Tip: Sunday at noon
Location: Crisler Arena
TV: Big Ten Network
Broadcast crew: Tom Hamilton, Jimmy King
Michigan (4-4) returns home from a disappointing trip to Utah and will play the University of Detroit (6-3) on Sunday at noon. On Tuesday the Titans dropped a 70-69 heartbreaker to Tennessee State. Detroit’s other loses came in overtime to DePaul and they lost at California.
The Titans have been without their leading scorer, Eli Holman, for their last three games. He has been nursing a knee injury. Make no mistake about it this is a big game for Detroit. This will be the 27th meeting between the two teams. Michigan is 22-4 in the series. The close proximity of the schools makes this an intriguing match-up and explains why it is such a big game for the Titans.
Detroit features a balanced attack with 4 players averaging double-digit points; Holman 14.5, Xavier Keeling 14.2, Thomas Kennedy 12.3, and Chase Simon 11.9. Despite only shooting 32% (42-132) on three-pointers, the Titans come in shooting their fields goals at an efficient 46% clip. Detroit averages 16.2 turnovers per game. Their defensive numbers look pretty good. They are holding their opponents to 42% from the field and 31% on three-pointers and they are forcing 16.8 turnovers per game.
Before the season started John Beilein described Michigan’s loaded nonconference schedule as “amazing”. What could once be described as amazing is now a nightmare. A season that once looked so promising now teeters on the brink of disaster.
At Media Day, Beilein was asked if he was worried that success might soften his team. His response was, “We can’t lose that hard edge, that hunter [mentality]. I sent them (players) a long note before we got back here … guys, we are still hunters. You see these preseason projections and all those things. As long as I’m coaching here, we’re always hunting, no matter who the opponent is.”
There are many ways you could describe Michigan through their first 8 games. Having a hard edge and playing with a hunter mentality are definitely not among the descriptions.
Michigan’s offense has been sputtering, their defense has been porous, and their three-point shooting has been in hibernation. Manny Harris is a great player but he needs some help.
At last week’s game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, I had a discussion with Andre Barthwell (GoBlue Wolverine) and Joe White (isportsweb.com) about DeShawn Sims. Barthwell mentioned that Sims needs to start his offensive game inside and then take it outside. The banging down low seems to energize Sims and inject confidence into his shot. If Michigan is going to have any chance of snapping out of this funk they need their senior to play with passion and determination. He can’t be passive and diffident.
For anybody who ever questioned why Zack Novak plays so many minutes, I’ll ask them to watch the Utah game. Novak’s hustle and determination were sorely missed.
Prediction: I do think Michigan will win. What I am hoping for is a decisive victory and not one that they eke out over a Horizon League opponent. Michigan 77 Detroit 60
Manny Harris: 21.6
DeShawn Sims: 14.6
Laval Lucas-Perry: 7.1
Manny Harris: 8.4
DeShawn Sims: 6.9
Zack Novak: 4.4
Manny Harris: 4.9
Darius Morris: 2.5
Stu Douglass: 2.4
Manny Harris: 2.25
Zack Novak: 1.71
DeShawn Sims: 1.12
Laval Lucas-Perry: 12-31 (39%)
Manny Harris: 10-38 (26%)
Zack Novak: 9-29 (31%)
DeShawn Sims: 9-29 (31%)