Michigan Wolverines: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Michigan Wolverines NCAAUniversity of Michigan Wolverines (2 seed, Midwest Bracket)

Record: 25-7 (15-3 Big Ten)

Coach: John Beilein

Tournament Berth:  Champions

Big Wins: Florida State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota

Big Loses: Duke, Arizona, Iowa State, Wisconsin

The Wolverines had a tough non-conference season, losing all of their top-tier games (Duke, Iowa State, Arizona) and even had a bad loss to a mediocre NC-Charlotte team. The only thing that can be said for those losses is that only one, Arizona, was at home. Still, the team responded during their conference schedule and  played cross-state rival Michigan State for the Big 10’s automatic berth in the tournament. They not only won the Big 10 regular season crown, they won it easily with a 15-3 record.  That was three games better than second-place Michigan State and Wisconsin. Their worst loss in the conference was at home by 13 points to Wisconsin.

Michigan’s biggest need for improvement is on the boards. The Wolverines are ranked no. 299 in the country in rebounding with just over 32 per game. Their best rebounders average less than five per game. The strength of their game lies in a deadly accuracy from the field, ranking no. 21 overall in the country with an average of 47.9 percent. Apparently when you can make shots with regularity, you don’t always need to rebound.

The Wolverines come into the post-season ranked no. 8 in the Associated Press top-25 and no. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

Nick Stauskas

17.5

48.3

81.6

44.2

Caris LeVert

13.4

44.2

80.0

41.1

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

Jordan Morgan

4.6

1.8

2.8

0.5

Jon Horford

4.5

1.4

3.1

0.8

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Jordan Morgan

4.6

1.8

2.8

0.5

Jon Horford

4.5

1.4

3.1

0.8

 

Starting Five

F– Glenn Robinson III

F – Jordan Morgan

G– Caris LeVert

G – Nick Stauskas

G – Derrick Walton Jr.

Who’s Hot:  3-point shooters. In the Big 10 tourney semis, Michigan hit 12 of 23 threes against Ohio State, the number one defense in the country against the 3-point shot. The Wolverines ended up with a 36-21 advantage from the three-point line. It was the eleventh time this year that they have outscored opponents by 15 points or more from downtown.

Who’s Not:  Defending the lead. Even though they won, the Wolverines have given up big leads in their last two games. They gave up a 12-point lead to their rival Ohio State in the semi-finals of the Big 10 tournament Saturday. That came one night after they had surrendered a 13-point lead to Illinois in the quarter-finals. Sure, they won those games, but letting leads slip away is not the formula for advancing a long way in the NCAA Tournament.

Outlook:  Predictions for Michigan in the NCAA tournament are varied and reach anywhere from a number-one seed to number-three. Most bracketologists agree, however, that they will play in the Midwest division of the tourney. The team has shown that it can put together strings of wins, getting 10 in a row during the season and currently nursing a seven-game winning streak heading into the Big 10 tournament championship game.  With their loss to Michigan State, a number-one seed is unlikely.

Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
@Chuck_pod

Sources:
CBS
ESPN
Big Ten

 

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