Game Preview: Michigan vs. Illinois

Posted on Posted in Michigan Basketball

We know that Jim Harbaugh is the focus of the Michigan fan base, but the basketball team has an important game today. They got a much needed win against Coppin State last week to snap a four-game losing streak. The defending Big Ten champions will open their Big Ten season against Illinois today at 3 p.m. ET at the Crisler Center. Illinois poses a big test for the young Wolverine squad that has struggled this season.

At a glance…

MICHIGAN Illinois
RECORD 7-5 10-3
PPG 67.7 79.1
OPP PPG 62.3 62.4
FG% 42.8% 45.2%
T/O PG 10.5 9.8
STREAK W1 W3

Team leaders…

MICHIGAN COPPIN STATE
PPG Zak Irvin 15.3 Rayvonte Rice 17.7
REBOUNDS Caris LeVert 5.4 Rayvonte Rice 6.5
ASSISTS Caris LeVert 3.9 Ahmad Starks 3.1

This season has not gone ideally for coach John Beilein and the Michigan fans. The Wolverines are young and dealing with injuries. That’s a dangerous combination. On top of that, the usually sure shooting Wolverines, are struggling from outside the arch. Though Michigan got back to winning against Coppin State, this will be a big test for Michigan.

Michigan is 6-3 at home so far and the fighting Illini are 0-1. Rayvonte Rice is playing out of his mind for the Illini. The Wolverines will really have to play well defensively against Rice and the Illini as they are averaging 79 PPG.

Derrick Walton has been battling a toe injury and Spike Albrecht is banged up. This team is not 100% healthy, but they’ve had a week off to get as healthy as they can. We’ll see how good they look with a little bit of rest. Also, keep an eye on Ricky Doyle to see if his play continues to be strong in his first Big Ten competition.

There is a lot of buzz surrounding this game due to the possibility of new head coach Jim Harbaugh speaking at halftime. This game is also important to see where the team is. The Wolverines are going up against a very good Illinois team that has been rolling. Winning this game would go a long way towards instilling confidence in the team and would also allow the Wolverines to get off to a good start in their title defense.

Prediction…

The excitement around campus is at an all-time high. The Wolverines have a pretty good record at home and they showed improvement in their last win. They are coming off a long break and that should have helped them work out the kinks. It’ll be a close, but Michigan will win this one.

Michigan 70, Illinois 68

 

Fatima Harajli