If you were at Pauley Pavilion on December 10, 2016, you were treated to an incredibly energetic and entertaining match up that ended with the Bruins on top, 102-84. The 2017 picture looks quite a bit different, with the absence of T.J. Leaf, Lonzo Ball, the 2017 graduating class, and the China Three. The KenPom predictor actually has this game pretty tight, with Michigan taking the win in a close 76-72 victory.
Coming off of a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the 2017 tournament, Michigan is currently sitting in fourth place in the Big Ten and their losses include LSU, North Carolina, and Ohio State. They return three starters from last year, but lost big scoring in Derrick Walton, Jr., and D.J. Wilson opted for the NBA. With the additional losses of Zak Irvin and Mark Donnal, Michigan is missing key players pretty much all over the court.
The key returner is junior center Moritz Wagner, a versatile big man who made 40% of his 3’s in Big Ten play and 62.6 percent of his 2’s, the fourth best mark in the league. Add players like Charles Matthews, Duncan Robinson, and Muhammad Ali-Abdur Rahkman, and you potentially have the pieces that can fit together for a rather successful season. These guys are still trying to make it work, but will not look nearly as polished tomorrow as they will later in the season.
With both teams looking vastly different from last year, I predict a very close game with the winner basically shooting the last basket. It’s an early morning game, so grab your waffles and settle in for some UCLA basketball.
Here’s how to watch:
UCLA Bruins (7-1)
Opponent: Michigan Wolverines (7-3)
When: 9:00 am PT, Saturday, December 9, 2017
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
TV: CBS with Carter Blackburn, Bill Raftery and John Schriffen
- AM 570/AM 1150 in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
- SIRIUS/XM Channels: Ch. 83/Ch. 83
- SIRIUS App. Channel: Ch. 83
- And, of course, the Bruins Nation Game Thread!
Live Stats: Michigan Sidearm Stats
Official Site Game Preview