Michigan Basketball will host Western Michigan on Tuesday night at Crisler Center. Tip is scheduled for 8:30pm and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Western Michigan comes in with a 6-1 record. Their most impressive win is probably their most recent, which came at home against Oakland. The Broncos have 3 players averaging double-digits in scoring; Nate Hutcheson (13.7), Darius Paul (11.7) and Brandon Pokley (11.4). Pokley, a senior, is a Clarkston, Michigan product, where he played for Michigan’s own Dan Fife. He is also Western’s leading three-point shooter at 45.5%. Paul, a freshman, is the brother of Illinois’ Brandon Paul and is a good player. The Broncos should be in the mix for top honors in the MAC West this season.
Michigan defeated NC State and Bradley last week to retain their ranking as the #3 team in the country and to keep their record a perfect 7-0. The game at Bradley was a tougher than expected test, but also served as a great learning experience for Michigan’s young players. Expect to see a focused and determined effort from the Wolverines on Tuesday night.
Freshman sensation Nik Stauskas just collected his second consecutive Big Ten Freshman of the Week Award. He is now shooting an otherworldly 62.1% from three-point range, which is the second best mark in the country. He ranks 5th nationally in free throw percentage (95.7%). Stauskas can also put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, where he has no problems finishing.
Trey Burke has been declared by many as the top point guard in the nation. He leads the Big Ten and ranks 9th nationally in assists per game (7.1). He is unflappable as a floor general and can hurt opposing defenses in a variety of ways. Burke is tied with Tim Hardaway Jr. for the team lead in scoring (16.6). The Wolverines have two other players averaging double-digits in scoring, the aforementioned Stauskas and his freshman cohort Glenn Robinson III (12.3). Robinson leads the team in rebounding at 7.0 boards per game.
As we’ve been predicting it would, the hype meter keeps rising for this talented Michigan team. In an ESPN article published on Monday, Chad Ford said the Wolverines have the most talented roster in the country. Here’s an excerpt of his thoughts on Michigan:
Right now, point guard Trey Burke is the only Michigan player ranked in our top 30, but Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. both have the ability to crack the first round of the NBA draft. Freshmen Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas are further down the list, but both have a real shot at getting drafted down the road.
That’s in part why I believe Michigan is a Final Four team and may give Indiana a run for the No. 1 spot by the end of the season.
Jordan Morgan posted his second career double-double at Bradley and looks to be on the verge of entering Beast Mode. Mitch McGary continues to impress with his rebounding and tenacity. The big 6-foot-10, 250 pound freshman was diving across the floor for loose balls last week and is playing with a contagious enthusiasm. He is averaging 5 points and 5.6 boards per game.
Some impressive stats
As a team, Michigan ranks 2nd in the Big Ten and 25th nationally in scoring (79.9). They rank 4th in the country in field goal percentage (52.4%). The Wolverines lead the Big Ten and rank 8th nationally in three-point percentage (43.2%). They average just 9.9 turnovers per game which ranks 8th in the country and they rank 4th in the nation in fewest fouls committed (12.6 per game).
Predictions: So far this season, Joe and I are both 7-0 predicting the outcome of Michigan Basketball games. We both like Michigan to remain undefeated.
Joe: Michigan 77-60
Rob: Michigan 83-66
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