January 19, 2010

Inside the numbers: Michigan

MADISON - Michigan will enter the Kohl Center Wednesday evening as the winner of four of its past five games, including its most recent home upset over then raked No. 15 Connecticut.

"It's a Big Ten team beating a Big East team," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "That's not the first time this year that's happened. So, it's always good for the league whenever you have a team from your league beat somebody outside the league that's got a pretty high R.P.I. That always improves your R.P.I. because you're going to play them.

"So, the strength of schedule, the strength of the league and the strength of our teams will say a lot come the end of the year."

But the end of the year is still quite a way off and there is plenty of basketball left to be played around the Big Ten.

For Wisconsin, Wednesday serves as a return home for a quick two game stand where the Badgers hope to bank a couple of wins without Jon Leuer.

Before Wednesday night's tilt against the Wolverines, BadgerBlitz.com takes a look inside the numbers of Michigan and its play so far this season.

.295: Through 17 games this season, the Wolverines have struggled from beyond the arc. In total, UM is hitting just less than 30 percent of its shots from downtown. In this game against the Badgers, a team with the eighth best defense in the country, that number could potentially be even lower.

14: Junior forward Manny Harris, who currently leads the Big Ten with nearly 20 points per game (19.6 to be exact), has averaged only 14 points per contest over his career against Wisconsin. His top scoring performance came in January of 2008 when he dropped 26 points on the Badgers in an eventual UW win.

10.7: DeShawn Sims, a player averaging 16.9 points per game this season, has averaged only 10.7 per in his six career games against the Badgers. His highest output occurred in the teams' last meeting in March of 2009 when he dropped 17 on the Badgers in another UW win.

11: Michigan has lost six straight games to the Badgers by an average of 11 points dating back to January of 2007. The closest game for UM during that stretch was a three-point loss suffered at the Kohl Center to No. 11 Wisconsin in 2008.

Overall, the Wolverines have not won inside the Kohl Center since 1999, and have only claimed victory in two of the past 10 meetings.

73.33 percent: Michigan is the second youngest team in the Big Ten. Of the 15 players on its roster, 11 (or 73.33 percent) are underclassmen. Only Iowa, with 75 percent being underclassmen, is younger than Michigan.

In case you were wondering, Wisconsin sits right in the middle of the pack as it comes in as the seventh youngest squad in the league. Of the 16 players on the Badgers roster, eight are underclassmen.

Double-double's: An interesting stat is present in Michigan's game notes released by its athletic department. When Harris records a double double, Michigan has a 7-2 record. When Sims musters a double-double, UM is 9-1. If both record a double-double, although it's a bit more rare, Michigan is undefeated with a 2-0 record.

Finally, when one of those two players reaches that mark, Michigan is 14-3. Overall, Sims has 10 career double doubles and Harris has nine.

33.2: When it comes to rebounding in Wednesday's game, things should turn out to be pretty even. On the season, Michigan is averaging just over 33 rebounds per game. At the same time, Wisconsin averages about one more board than UM with just over 34 rebounds per game.

The only difference is that UW has limited opponents to 29.8 rebounds per game while Michigan usually allows more rebounds than it collects with 35.2 opponent rebounds per game.

35.5 percent: Of the players on the UM roster that have attempted 25 shots from downtown, Laval Lucas-Perry paces the team by hitting more than 35 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Stu Douglas has shot the most (91), but has only connected on 31.9 percent of shots.

19.6: As was already mentioned, Michigan's super junior Manny Harris averages 19.6 points per game. If you take away Sims' production, and take the next three leading scorers Zack Novak (7.6), Douglass (7.1) and Lucas-Perry (6.4) and add them together, they barely surpass the production of Harris with 21.1 points per game.

But, it's kind of a moot point because Harris and Sims are one of the more dynamic duos in the entire league and their 36.5 combined points rank high in the conference.

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