Tip off is at 5PM, we will probably get started 15 minutes or so early. Brian is hosting this one but I’m going to throw it up here as well.
Who: MichiganÂ (17-10) at Iowa (13-13)
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
When: Sunday, Feb 22nd, 5 PM ET
Spread: Iowa by 1
Preview: Stat Sheet, U-M KenPom Profile, Iowa KenPom Profile
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)
Last Time: Preview / Recap
Iowa looks like a team that is falling apart, one that you can write off, but just last weekend they almost knocked off Purdue in Iowa City without Jeff Peterson and Cyrus Tate. The Hawkeyes have lost 9 of their last 11 games and have had to deal with all kinds of injury and personnel issues over the last several months.Â They still are not healthy and their once very efficient offense ranks tenth in the league when looking at only conference play.
Anthony Tucker was Iowa’s leading scorer early on but his season fell apart after a drinking related arrest, mono, and being ruled academically ineligible. Now Iowa is dealing with injuries to Cyrus Tate and Jeff Peterson. Cyrus is Iowa’s strongest inside presence but he has missed 10 of the last 11 games with a high ankle sprain. Lickliter and Tate don’t sound optimistic:
“Cyrus has always been a competitive person. A big heart. I just have to believe that (the injury) limiting him. There’s no question about it. He can’t tolerate the pain.”
“It’s something you can’t rush,” Tate said. “I’ve been impatient twice, and it’s cost me.”
Asked if this could be a season-ending injury, Tate said, “I’m not saying that. I’m still hoping I can be back.”
Jeff Peterson is the Hawkeye’s starting point guard who averages 10.6 ppg, 4.2 assists per game and shoots nearly 40 percent from three point range. Peterson missed last weekend’s game against Purdue but his chances sound a little better for playing this weekend:
“I hope to be back,” Peterson said. “There’s still a chance — I just don’t know how good.”
“Jeff is sore, (but) working hard,” Lickliter said. “And I’m hopeful because (the injury) wasn’t to the extent that it could have been. Now, I don’t know if he’ll be ready for Sunday, but I don’t foresee him practicing this week.
Without Tucker, Tate, and Peterson the Hawkeyes don’t have much. Matt Gatens is a freshman who can stroke the three ball (44.7% three point) and Jake Kelly is a versatile swing man who is pretty much a glue guy and does a bit of everything. Jermain Davis, Devan Bawinkel, Aaron Fuller, and Jarryd Cole round out the rotation but there really aren’t any playmakers or even potential playmakers in that group.
As a team Iowa really doesn’t do that much all that well. They love to take the air out of the ball and slow the game down and they are a good shooting team. They have hit 37.2% of their triples on the year but they are shooting only 34.2% in conference play. Similar to Michigan they love to shoot the three ball, 47.8% of their field goal attempts are three pointers. They do have some guys that can kill you from deep in Jeff Peterson, David Palmer, and Matt Gatens who all shoot over 39% from long range.
Iowa turns the ball over a lot, their turnover rate of 23.6% is second to last in conference play. They are also the worst team in the conference at forcing turnovers. These numbers shouldn’t come as a shock to Michigan fans because Michigan dominated the turnover battle in the first game, forcing turnovers on 30% of Iowa’s possessions and only coughing it up on 18.9% of their own. They don’t rebound well or do really do anything spectacular on defense.
This is a team that looks very beatable on paper. Carver-Hawkeye isn’t particularly hostile, and Michigan won there last year, but it is still a Big Ten road game. I worry about Cyrus Tate even if he is a long shot to play because he is a guy that killed Michigan last year (15.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg in 3 games). Jeff Peterson being out would be a gift for Michigan, especially because Iowa turns the ball over so often. The Hawkeyes have had plenty of time to prepare with 8 days of rest which is always good for a team thats trying to get healthy. They also have had plenty of time to watch film of the first contest between these two teams.
Pomeroy has Iowa winning 59-58 in a 56 possession game. I am cautiously optimistic but nervous at the same time. Let’s hear your thoughts, predictions, and in-game discussion in the comments.
Pre-Game Reading (updated til game time):
- Harris applauds his teammates
- Bubble News: Michigan Makes a Move
JamieMac on mgoblog breaks down who to root for this weekend
- Kelvin Grady doesn’t sulk, steps up for Wolverines
More on Grady
- Doughboy Howard finds it’s good to be needed
Pershing wins the PSL. Izzo and Beilein were both in attendance (picture)
- Bracketology 2/20 Update
Michigan is in along with Penn State. That is 8 teams from the Big Ten if you are counting.
- Borton’s Blog: Ready, willing and able ($)
Nice piece on Kelvin Grady
One of our commenters here, Justin C, made it out to see Darius Morris play Wednesday night. Windward was taking on a very weak Bishop Diego team in the first round of sectionals. Calling them ‘very weak’ is probably being too nice, the final score was 85-21. Darius didn’t have his best night, but when you are beating a team by 64 points, I guess you have to take it. For more on Darius Morris and other Michigan commits, check out the recruiting video collection, as well as other scouting reports. Here is Justin’s recap:
Final Stats for Darius: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 5 turnovers, 6-10 fgm/fga, 3-10 ftm/fta
As I was warned by others, Windward’s opponent was not going to keep this game competitive. The final score was 85-21, and for most of the first quarter the only point Bishop Diego put on the board came via a technical foul free throw made before the tip-off, which was somehow attributed to a pregame Stover celebration deemed excessive by the officials. Bishop Diego provided some laughs – their starting point guard looked like he was 10 years old. Honestly, he could not have been over 5 feet tall. A particularly funny moment had Stover (roughly 6’8) guarding this tiny guy off of a defensive switch. I can’t even believe that school is fielding a team with that kind of talent, but that is California for you. It felt like a scene right out of the movie Teen Wolf, but the werewolf never showed up to deliver Bishop Diego.
Darius himself didn’t really get into the flow of the game. As you can see, he was awful from the line. His free throw motion is sometimes a bit hurried and inconsistent. The aspects of his game that impressed me most include his length, ability to create offense on his own, his open court vision (he hit Stover in transition for a few crowd pleasing alley oops) and his confidence. That said, he was noticeably upset towards the end of the game as he sat on the bench. I’m sure he knew he left a lot of points out on the floor.
His ball handling is excellent – he will definitely be a plus for us next year in handling full court pressure and passing out and over double teams. He also is very unselfish – he made a great pass in the half court offense that you rarely see a high school star make.
This “must win” was no problem for Michigan as they cruised past Minnesota in a 66 possession game. It is pretty obvious but this offense is damn fun to watch when the shots are going in. It was the first time Michigan shot over 40% from behind the arc since the Illinois home win 13 games ago. Novak came out on fire and hit four three pointers in the first 11 minutes of the game and after that the shooting touch was contagious. Michigan rolled to a 40-25 lead at halftime and didn’t look back in the second half.
The supporting cast usually comes out at home and this was definitely the case today. The Northwestern game was all about Manny Harris but this one was all about everyone else. Zack Novak had 18 points while Douglass, Grady, and Sims all added 12 a piece. The game got sloppy down the stretch but Michigan really dominated this one and had a lead greater than 20 points for a nice stretch in the second half. Down the stretch Michigan missed front ends of 1 and 1s, missed quick shots, and let Minnesota get a couple easy buckets but this game was never in question. If you would have told me Manny Harris would have played 22 minutes with 4 fouls, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 5 turnovers, and 2 assists I would have told you that Michigan lost. I’ll gladly take the easy win without Manny.
Michigan dominated the four factors of the game. They held Minnesota to an eFG% of 49.1% while shootings an eFG% of 56.8% themselves. Michigan also won the turnover battle, forcing Minnesota to turn the ball over on 18.7% of their possessions while only turning it over on 12.5% of their own. The most impressive thing to me was Michigan’s effort on the glass. Minnesota only rebounded 16.7% of their misses, a season low.Â Michigan didn’t pull down that many offensive boards but that is a hell of an effort on the defensive glass against the 2nd best offensive rebounding team in the conference.
Don’t look now but Michigan has won three of their last five games, are in the midst of their first winning streak since early January, and have scrapped back to a .500 confernece record. A win Sunday in Iowa City would have this thing headed back in the right direction and set up the huge contest with Purdue next week. Michigan has to take it one step at a time and realize that a road trip to Iowa is no cakewalk. The Hawkeyes have had a week to get healthy and prepare for Michigan and they aren’t going to roll over.
Recruiting. Ray McCallum (profile) and Amir(e) Williams (profile) were in the house with what looked to be a bunch of their DCD teammates. Devin Oliver (profile), a 6-foot-5 wing forward from Kalamazoo Central also made it in for his visit.
- Zack Novak: On fire: 6 for 10 on three pointers for 18 points in 36 minutes with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Can’t ask for much more from Zack. A couple of those shots looked like fouls in the first half but I saw Hightower explain to Zack at halftime that he wasn’t getting that call because of the way he kicks his leg out on his shot.
- Stu Douglass: 12 points on 6-10 shooting with 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers. Solid effort for Stu and he easily could have had a few more points if he made a few more free throws and layups. This is the first game that Stu and Zack have both hit multiple three point shots since Norfolk State on November 25th.
- Kelvin Grady: Great to see Kelvin hitting his shots: 12 points in 14 minutes on perfect shooting (3 for 3 on triples) to go along with 3 assists and 1 turnover. Kelvin looked great against the press and hit all his open looks. I would hesitate to call his performance perfect but it is definitely a start. Kelvin got a chance with Manny getting in foul trouble and he made the most of it, even if he still had a couple defensive lapses (I won’t comment more specifically yet because I haven’t watched the tape).
- Manny Harris: Manny never really got going because of foul trouble and everyone else rolling. It turns out that he wasn’t needed so I guess that is ok. He had some frustrating turnovers (the look on Beilein’s face when he threw that “alley oop” was priceless) but he did a great job on the glass (6 rebounds in 22 minutes) and starting the break off the rebound.
- DeShawn Sims: Peedi got a little jumper happy but he had overall a solid game. 12 points (5-16 shooting), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. I thought Peedi did a very good job on the defensive glass and he pulled down a lot of tough boards.
- CJ Lee: Not much to complain about with this line: 4 points (1-3 shooting), 4 rebonds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers while leading the team with 37 minutes. CJ got forced into a little extra duty because he had to pick up some of Manny’s minutes at the three (also why Kelvin got a chance off the bench in my opinion).
- Zack Gibson: 6 points (3 of 3 shooting) in only 8 minutes with 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Another solid game for Zack but I think he picked up about three fouls on one possession in the second half and that earned him a seat on the bench. Gibson is giving the offense a nice spark, he is shooting 57% (15/26) from the field in Michigan’s last 6 games.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: 6 minutes, 0-2 shooting, 2 assists for Laval. I liked how he tried to penetrate but he was getting swatted out there. I think this is Laval’s role on this team right now, 8-10 minutes off the bench spelling Stu, and I think I’m ok with it.
- Dave Merritt: 3 assists and a steal in 9 minutes, fine effort for Merritt off the bench. I loved his hustle on the loose ball to cause the tie-up in the second half.
- Jevohn Shepherd: Shep had a couple nice back door cuts but I think he also got caught way out of position in the 1-3-1 in the first half. His final numbers were 2 points on 3 shots in 4 minutes with a steal.
- Eddie Hightower: The man can travel, he has officiated 6 games in 6 days, I think I’ve watched at least 4 of them and been frustrated in every one. It’s not just the players that step up down the stretch. In all seriousness, I think there needs to be some kind of limit on the number of games these guys can officiate in a week.
- Red Panda: The best halftime show made its return to Ann Arbor, I don’t think there is anything cooler than watching someone on a unicycle flip 5 bowls on to their head.
After all the positive Michigan talk this is a bit surprising and very disappointing to say the least. The scholarship issue hadn’t been resolved but all signs had pointed to a March decision for Angus. It would have been very nice to add Angus to the mix next year, especially with all of the size issues. I guess it is on to the class of 2010.
Update: Ben points out in the comments that Nate Pomeday (bio) is an Oregon State assistant who was an assistant coach at Lake Forest Academy last year and was also involved in the Full Package AAU program. Not trying to accuse anyone of any wrong doing but this is a connection that certainly can’t hurt.
Who: Minnesota (19-6) at MichiganÂ (16-10)
Where: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
When: Thursday, Feb 19th, 7 PM ET
Spread: Michigan by 3.5
Preview: Stat Sheet, U-M KenPom Profile, Minnesota KenPom Profile
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)
Opposition Blog: From The Barn
Just a quick preview for today but for more on Minnesota be sure to check out my interview with Jonathan Foster of From The Barn who breaks down the ups and downs of their season. This is a battle of two Big Ten bubble teams that both need a win to revitalize some momentum down the stretch. Both fan bases have been tormented by some disappointing seasons of late and are hopeful but not necessarily optimistic about their tournament chances.
- Defense. Minnesota has a top 50 overall defense and they limit their opponents to an eFG% of 46.3%
- Forcing Turnovers. Minnesota is second in the Big Ten (behind Northwestern) in terms of forcing turnovers. They do a great job blocking shots and forcing steals. Their steal percentage ranks 7th nationally while their block percentage ranks first.
- Offensive Rebounding. This is the best dimension of an otherwise pretty mediocre Minnesota offense.
- Turnovers. The Gophers turn the ball over on 21.6% of their possessions, worse than everyone in the conference but Indiana.
- Defensive Rebounding. The Gophers give up a surprising number of offensive rebounds, their opponents have rebounded 35.2% of their missed shots. To put that in perspective, they give up more offensive rebounds than Michigan.
- Shooting. Minnesota’s eFG% of 50.7% ranks 9th in the Big Ten and is ahead of only Michigan and Indiana.
This is a battle of two teams who are really struggling on the offensive end lately and it might be ugly, for our sake let’s hope its not as ugly as Penn State’s 38-33 win last night over Illinois.
Minnesota has a lot of guys on the offensive end who can step up, but no one who is a consistent threat. Freshman Devoe Joseph, a former Michigan recruit, hit 7 out of 8 threes at Penn State and has been stepping up his game lately. Lawrence Westbrook leads the team in scoring with over 12 points per game but he is the only guy that averages double figures on the entire roster. Al Nolen leads the team in minutes and assists but is shooting just over 35% from the field.
This is one of those that you just have to find a way to gut out at home. I think it is similar to Michigan State game where every point is going to be earned. Michigan has to do a respectable job on the glass and keep up the defensive intensity that they have played with of late. I would expect to see some zone looks from Michigan because Minnesota has struggled against Northwestern’s 1-3-1 (which is better than ours) so that is worth a try. Minnesota has the size to give Michigan fits but they have so many different options it is hard to tell just who is going to step up.
Bubble News. Penn State’s win was huge, but they still need to get to 11-7 or at least 10-8 in my opinion to deserve a bid. Northwestern’s win seems like a good thing to me, they are going to give everyone a fight down the stretch. There was plenty of other good bubble news across the country including losses by Miami, Providence, Virginia Tech, Davidson, and Notre Dame
With Penn State’s win the RPI situation is getting interesting down the stretch, here are the “bubble” teams in the Big Ten ranked by RPI: Wisconsin (27), Minnesota (35), OSU (37),Â Michigan (52), Penn State (59), Northwestern (78). Michigan has four games remaining against top 50 teams as well as a road game against a top 100 team. If they can manage to win three of them then their RPI would almost assuredly see a nice bounce.
Tickets are still available so if you are a student that just finished your midterms, make your way out to Crisler (free with M-card) and if you are in the area go buy tickets for $10 at the door. Pomeroy has Michigan in a 65-63 nailbiter and Vegas picks Michigan by 3 and a half. Let’s hear your thoughts, predictions, additionally commentary in the comments.
Pre-Game Reading (updated throughout the day):
- Lee’s defense cuts Grady’s minutes at U-M
A few quotes from Beilein on Grady
- Lineup is up in the air as Smith contemplates changes
We aren’t the only team playing with their lineup