Northwestern vs Michigan: Prediction & Fan Poll

February 21st, 2012
NO. 13 MICHIGAN (20-7, 10-4 Big Ten) AT NORTHWESTERN (16-10, 6-8 Big Ten)

 

Time: 8 p.m.

 

TV: Big Ten Network

 

Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

 

RPI Ratings

Michigan 12 (No. 3 Big Ten)

Northwestern 37 (No. 5 Big Ten)

 

Line: Northwestern -2½ (O/U 129½)

 

Michigan Players to Watch: G Trey Burke, 5-11 Fr. (14.1 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.4 rpg); G Tim Hardaway Jr., 6-6 So. (14.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 apg); F Jordan Morgan, 6-8 So. (7.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 64.6% FG). Morgan earned his first double-double of the season with a crucial 11 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s 56-51 win over No. 6 Ohio State.

 

Northwestern Players to Watch: F John Shurna, 6-9 Sr. (20.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 43.2% 3s); G Drew Crawford, 6-5 Jr. (16.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 48.6% FG); G Dave Sobolewski, 6-1 Fr. (9.4 ppg, 3.7 apg, 38.6% 3s). With 77 points in his last three games, Shurna has taken over the Big Ten lead in scoring. He needs 18 points to surpass Billy McKinney to become the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer.

 

Storylines: Michigan has won three straight and four of its last five to get within a game of Big Ten-leading Michigan State. Northwestern bounced back from a 2-game losing streak with a 64-53 win over Minnesota on Sunday. The Wildcats are 6-8 in the conference and needs to finish strong to get off of the NCAA bubble in their bid for their first-ever invite.

 

Keys: Northwestern led by as many as 10 points in the second half at Michigan on Jan.11 before the Wolverines came back for a 66-64 overtime win. Michigan, which was led by Burke’s 19-point, 7-rebound, 7-assist performance, held the Wildcats to 20 second-half points and outscored them 12-10 in overtime. Northwestern shot 50 percent for the game and the Wolverines only 33 percent, but Michigan forced 15 turnovers in the win. Northwestern leads the Big Ten, hitting 8.9 3-point shots per game. Michigan is second with eight per contest. Northwestern leads the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5-to-1 (tied with Purdue) and is third in turnover margin at 2.35-to-1. The Wildcats shoot 38.2 percent from the 3-point line, which is second to Indiana in the Big Ten. Michigan holds its opponents to 34.2 percent from behind the arc. The Wildcats are 11-3 at home this season, including a 5-2 mark at Welsh-Ryan in Big Ten play. Michigan is 3-6 in true road games this season. The Wolverines are perfect at home (15-0), but they are just 2-4 in Big Ten road games. Three of their final four regular-season games will be played away from home.

 

The Bottom Line: Michigan has struggled to win away from home and the Wildcats need this win badly to keep their NCAA hopes alive.

 

The Pick: Northwestern 65, Michigan 61

 

 

Greg Against the Spread This Season: 76-46