The Michigan Wolverines (6-4) return home to attempt to break their three-game losing streak. Southern Methodist University (7-3) comes to the Crisler Center to face a group of men who are hungry for a win. A win today would restore some confidence and help get the team back into a winning attitude. Although this is an important game, it is not a make-or-break one.
LOCATION: Crisler Center Ann Arbor, Michigan
DATE: Saturday December 20, 2014 at Noon
TV: ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Some analysts are talking about hitting the panic button—I say hold on. Conference play has not even started. Remember, last year they started 6-4 and made it to the Elite Eight as Big Ten champs. There is plenty of basketball to play and this young team will get it together because I believe in coach John Beilein’s system. I will take a few losses now, as long as they play well come March.
Beilein is in his eighth season at Michigan and has a record of 156-98. On the other side of the court will be coach Larry Brown, leading SMU in his third season. He has accumulated a 42-27 record and last year made it to the NIT championship game. This will be the first meeting between these two teams and coaches.
Points: Caris LeVert 16.7
Rebounds: LeVert 5.2
Assists: LeVert 3.9
Points: Nic Moore 14.5
Rebounds: Yanick Moreira 6.8
Assists: Moore 4.9
For Michigan, Caris LeVert has to get involved in the game early. He has been in a bit of a shooting slump during this losing streak. Also, as a team, they have to shoot better from three-point land; they have not been over 30 percent in last few games. If the shooters can find a rhythm early in this game, it will boost confidence and they will close out this game. Freshman center Ricky Doyle will be getting his first start as he replaces Mark Donnal. He is averaging 6.9 PPG and 3 RPG and Beilein loves the energy he brings to the floor.
For SMU, it has not been good on the road so far, as they’ve gone 0-2 with losses at Gonzaga and Indiana. They do have four guys averaging double digits, even without preseason all-conference Markus Kennedy, who has been academically ineligible. Kennedy has been cleared to play and SMU will be excited for that as they will try to hand Michigan its fourth consecutive loss.
I believe the Wolverines will get back on track with a 77-64 win.
Chad Finley is a contributor for The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @finfive1.