Michigan Basketball Game One: Michigan-UMass Lowell Preview

Gregory Shamus

Two exhibition games down and Michigan will take its first steps of the 2013-14 season against UMass Lowell on Friday night. The Wolverines will be without Mitch McGary (for the forseeable future), but it looks as if Derrick Walton has moved into the starting lineup ahead of Spike Albrecht. What should the Wolverines expect tomorrow night

Game Time: 7:00pm Eastern

Location: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor MI

TV: None

UMass Lowell River Hawks

2012-13 Record: (15-13, 10-12 in 2012-13)

Returning Players (2012-13 Stats):

Antonio Bivins (6'5 SR) started all 28 games last year and was the second leading scorer for the River Hawks with 15.5 ppg on 55% shooting. Bivins is a slashing scorer. He isn't a shooter (17% on 23 3PA) but makes his mark getting the basket and drawing fouls (a team high 153 FTA., 71% FT shooter). He also won't set his teammates up for anything (16 assists on the season), but he averaged 7.4 rpg a year ago and led the team with 57 steals and 31 blocks.

Akeem Williams (5'10 SR) led the team with just shy of 20 ppg, as well as adding 3.3 apg. He is a well rounded scorer with over 100 FTA and 3PA and a 49/40/75 shooting percentage breakdown.

Chad Holley (5'10 JR) is the third returning player to average double figures in points a year ago. He put up 11.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, and 2.8 rpg. Holley is a good shooter (42.5% on 80 3pt FGA) that hits 80% from the line.

Kennedy Chukwuocha (6'6 SO) returns in the front court after averaging 21 minutes/game and starting 11 games as a freshman. His role will expand this year, but his 3P% will likely go down (he his 48% of his 50 3PA last year). He only averaged 3.8 rpg.

James McDonnell (6'10 SO) is also back in the front court. He started 18 games but averaged just 12 mintues per game over the course of the season, likely owing to foul trouble (he had seven fewer fouls than Bivins despite playing 1/3rd of the minutes). McDonnell's per game averages weren't stellar because of that. But he could be in for an increased role this season if he can keep out of foul trouble.

Pat Duquette took over UMass Lowell in May. This is his first game coaching the River Hawks. He was an assistant at Northeastern and Boston College previously.

What To Watch For

- The continued maturation of Caris LeVert. The sophomore has flashed a great deal of skill this year, and he has always been reputed as an impressive practice player. If a year of conditioning and strength training has allowed him to translate that to games, he could be a really versatile weapon for the Wolverines.

- Glenn Robinson III's Alpha Dog status. The talented sophomore had a bit of a quiet game in the Wolverines' second exhibition. Michigan needs him to do a better job leading the offense.

- The Point Guard split. Derrick Walton moved into the starting lineup last game, but Michigan has three potentially good and vastly different options at the point with Walton, Spike Albrecht, and Caris LeVert. It will be interesting to see how Michigan presents different looks with those three early in the season.

- Front Court Minutes. Mitch McGary is out for the time being. Is Jon Horford going to continue to get more minutes than Jordan Morgan? Will Michigan keep trying to go big?

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