Ohio State has already won six Big Ten games by a margin of five points or fewer but have also won three conference wins by 18 points or more. They might have gotten lucky a few times but it’s tough to argue with 22-0. Michigan has rebounded from a six game losing streak with back to back wins and will be read to play spoiler in Columbus. The stage is set with for a 7 p.m. tip off on ESPN (and ESPN3 for all the internet streamers).
|Who: Michigan (13-9) at Ohio State (22-0)|
|Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio|
|When: 7 P.M., Thursday, February, 3rd, 2011|
|TV: ESPN / ESPN3|
|Radio: MGoBlue / WWWW 102.9 FM|
|Previous Meeting: Game 17: OSU at Michigan (L 68-64)|
It’s hard to write previews without focusing too much on the most recent couple of games. It’s just as hard to muster optimism during a losing streak as it is to get carried away with the notion of momentum after a couple wins. Momentum means something, you’d rather go into a game playing good basketball, but its importance is dramatically overblown. 22 games into the season, it’s safe to say that teams have built up sufficient resumes to judge their entire body of work. Michigan heads to Columbus tonight with momentum after a pair of wins but the reward is a match-up with the nation’s consensus No. 1.
The simple two step recipe hasn’t changed for the Buckeyes. Step 1: Give the ball to Jared Sullinger on the block and watch him work. Step 2: Kick it out to the stable of talented wing players and let them shoot it. It’s easy to game plan when you have one of the top three players in the nation and it’s even easier when you have four players that shoot over 40% from three point range to surround him.
Pick to Click is sponsored by Moe Sport Shops.
If you don’t know the rules you can read them here. Here the pool for the Ohio State game:
Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway Jr., Matt Vogrich, Evan Smotrycz, and Jordan Morgan
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.
If you are wondering where you stand, check out the updated standings here.
One of the most common subject lines that graces my inbox is “why can’t Beilein’s “shooters” shoot?” A close second would be “WHY WON’T MICHIGAN PLAY TWO BIG MEN AT THE SAME TIME?”
Throughout the first several years of the John Beilein era, the concern has been valid. Despite shooting a larger proportion of three point shots than most other teams in the country, Beilein has yet to field an above average three point shooting team in Ann Arbor. Early on this season, it appeared that Michigan was ready to fire up more missed threes. At the end of November, six games into the season, Michigan was shooting just under 30% from long range. Half way through December, 11 games into the season, the Wolverines were still shooting just 31% on threes. Despite that sluggish start, Michigan has consistently improved into an average to above average three point shooting team. Don’t believe me, here’s a chart:
This improvement is encouraging for a number of reasons. Most impressively, a bulk of the improvement has come versus quality competition in conference play. This isn’t about Michigan padding its shooting stats versus the likes of North Carolina Central or Concordia, Michigan has shot the ball well versus conference foes. Michigan is shooting 39.2% from three point range in conference play, a stat that ranks fourth among Big Ten teams. Michigan has managed to post this respectable percentage despite attempting the second most threes in the league (and an average of 56 more than than the three teams ahead percentage wise). More numbers and thoughts after the jump.
Class of 2011
Carlton Brundidge – Commit
Southfield lost to Detroit Country Day and Amir Williams, 79-58, and Brundidge had 15 points in the loss.
Southfield responded with a blowout win over North Farmington and Brundidge had 18, 13 in the first half. Southfield is 8-3 and first in the OAA with a 5-1 conference record.
MAS left this report in the comments:
As for Brundidge, he had a rough shooting night missing shots I normally see him hit. He finished with 15 points on 5 for 18 (3 or 4 forced shots) shooting. The big positive was he was able to get his shot off against a very good athlete Knight that is 6-3 or 4 and is a D-1 WR prospect for football. CB quickness allowed him to create some open shots.
1) Darius Morris’ triple double
In honor of Darius’ career night, we had to expand “five key plays” to include a video featuring Morris’ triple double in its entirety (big thanks to Josh Houchin who put these videos together, again). The sophomore guard controlled the game at both ends of the floor and was the main reason Michigan was able to play at the pace they wanted to despite Iowa’s tendency to push the ball. When the Hawkeyes pressured Darius to force him into turnovers, he simply found the open man, nearly every time (though the great dish to Jordan Morgan from almost half court immediately comes to mind). He made some tough (and flashy) passes all game but credit also needs to be given to Michigan’s shooters — Tim Hardaway Jr., Matt Vogrich and Evan Smotrycz did a great job of finishing from beyond the arc. The rebounding was great, but largely a product of the game plan, implemented by the assistants: bigs focus on boxing out, let the guards clean up. Darius scored, dished, and cleaned up nice for the third triple-double in Michigan history (and second in two years!).
[click to continue…]