November 27, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) drives to the basket on North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Scott Wood (15) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan Basketball: Michigan Wolverines at Bradley Braves -- Preview

Posted at 6:00am — 12/1/2012

Michigan Basketball: Michigan Wolverines at Bradley Braves — Preview

On The Road For Real

Game Notes:
Michigan (6-0; 0-0 BIG TEN) at Bradley (5-1; 0-0 MISSOURI VALLEY)
4:00pm — 6:00pm
DirecTV Channel 209
TV: Jim Barbar (p-by-p) & Bruce Pearl (analyst)

After a very satisfactory start, Michigan hits the road for real Saturday to Peoria, Illinois to match up against the Bradley Braves.

November 27, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Rodney Purvis (0) passes the ball between Michigan Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III (1) and forward Mitch McGary (4) in the second half at Crisler Center. Michigan won 79-72. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Bradley is a well respected mid level basketball school from the always top-notch and historically respected Missouri Valley League. There is plenty of motivation for the Bradley Braves. For one thing, there is the always-present mid-major chip on the shoulder against the big guy. A Bradley win could be a major resume builder and major feather in the MVC hat. Second, Michigan is the highest ranked team to ever play against Bradley in the Carver Arena. Third, Bradley is playing well and is off to a 5-1 start, the latest victim being Central Michigan.

Tyshaun Pickett and Jordan Prosser make a nice pair of forwards each capable of having a big scoring night. Both of these guys have sufficient size to give Michigan more inside headaches. These two, along with Will Egolf, all average over five rebounds a game.

The guards and small forwards are chipping in very well. Walt Lemon Junior, Jake Eastman, and D. Simms Edwards are all averaging over 10 points a game.

So, with five players averaging in double figures, Bradley is showing early balance. Bradley is shooting a respectable 47% but has been very weak behind the three-point line. But being at home can provide a healthy cure for three point shooters.

The Bradley defense has been outstanding holding opponents under 40%. Turnovers have been minimal and foul shooting excellent. This is a typical formula for mid-major success, taking care of the basics of basketball and maximizing ability.

The scoring figures would indicate, with a lack of film, that Bradley has done very well inside, taking into consideration the overall shooting percentage is so high considering the three-point shooting is so low. No doubt, Bardley’s staff is very aware of how Michigan’s inside defense has been exploited at times against good competition.

Michigan will continue to work on what it needs the most, developing offensive options, hoping to improve defensive man to man basics, not becoming slow and confused on screens, switches, etc., and getting out early and controlling the pace.

It would be no surprise if Coach Beilein used Mitch McGary more in a planned offense. It is getting closer to Big Ten Conference time and Michigan must do a better job of involving the inside game. McGary also gives Michigan more inside defense and rebounding.

Bradley’s success will start with stopping Trey Burke, and that is a tall order. The Bradley guards are pretty solid and may take turns in this difficult assignment. They may also have to take turns if Burke mounts up the fouls and sends at least one to the Bradley bench.

Any coach is more than a little nervous when his team hits the road the first time and so poise will be an important factor. Fans love basketball in the Indiana/Illinois corridor and the excitement should show early.

No doubt Coach Beilein will inform the troops of Bradley’s tradition and success, and send out the obligatory message to not take the Braves lightly. If the team is smart, it listens. And these guys seem smart.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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