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Preview: What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Michigan

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Photo: UVA Athletics

Michigan, under fourth-year head coach Juwan Howard, is still working out the kinks, with three freshmen and two transfers in the rotation getting used to playing with each other.

Tuesday’s home game with #3 Virginia will be the first test for the Wolverines, who have only played one KenPom.com Top 100 team among their first six games, and were blown out in that one, an 87-62 neutral-court loss to Arizona State on Nov. 17.

The schedule also has tight wins over Eastern Michigan (88-83, Nov. 11), Ohio U. (70-66 in OT, Nov. 20) and Jackson State (78-68, Nov. 23).

The rotation

The offense runs through 7’1” junior Hunter Dickinson (18.5 ppg, 9.5 rebs/g, 60.0% FG) and 6’8” freshman Jett Howard (15.2 ppg, 2.0 rebs/g, 50.0% FG, 43.9% 3FG).

Howard, the son of the head coach, a former Michigan star and 19-year NBA veteran, has the size of his father, a back-to-the-basket post player, but his game is more Jalen Rose.

Howard does most of his damage on offense in spotups (1.308 points per possession, 65.4% effective field goal percentage), pick-and-roll ball-handler (0.875 PPP, 45.8% EFG) and transition (1.667 PPP, 93.8% EFG).

Dickinson is a beast in the post – with 53.8 percent of his usage coming in post-ups (1.100 PPP, 56.4% EFG) and pick-and-roll man (1.000 PPP, 50.0% EFG).

Shooting guard Kobe Bufkin (9.2 ppg, 4.2 rebs/g, 3.0 assists/g) is struggling from the floor (36.4% FG, 16.7% 3FG).

Point guard Jaelin Llewellyn (7.7 ppg, 3.5 rebs/g, 2.7 assists/g, 30.2% FG, 13.6% 3FG) is a transfer from Princeton, where he was a 15.7 point-per-game scorer a year ago.

The other starter is 6’7” power forward Terrance Williams (8.5 ppg, 6.8 rebs/g, 37.0% FG, 30.4% 3FG).

One familiar name to UVA hoops fans is that of Joey Baker, a 6’6” transfer from Duke, who averaged 4.1 points per game in his time in Durham, and is putting up 5.3 points in 14.2 minutes per game thus far at Michigan.

Advanced metrics

Michigan ranks 30th in KenPom in adjusted offense (1.108 PPP) and 91st in adjusted defense (0.978 PPP).

Adjusted tempo: 67.6 possessions per game (206th nationally).

The relevant numbers for Virginia: the offense ranks fourth (1.164 PPP), the defense 15th (0.895), adjusted tempo 362nd (60.5).

Projections

KenPom: Virginia 67-62, 67% win probability

Bart Torvik: Virginia 64-61, 63% win probability

ESPN BPI: Virginia +4.2 points, 67.5% win probability

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, youtube.com/chrisgrahamAFP. Want to reach me? Try [email protected].