Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#683 Elon vs.
#684 Michigan
Friday, November 15, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Chris Altruda

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#683 Elon University
#684 University of Michigan
2-1
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70
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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 grinder

The 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 other

Michigan (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.

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This could get ugly quickly given Elon's offensive struggles against a non-descript Georgia Tech team and a Wolverines team that is looking to build on the offensive rhythm established in the win over Creighton.

Simpson has struggled with turnovers in the early going, but he does not lack for options to score off his passes, with Teske continuing to show improvement in the low post and both Livers and Brooks on the perimeter. The Phoenix showed some defensive chops versus the Yellow Jackets, holding them under 40 percent, but unless their offense suddenly goes on a 3-point shooting binge, it may not be enough.

Prediction: Michigan -25

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The feeling is Elon is not going to provide enough offense to clear this number, with Michigan topping out around 85 points. Per Covers.com, the under has been trending strongly with the Wolverines, going 6-2 in their last eight non-conference games and 5-2 in their last seven at Crisler Arena.

The under is 14-6 in Elon's last 20 road games and 7-2 in its last nine road games against teams with winning home records.

Prediction: UNDER 139 points
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.