s still a lot of work to do if Michigan wants to celebrate on Selection Sunday. The ball is officially in Michigan’s court. This isn’t a scenario where Michigan can knock off a couple average teams to cement a bid, the Wolverines will have to earn it. Michigan will probably only be favored in one (maybe two) of its final five games and needs a handful of wins (at least 3) to even be considered for an at-large bid.
The good news is that the final five games provide just what Michigan needs: an opportunity to add more “quality” or RPI top 50 wins. Right now Michigan has two (barely) quality wins: a home win over Harvard (44) and a road win over Michigan State (47). The final stretch includes four games versus RPI top 50 opponents: at Illinois (39), Wisconsin (18), at Minnesota (35), and Michigan State (47). Wisconsin might be the most important, given the Badgers’ top 25 RPI ranking, and could be the statement win that truly puts Michigan into the conversation. Win a handful of these final games and the rest will take care of itself. Here’s a brief look at Michigan’s remaining schedule, team-by-team, and our best attempt to decipher Michigan’s chances.
By Joe Stapleton | Recruits | Posted on February 15, 2011 at 11:45 am
I caught up with Denzel Watts, a 2013 guard prospect out of Flint Carman-Ainsworth, to discuss his recruitment. Watts had a strong summer with Team Detroit and has followed up with a strong high school season, averaging 20 points per game. (Photo Credit: Next Generation Sports)
Here’s what Watts had to say:
Describe your game. I’m the type of guy who likes to get to the hole with my dribbling skills, then if you stop me from getting to the hole I have a perimeter shot. And then I’ve also got a long-range shot.
How’s the high school season going? Real good. We are 12-4 right now. I’m averaging 20.4 points and I’m averaging at least nine assists a game and at least four rebounds. Overall the season’s going real good.
Which schools have been contacting you? Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, USC, Florida State, Dayton University. Those are the major ones.
Which coaches have been talking to you from Michigan? Coach Beilein and Coach Bacari.
Have they been coming to any games or practices? Yeah they came to a lot of my AAU games. But Dayton University came to my practice like the second week in the season.
You recently visited Michigan, correct? Yeah, I was there last night. (For the Northwestern game.)
Brundidge notched a triple double with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in an 84-57 win over Lake Orion. Southfield also rolled over Farmington Hills Harrison, 68-37, but Brundidge had a quiet night and scored just 7 points.
By UMHoops Staff | Big Ten | Posted on February 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm
As our tempo free aerial illustrates this very clearly but three teams are playing significantly better basketball than the rest of the league: Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Purdue. These three teams are not only playing better defense than anyone else, they are scoring much more efficiently. Wisconsin’s home win over Ohio State has actually put the Badgers slightly ahead of Ohio State in this week’s efficiency numbers but there’s still a rematch in Columbus which could even that out.
The middle of the pack is hard to distinguish. The numbers say Illinois is playing better basketball than the rest of the Big Ten’s middle but you wouldn’t think so watching the Illini play. Bruce Weber has called out his senior leadership publicly and his team is 3-6 over its last nine games. With so many seniors on the roster, the question is whether Illinois can turn it around and starts spiraling downward. Everyone started to write Michigan State off a week ago but the Spartans are down but not out. A couple big wins and Michigan State is right back in the thick of things around the 4-5 spots.
Michigan’s numbers put the Wolverines closer to the basement (hint: allowing 20 point leads to collapse into 4 point wins doesn’t help) than the middle of the pack but the Wolverines are playing much better basketball lately. Michigan has scored 1.11 points per trip and allowed 1.04 over its last 372 trips possessions in the last six games — far improved from the handful of deflating setbacks early on. Things won’t be easy down the stretch as the Wolverines still have three more road games left on the docket. – Dylan Burkhardt
Mike Rothstein’s story about Darius Morris and Dan Tan does an extraordinary job of demonstrating what makes Darius Morris such a great human being and is much more rewarding than this one about what makes Morris such a phenomenal point guard. However, it’s time to point out what makes Morris such a great basketball player. We’ve touched on his statistical marvels at times this season, pointing out things like the fact that he accounts for over 50% of Michigan’s offense. But as the season drags on, it feels like we’ve begun to take his production for granted. It’s often a lot easier to pick out Morris’ faults than point out everything that he has done well this season. Here’s just a taste of how well Morris measures up to the rest of the Big Ten.
Morris measures out to be the best assist man in the league. He assists 44% of Michigan’s field goals while he’s on the floor, a measure that ranks fourth nationally and is the best of major conference point guard. Coincidentally, the top three guards in assist rate all play their college ball in Ohio (Toledo, Ohio, and Dayton).
Michigan’s shooters have all shot the ball much better than year’s past, as Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage. A lot of the credit for the shooting improvement has to belong to Darius Morris. He not only provides great looks for Jordan Morgan on the block (Morgan converts 62% of his twos), he also provides great looks for Michigan’s perimeter shooters like Stu Douglass, Zack Novak, and Tim Hardaway Jr. [click to continue…]