After three days off following its upset victory against Wisconsin, Maryland finishes its 2015 Big Ten home basketball slate with a clash versus Michigan Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2, with streaming on WatchESPN.
The Wolverines are the last Big Ten squad Maryland has not yet played this year (the Terps' last two games are road trips to Rutgers and Nebraska). Michigan is 14-13 with a 7-8 Big Ten conference record, ranking ninth in the standings. They're rated No. 93 in KenPom (Maryland is No. 34), with a win against No. 15 Ohio State and losses to No. 184 NJIT and No. 149 Eastern Michigan.
A New York native, John Beilein spent most of his early coaching career in the state, getting hired by Richmond in 1997 after taking Canisius to the NCAA tournament. The Spiders made the dance in his first season with the school but did not do so again under Beilein, who left for West Virginia before the 2002-03 season after two straight top-two CAA finishes. While in Morgantown, he led the Mountaineers to an Elite Eight, a Sweet Sixteen and an NIT Championship, being hired by Michigan prior to the 2007-08 season. After a rocky first year, the Wolverines have made the tournament five out of six seasons, winning the Big Ten last season and making it to the Elite Eight.
Players to know
Zak Irvin, sophomore, 6'6, No. 21. Michigan's top scorer, forward Caris Levert, is out for the rest of the season with an injury. No. 3 scorer and No. 2 rebounder Derrick Walton has also been injured. That leaves Irvin as the team's leading scorer at 13.6 points per game and leading rebounder with 4.3 per game. A volume three-point shooter, Irvin made three of seven from deep in the Wolverines' upset win over Ohio State last time out, scoring 15.
Spike Albrecht, junior, 5'11, No. 2. Another volume three-point shooter, Albrecht is Michigan's starting point guard and leads the team with 3.7 assists per game. He scored a team-high 16 against Ohio State with five assists.
Ricky Doyle, freshman, 6'9, No. 32. Michigan's most efficient offensive player, Doyle is a strong inside scorer (61.8 percent from two) who rarely turns the ball over (0.6 per game). He scored eight points in 13 minutes against Ohio State.
Aubrey Dawkins, freshman, 6'6, No. 24. Another efficient freshman for the Wolverines, Dawkins hadn't played nearly as much as Doyle but saw 34 minutes of action against Ohio State. He's the team's leading three-point shooter (38.3 percent).
Holding on to the ball. LeVert and Walton led Michigan in turnovers when they were each injured, and the Wolverines have done a very good job holding on to the ball since. They rank No. 21 nationally in turnover percentage (16.1 percent) and No. 34 in steal percentage (7.8 percent) while they have the ball.
Shooting free throws. Michigan is shooting 74.2 percent from the line, ranking No. 29 in the country. The Wolverines are one of the only Big Ten teams capable of competing with Maryland at the stripe (the Terps are shooting 74.9), but they don't get to the line nearly as much (No. 346, compared to No. 25 for Maryland).
Getting to the free throw line. We just talked about it, but yeah. That's bad. Walton and Levert still rank No. 1 and No. 3 on the team in free throw attempts despite being injured for a significant amount of time (nine games missed for Levert, seven for Walton).
Offensive rebounding. Doyle is the only player within the top 400 nationally for Michigan in the category, although senior Max Bielfeldt and freshman Mark Donnal have been serviceable off the bench. The Wolverines rebound just 25.9 percent of available offensive rebounding opportunities, ranking No. 321 in the nation.
KenPom’s prediction: Maryland, 65-57. 81 percent chance Maryland wins.
Pete's prediction: Maryland, 74-60. Both teams are coming off season-best wins, but the Terps' homecourt advantage (and generally better team) will be too much for the Wolverines to handle.