Preview: Northwestern II

Or: Tim’s foray into tempo-free statistics.

The Wolverines take on Just Northwestern at 3PM Sunday in Evanston. The game can be seen on Big Ten Network.

Tempo-Free and efficiency comparison (if you need an explanation of what any of these things mean, head to KenPom’s website):

Michigan v. Northwestern: National Ranks
Category Michigan Northwestern Advantage
Mich eFG% v. NU eFG% D 164 161
Mich eFG% D v. NU eFG% 165 26 NN
Mich TO% v. NU Def TO% 15 14
Mich Def TO% v. NU TO% 143 33 NN
Mich OReb% v. NU DReb% 257 278 M
Mich DReb% v. NU OReb% 182 331 MM
Mich FTR v. NU Opp FTR 324 147 NN
Mich Opp FTR v. NU FTR 25 284 MMM
Mich AdjO v. NU AdjD 70 79
Mich AdjD v. NU AdjO 80 54 N

Differences of more than 100 places in the rankings garner two-letter advantages, differences of more than 200 get a third.

When Last We Met…

The Wolverines took home a 68-59 victory in Crisler Arena that really wasn’t as close as the final score would seem to indicate. Michigan completely owned the boards on both ends (one of the few times they’ve been able to do so this season). More telling was the Wildcats’ shooting, particularly from 3-pt land. They were 10-27, including 4-13 from Craig Moore. DeShawn Sims and Kelvin Grady(!) led the god guys in scoring, and Manny Harris had a relatively quiet game, outside of his game-high 12 rebounds.

Since Last We Met…

Michigan’s ability to shoot the rock has continued to wane. Their ability to rebound it has increased, however, especially on the defensive end. Unsurpisingly, given the nature of their valiant efforts in losses to UConn and Michigan State, they have continued to slide in overall offensive efficiency, while their defensive numbers have gotten much better. Kelvin Grady,th Wolverines’ second-leading scorer the first time around, has been basically benched by John Beilein. The Wildcats have wins against Indiana and Chicago State and a loss to Illinois, which are basically neutral (excepting, of course, the total FAIL of their collapse against the Illini). They have a win against Wisconsin (positive) and a loss against Iowa (very, very negative) in that stretch as well. The Wildcats have gotten better at shooting in the meantime, but have also allowed opponents to shoot much, much better. Northwestern’s overall efficiencies on both ends have gotten worse.


If Michigan wants to win, they can’t count on Craig Moore to shoot poorly, especially in his own house (whatever the insignificant Northwestern basketball venue is called). They should certainly exploit their advantages in rebounding and overall athleticism. Getting to the line (especially off the offensive glass) should be the name of the game. Two big intangible factors will come into play in this contest: 1) Northwestern’s complete collapse against Illinois (especially with just a couple days’ turnaround), and 2) Michigan’s extended rest period, a situation which has served them well so far this year. Still, Michigan has struggled on the road this year, and though they have plenty of experience against the 1-3-1, Northwestern can beat anybody on any given night. On the other hand, they can also lose to anybody. Sound familiar?

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