3 keys and a prediction for Michigan Basketball vs Rutgers

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /
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Looking ahead to Michigan basketball vs Rutgers, we look at three keys and a prediction for the Wolverines against the Scarlet Knights. 

Winning at the RAC in Piscataway isn’t easy and won’t be easy for Michigan basketball on Thursday night.

The Big Ten game is a critical one for both teams. Rutgers has been on a downward trend recently and while their NCAA tournament hopes shouldn’t be in jeopardy by any means, they want to improve their seeding.

For Michigan basketball, it’s a must-win game. The Wolverines can maybe afford one more regular-season loss but if they win the next four games and the first one of the Big Ten tournament, I see no scenario where they are left out of the field of 68.

Michigan basketball has three quadrant-1 wins and this would be a fourth. Here are three keys for the Wolverines and a prediction.

Dug has to be stellar again

Rutgers is one of the best defensive teams in the country but the Scarlet Knights could be down two starters against the Wolverines.

That could really hurt, especially if Jett Howard is able to play because Caleb McConnell probably would have been the guy defending him and he’s expected to miss tonight’s game.

As far as Dug McDaniel, he was spectacular last Saturday against Michigan State. His 18 points were impressive, but I was more impressed by his zero turnovers and his defense.

Rutgers is second in the Big Ten in forcing turnovers and teams give it up 12.4 times per game. Michigan has turned it over an average of 9.9 times per game in the Big Ten and if Dug can have one of those nights with just one or two turnovers, it will go a long way.

It’s hard to win on the road in the Big Ten if your point guard doesn’t play well and that’s why McDaniel is a big key tonight for Michigan basketball.