#36 Michigan (9-3) vs
#294 Detroit (4-6)
That New Pizza Place
|WHEN||Noon ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan -19 (KenPom)|
PBP: Clay Matvick
Analyst: Brooke Weisbrod
Right: Detroit head coach Bacari Alexander won't be the only familiar face on the Detroit side. [Eric Upchurch]
The main concern after the victory over Texas was the health of Moe Wagner, who rolled his ankle in the second half and left the game with a pronounced limp. John Beilein announced this afternoon that Wagner is a game-time decision for Saturday, so it doesn't sound serious. He apparently did "some stuff" at practice today, which... is vaguely encouraging, I think?
If Wagner's not 100% or very close to it, there's no reason to play him in this game. Detroit is the first of three consecutive games against teams ranked 294th or worse on KenPom. While everyone who's eligible to see the court will probably get some burn in the next couple weeks, this is an opportunity for Beilein to solidify his rotation before Big Ten play while also experimenting with new lineup combinations—like, say, starting Livers over Robinson or trying out a two-big lineup.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||1||Jermaine Jackson Jr.||Fr.||5'10, 172||86||18||93||Yes|
|Great FT shooter, struggling from the field, low AST and TO %s.|
|G||23||Josh McFolley||Jr.||6'1, 172||67||21||97||Yes|
|Basically Jackson with fewer assists and more usage.|
|G||5||Corey Allen||So.||6'3, 214||87||23||112||Not At All|
|Best spot-up shooter, transition scorer, and P&R ballhandler.|
|F||0||Kameron Chatman||Jr.||6'9, 225||80||23||111||Not At All|
|Yes, that Kam Chatman. Shooting splits of 52/40/83 with a great DR%.|
|F||21||Jaleel Hogan||Sr.||6'7, 260||41||23||109||Very|
|Good post scorer, iffy post defender, really foul-prone.|
|G||4||DeShawndre Black||Sr.||6'2, 189||34||18||69||Yes|
|Turnover-prone shooter not having a #nice season.|
|F||25||Gerald Blackshear||Jr.||6'8, 226||26||13||113||Very|
|Effective post scorer and putback guy.|
|F||13||Jack Ballentyne||Fr.||6'9, 240||24||8||64||Very|
|Tiny usage, 1-for-11 from field this year.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
The Bacari Alexander era is off to a rough start in Detroit. The Titans, which never finished below 200th on KenPom in Ray McCallum's final seven seasons there, ranked a woeful 302nd last year and are currently 294th. Alexander recently returned from a mysterious seven-game suspension for a "personal matter." They've lost their two games against KP top-100 teams by an average of 32.5 points.
Not all is bad in the D, however. Former Michigan conference tournament hero Kameron Chatman has experienced a breakout season for the Titans, averaging 17.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with shooting splits of 52/40/83 (2P%/3P%/FT%). He even hit an improbable buzzer-beater to give Detroit their best win of the season over #189 St. Louis:
Chatman starts at the four for Detroit, though he'll also slide to the five in smaller lineups. His inside-outside game presents legitimate problems for Duncan Robinson; we'll see if Beilein is quick to go to Livers if that matchup goes poorly. I promise this is not an elaborate ruse.
Detroit's other primary threat is 6'3" guard Corey Allen, their best finisher around the hoop—of particular importance given how much they get out on the fast break—and spot-up shooter. Allen spearheads their transition game and operates with the ball in his hands often in the halfcourt, where he's their primary pick-and-roll threat.
That ends the list of rotation players who've hit above 30% of their threes. Freshman point guard Jermaine Jackson Jr. has taken a back seat to the other starters as he learns the college game on the fly; he's struggling mightily from the field, though his free-throw shooting incidates he'll eventually be a capable shooter. Nearly the same description can be applied to starting two-guard Josh McFolley, except he's a junior, so he might just be bad at shooting.
Starting center Jaleel Hogan is capable of giving Michigan problems with his post scoring, but he'll have to stay on the floor to do so, and that's been a major problem: he's averaging an astronomical 9.0 fouls per 40 minutes. As that foul rate indicates, he can have trouble defending post players—at 6'7", 260, he'll be at a significant height disadvantage no matter who plays center for Michigan. His backups aren't as impactful; Detroit likes to slide Chatman to center if they can get away with it, which may not be the case on Saturday.
Small sample size caveats apply.
Four Factors explanation
The main thing that'll stand out about Detroit is their pace: they play at the eighth-fastest tempo in the country, a marked departure from Michigan's preferred slog. The Titans have a bad halfcourt offense, so they'll look to get easy points when they can. Taking care of the basketball and hitting free throws are the only things they do consistently well.
The up-and-down nature of their games doesn't appear to be good for Detroit's defense, which ranks 341st out of 351 D-I teams. Michigan can choose whatever approach they want; they may decide to play fast themselves if Detroit allows it, which could lead to an explosion of points, or they could keep it slow and work on their halfcourt sets, which could lead to... a slower-developing explosion of points, in all likelihood.
Uh... contain Kam Chatman. I'll be honest, those aren't words I ever expected to type, but there they are. 2017 has been a hell of a year.
Get Poole and Livers more minutes. Now's the time to get the rotation settled, and I think everyone would like to see more of what these two guys can bring to the table as the season goes on.
Win the game. Please don't lose to 2015 Michigan But Awful, thanks.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 19.
Expect a lot of points. Well, for one team.