Michigan Basketball (20-9 overall, 10-6 Big Ten) travels to Madison Sunday for their matchup against Wisconsin. This game is set to tip off at 6:00 pm on BTN, and will be the first meeting of these two teams this season. The Wolverines, playing with hopes to make the NCAA Tournament, will look to keep their momentum rolling after a 72-63 win over Northwestern. The 18-10 Badgers are tied at 4th place in the Big Ten standings, holding a 10-5 record in conference play. They are coming off a huge 67-59 win over #8 Iowa, and have won 9 out of their last 10 games. This will be a gritty game as both sides are fighting for NCAA Tournament birth.
Although senior forward Caris LeVert played in a limited role against Purdue, he is expected to be a scratch for the fourth game in a row. We may have seen the last of him suited up in the Maize and Blue.
Wisconsin player to watch:
Expect junior Nigel Hayes to have a big impact against Michigan. The 6-8 forward is the centerpiece of this Wisconsin team, averaging 16 points and 5 rebounds per game. He is a prolific two-way player that ranks second in the conference with an average of 36.2 minutes per game. Hayes recently scored 10 points in a big win over #8 Iowa on Wednesday.
Michigan player to watch:
Though sophomore Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has only averaged 7 points per game this season, he has been on an offensive tear as of late. The 6-4 guard put up 19 points in a showdown against Northwestern on Wednesday. He is shooting 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point land.
Michigan’s offense relies on the their ability to make three point shots, which will be a key to their success. The Wolverines rank 13th nationally in three point field goal percentage, (39.8%) posing three players shooting above 40% from deep (Dawkins, Robinson, Walton). If U-M’s struggling defense can keep Wisconsin’s big men in check, this game should be a two-sided battle that comes down to the wire. The Wolverines need to focus on baiting the Badgers into taking bad shots, and keeping them away from the free throw line.