Big Ten Roundup: February 28th, 2011

Team W L Poss. Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Eff. Margin
Ohio State 14 2 63 1.15 1.02 0.13
Purdue 13 3 64 1.13 1.00 0.13
Wisconsin 12 4 57 1.18 1.05 0.13
Illinois 8 8 64 1.07 1.03 0.04
Penn State 8 8 58 1.09 1.09 0.00
Minnesota 6 10 62 1.04 1.06 -0.02
Michigan 8 9 61 1.06 1.10 -0.04
Michigan State 8 8 63 1.01 1.06 -0.05
Northwestern 6 11 62 1.06 1.15 -0.09
Indiana 3 13 64 1.03 1.13 -0.10
Iowa 3 13 66 0.99 1.11 -0.12

Conference only stats from StatSheet.com

The leagues top three are in a dead heat efficiency wise. Purdue looms just a game behind Ohio State and although Ohio State controls its own destiny, the final week of the regular season could get interesting at the top.

The middle of the standings are where entire seasons lie in the balance. Michigan St., Illinois, Michigan, Penn State, and Minnesota are all in the thick of the bubble conversation and have a number of huge games ahead. Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State all have the ability to play their way into the Big Ten Tournaments 4-5 game and avoid playing on Thursday.  Michigan and Penn State have been quietly climbing into the race while Illinois and Michigan State are attempting to tread water until Selection Sunday. Minnesota continues to fall rapidly, already with 10 conference losses, without point guard Al Nolen. – Dylan Burkhardt [click to continue…]

Life on the Bubble: February 28th, 2011

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Michigan didn’t do enough to earn a bid last week, but a split was enough to keep its hopes alive heading into the final week of the regular season. Despite Michigan’s absence from most brackets last week, the Wolverine appear to have opened some eyes this week with a big win at Minnesota. Most bracketologists appear to have Michigan listed somewhere between the last four in and first four out.

What does Michigan need to do to remain in the picture? Beat Michigan State and win at least a game in the Big Ten Tournament. A Michigan State win would likely push Michigan into the 4-5 game with a match-up against Illinois. Winning both of those games would add a pair of top 50 wins to Michigan’s resume and provide a nice boost heading into Selection Sunday. No small task but not really unreasonable either. That might not cement Michigan’s tournament spot, but it would put Michigan in a very good position.

The Resume:

  • Record: 18-12 (8-9 B10)
  • RPI: 57
  • SOS: 20
  • vs. RPI 1-25: 0-7
  • vs. RPI 1-50: 2-8
  • vs. RPI 1-100: 8-11
  • Road Record: 5-5
  • Quality (Top 50) Wins: at Michigan State (40), Harvard (44)
  • Bad (100+) Losses: at Indiana (178)

We have a full run down of where Michigan lands in the brackets of a number of notable national experts after the jump. Remember that these are projections as of right now and don’t include any predictions of what the future may hold.

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3Tim Hardaway Jr. picked up his third straight Big Ten Freshman of the Week award and his fourth total this season. Here’s the Big Ten’s official release:

Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. earns his third straight weekly award after averaging 19.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from long range. Hardaway helped the Wolverines to a road win at Minnesota, leading the team with 22 points, marking his sixth 20-point game this season. Against Wisconsin, Hardaway scored 16 points, was 4-for-7 from long range, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. The freshman has scored in double figures in his last 11 games. This marks Hardaway’s fourth weekly award.

Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Feb. 21, 2011)

Five Key Plays: Michigan at Minnesota

1) Tim Hardaway Jr.’s four made 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game

Usually, Tim Hardaway Jr. reserves his scoring runs for the ends of games. In Michigan’s game against Minnesota on Saturday, Hardaway figured, “Why wait?” and let it fly early. The great thing about these four 3-pointers was that while they weren’t all wide open, there was enough space for all of them and they all could be called shots “in rhythm,” something that’s very important to John Beilein. Beilein has often said he doesn’t mind shooting a lot of 3-pointers as long as they’re “rhythm 3′s,” and Tim’s shots all appeared to come within the rhythm of the offense. The first shot was wide open, the second came as a result of good ball movement, the third came off of a screen from Jordan Morgan and the fourth was a result of excellent recognition by Zack Novak. Tim ended up leading all scorers with 22 points, with 15 coming off of first-half triples. These shots all came within the first five minutes of the game and gave Michigan a nice early cushion to work with, though the cushion disappeared by the end of the first half.
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Game 30: Michigan at Minnesota Recap

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Joe already touched on most of the basics, but here is a more in depth look at the numbers from Michigan’ 70-63 win in Minnesota. These numbers don’t show the heart, resilience, and mental toughness that this Michigan team has exhibited. There have been a number of tough losses that could have derailed this season, but Michigan continues to stay the course and battle every night.

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darius-layupHere are a few early thoughts from Joe. We’ll have some more tempo-free centric thoughts from Dylan posted later tonight or early tomorrow.

It’s safe to say that Michigan’s game against Minnesota in Ann Arbor was the turning point of the season. After playing perhaps their worst game of the year against the Gophers on Jan. 22, the Wolverines held a team meeting before traveling to East Lansing and beating the Spartans. They haven’t looked back since, and Michigan’s 70-63 win against Minnesota at The Barn couldn’t have been a more prominent display of how much this team has improved over the final third of the regular season.

Michigan started the game in a similar fashion to many recent games, getting off to a blazing-hot start from beyond the arc in the opening minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. was unconscious, nailing four 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. But after building up a 12-point lead, the Wolverines went scoreless for the last 5:38 of the first half, during which time Minnesota crawled back with a 10-0 run to cut Michigan’s halftime lead to 35-33. After halftime, it was a dogfight. Michigan simply made the big plays down the stretch that they needed to make to leave with a win.

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