The Michigan Wolverines’ basketball team continued its winning ways last night with a 77-54 beatdown of No. 9 Wisconsin, improving its record to a perfect 11-0 in the process.
The Maize and Blue sit all alone atop the Big Ten standings, and are showing no signs of slowing down under second-year head coach Juwan Howard. Below are the most impressive stats and figures to know surrounding Michigan’s red-hot start that has captivated the college basketball world.
1 Game that has been decided by fewer than 10 points this season — the 62-58 triumph over Penn State Dec. 13. Michigan’s average margin of victory this year has come by 16.1 points, including an average margin of 22.3 versus the three ranked opponents it has faced (Northwestern, Minnesota and Wisconsin). In fact, U-M became the first team in the history of college basketball to take down three consecutive ranked opponents by at least 19 points when it beat Wisconsin, 77-54, last night.
3 Different Wolverines who are shooting 39 percent or better from three-point range (excluding junior forward Brandon Johns, who is connecting on 66.7 percent of his attempts, but has only taken six). Fifth-year senior guard Mike Smith is leading the way by converting 46.2 percent of his tries, senior forward Isaiah Livers is next at 40.4 percent and senior guard Chaundee Brown checks in third at 39 percent. These are huge improvements for Smith and Brown, in particular, with the former shooting just 34.1 percent from deep last year with Columbia and the latter 32.2 percent last season with Wake Forest.
5.4 Is how many assists per game Smith is averaging, which checks in second in the Big Ten only to Minnesota redshirt junior point guard Marcus Carr’s 5.5. Smith averaged 4.5 assists per game last year at Columbia. The Maize and Blue as a whole are tallying 17.5 assists per contest, which ranks 27th nationally.
17.5 Is how many points per game freshman center Hunter Dickinson is averaging, which is the third highest mark nationally among freshmen. LSU guard Cam Thomas (22.3) and Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (18) are the only two freshmen averaging more. Dickinson’s 17.5 points per game also check in seventh in the Big Ten. The next two highest scoring freshmen in the conference are a pair of Illinois guards in Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller, each of whom are tallying just 9.3 points per outing.
36.8 Percent is what opponents are shooting against Michigan this season, which is the 10th best mark in the nation. Washington State (35.4 percent) and USC (35.9) are the only two Power Conference schools who are holding opponents to a lower shooting percentage. U-M has held eight of its 11 foes to 39.3 percent shooting or lower, and all but one (Maryland) to 41.3 percent or lower.
52.4 Percent is what Michigan’s offense is shooting as a whole on the season, which is the best percentage in the Big Ten and the seventh best mark nationally. The Maize and Blue are the nation’s highest shooting Power Conference team. U-M has hit at least 44.4 percent of its shots in every game this season, and has shot better than 50 percent in eight of its 11 outings.
70.9 Is Dickinson’s field goal percentage on the year, which is the best mark in the Big Ten and the third best percentage nationally, according to NCAA.com.
78.3 Percent Michigan is shooting as a team from the free throw line this year, which checks in 16th in the nation and tops in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have five different players who are converting at least 82.6 percent from the charity stripe — Livers (95.8), senior guard Eli Brooks (92.3), sophomore guard Franz Wagner (87), fifth-year senior forward Austin Davis (85.7) and Smith (82.6).
80 Or more points Michigan has scored in nine of its 11 games, with the 62-58 win over Penn State Dec. 13 and the 77-54 blowout of Wisconsin last night being the two exceptions. Michigan’s 82 points per game is tied for 27th in the nation.
2013-14 Was the last time U-M took down three consecutive ranked opponents in the regular season prior to last night. Head coach John Beilein’s crew kicked things off with a victory at No. 3 Wisconsin on Jan. 18 in 2014, before returning home to beat No. 10 Iowa Jan. 22 and then finally No. 3 Michigan State at the Breslin Center Jan. 25. This year’s streak saw U-M beat No. 19 Northwestern Jan. 3, No. 16 Minnesota Jan. 6 and No. 9 Wisconsin yesterday.
2018-19 Was the last time Michigan began 11-0, with the club getting off to a school-record 17-0 start that year. This season, however, is just the fourth time since the national championship campaign of 1988-89 that U-M has begun 11-0. They started 16-0 under Beilein in 2012-13 and 11-0 in ’88-’89.
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