Following a double-overtime loss last week to Florida, Michigan basketball hosts McNeese State Friday night for a buy game in a matchup that is anything but a typical buy game.
The Cowboys are 10-2 this season and have just gotten head coach Will Wade, the former LSU head coach, back from suspension. McNeese State ranks 91st in the Kenpom rankings and both teams rank in the top 100 of college basketball in scoring. The Wolverines average 83.8 per game (31st) while McNeese State is averaging 80.3 (73rd).
McNeese State has played a few non-Division-1 opponents, but their defense ranks third in scoring in college basketball. The Cowboys are also 21st in 2-point defense and 44th in 3-point defense. However, McNeese State ranks 347th in 3-point shots allowed and Michigan basketball ranks 24th in 3-point shooting percentage nationally, as well as 55th in makes per game at 9.3.
In addition to the 3-point shooting, Michigan basketball needs to adjust to the zone defense its likely to see on Friday. Rashada Wells is averaging more than 18 points per game and more than four assists, so stopping him will be key, along with taking advantage of the Wolverines' size inside and on the boards.
Here's the rest of the key info for Michigan basketball vs. McNeese State.
Michigan basketball vs. McNeese State how to watch
Michigan basketball vs. McNeese State odds
According to DraftKings Michigan basketball is a 9.5-point favorite. The over/under is 144.5 and he money line is -600 for Michigan, as well as +440 for the Cowboys.
Michigan basketball vs. McNeese State prediction
This game scares me as a Michigan basketball fan. The Wolverines have struggled in these late December games the past couple of years and lost their last matchup on BTN+. Beyond that, McNeese State is a solid team, with a solid head coach, despite all the rule breaking.
As long as the Wolverines shoot the ball well, there shouldn't be too much trouble. But this team is consistent only in being inconsistent. A top-100 win would be nice, but I remember Long Beach State, so I'm not taking anything for granted.
That being said, I have to believe this team puts together a solid performance before the start of Big Ten play, although would a clunker surprise anyone?
Prediction: Michigan 79, McNeese State 71