Every college basketball team hopes for the opportunity to set new benchmarks and rewrite the record books of its program. The Michigan men’s basketball team is on the cusp of doing just that.
After losing all three games in the Paradise Jam and falling to Western Michigan in Saturday’s home opener, the Wolverines tied a 69-year-old Michigan record for worse start to a season. With a loss to Central Michigan in Crisler Arena tonight, Michigan will set a new mark of ineptitude. Central Michigan has won just one game in the all-time series against the Wolverines, and that was more than half a century ago, coming Dec.1 1951.
“Our offense is not right,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said of his team’s 52-point performance. “We have to re-evaluate a lot of things, whether that means personnel or what we’re doing on the floor. Obviously, being 0-4 is not getting the job done.”
Luckily for the Wolverines, Central Michigan is reeling after suffering a 36-point loss over the weekend at the hands of DePaul – the Chippewas’ first loss of the year.
Junior center Chris Kaman leads Central Michigan with 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and two blocks per game. But the 7-footer is also coming off his worse performance of the season; he was held to just six points while suffering from early foul trouble against the Blue Demons.
Kaman has replaced David Webber, brother of former Michigan standout Chris Webber, as Central Michigan’s leading scorer.
Michigan will turn to freshmen Chris Hunter and Graham Brown, who have split time at center, to stop Kaman from controlling the paint.
In the the Wolverines’ 65-53 loss to Virginia Tech in the Paradise Jam, the Hokies’ 292-pound big man Terry Taylor dominated the second half, scoring 19 points in the final 20 minutes of play.
“I think we need to improve (our interior defense),” Amaker said after Saturday’s loss. “I think when you look at some breakdowns we had, you can see that a lot of the key areas came as a result of youth and inexperience with Graham Brown and Chris Hunter and the fouls. I’m looking at inexperience and situations where we have to improve.”
The two freshmen have combined to average 10.8 points per game, with Hunter, the starter, averaging 5.3. The first-year players have successfully avoided foul trouble, with just 17 personal fouls between the two through four games this season.
As a team, Michigan still has a lot of room for improvement. The Wolverines have shot a dismal 35.5 percent from the floor while committing 64 turnovers through the first four games of the season.
One of the few bright spots for Michigan has been its rebounding effort. With two veteran forwards in LeVell Blanchard and Bernard Robinson, the Wolverines are outrebounding opponents on the offensive glass 63-49.