Hoops Schedule - The Next 7 Games

Submitted by Mike Damone on December 9th, 2018 at 1:57 PM

Need to change my “mojo” with some hoops talk - the multiple Sparty Trolls on the football posts are ruining my Christmas spirit.

Before Michigan travels to Wisconsin on January 19th for what should be an epic road battle with the Badgers, we have seven more games:  three home “scrimmages” before the end of 2018 (Western Michigan, Air Force and Binghamton), and four games to start the BIG season in early January – home games v Penn St, Indiana and Northwestern, and a trip to Champaign to face the Illini on 1/10.  Seven very winnable games.

Which of these is most dangerous?  Have to feel it is the Hoosiers at home – but Illinois did give Gonzaga a game, only losing by six, 84-78.

Don’t want to be overconfident – getting through the BIG schedule is going to be brutal this year, for all the teams.  But would be nice to get Johns or DeJulius in the rotation (if they are ready) before the heart of the BIG schedule kicks in with that trip to Madison.



December 9th, 2018 at 2:54 PM ^

True, though I think people underestimate Northwestern's homecourt advantage a bit.  It was already the smallest building in the conference by far, and now it's been reduced to just 7,000 seats.  Welsh-Ryan has the potential to be a really tough venue.  It'd be like us playing basketball at Yost.


December 9th, 2018 at 3:28 PM ^

Getting the team fired up for Nova and the Tar Heals is relatively easy since the games were far apart.  Going into a road game during this gauntlet may be tougher to get the team excited.  At the same time, that team playing at home likely has is circled on their schedule.  They may be focusing on the game with us for two weeks.  A poor shooting night plus B1G refs could lead to a loss.


December 9th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

you know, after i just watched a miserable, going to the bottom of the SEC, team give us all the game we would want for the first 30 minutes or so, i'm not so confident about predicting undefeated anything.  on the whole, very positive, but on a game-by-game basis, its a weighted coin toss where we win more than we lose. 


December 9th, 2018 at 2:21 PM ^

I hear what you're saying, but I'd point out that Michigan also carved up a heretofore stout defense to the tune of 1.25 ppp -- the highest they've allowed all season.

If Michigan can clean up some of the defensive communication issues they had against USC, and if their offense is rounding into shape... look out. :)

Mike Damone

December 9th, 2018 at 2:26 PM ^

Think you are being whiny about our performance yesterday.  With three freshman starting, one of which is Bryant who has some power and game, I am guessing that South Carolina will continue to improve.  They play #4 Virginia on 12/19 - if that is a 30 point blowout, may have to concede your point.  But I dont think that will be the case...

Not every game can be a gem - ask Kentucky (losers yesterday), Sparty (ugly yesterday), Kansas (uglier than Sparty, if that is possible) and UVA (up by 5 at half to VCU right now).


December 9th, 2018 at 6:01 PM ^

mike, if your comment re: whiny is for me, i will be as diplomatic as i can be and say you are inaccurate about my comment and/or don't understand what the word means.  my expression of doubt about running the table, which is borne out by statistical analysis is much different than whining, which would entail excessive complaining/lamentation.   read the blog analysis of the metrics of USC (ntusc) season, 4-4 record, losses to bad teams, etc.  we played very poorly.  our offense was okay but our defense sucked hind teet.  glad we won.  positive outlook about the season.  not prone to boasting about running the table. 


December 11th, 2018 at 1:28 AM ^

you know, I was kind of nodding my head, agreeing that your original comment maybe wasn't "whiny" and then you go and make comments like "we played very poorly" and "our offense was okay", which is just....what? 

I mean, I'm not sure what your expectations have suddenly skyrocketed to, but M won by double digits, was never below a 92% win percentage per kenpom, and failed to cover a 17 point spread by just six points, i.e. they were just six points worse than what the #4 team in the country was expected to do on an average day.

I would call that a little below average.  It was an off day.  But to say they played very poorly?

The offense shot 60% from two, 42% from three, 77% FTs and scored 89 (!!) points in just 71 possessions - good for 1.25 points per possessions - against a decent defense.

The offense was better than okay, it was good.

The definition of whiny is "having a complaining tone" which kind of does sound like what you're doing as regards to the team's performance yesterday.

Completely agree with you that there's no way this team runs the table.  Way, way too much variance in performances (M probably will play an actual very poor game or three) and ball bounces.  Also, we're very good but not the kind of all-time dominant team that could even think about running tables.

This is the section where I predict the same thing kenpom does: M goes 26-5.


December 11th, 2018 at 5:35 AM ^

brian posted this yesterday:  

12/8/2018 – Michigan 89, South Carolina 78 – 10-0

A sloppy outing ends in an eleven point win as Michigan is clearly better, so that's nice. Items:

The un-Michigan game. Michigan 1) rebounded almost half their misses, 2) turned it over 16 times, 3) made 77% of their free throws, and allowed the bricklayers on the other team to shoot 53% from two. This was very un-Dude. Certain things did make sense in the recent history of Michigan basketball. South Carolina got up just 11 threes, didn't go to the line much, and Michigan burned the nets themselves.


is he whining, too?  no.  neither of us are/were.   we didn't play that well, 'sloppy' and 16 turnovers is why the offense gets an 'okay', and the brick-layers shooting > 50% is emblematic of our D playing poorly.  


December 9th, 2018 at 2:17 PM ^

KenPom says vs. Indiana (80% chance), with a 46.9% chance to sweep all seven.  Torvik says @Illinois (also 80%), with a 58.4% chance to sweep.  Obviously Torvik is smarter. ;)

Kidding aside, I think I'm with Torvik on this one.  Romeo Langford seems to be the real deal, but Indiana is 1-2 on the road, with a one-point loss @Arkansas, a blowout loss at Duke, and a two-point win at Penn State.  By the end of the season, they may be ready to beat good opponents on the road, but I'm not sure they're there yet.

On the other hand, Illinois has played a really tough non-conference schedule.  They've lost a bunch of those games, but that can be a good way to prepare a team for conference play.  And Michigan is 19-41 at Illinois in the Sports-Reference era (since 1949-50), including 4-5 in the Beilein era.  (33-27 / 6-3 vs Indiana at home).


December 9th, 2018 at 2:20 PM ^

Indiana is the best team but I'd be most worried about Northwestern just because of the problems their zone poses. But yeah, good chance we go into Madison at 17-0. 


Don't feel great about Davis but he needs to get minutes as a true backup post does feel like one of our weaknesses. If Teske gets the auto bench at some point in a meaningful game, which he will, Davis will have to be better. 


The schedule ends with 11 of 14 being Tier A games so it's going to be tough after the next month. 


December 9th, 2018 at 2:35 PM ^

There are 8 Big Ten teams in the KenPom Top 30 right now, I believe. The conference schedule is going to be interesting certainly. I think the next 7 are definitely winnable, but once we hit January....I think we'll be OK even at that. 


December 9th, 2018 at 3:22 PM ^

Indiana is going to be rough, but PSU could be one of those weird trap games between tomato cans and bigger-name teams that can trip them up. I feel like Michigan has figured out NW, and their game in Evanston was the Wildcats' best chance.



December 9th, 2018 at 6:58 PM ^

FYI : Tomato Can comes to us from the world of boxing.  Back when it meant something in the sporting world, contenders would work their way to a title bout by fighting (in many cases) palookas who were journeyman stiffs and cannon fodder.  These bums came to be called “tomato cans” because when you bust them open, they have a lot of red goo inside them.  Nice.


December 9th, 2018 at 4:52 PM ^

It would be nice to see a little more DeJulius, but I am way more hopeful for the bigs to get more run.

Castleton and John’s development is going to be huge. Right now, Davis is a major negative player when he’s on the court, so hopefully one of those two can come on and help limit the amount we need from Davis


December 9th, 2018 at 7:58 PM ^

Well, it makes little sense to project victories until you see and understand lineup matchups because certain teams in the league will offer more resistance than others, no matter what kind of defense we play.

Last night, I watched New Mexico State play Kansas and they are a matchup nightmare for anyone, including our team. They play a moving, patterned offense, can score inside and out and were on the cusp of beating the Jayhawks except they lacked the intangible an underdog needs to pull off that kind of upset.

And when you get down to it, Michigan has reached the level now where they are like the football program, everyone's target.

I thought South Carolina matched up well even though their starting lineup included three guards. They had some big men who could post and work it around the basket. In fact, it was their backcourt that was the liability. They had an all-conference big and some inexperienced younger players who our guys took advantage of.

At this point, I think we are capable of and should beat anyone on our schedule. It's just a matter of execution and how we handle road exposure and pressure, especially making plays and free throws down the stretch. The victory will of the this team as they go forward will forge our destiny this season.

But make no mistake, on any given night in this league a Big Ten team is capable of taking out another.