The Wolverines are trying to figure out who they are as a team with an extremely talented roster. They will play their first true road game when they head to UNC to take on the Tar Heels, and it will be a very tough game for both teams quite frankly. Michigan is one of the most talented teams in the nation, but they are very young, and will rely on veterans like Hunter Dickinson to help bring some cohesiveness to this roster when the going gets tough.
The Wolverines have really struggled with turnovers and very poor 3-point shooting to start the year. Against Tarleton State last week, a vastly inferior opponent, Michigan turned the ball over at a painstakingly high rate and couldn't get the ball to fall into the basket. They won a very low-scoring affair 65-54, and it was a very ugly game that really shouldn't have been with the talent that the Wolverines possess. The Wolverines have one of the worst turnover rates per possession in the country, turning the ball over on 21.5% of their possessions.
That is a symptom of a young team, and they do have the younger team in this matchup. They have three seniors they can rely on in Eli Brooks, Dickinson and Brandon Johns Jr. Brooks has been the most efficient player in his fifth year with the Wolverines, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from 3. He also leads the team in minutes with 34.8, points with 15.7 and steals at 1.2 per game. Dickinson leads the team in rebounds at 8.2 and blocks at 1.3 per game.
This will be a tough game for Michigan if they can't get more production out of more than just these three.
North Carolina is dealing with a lot of the same issues that Michigan is dealing with currently. They have a very talented team that is very young and inexperienced, with a few veterans to rely on. They can't seem to find any sort of consistency on their roster, and they need to find that chemistry to start improving. They had a little easier time dispatching their last opponent than Michigan did, whipping up on their in-state neighbor UNC-Asheville, 72-53. It may have been a victory, but the Tar Heels still turned the ball over far too much. Just like the Wolverines, that is a symptom of a young team. UNC has 81 total turnovers already in this young season.
Where the difference lies is pretty much everywhere else, in which UNC is the far superior team. The Tar Heels are led by junior forward Armando Bacot as he currently leads the team with 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He's a star in the making both offensively and defensively, shooting 66.7% from the field. UNC is better statistically in every category except points allowed, which the Tar Heels allow 78.7 points per game compared to 64.5 for Michigan.
UNC averages 83.2 points a game off 48.7-percent shooting from the floor and 41.4-percent shooting from 3. They play at one of the quickest paces in the nation, which leads to high-scoring games with more turnovers. The Tar Heels have a lot of shooters, where Michigan has struggled to find shooters.
UNC will try to push the tempo and play their style to win this game with their better shooting across the board.
Michigan will need to slow this game down and make it ugly in order to get the victory in Chapel Hill. I'm not so sure they will be able to do that on the road, and the Tar Heels are far better in pretty much every category. Michigan needs to reduce their turnovers and start shooting the ball better if they want a chance. Either way, this should be a very exciting game between two similar teams that are in similar situations, and it will be interesting to see who breaks out of this chemistry funk first.
I'll take North Carolina to get the "upset" here.
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