Staff Score Predictions: Michigan At Rutgers
Michigan played a "home game" against Rutgers at Madison Square Garden earlier this month and handed the Scarlet Knights a six-point loss and did so without Isaiah Livers. Michigan's most versatile player tweaked his ankle late against Indiana on Sunday but most expect him to suit up against Rutgers tonight at The RAC. With Livers in the lineup, Michigan is a very dangerous team. Michigan is a very slight underdog on the road tonight but seems to matchup pretty well against the Scarlet Knights. Here's how we see it playing out...
I think Michigan is going to go into Piscataway and hand Rutgers its first loss at home. The Wolverines were able to beat the Scarlet Knights in their backyard, albeit at Madison Square Garden, without Isaiah Livers. With Livers back in the lineup, Michigan is rolling. Livers provides his own production on the offensive end of the floor but also opens things up for his teammates in terms of spacing. Livers is also a very versatile defender on his own but is a great leader and communicator on the defensive end of the floor. Juwan Howard seems to have set his rotation at about eight with meaningful contributions coming from Brandon Johns Jr., Austin Davis and David DeJulius off the bench. The defense is holding teams to just over 62 points per game over the last five contests and Michigan has won its last three games by an average of 19 points. Howard admitted that his team is clicking right now and I think it continues in New Jersey tonight.
Michigan 70, Rutgers 65
Michigan did something last go-around I've never seen before in a college basketball game -- winning despite giving up 26 offensive rebounds. There's no way they'll get away with that again tonight in Piscataway, and depending on how healed Isaiah Livers' ankle is, it likely won't have to. Nevertheless, this will still be one of the toughest road environments the Wolverines will face this season. As you've likely heard repeated multiple times now, the Scarlet Knights are undefeated at home. However, I think that ends tonight. Michigan is playing like the team we saw in November, and their improving defense will lock down the Scarlet Knights' 69th-ranked offense according to KenPom (third worst in the conference).
Michigan 68, Rutgers 62
I'm concerned about Isaiah Livers' health heading into tonight's game. If he was 100%, I'd be picking Michigan but I expect Livers to be limited and thus Michigan to not operate at its best.
Rutgers 74, Michigan 68
What do you see happening against Rutgers? What is your score prediction? Comment below!!!