Elon at Michigan
When and Where: Friday, Nov. 15, Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, Mich., 7 p.m. EST.
After passing his first real test with flying colors, first-year Michigan coach Juwan Howard looks to keep the Wolverines unbeaten as they host Elon as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis mainland bracket Friday night.
Elon in midst of three-game meat grinderThe Phoenix (2-1) opened their season with wins over non-Division I schools Mars Hill and Milligan before first-year coach Mike Schrage was given a hard slap of reality with a 64-41 defeat at Georgia Tech on Monday night.
Marcus Sheffield II was the only player in double figures for Elon with 12 points, but he was also held to 6 of 19 shooting. The Phoenix scored just 13 first-half points and shot a Division I school record-worst 21.6 percent (16-for-74), including 10 percent (3 for 30) from 3-point range.
This is the second of a brutal three-game stretch for Elon, which will make the short trek to Chapel Hill to face ninth-ranked North Carolina on Wednesday night. The Phoenix are one of the mainland hosts for the Battle 4 Atlantis and will play Furman and Texas-Arlington as part of the tournament.
Sheffield is averaging team-highs of 15.7 points and 5.0 assists while also pulling down 6.7 rebounds per game. Federico Poser (11.7 ppg) and Hunter McIntosh (11.0) also are in double figures for Elon, but McIntosh is shooting just 29.7 percent overall and barely better from 3-point range at 30.4 percent.
The Phoenix are 2-49 on the road in non-conference games against high-major opponents since becoming a Division I program in 1998 and have lost their last 12 such contests since stunning South Carolina 65-53 in 2012. One of those defeats during its current losing streak came at Michigan in 2015 in an 88-68 setback.
Howard, Wolverines adapting to each otherMichigan (2-0) was an unknown quantity of sorts entering the season. John Beilein had departed for the NBA and three starters left from the team that was pummeled by Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Wolverines went back to the future with Howard, a member of their famed "Fab 5" class that reached back-to-back NCAA Tournament title games in 1991-92. Howard had a productive NBA career spanning 20 seasons and winning a pair of titles before quickly taking a coaching position after retiring and spending six seasons as an assistant on Eric Spoelstra's staff in Miami.
After nearly squandering all of a 30-point second-half lead in a win over Appalachian State to start life in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines were more balanced Tuesday night in defeating Creighton 79-69 at home as part of the Gavitt Games.
Zavier Simpson had a strong game with 17 points and nine assists, bouncing back from a subpar effort versus the Mountaineers in which he matched a career-worst with six turnovers. Isaiah Livers scored a career-high 22 points and Jon Teske added 17 as Michigan shot 56.6 percent.
"He wanted to come out and attack and use those ball screens to get downhill,” Teske told The Detroit News about Simpson. “He's one of the best passers in the nation. …He's very creative off the ball screen."
This is the first of two home games for Michigan before making the trip to the Bahamas as part of a very competitive eight-team field. The Wolverines face Houston Baptist next Friday before facing Iowa State in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 27.
Livers is averaging a team-high 18 points while Teske is averaging a double-double at 17 points and 10 rebounds. Simpson is contributing 11.5 points and 7.5 assists per game, while Eli Brooks has emerged as an early perimeter threat with Livers, combining to hit 12 of 26 from 3-point range.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five road games as an underdog of 13 or more points.
- 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games following a straight up loss by 20 or more points.
- 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games vs. above-.600 teams.
- 12-4 ATS in its last 16 games as a home favorite.
- 6-1 ATS in its last seven games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- 26-11-1 ATS in its last 38 games vs. teams with an above-.600 record.