Dec. 28 - Crisler Center - Ann Arbor, MI
6:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Line: Michigan -16
Michigan enters their final non-conference game after receiving bad news on Friday. Sophomore forward Mitch McGary will undergo back surgery and is out indefinitely. However, the Wolverines have proven they can win without their leading rebounder. McGary didn't play in Michigan's latest game, a victory against a solid Stanford team. Glenn Robinson III stepped up by scoring 17 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, and senior forward Jordan Morgan added 8 points of his own. Michigan will need GR3, Morgan, and junior forward Jon Horford to elevate their games in McGary's absence.
Holy Cross is coming off a 74-55 win against New Jersey Tech. Junior forward Malcolm Miller led the way with 18 points and 7 blocks. Center Dave Dudzinski scored 14 points and had 6 rebounds, helping the Crusaders to the victory. Dudzinski is Holy Cross's senior leader, averaging 17.1 ppg and 7.6 rpg, and will have the opportunity to take advantage of a McGary-less Wolverine squad. The Crusaders' second leading scorer, Cullen Hamilton, has missed the last six games and likely will not play against Michigan.
Michigan has the definite advantage in this one. The two teams may have similar records, but their competition has been from opposite ends of the spectrum. Three of Michigan's four losses have come against top-15 teams, including Duke and Arizona, and the Wolverines have some legitimate wins in their victories over Florida State and Stanford. Holy Cross, on the other hand, has lost to the likes of Belmont, Canisius, and Hartford. The Crusaders are fairly strong offensively and shoot well from beyond the arc, but the one place to exploit Michigan right now is down low. And Holy Cross is a very poor rebounding team with little post presence. Even without McGary, Michigan is far more talented and a 16 point favorite.
Projected Starting Lineups:
|Derrick Walton Jr.||G||Justin Burrell|
|Nik Stauskas||G||Eric Green|
|Caris LeVert||G/F||Malcolm Miller|
|Glenn Robinson III||F||Taylor Abt|
|Jon Horford||F/C||Dave Dudzinski|
Players to Watch:
Jon Horford- The 6'10'' forward is expected to carry a lot of the load left by Mitch McGary. Horford only played six minutes against Stanford due to foul trouble. Michigan will need him on the floor to handle Dudzinski in the post. Horford can prove he is the new man in the middle for Michigan with a strong game today.
Malcolm Miller- Coming off an 18 point performance against NJIT, Miller looks to stay hot against Michigan. He has filled the scoring void without Cullen Hamilton in the lineup, averaging over 16 ppg in his last three games. Holy Cross wants to get him going early. Miller also had 7 blocks against NJIT. His length will be needed to guard Stauskas and LeVert.
Dave Dudzinski- Holy Cross will need a big game from Dudzinski to have any chance in this game. The Crusaders' leading scorer and rebounder has to be a presence down low. The post is the Wolverines' obvious weakness right now. Dudzinski can also step out and hit the 3. He's shooting 45.8% from beyond the arc. It all starts with Dudzinski for the Crusaders.
Holy Cross has the potential to give Michigan a scare today. The Crusaders shoot it well from three, and Dudzinski can play with Michigan's big men. If Holy Cross comes out hot, this game could be very close at half. Michigan is simply too talented though and plays strong for 40 minutes. They are going to score at will against a weak Crusader defense. Big games from GR3 and Stauskas will help the Wolverines win by double digits. Michigan 80-65.
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