Photo Credit: MGoBlue
You know the drill. Tip off is 6 PM on the Big Ten Network. We’ll be discussing Michigan’s last game before Big Ten play begins so join in the comments. The game preview is the post below this, linked here.
|Who: Bryant (1-9) at Michigan (9-2).|
|Where: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI|
|When: Thursday, December 23rd, 6:00 ET|
|Radio: MGoBlue / WWWW 102.9 FM/Sirius 91/XM 196|
Bryant will be the seventh opponent that Michigan has played outside of Ken Pomeroy’s top 100. It will also be the last. Bryant has the same number of wins (1) as Michigan’s next opponent, Purdue, has losses. In short, this is the last tune up before a grueling conference schedule that will start fast and never really slow down. The average Pomeroy ranking of Michigan’s next 19 opponents is 40, a mark that only one of Michigan’s first 12 opponents surpassed.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, Bryant was the second worst team in Division I last year. They were also one of just two teams to record just a single win last season. The Bulldogs are a little better this year, with a win over a solid Iona squad, but not by much. Bryant is still the worst Division I team that Michigan has faced this year and they have just a 1-9 record.
Defense is the primary reason that Michigan has exceeded expectations through the first eleven games this season. The Wolverines have demonstrated a newfound tenacity on the defensive end – they currently rank 16th in Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings. It’s tough to measure individual defensive performance with statistics, but early returns point to significant improvement from one position group more than others: the guards.
After watching Oakland’s guards struggle to even make a basket on Saturday, I decided to run the numbers and see how opposing guards have fared versus the Wolverine defense this season. I came up with this table, which includes the field goal percentages and points scored for each starting backcourt that Michigan has faced – the results are impressive.
Note: Every starting line up listed 2 or 3 guards, so I normalized the numbers into points/starter. Randy Culpepper (UTEP) was included as a starter because he played starter minutes and is a regular UTEP starter that came off the bench for what seemed like disciplinary reasons.
Only one team’s starting guards have shot over 40% from the field against Michigan. Obviously games versus USC Upstate or North Carolina Central aren’t going to prove much, but after 11 games there’s a decent amount of data to work with.
Here is a video from Sink Combs (the architect of the project) that takes you through a virtual tour of the new facility. The Player Development Center is still expected to be completed by fall 2011.
It wasn’t the busiest of weeks in the Big Ten, as most schools were in the middle of final exams. Wisconsin and Penn State both didn’t play, and most teams — all besides Ohio State and Michigan — only played one game.
1) Ohio State (Previously: 2nd / Record: 10-0) I think we can all safely say that John Diebler’s not just a shooter or a role player — he’s much more than that. The senior scored 29 points against Florida Gulf Cost in the course of Ohio State’s 83-55 win over the Eagles on Wednesday. Even given the mediocre competition, Diebler’s nine-3-pointer explosion showed he is one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the Big Ten. It seems like Ohio State looks scarier and scarier every day, and this week earned the Bucks the top spot, which many of you thought they deserved last week. The Buckeyes followed up that win on Wednesday with a 79-57 trouncing of South Carolina on Saturday that saw Jared Sullinger score 30 points and 19 rebounds – he’s won six of seven Big Ten freshman of the week awards while teammate Deshaun Thomas won the other.
Next three: 12/21 vs. UNC Asheville, 12/23 vs. Oakland, 12/27 vs. Tennessee-Martin