By Dylan Burkhardt | Uncategorized | Posted on February 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm
It’s been a busy day today with news about new 2011 prospects, a standard game preview, and an opponent Q&A, but now it’s time to finally play the game. Tip off is 6:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network with Gus Johnson and Shon Morris on the call. Tickets are still available to so head up to Crisler Arena if you’re in the area.
We’ll be discussing the game in the comments so we encourage you all to join the conversation.
Live chat: David Merritt will be joining us after the game to answer your questions about the game or anything else.
Michigan hosts Northwestern in a battle to stay afloat in the bulging midsection of the Big Ten. Both teams are 4-7 and entering an important final stretch seven games with strong post season implications. When these teams met two and a half weeks ago, Michigan was crashing toward bottom on the tail end of a six game losing streak. Michigan lacked intensity early on and ran into the buzz saw that is Northwestern’s offense on a good day. Now, Michigan has the chance to prove that it has improved as a team and that it can defend its home floor in conference play.
Last time around, Michigan saw the good Northwestern — nearly perfect offensive basketball that featured 10 made threes, no turnovers, an array of backcuts for easy layups. It was just about rock bottom for Michigan. I look at the standings and see Northwestern is just 4-7 in conference play, what’s happening in those losses?
Well, a lot of it had to do with schedule. Until Michigan State’s collapse none of those seven losses were "bad" losses. Mostly the Wildcats have had trouble defending against teams that can shoot the ball well. Wisconsin and Illinois torched Northwestern. The concussion John Shurna suffered hurt against both Minnesota and Ohio State. This team is good, but until upsetting Illinois on Saturday it really didn’t have an impressive victory. When the offense works it looks great, as you saw last time. It’s just that the Wildcats have to play defense too and that seems to be really hard.
Nance is a 6-foot-7 four man from Revere High School in Richfield, OH. Ohio HS Hoops recently listed him as the #2 unsigned senior forward in Ohio and this tweet from High Major Scoop lists offers from Western Carolina, Toledo and Wofford and interest from Toledo, Kent St., Michigan, CMU, and Western Michigan.
According to MaxPreps, Nance is averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocks per game. As you can see in the video above, Nance is more of a skinny do-it-all combo forward than Bielfeldt who is more of a back to the basket player. He does appear to have some athleticism but not nearly as much as his father, Larry Nance Sr., the 1984 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner.
Nance seems to fit the profile of what Michigan needs — a potential four man — a little more than Bielfeldt. Michigan appears to be casting a wide net for 2011 late bloomer types that are having productive season. Nance, who has reportedly grown significantly over the last two years, would fit the bill as a late bloomer. We’ll look to have more over the coming hours and days.
If you don’t know the rules you can read them here. Please choose one of the following eligible players for this game:
Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan, Matt Vogrich, and Evan Smotrycz
Please remember to use the same name and e-mail address that you have used for previous games or your selection will not be counted toward your overall tally. You are welcome to join in at anytime but you might have some catching up to do if you missed earlier games.