NCAA Sunday Afternoon Basketball: Michigan/Wisconsin Preview

by Alec McMordie

CBS broadcasts a battle of two nationally-ranked Big Ten teams at 1 PM ET.

Michigan takes the court for the first time since January 22nd, when they defeated Purdue on the road, 70-53, as a 5-point favorite. Soon after that game, the Wolverines’ athletic department paused all practices and competitions while ordering all players, coaches, and staff quarantine for 14 days. Head coach Juwan Howard has resumed practice with his team, who will be at full strength for this game. 

With a 13-1 record on the season, Michigan ranks fourth in the nation in the Associated Press poll. The Wolverines lead the Big Ten with an 8-1 record. Their lone loss was at Wisconsin. This contest will be Michigan’s just fifth game away from Crisler Arena this season, but they have nice wins on the road at Maryland and Mackey Complex against the Boilermakers in their last game.

Michigan ranks seventh in adjusted offensive efficiency according to the metrics at kenpom. The Wolverines are sixth with a 59.2% shooting percentage inside the arc, which helps elevate their effective field goal percentage to 57.6%, also sixth in the nation. They are making 37.7% of their 3-point shots, ranking 30th nationally. Michigan registers an assist in 58.8% rate of their made field goals, 37th nationally. They are also second in the nation, with only 5.2% of their shot attempts getting blocked.

The Wolverines are 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom. They are third in opponent’s effective field goal percentage with a 43.0% mark. Michigan leads the nation by limiting their opponents to just 40.1% shooting inside the arc. These opponents make 32.2% of their 3-pointers, 112th nationally. This team does not foul as they rank 20th nationally in foul-rate. They block 12.8% of their opponent’s shots, 28th nationally. They hold their opponents to just a 43.8% assist rate, 25th nationally.

Michigan’s leading scorer is Hunter Dickinson, scoring 15.1 points-per-game. The freshman pulls down 7.2 rebounds-per-game. Senior Isaiah Livers adds 14.6 points-per-game. Sophomore Franz Wagner contributes another 12.0 points-per-game. Three other players score at least 8.8 points-per-game.

Wisconsin won their second game in their last three games with their 61-48 victory at Nebraska on Wednesday as an 8.5-point favorite. The Badgers earned the victory despite shooting 32.3% from the field, their second-lowest field goal percentage of the season. Head coach Greg Gard’s team has shot better than 43.9% only once in their last ten games.

Wisconsin ranks 21st in the AP poll with a 15-6 record. They are in fourth place in conference play with a 6-2 mark. The Badgers have impressive wins against Penn State, Minnesota, Indiana, and (at) Rutgers in conference play, plus a high-profile victory against Louisville from their non-conference schedule. Wisconsin’s six losses are against Marquette, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois, and the Wolverines.

The Badgers rank 33rd in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency at kenpom. They are fourth nationally in turnover rate on offense. Wisconsin is seventh nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. They thrive at limiting their opponents to second-chance scoring opportunities to just 23.65 of their possessions, 33rd in the nation.

D’Mitrik Trice leads the team with a 13.5 points-per-game scoring average. Micah Potter is adding 11.8 points-per-game while leading the Badgers with a 6.1 rebounds-per-game average. Trice and Potter are two of the five seniors back from the group last year that was a co-champion of the Big Ten conference with a 14-6 mark.

Wisconsin was embarrassed on January 12th in a 77-54 loss at Michigan. BookMaker lists the Wolverines as a 1-point road favorite, with the total set at 133.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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