Who: Michigan (12-3) at Iowa (11-5)
Where: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
When: Sunday, January 10th 11:30 ET
Preview: Stat Sheet, U-M KenPom Profile, Iowa KenPom Profile
Radio: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)
Michigan faces the only team in the Big Ten that shoots a higher percentage of their shots from long range than they do. Iowa shoots 48.5% of their shots from long range and makes 40.2% of them. Compare this to Michigan who shoots 46.6% of their shots from long range and hits them at a 34.4% clip.
In many ways Iowa is just like Michigan in the sense that they are a perimeter oriented team who loves to shoot the ball from long range but doesn’t pull down a lot of offensive rebounds. The difference between these two teams is tempo, Iowa averages 57 possessions per game compared to Michigan’s 65 possessions per game. Michigan needs to push the tempo off of turnovers and long rebounds. Iowa turns the ball over on 20.1% of their possessions compared to Michigan’s 16.1% (3rd in the country).
Big man Cyrus Tate is questionable after injuring his ankle against Minnesota but last year he averaged 18.5 ppg against Michigan. Tate is really the only person with size on the Hawkeyes roster at 6-foot-8 and if he can’t go they will be in a tough situation even against Michigan.
Two freshmen, Anthony Tucker and Matt Gatens, lead the Hawkeyes in scoring. Tucker has been on quite a slide after a suspension for public intoxication and now a battle with mono. Tucker has played only 7 minutes in 2 games since his return from suspension. Gatens is averaging 10.7ppg in 30.9 mpg and leads the Big Ten in 3point percentage at 55.8%.
Gatens isn’t the only guy who can hit the three on Iowa’s roster, Jeff Peterson (41.9 3pt%) and Devan Bawinkel (39.3 3pt%) knock down plenty of long range shots as well. Jake Kelly (9.4 ppg, 32.1% 3pt), Jermain Davis (23.1mpg, 6.1ppg), and former Michigan recruit Aaron Fuller round out the rotation.
The key for Michigan is to prevent Iowa from getting wide open looks from three point range and keep Cyrus Tate off the boards. I would love to see a more impressive defensive effort in the first half because if you leave Iowa open they will make you pay. Iowa is 1-2 in the Big Ten right now and falling to 1-3 with games against Purdue, Wisconsin, Penn State, and MSU on the Horizon. Michigan can’t afford to lose any more home games if they are serious about making the Big Dance this year.
A few other notes: There will be free pancakes for students before the game and the 1973-74 Big Ten Championship team led by Campy Russell will be honored at half time.
Let’s hear your thoughts, comments, and predictions in the comments.