7:00 PM ET, January 17, 2013
(AP) — Trey Burke and Michigan can put aside for now the idea of being ranked No. 1 in the country.An undefeated start to the season? That's over too after the Wolverines sputtered last weekend at Ohio State.Now, the focus is on a Big Ten schedule that will test Burke and his teammates plenty more over the next few weeks. No. 5 Michigan plays at No. 9 Minnesota on Thursday night, part of a nine-game stretch for the Wolverines that began with the loss to the Buckeyes and will eventually include six road games."The level of intensity that we had in practice (Tuesday) was very high," said Burke, Michigan's star point guard. "We know just from watching film that we had a lot to learn, a lot to get better, a lot of adjustments to make."The Wolverines (16-1, 3-1) were uncharacteristically sloppy at the start of Sunday's game at Ohio State, falling behind by 21 points in the first half before rallying to force a tense finish. The Buckeyes eventually won 56-53.Michigan was poised to take over the top spot in the AP poll before that game, but the Wolverines shot a season-worst 38.3 percent from the field and turned the ball over 13 times. In the first half, they looked nothing like the team that had been rolling over opponents by playing smart, precise basketball.The road won't get any easier. Minnesota (15-2, 3-1) leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, and the Golden Gophers will challenge a Michigan team that has done a terrific job limiting second chances this season. The Wolverines have been preparing for another physical game around the basket.Michigan will need to keep its composure in another tough environment. The Wolverines beat Minnesota twice last season, but one game was in Ann Arbor and the other was at the Big Ten tournament, when Burke scored 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting to lead Michigan to an overtime win."We could have lost both games very easily last year. They were both last-second games," coach John Beilein said. "It's another great opportunity for us to grow. ... It is all about the process, and the journey and the process are what leads you to the end."Minnesota is coming off an 88-81 loss to Indiana over the weekend. After four games, Wisconsin is the only team with an unbeaten Big Ten record.Gophers coach Tubby Smith, though, has a talented, versatile starting group that believes it can play with any team in the nation. Smith, who has drawn some criticism for a substitution pattern that often looked more like a hockey philosophy, has been using his most talented players heavily this season.In the first four Big Ten games, guard Julian Welch is the only reserve playing more than 10 minutes a game. Three starters are averaging at least 30 minutes, with point guard Andre Hollins' 28.5 the lowest number."As you get into conference play, there's going to be tighter games and better athletes," Smith said Wednesday. "So you want your better athletes in the game at the same time. I don't have somebody measuring. This isn't Little League where everyone is going to play so many minutes."Gophers starters have accounted for 87 percent of the team's scoring, with Hollins leading the way at 19.0 points per game in the conference. The biggest producer off the bench has been Oto Osenieks at just 2.5 points per game.So far, the imbalance hasn't been much of an issue. The Gophers won at Illinois last week even though they didn't get a single point from their reserves.Hollins, motivated for another matchup with Burke, may not be thinking about getting much help Thursday. He had 21 points in the Big Ten tournament matchup with Michigan last season."I look forward to going against great players," Hollins said. "I don't get too caught up in it, but at the same time it's like I have something to prove at the same time. It's going to make me better in the long run so I just take the challenge to go out and compete."
|Avg Points Allowed||62.9||61.7|
|Conference||Big Ten||Big Ten|
|» Jan 17, 2013||MICH 83, @MINN 75||Recap|
Michigan is at ninth ranked Minnesota tonight. The Wolverines will try do do something they haven't done much at all under John Beilein, win on the road against a ranked team. In 6 seasons with the Wolverines, Beilein's teams are 1-16 against AP ranked teams on the road, including 1-12 in conference play. The only win came in 2011 against 25th-ranked Michigan State.[+]
Michigan on Road Against AP-Ranked Teams - Under John Beilein (last 6 Seasons)
Minnesota is the best offensive rebounding team in the country but are not efficient in converting those second chances into points. They average just 0.89 points per offensive rebound putback attempt, the seventh-worst rate among Power 6 schools. Trevor Mbakwe has the most putback attempts on the Gophers and is also one of the most inefficient scorers on these plays. He averages just 0.78 points per putback attempt, the worst rate among the 64 Division I players with at least 35 such plays. Good news for the Gophers is that despite Michigan's defensive rebounding prowess (ranked second in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage), the Wolverines are not effective in preventing points off offensive rebounds. Michigan' allows 1.12 points per offensive rebound putback play, the second-worst rate in the Big Ten.
Another key matchup in the Minnesota-Michigan game will be the ability of the Wolverines to defend the Gophers without fouling. Minnesota averages 25.2 free throws per game, the ninth-highest rate in Division. It gets 23.3% of its points from free throws, the eight-highest rate among Power 6 conference schools. The only game it failed to reach 20 free throw attempts was in its loss to Indiana last weekend. The Gophers are 8-0 when getting to the line more than 25 times in a game. Michigan is the best team in the country at avoiding fouls on defense. Its opponents average just 10.9 free throws per game, the lowest rate in Division I. Michigan is allowing just 11.8% of its opponents points to come from free throws, the lowest rate in the nation. No team has gotten to the charity stripe 25 times in a game against the Wolverines this season, and only nine of the 17 teams have even reached double-digits in free throw attempts.
Trey Burke is arguably the best ball handler on the pick & roll. He leads the nation with 1.35 points per play as the pick & roll ball handler (min. 30 plays). So how do you defend him? Force him to pass the ball. When the defense commits and he is forced to pass it out, the results of those pick & roll plays average just one point per play. Forcing him to pass it out to the left side might be your best bet. Those 33 plays have resulted in only 23 points on 9-for-25 shooting, including five turnovers. Minnesota is one of the best teams in the nation in defending the pick & roll ball handler with an extra defender. Its opponents are averaging just 0.64 points per play in those situations when the defense commits, the 7th-best mark in Division I (min. 100 plays). The Gophers have forced a turnover on nearly one-quarter of those plays while holding their opponents to just 33% shooting from the floor.
Trey Burke is one of the best pick & roll players in the nation. He averages 1.35 points per play as the ball handler, the highest rate in Division I (min. 30 plays) and shoots 62.3% from the floor on those plays, the 4th-best rate in Division I (min. 30 plays). He has turned the ball over just six times on 77 plays as the pick & roll ball handler, including once in four Big Ten games this season. Overall, Michigan's pick & roll offense ranks 1st among Division I teams, averaging 1.14 points per play. Minnesota, however, is one of the best teams in the league in defending the pick & roll. The Gophers allow just 0.67 points per pick & roll play (including passes), the third-best defensive rate in the Big Ten. Only Ohio State has allowed a lower field goal percentage on pick & roll plays among Big Ten teams than the Gopher's mark of 32.3%.
One matchup to watch in the Minnesota-Michigan State game on Thursday is on the boards. Michigan grabs 75.8% of available defensive rebounds, the 2nd-highest defensive rebound rate in the country. Minnesota grabs 48% of available offensive rebounds, the highest offensive rebound rate in the country.
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