March is finally here, and the Wolverines have the Montana Grizzlies in their first game of the NCAA Tournament.
Montana got their bid from winning the Big Sky Conference tournament?and finished their season with 26 wins after their tournament win.
Michigan looks to remain on a winning streak, after winning the Big Ten Tournament and picking up 28 wins, counting the tournament.
Here are the two key factors to look out for in Thursday night’s matchup.
Montana’s size; or, lack thereof
The Grizzlies have two big men. 7-footer Admir Besovic from Bosnia, and 6-foot-10 Kelby Kramer.
Neither of them play.?Besovic averages 1.7 minutes per game, and Kramer has not logged a minute all season.
Most of the time, the biggest player on the floor for Montana will be 6-foot-8 forward Jamar Akoh.
Michigan has a definite size advantage in this game. Though, one of the problems in the loss to Nebraska was Moe Wagner’s inability to get anything going against Nebraska’s smaller, but athletic, forwards. Granted, MAAR also struggled against the Cornhuskers, shooting only 3-of-11 on field goals.
The Nebraska loss was earlier in the season, and I don’t see Wagner having another 2-point game the rest of this season.
Rorie & Oguine backcourt vs. Zavier Simpson
Guards Ahmaad Rorie and Michael Oguine account for 33 points of Montana’s average 78 team points per game.
Both are small, Rorie stands 6-foot-1 and Oguine is 6-2, so this is another area that Michigan has a size?advantage.
Yes, Zavier Simpson may be shorter than Rorie and Oguine, but he has more than shown his ability to guard anybody that Michigan has put him on.
Simpson?is going to?be the difference maker in defending this Montana team.
Landon Dillion: 74-59 Michigan
Brandon Justice: 80-65 Michigan
Due: 89-69 Michigan
Eric Couglin: 75-67 Michigan
The Michigan Wolverines (3) take on the Montana Grizzlies (14)Thursday at 9:50 p.m. EST on TBS.
Can the Wolverines go deep in the tourney as many are predicting? It all starts in the First Round.