UCLA vs Michigan
Spread: Mich -7
Moneyline: MI -310, UCLA +260
Tipoff: 4:30 PM EST From Maui, HI
Last season, the 6’5″ son of former NBA legend Tim Hardaway came out and began to show signs of being much more than just the spot up shooter he had been up until last year. He avearged over 16 points per game over the final 15 games of the season and hit 46% from behind the arc. They may have lost Darius Morris to the NBA, but Hardaway promises to be an NBA prospect in his own right. Really, if he can develop as a creator for others, the sky is the limit for Hardaway. Ultimately, it will lie on Hardaways shoulders as to whether Michigan can improve on its 21-14 record they held one year ago.
Hardaway scored 15 in the NCAA tournament game against Duke and he had 21 points, 7 rebs, and 5 asts in the win over Memphis on Monday. Hardaway is averaging 16.0 points per game so far while playing 32 minutes per game. He’s shooting 47.8% from the floor and 30% from 3 point range. The only other Wolverine in double figure scoring average is Trey Burke, who is putting up 11.0 points per game this year, while dialing up 35.3% of his threes. Michigan must improve their free throw shooting to have a chance in close games. Thus far this season, they are 62.1% as a team from the line.
Last night, it was a little rougher for Hardaway — at least in the first half. In the second half, Hardaway scored 19 and nearly brought Michigan back from down as many as 15. In addition to Hardaway’s 19, they also received double digit point contributions from Jordan Morgan (12 pts), Zack Novak (11), and Trey Burke (17). Novak was 3 of 7 from behind the arc and played the second most minutes (38), while Trey Burke played all but 1 minute. The Wolverines basically utilized a 6 man rotation, with Evan Smotyrcz only playing 12 minutes and recording as many fouls as points.
UCLA is off to a rough start. They have dropped 3 of their first 4 games, with losses to the likes of Middle Tennessee, and Loyola Marymount. The loss to #14 ranked Kansas last night is excuseable, but perhaps not the fact they lost by 16. They are dishing the ball out relatively OK (109th best in the nation at 14.0 apg), but are horrible in all other major statistical categories, and like I said, they are dishing the ball out OK – not sensationally.
6’2″ senior guard Jerime Anderson is leading the way through three games with a 13.7 point per game scoring average. He hit 39% of his threes last season, but sometimes his decision making abilities falter, and he did turn it over a fair bit. He will be suspended the first two games of the regular season after pleading guilty to lost property and tresspassing charges over the summer. Still, he is hitting 53.8% from both the floor and from three point range, and other than Tyler Lamb, he has been the only one producing double digit scoring. Anderson sat out the game against Loyola Marymount, and scored only 9 against Middle Tennessee, but he had strong showings against Chaminade (18 points in the 32 point blowout victory) and 14 against Kansas.
Lamb, a 6’5″ sophomore guard, struggled in both of the first two games, but posted 15 in the blowout win over Chaminade and put up 15 against the Jayhawks too. He is shooting 10 of 17 from the floor over those two games and he went 3 of 4 from down town against Kansas. He does need to try to get to the line more, but his four attempts against Kansas represent a step forawrd for a guy who has already attempted 20 threes in 4 games.
Look for Michigan to isolate Hardaway a lot against Lamb. Lamb doesn’t have the strength to keep Hardaway from punishing him on the blocks, actually an underrated facet of Hardaway’s game. Lamb will have his hands full offensively, too, especially if Anderson gets out of control and turns it over a lot.
If you like this analysis and feel inclined, you may want to back up a wager at Bookmaker where they offer a 5% return on lost bets. Bookmaker is a great place to wager on NCAA basketball and we also recommend you consider our paid packages of NCAA picks. Our handicappers are red hot and promise to line your pockets!