After Michigan’s 19-point drubbing of Purdue last Saturday, Thomas Beindt of BT Powerhouse tweeted this:
Michigan’s Last 23 Games:— Thomas Beindit (@tbeindit) December 1, 2018
-22-1 overall record.
-18 wins vs top 100 teams.
-11 wins vs top 50 teams.
-8 wins vs top 25 teams.
-3 wins vs top 10 teams.
-Beat MSU, Nova, OSU, PU, UNC, WIS.
-Only loss in national title game.
Needless to say, it’s been a hell of a run.
All streaks though, by their very definition, start after a bad night. The last truly awful one for the Wolverines occurred last February in Evanston.
The Wolverines mustered under a point per possession after hitting just 5-of-22 threes. It’s also the last time any guard got the better of Zavier Simpson, as Bryant McIntosh poured in 24 points on 11 shots.
McIntosh and two other seniors departed, leaving the offensive load in the hands of wing Vic Law and center Derek Pardon. The former leads the Wildcats with 17.6 points a game, while the latter nearly averages a double-double (13.8 points and 9.6 boards).
Two others score in double-figures. 6-foot-6 guard Ryan Taylor adds 13.4 points, while 6-foot-7 wing A.J. Turner chips in 10 per game.
Despite the distribution, the offense excels in few areas, ranking No. 91 overall per Ken Pomeroy.
The only possible exception is offensive rebounding. Pardon, in particular, is the 16th-best player nationally in OR rate.
This is likely not enough to penetrate Luke Yaklich’s No. 1 efficiency defense. Chris Collins’ team tries to set up easy buckets inside, which is a hard task with Jon Teske manning the middle.
The 7-footer blocked six combined shots last week against North Carolina and Purdue.
Northwestern’s best chance is turning the game into a slog. It’s defense is top-30, whereas the Wolverines have surged into the top-20 offensively the last month.
John Beilein has plenty of weapons in his arsenal.
Freshman phenom forward Ignas Brazdeikis is leading the team in scoring at 16.3 per contest. Senior Charles Matthews is not far behind, averaging 14.6.
Teske is slowly morphing into Moritz Wagner. Against Purdue, he drained two treys en route to 17 points. Junior point guard Zavier Simpson is in the top-25 in the country in total assists with 49, and continues to shut down all comers.
The emergence of sophomore guard Jordan Poole may tilt the scales towards the Wolverines. He tallied 18 points against the Tar Heels and outdid himself with a near-perfect day last weekend versus the Boilermakers.
The recent outburst pushes him to 11.3 points per game.
The Wildcats have yet to lose in their newly-renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena this season. They snagged two Power Five victories over Utah and Georgia Tech last week before dropping a two-point road decision at Indiana.
How to Watch
Teams: No. 5 Michigan Wolverines (8-0) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (6-2)
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 4
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.
Tipoff: 9 p.m. ET
Unwind from work, crack open a beer and chat with us below!