Game Previews Archive

NCAA National Championship Preview: Michigan vs. Louisville

The last time Michigan was in standing 40 minutes from a national title was 20 years and three days ago. That was, of course, the infamous “time out” game against North Carolina. (If you’re unfamiliar – and if you are you’re probably not reading this, but here goes anyway – Michigan’s Chris Webber called a time out with 11 seconds remaining and the Wolverines trailing 73-71. The problem: Michigan was out of time outs. The technical foul resulted in two free throws – both makes – and the ball back to North Carolina. Michigan lost the title game 77-71). Nevertheless, as many bad memories as Michigan fans have from that game, getting back to basketball’s title game is something to celebrate in itself. According to Kenpom Michigan road to the Final Four was the eighth hardest (out of 44 teams) in the 11 years he’s been filling our brains with tempo-free statistics. If Michigan wins the title, I’m curious where the Wolverines’ run would rank out of the 11 champions. While it can be argued that these aren’t exactly the two best teams in the country playing for the title (I would still say Indiana and Kansas are better overall teams than Michigan) there is no

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Minnesota-Indiana and Michigan-OSU Highlight Big Ten Hoops Weekend

GAME OF THE WEEKEND (#1) Minnesota (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (14-1, 2-0) LINE: Indiana -7 ½ OVER/UNDER: 143 ½ KENPOM BREAKDOWN: Ranking: Minnesota 8th, Indiana 3rd Offensive efficiency: Minnesota 117.0 (10th), Indiana 119.2 (7th) Defensive efficiency: Minnesota 86.7 (14th), Indiana 84.6 (8th) eFG%: Minnesota 52.0% (52nd), Indiana 57.7% (6th) TO%: Minnesota 21.8 (237th), Indiana 19.2 (104th) OR%: Minnesota 48.5 (1st), Indiana 40.1 (11th) FT Rate: Minnesota 46.4 (12th), Indiana 47.5 (7th) It’s quite easy to see why these two teams are not only in the upper echelon in the Big Ten but also two of the nation’s best. Both are putting up incredible numbers in the “Four Factors” that almost always are key precursors to success. Outside of Minnesota’s somewhat carelessness with the ball, both these teams are putting up not only Final Four but also national championship team-like numbers. (For comparison, last year’s Kentucky squad: eFG% 53.8 (14th), TO% 17.0 (21st), OR% 37.5 (21st), FT Rate 41.7 (47th)). Now is the time you thank the lord for the 2013 season of Big Ten basketball. Personally, I’m excited for this game for a few reasons: First, I think both these teams have serious Final Four potential (and one, Minnesota, is likely to finish

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GameDay: Detroit at San Francisco

Note: While these pieces are typically reserved for Thursday Night Football and Monday Night Football games, the passing of my Yia Yia (Grandma in Greek) this week had me swap Thursday’s Bears-Packers game with tonight’s Lions-49ers clash. Thanks for your understanding and prayers. If the NFL’s been really good at one thing the past few years it’s been giving us a variety of “gates” to discuss. First, there was Spy-gate. Then there was Bounty-gate. Finally, Handshake-gate. While “Handshake-gate” didn’t generate as much hoopla as the first two – rightfully so – it still drew plenty of attention. Helping matters was that the coaches of both teams, the Lions and 49ers, were on track to take their teams to the 2011 playoffs after what seemed like year after year of disappointment. Last season the Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. It was the first postseason since 2002 that the 49ers were involved. Thanks to Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh and their respective coaching staffs these two fiery teams might be relevant for years to come. Last year’s game, a 25-19 defensive struggle won by the 49ers with a go-ahead touchdown pass with 1:51 to play, was really a great game overshadowed by

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