2008-2009 Season

Game 9: Eastern Michigan at Michigan Preview

Update: The BTN Ticker is reporting that John Beilein will not be on the bench due to inner ear vertigo. Jerry Dunn will be the acting head coach. (Thanks to Giddings for the heads up)

Who: EMU (2-6) at Michigan (6-2)
Where: Crisler Arena
When: 4:00 PM ET
Preview: Stat Sheet
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)

Zack Novak

The Eagles will make the short bus trip into Ann Arbor to face a Michigan team coming off of one of their biggest wins in recent history. Eastern Michigan hasn’t beaten a division 1 team this year and their only wins have come against Marygrove College and Wayne State. Eastern’s best performance is probably a 1 point loss against an underwhelming Georgia team.

The leading scorers for the Eagles are Brandon Bowdry (14.4 ppg) and Justin Dobbins (11.4 ppg). Bowdry is a do-it-all forward who also averages 7 rebounds per game while Dobbins seems to stick to the paint. Freshman point guard L.J. Frazier (9.3 ppg) anchors things in the backcourt and averages 4.1 assists per game. Frazier is also the Eagles main deep threat, he is a 47% three point shooter and 16 of his 21 made field goals this year have been from long range. The other three point threats for EMU include Soloman Farris (8.8ppg – 45% 3pfg) and Zane Gay (6.3 ppg – 36% 3pfg).

As a team Eastern shoots the ball at an eFG% of 48.8, turns the ball over on 25% of their possessions, rebounds 33.3% of their missed shots, and has a free throw rate of 28.2. So in general they shoot a little worse than Michigan (51.2), turn the ball over a little more (19.7), get to the line a little less (31.5) and rebound about the same (32.9). They also tend to play just a bit faster than Michigan, averaging 66 possessions per game compared to Michigan’s 64.

Overall this is one of those games where Michigan just needs to take care of business. They have more talent than Eastern Michigan and need to control the tempo and set the tone early on in the game. For fans’ sake hopefully this game plays out a lot more like Norfolk State than Savannah State. Let’s hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments.

Zack Novak was profiled in the Free Press today:

That didn’t sit well with Zack Novak, now a freshman guard at Michigan. He had been one of the best players in northwest Indiana since his freshman season. Yet when the preview sections hit the newsstands, he didn’t make the preseason list of the area’s top-five players.

Novak’s reaction: “Oh, yeah? This guy is on that list? Well, I’ve got a little something for him.”

Both Zack and Stu have gone through very good stretches over the first couple games. I’m sure they will both hit a few rough patches in their first year of college basketball but it’s clear that they have a role on this team. Novak is averaging 6.6 ppg but is averaging 11.25 ppg and shooting 52.2% (12-23) on triples over the last four games. Novak has stepped up when Michigan has really needed a third option these last several games and it has paid off. For more on Novak the recruit, check out our interview from this summer.

Let’s hear your thoughts and predictions about Saturday’s game in the comments.

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