On one hand, it was an admirable that the Michigan Wolverines fought (nearly) all the way back after falling significantly behind Memphis. On the other, it was frustrating to see turnovers and poor defense put the Wolverines in such a hole to begin with. As a result, Michigan has now lost two straight and falls to the consolation side of the Battle 4 Atlantis bracket.
The major storyline on Wednesday was the turnovers, which came from all over the roster. Travels seemed especially costly, but coughing up the ball also led to easy looks in transition for the Tigers. It is baffling to see this team continue to surrender open looks after targeting players who were supposed to bring some sound defense in the offseason, but hopefully this can be remedied with time.
There are still two more games to play in the Bahamas, and with them come opportunities to both build the resume and gain more reps. Up next are the Stanford Cardinal, who came up just short against Arkansas in double overtime on Wednesday night. Stanford sits roughly 30 spots lower than Michigan in Kenpom but would still be a decent win on a neutral court. This kind of feels like a game the Wolverines need to have, but truly no outcome would be shocking here.
Michigan Wolverines (3-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (3-2)
Date & Time: Thursday, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Imperial Arena, Nassau, Bahamas
Event: Battle 4 Atlantis Consolation Bracket
The Cardinal have a pretty strong offense, but a defensive efficiency in the 100s. The defense actually contained Arkansas for much of the game on Wednesday, but was fairly unimpressive against a quartet of mid-majors to open the season. The Razorbacks were pretty poor from behind the arc, but other Stanford opponents have feasted from three this year.
Meanwhile, the offense has been clicking early on, which is a bad sign for the aforementioned Michigan defense. Seven-footer Maxime Raynaud is one to watch in the paint, while fifth-year guard had a great performance against the Razorbacks. Against an offense that has been even more efficient than Memphis’, the Wolverines will need to show a much better effort on Thursday.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the positive from Wednesday was the performance of Nimari Burnett, who is looking to join Dug McDaniel and Olivier Nkamhoua as a source of reliable scoring. Burnett has been a little inconsistent thus far, posting totals of 13, 0, 21, 5, then 16 against Memphis, but another good outing against Stanford would be a great sign.