Michigan basketball is in desperate need of a win and wil travel to Iowa on Sunday. Here are three keys and a prediction for the Wolverines.
It’s been an ugly stretch for the Michigan baskeball team which has lost five of six games. Four of the five losses have come by single digits, three of them by four points or less.
The past two defeats to Oregon and Indiana have been particularly painful. Regardless, the Wolverines are 0-1 in Big Ten play and this feels like a must-win.
It will be hard to recover from 0-2 and 4-6. A loss doesn’t mean the season is over, but at some point, this team has to figure out how to defend and also, how to win.
Hopefully, it happens on Saturday. Here are three keys and a prediction.
Iowa is always one of the best-scoring teams in college basketball. The Hawkeyes don’t shoot the ball well from the 3-point line, but they are one of the best teams in transition in college hoops.
According to UMHoops.com, Iowa has scored an average of 29.3 points in transition in games that it has won this season, as well as just 15.3 points per in transition in defeats.
The Wolverines haven’t been good in transition defense. Heck, they haven’t been solid in any area defensively and if Michigan doesn’t defend when Iowa runs, a win will be tough to come by.
Win in the paint
Iowa is ranked 280th in 2-point percentage defense. The Hawkeyes are ranked 149th in defensive efficiency according to the Kenpom rankings. Michigan is 132nd.
Baskets shouldn’t be all that difficult to come by, especially since the Wolverines are ranked as having the No. 25 offense, while Iowa has the No. 18 offense. Frankly, you wonder if this is one of those games where someone scores 100 points.
For Michigan basketball though, a big key will be pounding the ball inside. Dug McDaniel needs to attack as well, but Iowa has struggled to defend the paint, so the Wolverines should be able to take advantage.
If not, it could be hard to keep up.
Iowa does have 3-point shooters but Payton Sandfort is the only guy averaging more than one 3-point make per game. However, he averages 2.6 per game and is a 36-percent shooter.
Ben Krikke has been an impact addition from the transfer portal and is averaging 17.9 points per game. Tarris Reed and Olivier Nkamhoua will have to play well on both ends.
The biggest key might be Dug McDaniel. This has the feeling of a close game and the Wolverines need their point guard to execute at a high level.
Frankly, I don’t have much confidence in this Michigan team, which is when they tend to surprise you. However, I just haven’t seen anything from this defense that leads me to believe Michigan basketball will find a way.
Prediction: Iowa 91, Michigan 85