The Michigan Wolverines' Nik Stauskas is due for a big game. His point totals have dipped in each of the last five, but the Texas Longhorns might just be the perfect team for Stauskas to explode against.
Coming off an efficient 15-point performance in the Wolverines' 57-40 win over the Wofford Terriers in the second round, Stauskas is undoubtedly happy with simply advancing.
Stauskas made 5-of-9 attempts from the field for a connect percentage of 55 percent. This stat from Sports Quotient shows how good Michigan is when Stauskas makes more than he misses.
That was a nice, controlled performance, but a scorer of Stauskas’ caliber is almost certain to go off before the Wolverines' tournament run is done. He had 13 games with at least 20 points in the regular season.
Here’s what you can expect from him against Texas on Saturday.
(Check out the updated bracket here)
Stauskas from Deep
The Wolverines sophomore is one of the best three-point shooters in the country.
If a team doesn’t close out on him or rotate its perimeter defense, Stauskas will shoot the lights out. Texas hasn’t been great defending the three this season. Teams have knocked down 34.7 percent of their attempts against them, which is tied for 198th in the country.
Because of the number of shooters Michigan has, this is likely going to be the biggest issue the Longhorns face on Saturday. Look for Stauskas to have one of his best games of the tournament from long range.
Stauskas on the Drive
Don’t think for one minute that Stauskas is only a long-range bomber. Yes, he does shoot 45 percent from three with 5.6 attempts per game, but his off-the-dribble game is vastly improved and underrated.
He’s still not the best finisher (70.1 percent conversion rate at the rim, per Hoop Math), which could be a problem against a team like Texas that has some beef inside. But Stauskas is shooting 5.6 free throws per game this season. Though he’s not an elite finisher, he is at least getting to the stripe consistently.
Once he’s there, it’s money in the bank. Stauskas is an 82 percent free-throw shooter, and clutch. This is why he's become a well-rounded 2-guard.
Handling and Distributing
Keeping turnovers down is going to be important for Stauskas.
He’s had three in each of his last two games. That should be a major focus for him coming into this matchup with Texas.
The Longhorns aren’t a good shooting team (43.4 percent from the field). Giving them transition opportunities off turnovers will make the game closer than it needs to be.
Projected Stat Line for Stauskas vs. Texas
- 23 points
- 4 rebounds
- 3 assists
- 8-for-14 from the field
- 4-for-5 from three-point range
- 3-for-3 from free-throw line
- 2 turnovers
Stauskas is one of the more underrated prospects projected to be in the NBA draft. This is going to be the first game he begins to show it on the biggest stage. Michigan will win 80-68.
All stats per Statsheet.com unless otherwise noted.
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