Tonight the Michigan Wolverines will begin their portion of the slate in the Legends Classic, held in Brooklyn, N.Y., by taking on the Oregon Ducks at 9 p.m. ET. Though Michigan’s last game against Detroit was a little closer than expected, don’t count on anything from that performance being transferred to tonight’s game.
At a glance…
|PPG||Zak Irvin 20.7||Joseph Young 26|
|REBOUNDS||Caris LeVert 7.7||Jordan Bell 9|
|ASSISTS||Caris LeVert 6||Joseph Young 5|
Unlike Michigan, Oregon’s top scorer is back this season, and he’s is off to a hot start. Redshirt senior Joseph Young provided Oregon with its fifth-best scoring total in a single season last season with 643 points (18.9 PPG). A second-team all-Pac-12 selection, Young also knocked down 155 free throws, which ranks him seventh best in school history.
Young is already streaking this season with 26 PPG. He will be a tough out for a Michigan defense that has yet to find its stride this season. After Young, however, the production takes a significant dip. Elgin Cook and Dillon Brooks are both averaging 12.7 PPG, but they won’t offer nearly the same threat as their teammate.
Oregon is looking for a high-tempo game, much like Detroit. Michigan likes to run with some tempo, but not quite to the extreme as the Ducks. It would be safe to expect a high-scoring game tonight in Brooklyn, with both teams finding their fair share of transition opportunities, but if Michigan gets off to another slow start, it could be a long night of trying to catch up to the Ducks, which would likely prove to be very difficult. Of course, Michigan and Oregon have played the same Detroit team this season; if it’s worth anything, Oregon won by 17.
Where Michigan could really make its money in tonight’s game is behind the arc. That goes for almost every game for the Wolverines, but it will be especially true against a Ducks team that has allowed 40.5 percent of opponents’ 3-point shots to drop through their first three games of the season. Michigan is connecting on 45.9 percent of its shots from behind the arc so far.
Given Oregon’s inability to defend outside, look for Zak Irvin to get back on track after a poor shooting performance against Detroit. He had his worst game of the season, going 6 for 16 from the floor. This could be a big night for him and the Wolverines’ offense, as they will surely work to exploit that hole in Oregon’s defense.
Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of TheBigHouseReport.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.