Alabama A&M (2-3) at (20) Michigan (8-2)
Saturday, December 17th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Crisler Arena (12,721) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: BTN. Home Record: Alabama A&M 2-0, Michigan 5-0. Away Record: Alabama A&M 0-3, Michigan 1-1. Neutral Record: Alabama A&M 0-0, Michigan 2-1. Conference Record: Alabama A&M 0-0, Michigan 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Michigan Wolverines continue a five-game homestand this afternoon, as they welcome the Alabama A&M Bulldogs to Ann Arbor for non- conference action at the Crisler Arena.
John Beilein's Wolverines are 8-2 on the season. The two losses have come to a pair of ACC schools in Duke and Virginia. Since the loss to the Cavaliers at the end of November, Michigan has reeled off three straight wins, including a 63-50 decision over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to open this extended homestand on December 13th.
The Bulldogs are under the guidance of first-year head coach Willie Hayes. Things have not started off well for A&M, with two wins in five games thus far. The victories have come at home and against less than stellar competition in Talladega and Oakwood. Since then, the team has dropped back-to-back games on the road to Alabama and South Alabama.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.
There hasn't been a whole lot for the Bulldogs to get excited about this season, as the team is averaging a modest 65.4 ppg. A big reason for the sub .500 record is the fact that the team hasn't shot the ball very well, coming in at under 40 percent accuracy from the floor (.395), a number bogged down by a poor performance from long range (.247). The scoring depth is obviously not there, with only two players currently averaging double digits, and neither considered a potent offensive threat. Casey Cantey leads the way for the Bulldogs at 13.6 ppg, followed by Demarquelle Tabb's 11.8 ppg. A&M managed a season-low 44 points in the loss to South Alabama last time out. J Crutcher led the way offensively with 11 points. Tabb and Cantey chipped in with seven and six points, respectively.
The Wolverines were not at their best against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, shooting just 44 percent from the floor, but the team did shoot well from behind the arc (13-of-26) in a double-digit win. Evan Smotrycz led three Wolverines in double figures with 16 points. Trey Burke added 15 points to the cause, while M Vogrich came off the bench to tally 11 points. A defensive-minded team, Michigan is limiting the opposition to just 60.7 ppg on just over 40 percent shooting (.403). The team relies heavily on the trio of Tim Hardaway Jr., Burke and Smotrycz at the offensive end. Hardaway is averaging 15.6 ppg to pace the team. Burke and Smotrycz are not far behind at 12.5 and 10.3 ppg, respectively. The team is averaging just under 70 points per game (69.6), but are shooting a healthy .489.
The Bulldogs lack the offensive punch to keep this one competitive. The Wolverines play tough defense and will do enough offensively to earn a comfortable win today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 73, Alabama A&M 52
12/17 10:34:38 ET