Just a week after they met in Ann Arbor in a defense slugfest that the Wolverines ultimately won, No. 20 Michigan and Northwestern will engage in a rematch Tuesday night at the Allstate Arena.
The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game online, on your phone or on another streaming device by signing up for a free trial of one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Fubo TV: The “Fubo Premier” channel package includes Big Ten Network. You can sign up for free 7-day trial, and then you can watch on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: There are four different channel packages, while “Just Right” and above are the ones that include Big Ten Network. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and then you can watch on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
When these two teams met last week, it was Michigan that came away with the 58-47 home victory. While the offense came up well short of its season averages, the defense saved the day, forcing 16 turnovers and limiting the Wildcats to 38.3 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from the 3-point line.
“The whole press conference should be about our defense,” Michigan head coach John Beilein said after the win, which came just four days after giving up 92 points to Purdue. “We’re up two at half — are you kidding me? We didn’t make shots, we didn’t make foul shots, but we held them, and that was the key.”
Though the scores haven’t typically been quite that low this season, defense has been the calling card for Michigan, who rank 18th in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. As a result, despite losing a good chunk of their scoring from last year (Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, D.J. Wilson), the Wolverines are primed to return to the NCAA tournament.
For Northwestern, it has been the opposite story. After ending their March Madness drought last year, the Wildcats entered this season with a Top 25 ranking and high aspirations. Instead, they lost four of their first nine games of the campaign, they are just 5-6 in Big Ten play, and they now need to get really hot down the stretch if they’re going to return to the Big Dance.
This is a good opportunity for a resume-building win for Northwestern, but it will obviously take a much better offensive effort than what the ‘Cats produced a week ago in Ann Arbor.
“I thought that was a grinder of a Big Ten game,” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said after that loss. “You hold them to 21, we needed to be up double figures at half, especially on the road, when you know they’re going to make adjustments.”
Michigan, who have seen four of their six losses come on the road this year, are favored by 1.5 points.