After the first half on Thursday night, Texas Tech led 63-44 over Michigan … oh wait, sorry … that was the final score.
The halftime score was actually 24-16. Yeah … 16. This wasn’t just a cold shooting performance by Michigan. This was one of the worst offensive showings in the storied history of the NCAA Tournament.
We need some context. This deserves a deep dive with plenty of numbers. You ready? Let’s go!
NCAA Tournament Comparisons
That link above takes you to the Sports-Reference page where all NCAA Tournament games ever played are sorted by points scored. 44 points puts Michigan tied for 127th all time.
126 teams have scored fewer points. That’s not terribly historic, you might think. Here is what that number does not tell you. 87 of those games occured in 1985 or earlier – back in the days when there was no shot clock.
A 45-second shot clock was first used in an NCAA Tournament in 1986. The 35-second clock was not adopted until the 1994 tourney. The NCAA did not begin using the current 30-second shot clock until the 2016 tournament.
This means that only 2 NCAA Tournament games have been played under the current shot clock rule in which a team scored fewer than 44 points.
Who were those 2 teams? 5-seed Virginia scored 39 in 2017 and 16-seed UMBC scored 43 in 2018. That’s it.
Michigan is the highest-seeded team to score 44 points or fewer in a tournament game in the current shot clock era. Not only that, but the Wolverines tied the record for the lowest point total ever by a 2-seed in NCAA Tournament history.
Comparisons to Other Michigan Sports
Michigan basketball scored 16 points by the half and 44 total Thursday night. The Wolverines boast a pretty good football team, and I was interested to see how those point totals stack up with Jim Harbaugh’s boys.
Last year, Michigan football beat Western Michigan 49-3 in Week 2. The Wolverines had 21 points in the first quarter.
The following week, Michigan hosted SMU, had scored 21 at the half, and finished the game with 45.
Then, for a third straight week Michigan completed the feat. Against Nebraska, the Wolverines scored 39 at the half, finishing the game with 56.
Get this, earlier this month, Michigan baseball scored 15 runs in the first 4 innings of a 23-2 blowout of Manhattan. A baseball team … scored 15 … before the halfway point. Remember, Michigan basketball scored 16 at halftime Thursday night.
Comparisons to the NBA
According to Killersports, there have been 1,121 NBA basketball games this season. The average score at halftime has been 56.7-55.0. This means teams have combined for over 111 points per game in just the first half alone. Compare this to the point total of 107 that TTU and Michigan combined for in both halves and you can get a sense of how offensively challenged these two teams were Thursday night.
Eventually, Texas Tech was able to regroup after a slow first half and score at a normal pace the rest of the way. Michigan never found their groove (understatement of the night), shooting a dismal 32.7% from the field and 1 of 19 from downtown.
Even free throws weren’t falling for the Wolverines who made just 64.7% of their 1-point shots.
I am glad that Tennessee-Auburn and Oregon-Virginia gave us thrilling games on Thursday, because the TTU-UM matchup lacked entertainment value, big time. Here’s to hoping our picks pan out tomorrow!