Hello, everyone at TOC. We all know the significance and importance of the next game on the schedule and with both Dawson and probably Payne being out it has the likely possibility of being a dogfight throughout. I’m just going to throw the stats out there and get straight to the analysis.
Starting with the Frontcourt of Michigan, the main player to watch for is Robinson who has the second highest PPG and possession numbers on the team. He is an undersized 4 in a similar vein to Dawson except their pluses and minuses are switched in that Robinson excels in the offensive game, but is nowhere near as good on defense or rebounding. The other 2 are Morgan and Horford and while it looks like they switch for each other Morgan has played 21.5 MPG and has started every game while Horford has played 17.5 MPG in big 10 play and it wouldn't even be this close if it wasn't for the Minnesota game where Horford received 30 minutes. In his last 5 Horford averaged only 15 with Morgan averaging 24. Morgan is the much better shooter, with Horford being the best rebounder on the team by a large margin.
This Michigan team is hot and cold with many of their stats, such as they are first in the conference in efficiency, FGA, eFG%, TS%, PPP, APG, A to T ratio, 12th in fouls and fouls per game while also being second in free throw%, 3 pointers made, 3 point field goal%, and assists, but they are last in the conference in possessions per 40, total rebounds, RPG, ORB, ORB per game, and near last in FGA, FTM and FGA, defensive rebounds, and blocks. John Beilein relies on 8 main players consisting of 5 guards and 3 forwards. He is also willing to stick with the hot hand, as well as changing out starters based on the matchups such as when Albrecht averaged 15 minutes per game off the bench in the 5 BIG 10 games prior to the Iowa game where Spike then started and played 35 minutes. The guard he replaced in the lineup (Walton Jr.) was averaging over 30 minutes per game up till that point and he only played 3 in that game.
The Backcourt is led by Stauskas who leads the team in arguably every offensive category, as well as winning the most punchable face award. All contempt aside, he is a very good basketball player on the offensive end, but is arguably the worst rebounding starter, which is a sin at 6 foot 8, as well as being known as a revolving door on D. LeVert is the other guard who plays starters minutes every game, and he is average on both the offensive and defensive ends according to the numbers. The third starting guard is usually Walton Jr. but Beilein has shown that he will occasionally play Albrecht first. Walton Jr. is definitely the worst shooter on this team as well as a bad rebounder, but has shown some affinity for assists.
I already talked about one of the key reserves in Horford so this will be about the final 2 reserve guards. The first is Albrecht who is a pass first point guard who doesn’t look to score as much as the rest of his teammates, but on a team of bad rebounders he is probably the worst. The final player is Irvin who is a shoot first guard/ small forward who is pretty efficient with the basketball, but once again has bad rebounding numbers per 30 for a 6-6 player.
All in all if MSU was healthy I would predict a pretty easy win for the Spartans, but sadly this was not to be. I still predict a W but our players are going to have to be on our games for this one. Thankfully even without two of our best rebounders, if Payne doesn't play, this Michigan team is so bad at rebounding, if Horford isn't in, I would still expect us to be competitive in the rebounding battle, while MSU’s D should somewhat stifle the main point scorers and force some of their role players to step up for Michigan to win.