The Michigan Wolverines got off to a blazing start to the new season, entering the final tv timeout of the first half with a 21-point lead over MAC favorite Buffalo in front of an excited Crisler Center. Of course, things could not go that smoothly, and the Bulls made an impressive charge back, but ultimately Michigan earned its first win over the year with a solid 88-76 final score.
Buffalo is a strong mid-major with postseason aspirations, ranking No. 88 per Kenpom after the defeat. The same cannot be said for Prairie View A&M, who sits at No. 221 heading into the neutral site contest on Saturday. The HBCU is part of the Texas A&M system and resides in the metro Houston area.
Prairie View is not going to put up much of a fight against the Wolverines unless things go terribly wrong, but this is a respectable basketball team. The Panthers ran the table in conference play last season before falling in the SWAC Championship Game, making it their third-straight regular season title. This game is presented by Coaches vs. Racism and will be played in the nation’s capital.
Prairie View A&M (0-2) vs. No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (1-0)
While Michigan’s semi-collapse leaves a bad taste in the mouth, overall it was a strong performance against an above-average opponent. Hunter Dickinson was as good as expected, leading the way with 27. Meanwhile both Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate had impressive debuts, and this game could end up featuring a lot of youth.
The Panthers have played a couple games already, falling to both Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, two mid-majors who should compete for NCAA Tournament bids. While there is not a ton to learn from these games, the stats are not that pretty thus far: 225th in offensive efficiency, 216th in defensive efficiency, terrible rebounding, and nothing that real stands out aside from a decent steal rate (15 percent).
The biggest question for the Wolverines one game into this season is what happens when DeVante Jones is not on the floor? Eli Brooks can take over the point, but that leaves a hole at the shooting guard position. Both Frankie Collins and Kobe Bufkin got some playing time against Buffalo, and this would be a good time for the freshman to play some meaningful minutes in a low-risk environment.
As strong as this offense is offensively, the strength of this team should be on defense again. Jeenathan Williams singlehandedly kept the Bulls in the game, so making sure someone like Jawaun Daniels does not do the same for the Panthers. The senior guard put up 15 and 25, respectively, in his first two games this season after averaging 15.2 last season on 42.9 percent from three.