(This is through a stream on Justin.tv which is apparently ran by an MSU fan but it seems to consistently stream ESPNU)
It seems like every game is a new challenge for Michigan. Next up: win a tough road game in College Park. The tricky part about predicting this game is that Michigan matches up pretty well with Maryland. Both teams are undersized in the post and have a playmaker on the wing. Not to mention that Maryland and Michigan both have upset victories over top 10 teams but have also looked less than impressive at times.
The Terrapins’ Adrian Bowie is insistent that Maryland will not have anymore performances similar to their performance against the Hoyas:
“Weâ€™re not getting blown out like that no more this season,” Bowie said. “This is Maryland basketball. We canâ€™t get blown out this year. Weâ€™re trying to get back to the NCAAs, so we canâ€™t let that happen anymore.”
The atmosphere in College Park will be a big test for Michigan, especially for freshman Stu Douglass and Zack Novak. The place will be rocking for what is probably Maryland’s toughest non-conference home game this year (Note: It’s not sold out as I had previously written, tickets are on sale here). For a sense of the atmosphere, check out this video and this description of the student section from Wikipedia:
Maryland students are primarily positioned along courtside and “The Wall,” which top to bottom are filled with student seating behind the opponent’s 2nd half basket. Normally there are 4,000 students in attendance, so Maryland is considered one of the most intimidating student sections in the ACC alongside North Carolina and Duke.
Michigan has played at places like the Breslin and Cameron Indoor so it’s not completely foreign but of course they haven’t got any Ws. And of course we can barely sell 500 student tickets and struggle to get 4000 people to show up at Crisler. At least we have the right attitude:
“We’re going in knowing we can win if we stay together,” guard Manny Harris said Tuesday. “That’s all we can think about.”
Back to the teams on the court, the go to guy for Maryland is junior guard Greivis Vasquez. The Venezuela native averages 17ppg, 5.2rpg, and 4.2 apg but he isn’t necessarily an efficient shooter. Vasquez only has an eFG% of 45.8%, you can compare this to Manny’s eFG% of 58.3%. He’s a playmaker though so Michigan’s first goal has to be to take him out of the game.
Maryland has several solid complementary players around Vasquez but none that really stand out. Adrian Bowie, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne all average between 8 and 11 points. Bowie (50%) and Hayes (career 38.6%) are the main threats from long range for Maryland.
Maryland has been in a huge funk from three point range though and they have made only 4 of their last 31 attempts (12.9%). Steve Yanda from the Washington Post writes that Maryland is stressing patience on offense and not settling for jumpers. The Terps don’t sound like a great passing team, and we have seen great passing teams like Duke tear up the 1-3-1 contrary to a mediocre passing team like UCLA which struggled.
In terms of size, the Terrapin starting lineup measures: 6-4, 6-4, 6-6, 6-7, 6-8 and they don’t really have any contributors off the bench with a lot of size either. This is good for an undersized Michigan team and I would love to see Michigan dump the ball down low to DeShawn Sims early and often.
Maryland likes to play at a faster pace than Michigan, they average 71.2 possessions per game compared to Michigan’s 62.9. As a team Maryland rebounds 48.3% of shots to Michigan’s 50.2%. Michigan also has a slightly higher free throw rate of 34.5 compared to Maryland’s 32.5. However Maryland has a lower turnover percentage (18% ) than Michigan (21.1%) this season.
The key to this game for Michigan is having someone besides Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims step up and score some points. I don’t care whether it is Zack Gibson, Stu Douglass, Zack Novak, or Anthony Wright but someone has to make some three pointer shots tonight. If Michigan can get a third scoring option that scores in double digits I think they have a chance.
Overall Michigan definitely has a chance in this game if they can keep their composure. Maryland is a solid team but they aren’t spectacular. On the road I think John Beilein realizes how important it is to get a good start and I fully expect DeShawn Sims to start tonight (probably for Zack Gibson). It’s all about weathering runs and if Michigan can do that they have a chance to make another statement.
What They’re Saying:
- U-M basketball trying to build Big Dance rÃ©sumÃ©
“We’re playing for more than ourselves.” – DeShawn Sims
- Wolverines brace for two tough meetings
“They’re searching as well, but the Michigan State game was very, very impressive,” Beilein said. “I think more about that one than how they played without any preparation against Georgetown.”
- Beilein Starts Small, but Has Big Plans for Michigan Hoops
Washington Post on Michigan hoops
- Testudo Times
The opposition blog which will undoubtedly have a game post up later today. It’s interesting to note the Maryland fan base’s embarassment with their performance against rival Georgetown.
- B10/ACC Challenge Blogs: MSU vs UNC, Clemson over Illinois (how do you not get a shot off?), Duke over Purdue, Minnesota over Virginia, Ohio State over Miami, Boston College over Iowa. Big Ten Geeks has a wrap up of yesterdays action.
Let’s hear your predictions in the comments!