02 February 2010

Countdown to Michigan at Northwestern

Northwestern (14-7, 3-6 Big Ten) hosts Michigan (11-10, 4-5) at 6PM Central on Tuesday February 1. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and radio coverage is on WGN-AM 720 and wgnradio.com.

Michigan leads the series 101-54 which includes the game played earlier this year in which NU stormed back from a 17 point first half deficit to win in Ann Arbor. Drew Crawford led the way with 25 points (and 8 rebounds) including 4-5 shooting from distance and knocking down four key free throws down the stretch that helped to put the game on ice. Luka Mirkovic had an efficient 13 point, 8 rebound effort while Juice Thompson poured in 15 points including 4-7 shooting from distance. John Shurna netted 11 points but needed 14 shots to do so. Michigan was paced by its dynamic duo. Manny Harris had a 24 and 9 effort while DeShawn Sims chipped in 17 and 8.

Michigan has won three straight at the Welsh including an overtime victory last year. Coach John Beilein holds a 3-2 advantage in head-to-head battels with Coach Carmody.

Michigan desperately needs to win this game if it is to have any chance of making the NCAAs. Northwestern also is eying a victory in this game as it would like nothing better than to eliminate the Wolverines from NCAAs consideration. Furthermore a loss in this game would be quite damaging to NU's own NCAAs aspirations. It is important that NU find a way to win this game.

What to expect? Michigan may take a page from MSU's strategy of letting Shurna get his points but stop everyone else. This is easier said than done, and Michigan does not have the horses outside of their dynamic duo to effectively implement this game plan. NU should be able to find a way to win this game at the Welsh.