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In the last 10 years, Michigan is 1-8 playing at Assembly Hall. Their one win came in overtime in the 2008-2009 season during which Indiana went 6-25 overall. It's going to be a tough, tough matchup in a venue we have not had a lot of success.
I don't see Jordan Morgan playing Saturday because I think he'd be a liability trying to keep up with how much Cody Zeller likes to run. It will be fun to watch McGary battle him, I just hope he can stay out of foul trouble to log enough minutes to rotate with Horford.
The matchup I'm most interested to see, and that I think is the key to the game, is Stauskus - Hulls. Hardaway and GRIII will be on Watford and Oladipo, with Trey obviously matchup to Yogi Ferrell. That means for a large chunk of the 28 minutes Hulls plays he's going to be giving up ~6 inches of height to Stauskus. The bulk of Hulls points (150 / 233) come from the 3 point line, so will Nik's length give him trouble? And on the opposite side, we've seen Nik struggle when guys pressure him, but will somebody at that much of a size disadvantage be able to do that this game?
I expect Horford to be a big factor in this game - both offensively and defensively. McGary is going to do his thing, but he's going to be in foul trouble. It's Assembly Hall after all.
I like Robinson on Oledipo. I think he can match his athleticism. Timmay has a big job ahead of him. He has to defend AND maintain his composure on the offensive side of things. Sometimes I think he tries too hard on O, and if his shots don't fall, it affects his D.
If we move the ball around like we did in the first half last night, AND we hit our shots, it's going to be a good night.
That said, I am preparing for a loss because I think our boys have a tendency to put too much pressure on themselves in these big games. This will be the perfect opportunity to prove to themselves that they are indeed worthy of the #1 ranking. But it's a tough place to do it.
Can't wait for this game. I agree the team has a tough task ahead of them to go into Assembly Hall and pull out the win. In my opinion a win would be the first sign of any team in the nation starting to separate themselves from everyone else.
Oh and I have to disagree just a little bit with you on Timmy's D being affected when he isn't making shots. He didn't shoot well last night but did a great job in shutting down Northwesterns leading scorer.
Definitely. I thought he played one of his best games defensively yesterday.
I attribute that to the opponent, NW. I don't think Timmay had much to worry about when his shots didn't fall. Yes, it's maturity and unselfishness, but it was Northwestern. I don't suspect he'll feel the same on the inside if his shots aren't falling at Assembly Hall.
I think you are being a little hard on Hardaway and are still looking at his performance from last year. Hardaway has matured a lot since last year.
I absolutely agree. And as a matter of fact, I think he's the least likely to get rattled Saturday night. If Burke gets pressured, he tends to dribble too much. Stauskas is a freshmen and he could clinch up. McGary is going to have 4 fouls in this game - 2 for his freshmen exuberance and two for it being Assembly Hall. Horford is going to face his toughest test yet in college.
IMO, the pressure is on us. Beilein and his troops have to prove they can go into the most hostile environment and come out on top. There's still a lot of young guy on this team who desperately want this win. That's a lot of pressure.
Indiana has to be feeling some of the pressure to if they want to win a Big Ten title and get a #1 seed. A Michigan win would give them 2 home losses already and put Michigan in the drivers seat for the regular season title.
I agree that Stauskas could be the difference maker. Anybody who has ever watched Jordan Hulls would easily notice that he is a terrible defender. If Stauskas is "on", he'll have a field day against Hulls.
I'm concerned about the matchup of Oladipo vs Timmy. Oladipo is a lockdown defender and I think he could give Timmy lots of trouble.
Actually, Hardaway may have had the hardest defensive task out of anyone on Michigan's team Wednesday. You can certainly make the case that Northwestern is just a bad team all around, but Reggie Hearn can be pretty productive on the offensive end and leads the Wildcats in points per game. Hearn averages 13.7 points per game and Hardaway was able to keep him to 7 points and 0 assists. I certainly don't think Hearn is the best player out there, but it's not like Hardaway was facing nobody either.
The biggest problem for Hardaway in his career has been his tendency to completely disappear for long segments of the game. Part of this is because of poor shooting stretches, but he also can become passive on the offensive end and start settling for long jump shots instead of driving to the basket, which is something he's pretty good at doing. This year he's only had a couple games where he disappeared in and has drastically improved defensively, which makes these disappearances less noteworthy. Overall, this game is probably not that telling for the season and he will need to be better on Saturday for Michigan to win, but his defense has been better for sure.
Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit
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