Michigan (13-6, 3-4) is going to have their hands full on Saturday night when they host Northwestern (10-6, 2-4). On Wednesday night the Wildcats went to East Lansing and knocked off the Spartans. Maybe they will have a let down coming off such an emotional win. Then again maybe they will be clicking on all cylinders after such a big win.
Northwestern is led by the duo of Kevin Coble (14.6 ppg) and Craig Moore (14.1 ppg). They are a smart team that shoots the ball well and executes their offense and defense sharply.
We all know Michigan is on a 3 game losing streak and desperately needs a win. Less then two weeks ago the Wolverines were ranked in both polls and sitting at 3-1 in the conference. Since then they have lost to Illinois, Ohio State, and Penn State. They have not shot the ball well and according to many observers they look tired. In fact one of Penn State’s coaches told Coach Beilein that his team looked tired on Tuesday night.
This is a young team and perhaps they have hit the wall. Sharp shooters Zack Novak, Laval Lucas-Perry, and Stu Douglass are all playing for the first time. Maybe they are tired.
This is the same team that knocked off UCLA, Duke, and a very good Illinois team. They also nearly lost to Savannah State and Indiana, having to comeback from 20 point deficits in both of those games to secure wins. Coach Beilein said this season would be a roller coaster and he is proving to be exactly right.
I know this feels all too familiar to all of us longsuffering Michigan fans. We have seen this script before; a promising start crumbles as the team gets into the grind of the Big Ten schedule. The one big difference this time is John Beilein. He is a tremendous coach and he is capable of guiding this team through the storm. He knows what he is doing and how he can guide this talented but young team through the growing pains that come with laying a foundation.
I still believe in this team. I believe they can get this going in the right direction again. Will they beat Northwestern? I don’t know. I sure hope so, but as we are seeing the Big Ten is fairly stacked this year, not surprising considering the caliber of coaches this conference has.
So I urge all Michigan Basketball fans to step back from the ledge and get behind this team when they need you the most.