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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

VaJay 2 years, 7 months 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.

Steven Mathew 2 years, 7 months 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.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

He can't be as cocky as Kimmy English, surely not!

JHawk06 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for getting a decent rundown up so quickly.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months 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.

april28 2 years, 7 months 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.....

DevilHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Based on Jesse's analysis, there's a fair chance that we lose this game if their shooters get hot from beyond the arc because we probably won't be expecting that to happen.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't' agree and I don't believe Jesse's analysis indicates that either. There is a much better chance of a good 3-point shooting going cold than a poor 3-point shooting team getting hot. A poor 3-point shooting teams does not become good overnight. Yes, KU has had bad luck with 3-point shooting teams; however, those were good 3-point shooting teams in the first place.

DevilHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps I should have phrased my comment as "Using Jesse's analysis as a basis for my comments...".

Anyways...

Every team steps up against KU and if we give the shooter enough space on a regular basis, then we could get burned.

Calliste has hit 40% or better in seven of their past ten games. Simon has hit 40% or better in four of their past ten games.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 7 months ago

Are those stats for 3-point shots or their overall FG percentage? You do realize that all 5 KU starters average better than 40% for the season, and 3 are better than 50%., of the other two Taylor's is ta 49.2%....don't you? So 40% for a few games is no big deal, really. KU has held opponent to 38.3 % for the season; hence, 2 players shooting 40% is not going to be enough. According to Jesse: "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." What exactly makes you think that suddenly Detroit will become a 3 point threat?

DevilHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I did not state that I believe that Detroit will suddenly become a 3-point threat.

That said, just because it is statistically improbable does not mean that it is impossible.

Moreover, it makes sense that a team would generally prepare for what is probable.

Because it is highly improbable and goes against the scouting report, it is possible that we would lose a game where Detroit does get hot from beyond the arc - especially if we also go cold from beyond the arc at the same time.

UNI had three players who shot 40% or better against us: Johnny Moran Ali Farokhmanesh * Jordan Eglseder

In their final ten games before the tournament, each had the following amount of games where they shot 40% or better from beyond the arc: Moran: 4 Farokhmanesh: 2 * Eglseder: 0

HankInNC 2 years, 7 months ago

First of all, Vitale won 77% of his games at Detroit, which hardly counts as sucking.

Second, he picked Kansas to beat Detroit.

Orangedog87 2 years, 7 months ago

Wasnt Dickie V the inspiration for bobble head dolls. His head moves around so much that he can't think clearly.

2 years, 7 months ago

Of course Vitale picked this as an upset. He used to coach Detroit. Worthless opinion.

actorman 2 years, 7 months ago

As opposed to his many other worthwhile opinions?

Gregory Newman 2 years, 7 months 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.

Adam Collins 2 years, 7 months ago

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

sundancewierdo 2 years, 7 months ago

Geez, that's just lazy! But I like it. I could use some help too...

actorman 2 years, 7 months ago

LOL! Common Jesse, we're not being unreasonable here. You've spoiled us so much that it's only natural we expect you to give us info. whenever we need it.

97jhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

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

Nice write-up Newellmeister!

gardenjay 2 years, 7 months ago

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

VancouverHawk 2 years, 7 months 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.

ancient_hawk 2 years, 7 months 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.

NJHAWK 2 years, 7 months ago

Picking up fouls 28 feet from the basket will be unwise.

Robert Brock 2 years, 7 months 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.

Kent Richardson 2 years, 7 months 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.

swavity 2 years, 7 months ago

I read that line and I honestly got more worried than otherwise.

KU lost earlier this year when the guy who everyone says puts Duke at a 4-on-5 offensive disadvantage threw up a couple prayers and made them. And looking back to 2010 Northern Iowa had the big man with virtually no threes in his career go 2/2 or something from the line.

Such is the nature of 40 minute single elimination tournaments.

97jhawk 2 years, 7 months 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?

Gregory Newman 2 years, 7 months 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.

DaNeille Davis 2 years, 7 months 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.

REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

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

REHawk 2 years, 7 months 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.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

"Get the Dick out."

Bumper stickers to come. :-)

jaybate 2 years, 7 months 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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