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Michigan Opponent Preview: Air Force

How They Are Doing So Far:

Air Force is doing about as well as most expected this season. The Falcons won just a dozen games last season so the expectations were not very high. Coach Dave Pilipovich’s team is just 4-6 on the year with their Division I victories coming against South Dakota, Montana State and Denver. This is a team that has some experience, but they will struggle against the rest of the Mountain West and especially against Michigan.

 

Last Time Out:

The Falcons were playing very well against Army on Saturday. They had a 40-23 halftime lead. They should have been able to cruise to victory from there. But that was not the case. The Black Knights mounted a furious comeback and took a lead within 12 minutes into the second half. It was an impressive run by Army and an epic collapse by the Falcons. However, Air Force did do a decent job of staying in the game and only lost by a score of 66 to 61. Junior forward Lavelle Scottie led the way with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while fellow junior forward  Ryan Swan added ten more points.

 

Who To Watch:

Ryan Swan and Lavelle Scottie are the only two returning starters from last year’s team and they have certainly put the Falcons on their shoulders. Both have amazingly similar stat lines so far this year. Swan averages 12.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists, while Scottie averages 11.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Both are also capable outside shooters, with Swan knocking down 11 three-pointers through ten games and Scottie connecting on nine of his 30 attempts. Those are not prolific numbers by any means, but the Michigan defense will have to keep an eye on Swan and Scottie when they step outside.

 

Who Else To Watch:

Caleb Morris is coming into his own after missing a big chunk of the early portion of the season. In the last three games, Morris is averaging over 30 minutes per game and the junior has proven to be a very potent scoring threat. Before only scoring nine points against Army in an off-shooting night, Morris dropped 16 points against Denver and 15 at Pacific. With a consistent outside shooting threat like Morris and Swan and Scottie in the paint, Air Force can occasionally have a potent offense.

 

Prediction:

Even if Air Force’s offense is firing on all cylinders, they will not be any match for the Wolverines. The Falcons best asset is their ability to stretch the defense with their outside shooting ability. However, that will not phase Michigan defensively. Swan and Scottie may be able to stretch the defense, but they are undersized and that will be problematic against a team like Michigan. The Wolverines will have no problem defending Air Force on the perimeter and have the size to take advantage in the paint. For the Wolverines this should just be another warm up game before Big Ten play resumes on January 3rd.

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