Thanks to a suggestion I am going to start breaking up game previews and recaps so they are more organized, especially for people reading the RSS feed.
The Minnesota game at Crisler Arena was ugly, Michigan was outshot 59% to 36% and got flat out embarrassed at home. When I wrote the post game reaction I said “Donâ€™t really know where we go from hereâ€¦ Itâ€™s not going to get any better.” Since that game Michigan has a close loss at OSU and a 3 game winning streak. So clearly I was wrong in that regard. Michigan has improved by leaps and bounds in the last month and appears to be moving in the right direction.
Minnesota is 2-3 since the Michigan game including an embarrassing home loss by 24 to Illinois. In terms of momentum it looks like Michigan is heading the right direction while Minnesota is falling off the map quickly (Is it just me or does their season remind anyone of Michigan last year?).
All that being said, this game does not strike me as a game Michigan should or will win. We have struggled against teams that play tough, physical man-to-man (MSU, Purdue, Minnesota) and the Barn is a tough place to play.
Coleman, Tollackson, McKenzie and Westbrook were all in double figures last game while only Manny (19) and Ron Coleman (shockingly with 14 points) were in double figures for Michigan. The encouraging things are Michigan’s recent strong play and the improvement Michigan has shown playing teams twice. Overall I think it is important to temper expectations tonight and not get ahead of ourselves and predict Michigan to win the next 5 games. I think Michigan keeps it close but falls short to a tough Minnesota team in need of a win.
Beilein on the recent success:
“Now it’s all forgotten,” Beilein said. “You go to Minnesota, I’ll be sitting up there on that stool and the crowd will be into it. You try to find your way through another game.”
UMHoops Prediction: Minnesota 70 – Michigan 67
Also be sure to check out FromTheBarn.org for a game preview from the Minnesota side.