Head over to BTN tonight to check out the Michigan Wolverines (1-0) as they face the Bucknell Bison (1-0) at 8 p.m. TBHR gives a game preview and predictions below!
The Wolverines beat Hillsdale College 92-68 over the weekend, but let the Division II squad hang around for much of the contest. The Chargers took a 15-6 lead just five minutes into the game, before the Wolverines got hot from the floor. However, sloppy play from Michigan kept the Chargers in the game until late.
Squad 99 should have no problem handling Bucknell, but will need to improve a couple of key areas if they want to claim an easy victory. The Wolverines’ defense looked intimidating a times, but also had stretches where they allowed easy buckets and simply looked confused. The team shot well overall Saturday, but only ended up having 16 assists on 30 made field goals. Look for John Beilein’s crew to move the ball around better tonight. The youthful roster will improve in due time, but facing Bucknell tonight at home will give them a great opportunity to better both areas.
The Bucknell Bison come into Ann Arbor as heavy underdogs, looking for an opportunity to shock the nation. Head coach Dave Paulsen will have his team prepared for the improbable, so don’t be surprised if you see the Bison in the game late. Paulsen has led the Bison to two NCAA Tournaments appearances in the last four years, and is not easily intimidated by powerhouse programs. He will attempt to beat a Big Ten team for the third year in a row, after beating Penn State last season and Purdue the season before.
The Bison graduated Cameron Ayers, who was the 2014 Patriot Player of the Year, but will start a group of veterans who know the game well. Don Hoffman, who had 14 points and nine boards in the Bison’s season opener will be the player to look out for tonight. Also, keep an eye on John Azzinaro and J.C. Show who can quickly heat up from the floor. Bucknell may be outmatched, but if they play a near flawless game, they may just leave Crisler with an upset.
What to Expect
Even if Michigan has another slow start, and the Bison start draining threes, the Wolverines should have no problem taking over late and improving to 2-0. Expect big performances from the “Big Three” (LeVert, Irvin, and Walton), and for Kam Chatman, who was only 1-7 from the floor vs. Hillsdale, to have a better shooting performance.
Bucknell may have more experience on the floor, but the Wolverines will be too athletic for the Bison to handle in the second half, and Michigan will add another early W this season.
Prediction: Michigan 80, Bucknell 65
Derek Devine is a contributing blogger for TBHR. Follow him on Twitter here!