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Detroit's strengths, weaknesses and players to watch

All statistics courtesy of KenPom.com and are current as of March 11.

Team: Detroit
Record: 22-13
Seed: 15
KenPom (Ken Pomeroy) Ranking: 115

Detroit coach Ray McCallum, left, celebrates with his son and guard Ray McCallum Jr. following the team's 70-50 victory over Valparaiso in the Horizon League men's tournament title game on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Valparaiso, Ind.

Detroit coach Ray McCallum, left, celebrates with his son and guard Ray McCallum Jr. following the team's 70-50 victory over Valparaiso in the Horizon League men's tournament title game on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Valparaiso, Ind.

Strengths

Detroit's strengths mostly come on the offensive end.

The Titans get to the free throw line often, attempting 24 free throws per game. Detroit also makes a lot of the shots once it gets there (74 percent, 37th nationally).

Detroit has been solid on the offensive glass, pulling down 35 percent of its misses (68th nationally). UDM also is a good shooting team inside, making 50 percent of its two-pointers (92nd nationally).

Defensively, the Titans force turnovers on 22 percent of opponents' possessions (63rd nationally). UDM also blocks a lot of shots, swatting 13 percent of opponents' two-point attempts (26th nationally).

Weaknesses

Detroit is not a good team defensively, ranking 178th in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency measure.

The Titans haven't defended shooters well this season, as opponents are making 49 percent of their two-pointers (200th nationally) and 37 percent of their threes (294th nationally).

UDM also is foul-prone — allowing 19.9 free throws per game — and isn't a great defensive rebounding team, pulling down just 67 percent of the available defensive rebounds.

Offensively, Detroit has been abysmal from three-point range. The Titans have made just 30 percent of their shots beyond the arc (326th nationally) and average just 15 attempted three-pointers per game.

Players to Watch

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Detroit's best player is former McDonald's All-American Ray McCallum Jr.

Detroit guard Ray McCallum (3) goes to the basket against Mississippi State center Wendell Lewis, right, in the second half on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Detroit.

Detroit guard Ray McCallum (3) goes to the basket against Mississippi State center Wendell Lewis, right, in the second half on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Detroit.

The 6-foot-1 sophomore does almost all of his damage from two-point range and at the free throw line. He's made 56 percent of his twos this year (158 of 284) and also draws 4.9 fouls per 40 minutes (322nd nationally). Once he gets to the line, he makes 'em, as he's a 77-percent free throw shooter this year. McCallum also is a good defender, coming away with steals on 2.7 percent of his team's possessions.

McCallum's weakness has been his three-point shooting, as he's made just 25 percent of his treys this year (30 of 120).

Six-foot-6 senior guard Chase Simon is second on the team in points per game (13.5), but he's a much less scary option. Not only is he more turnover-prone than McCallum, he's also a worse shooter inside, making just 42 percent of his two-pointers despite attempting 254 of them.

Simon actually shoots more while he's on the floor (25 percent of his team's shots) than McCallum Jr. (24.8 percent), despite being the less-efficient option.

The one three-point shooter that KU needs to worry about is Jason Calliste, who has made 35 percent of his threes while attempting 4.5 long-range shots per game.

Detroit also has a pair of decent big men in 6-10 junior Eli Holman and 6-11 senior LaMarcus Lowe.

Holman's specialty is rebounding, as he comes away with 14.5 percent of the available offensive rebounds (29th nationally) and 21.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds (119th nationally). He's also efficient offensively, making 61 percent of his twos. One of the only things holding him back is playing time, as he's played in only 41 percent of Detroit's minutes this year.

Lowe, meanwhile, is more known for his shot-blocking. He's swatted 11.4 percent of opponents' two-pointers while he's been in, which ranks 14th nationally.

Bottom Line

Detroit has an elite talent in McCallum Jr. and also is the second-best 15th seed, according to KenPom (only Lehigh at No. 86 is better).

All-Access with Detroit Mercy from CollegeInsider.com on Vimeo.

Still, there are a few reasons to think that an upset will be unlikely against KU.

For one, Detroit plays at a fast pace, ranking 73rd in adjusted tempo. Usually, the best chance for a much-lower-seeded team to pull off an upset is to slow the pace down and limit possessions. The more possessions there are in a game, the more chances a team like Kansas will have to prove that it is the better team.

Detroit also is a team that does not make — and more importantly, does not take — a lot of three-pointers. Only 27.6 percent of Detroit's field goals are three-point attempts (293rd nationally), meaning KU shouldn't have to worry about its first-round opponent pulling off a stunner by having a lucky stretch of three-point shooting.

The numbers would suggest that the Jayhawks should have success against Detroit's defense — which is about NCAA average — if they can avoid turnovers.

Defensively, KU will need to pay most attention to McCallum Jr. while also avoiding unnecessary fouls that would give Detroit the chance at easy points.

Considering everything, expect KU to be about a 15-point Vegas favorite against Detroit, making it an unlikely upset in the round of 64.

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Comments

jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

Teams that need to get to the line to win, like UDM and MU, have a tough life in the Madness, where refs leave their whistles at home.

That said, KU has been more vulnerable to speed-ups and darting guards trying to draw fouls than anything else.

UK sped KU up once.

MU did the darting guards to the foul line thing twice.

Self will play it any way they want, and they will want to let their star do the darting guard routine to the foul line.

So, someone is going to be assigned to chase MacCallum.

Against MU, our problem was that the chasers often times did not know when to release the darting guard to be blocked by the bigs.

One darting guard should be less of a problem.

Self will also play as fast as they want to play.

Teams that like to speed things up get very unnerved, when you speed up with them and take away their advantage. It is the same when KU slows it down and grinds it out with teams that want to slow it down. Teams that can't separate playing the way they like to play often panic. This is the key to Self Ball. Play it anyway they want. Take whatever they give, and shove it down their throats.

UDM is about to learn what other teams learn.

To beat KU, you have to draw them into a kind of game you are flat better at playing.

MU was flat better at playing the darting guards for a free throw game than KU, but only one out of two times.

UK was flat better than KU at speed up, but that was when KU was young and green and didn't have its weapons sorted out yet.

The tempo will start out fast, and UDM will think things are going its way, but KU will slowly separate on offense. Then KU's defense will slowly take away UDM's oxygen. They've never been defended like they are about to be defended.

Then there heads will be cut off.

Then they will die.

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

The comments above trying to support a BSPN talking head (Vitale) after his initial mis-statement regarding "2-15 upset" are simply laughable!!!! Are you guys crazy? How on earth does that TarheelDookieV win over any KU fans? His disrespect of us last year, in his book before that (omitting Pierce!), and lately with his homerism for lucky-automatic-bid-Detroit is simply inescapable. His job appears to be to stir the pot. His job as a national commentator is not to shamelessly plug 1 team or another, but try telling him that. His love of the ACC is legend--I shouldnt even have to remind anybody of that.

This should all have a sickening ring to it, as frankly the BSPN "attention" and "spin" in favor of Anthony Davis for the last several weeks all happened at the expense of TRob. And unfortunately, Thomas Robinson is saddled with a few really ignorant "ku" fans, who fail to see TRob as yet another victim of the BSPN spin-bias. It happens in politics, and it happens to us. Regularly.

DicksterVitale must go. His "enthusiasm" is fake and in-the-moment. He labored to give us props earlier this year, and eventhough we fulfilled our end, his respect for Self and KU's 'underdog' team just couldnt last...and it didnt. Not interested in his lip service.

My next posts about him will be to call him out on his own blog. That jackass brought this on himself; big easy target for someone with ku flags flying high...

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REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Jesse, thanks for the quick report on Detroit's stats. I will sleep a relaxed extra hour tonight, leap out of the house earlymorning to shoot a crow to grill and post to that perennial hungry Jayhawk naysayer Dukie Vitalis.

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REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

mcgirl, would you flail at T-Rob's chest? I sure as heck wouldn't!

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DaNeille Davis 2 years, 1 month ago

TRob moped around the floor against Baylor and wasn't aggressive. If he doesn't get his head back in the game, we won't win. He is not playing with the passion and energy/aggression that he was during the first 3/4 of the season. Davis is killing him in the POY plays now. Come on TRob, pick up the pace. Maybe it's time the other guys get in his face and chest like they did Withey.

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Gregory Newman 2 years, 1 month ago

Two wins thats it? All because of EJ and REL not forcing their man to play defense. If they dribble drive to the hoop for pull-up 7-14 mid-range jumpers. That opens up for lobs to T-Rob and Withey. Plus that takes away the freshness of the legs of good shooters that they have to defense. As of now offensively theres only T-Rob and TT.

Those three pointers are equivilent to playing horse in the backyard. Sometimes a make most times a not. Its a shame the fastest group of guards in the Nation and only one punches the gas and takes pride.

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97jhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Jesse, froma statistical standpoint, is there anyone from KU's schedule this year that closely resembles Detroit's game? I've read that OSU is close given some stats other than the 3pt dagger stat.

I was thinking that Detroit may resemble say a Long Beach St. type of opponent. Am I offbase in my thinking?

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William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

"Offensively, Detroit has been abysmal from three-point range."

I would keep this little tidbit away from our team. Anyone can get hot from 3 and the 3 is the answer for teams who are over-matched.

We should play it safe and treat Detroit like a Top 10 team... including respect for their ability to hit the trey.

We just witnessed how poorly our team plays when they don't come stoked to play. If they come with that attitude against Detroit we will be packing our bags after game 1.

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Kent Richardson 2 years, 1 month ago

I think we are poised for a great run. Why are the pundits are worried about G-Town, and I know it is one game at a time but I am not playing. It appears a total tournament of have and have nots and I am stunned by how weak it looks after the 3 or 4 seeds and that may be stretching it. This will be a year of 7 and 8 seed vs 1 and 2 in regional finals.

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Robert Brock 2 years, 1 month ago

Hawks need to avoid making dumb mistakes such as pancaking someone on the hedge move. Rebound and play serious D; we should be all right if we play our decent basic game.

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ancient_hawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm not worried about the trey. Detroit knows they stink behind the arc, that's why their 3PA/FGA rate is 293rd in D 1. They're all about the dribble drive and getting to the rim, like a lesser version of K-State.

Pack-line them, keep McCallum bottled up, and dare them to beat you with the weakest part of their game.

From what I've seen of them, they don't use McCallum like a Stephen Curry, running him off a bunch of picks. It's all dribble drive. Deny the passing lane as much as possible, then sag off. No need to get in his grill 28 feet from the basket.

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VancouverHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad they're not a great 3 point shooting team. Of course its not good for our players to think that, so we don't slack on D, but I'm picking KU by 15.

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gardenjay 2 years, 1 month ago

Was Bucknell was set to lose by 15 points or more as well? I think KU better come ready to play.

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97jhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Jimmy Jesse!! Stats so fast he'll make your head spin!

Nice write-up Newellmeister!

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Adam Collins 2 years, 1 month ago

Hey Jesse, any way you could do a breakdown of every match up and help my bracket?

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april28 2 years, 1 month ago

Kansas has a pretty good point-guard, too. Bottom line is every team in the tournament now thinks we are beatable based on previous upsets, which makes it that much tougher on our team.

I like the professionalism of this team. The fact that we got b-slapped by Baylor and that Mizzou is getting all the love should help motivate the men. Vitale suggested we'd be a 2-15 upset. Plenty of billboard material. Plenty of motivation. Plenty of talent.

Could be a nice run.....

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 1 month ago

Dang Jesse, not only are you fast, you are good!!!!!! Thanks for the analysis. The eye test says that if KU plays to where it is capable, they should get to the Sweet 16 in St. Louis. One game at a time, right? I wonder if any of the Missouri players will say anything to the KU players in Omaha? That's just stinkin' weird.

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JHawk06 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for getting a decent rundown up so quickly.

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Steven Mathew 2 years, 1 month ago

I remember watching that Detroit vs. Valparaiso championship game. Ray McCallum Jr. is as cocky as it gets for a mid-major player. We need stick it to him and put him back in his place.

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VaJay 2 years, 1 month ago

Great job Jesse! Thanks for doing some early homework. I think we lucked out bracket-wise. We should have an edge in every game at least to the final four.

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