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Nothing But 'Net - Week #08 - Another Solid Win

Sunday, December 21, 2008 - Drew Montag

 

12/22/2008 – Week #08 – Another Solid Win

 

The Week In Review

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team only played one game this week, and they won it.  On Saturday (12/20/2008), they beat Oakland University 89-76, in The Palace Of Auburn Hills.  The win raises Michigan’s record to 8-2.

 

This was another game that UM should have won, and they did.  Of the unranked non-conference opponents, Maryland and Oakland were the two most difficult, and Michigan beat Oakland and almost beat Maryland.

 

The Oakland game was very entertaining, especially if you like offense and 3-pointers.  UM hit their first four shots, and they were all 3-pointers.  Oakland also hit their first four shots, but only two of them were 3-pointers.  Michigan went on an 18-0 run in the 1st half, and it looked like they were going to make the game into a blowout, then OU came back.  Still, Michigan led by 8 at halftime (42-34), and they never let OU get any closer than 4 points in the 2nd half, before they sealed up the win in the last 4 minutes.

 

I expected Oakland to stay in the game with 3-pointers, and they hit a few, but the real problem was Oakland’s 6’11” center, Keith Benson.  Michigan didn’t have anyone who could stop him.  That’s going to be a problem the rest of the season, whenever UM plays a team with a big center.  Incidentally, Duke has a big center (7’1” Brian Zoubek), and they beat up on Michigan when he was in the game, but Duke’s legendary coach (Mike Krzyzewski) kept pulling him out, and Michigan won the game, 81-73.  I still don’t understand what Coach K was thinking, but I’m glad he did it.

 

Combined with the 91 points they scored last Saturday vs. Eastern Michigan, it’s been a long time since UM has averaged 90 points/game.  The Michigan players seem to be finally getting the Beilein system of offense, and it’s lots of fun to watch when it’s clicking.

 

Game Statistics

First, let's look at the shooting statistics from the Oakland game:

 

Team

Field goals

3-Pointers

Free throws

Michigan

30-61 (49.2%)

13-29 (44.8%)

16-17 (94.1%)

Oakland

28-64 (43.8%)

8-24 (33.3%)

12-19 (63.2%)

Advantage

Michigan

Michigan

Michigan

 

Sweep!  Michigan won all three of the shooting stats.  The big one is 3-point shooting, but it’s hard to ignore 16-for-17 shooting at the free-throw line.

 

Now, let's look at the non-shooting statistics from the Oakland game:

 

Team

Rebounds

Assists

Turnovers

Blocks

Steals

Michigan

36

24

5

4

3

Oakland

34

17

5

2

2

Advantage

Michigan

Michigan

Even

Michigan

Michigan

 

Watching the game on TV, it seemed like Oakland got most of the rebounds, but the stats show otherwise.  I was impressed last week vs. EMU when Michigan got 24 assists, and they did it again!  I was even more impressed last week when UM only had 5 turnovers against EMU, and they did that again too!

 

Season 3-Point Shooting

The way UM’s offense is set up, they need to get off at least 20 3-pointers, and hit at least 40% of them to win.  In the past, I counted a win where UM didn’t hit 20/40 as “fits the theory”, but no more.  To fit my theory, they either have to hit 20/40 and win, or hit less than 20/40 and lose.  If they win, but fail to hit 20/40, that doesn’t fit my theory.

 

Here’s how things have gone so far:

 

Date

Opponent

3-Point Shooting

Result

Fits Theory?

11/06/2008

Saginaw Valley State (exhibition)

11-24 (45.8%)

W

Y

11/11/2008

Michigan Tech

8-24 (33.3%)

W

N

11/12/2008

Northeastern

5-14 (35.7%)

W

N

11/20/2008

UCLA

5-20 (25.0%)

W

N

11/21/2008

Duke

6-22 (27.3%)

L

Y

11/25/2008

Norfolk State

9-27 (33.3%)

W

N

11/29/2008

Savannah State

4-22 (18.2%)

W

N

12/03/2008

Maryland

12-29 (41.4%)

L

N

12/06/2008

Duke

7-16 (43.8%)

W

N

12/13/2008

Eastern Michigan

16-33 (48.5%)

W

Y

12/20/2008

Oakland

13-29 (44.8%)

W

Y

Totals

 

96-260 (36.9%)

 

4-7

 

Just like last week vs. Eastern Michigan, not only did Michigan take (a lot) more than 20 3-pointers, they made (a lot) more than 40% of them.  This is how the Beilein offense is supposed to work, and it worked very well against Oakland.

 

Individual Statistics

Coach Beileinwas back on the bench for the Oakland game, after missing the EMU game due to acute peripheral vertigo stemming from an inner ear infection.  He used his latest starting lineup again.  Here’s how the starters did:

 

Player

Field Goals

3-Pointers

Free Throws

Points

Stu Douglass

4-7

4-7

0-0

12

Manny Harris

4-10

0-2

7-7

15

David Merritt

2-3

2-3

0-0

6

Jevohn Shepherd

0-1

0-1

1-2

1

DeShawn Sims

8-15

0-0

4-4

20

Totals

18-36

50.0%

6-13

46.2%

12-13

92.3%

54

 

As a group, the starters did very well this week.  Their percentages are excellent, and they scored a lot of points.

 

Individually, Douglass, Harris, and Sims all hit double figures.  Once again, Harris had a cold 1st half (0 points), but he managed to score 15 points in the 2nd half.  Sims had a very good game, and Douglass hit all four of Michigan’s first four shots, all 3-pointers.  Merritt did what was expected from him, and only Shepherd had an unimpressive game, including the only miss from the free-throw line for the whole team.

 

Here's how the bench players did this week:

 

Player

Field Goals

3-Pointers

Free Throws

Points

Zack Gibson

2-3

0-1

2-2

6

Kelvin Grady

2-4

2-4

0-0

6

C.J. Lee

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

Laval Lucas-Perry

4-7

4-6

2-2

14

Zack Novak

4-10

1-5

0-0

9

Totals

12-25

48.0%

7-16

43.8%

4-4

100.0%

35

 

As a group, the bench players did very well.  Their shooting percentages are excellent, and they scored a reasonable number of points.

 

Individually, the big story was Laval Lucas-Perry.  He transferred from Arizona exactly one year ago, and he became eligible just in time to play in the Oakland game.  He’s been practicing with the team for 12 months, but everyone expected him to have a few rough games before he “shook off the rust”.  Wrong.  He came in at the 11:55 mark, and took his first shot at the 10:24 mark.  It was a 3-pointer, and it went in!  Same thing with his next shot, at the 9:50 mark, and another at the 7:42 mark.  He took, and made, his 4th 3-pointer at the 4:15 mark, and at that point, he was 4-for-4 (all 3-pointers) as a Wolverine.  He finally missed one at the 3:27 mark, and he ended up shooting 4-for-6 from long range, but it was still the most impressive debut I can ever remember for a Michigan player.

 

Lucas-Perry was the only bench player to hit double figures, although Novak came close.  Gibson and Grady contributed, but Lee didn’t do much.  The odd man out was Anthony Wright, who didn’t play.  I don’t know if Beilein is going to limit his bench to 5 players, except for garbage time in blowouts, but with the addition of Lucas-Perry there are now 6 bench players fighting for playing time.

 

Incidentally, Beilein officially announced that 7’1” freshman center Ben Croninwill be redshirted this season.  I mistakenly thought that he had used up his redshirt year when he played in two games, but apparently that would only be true if he weren’t being redshirted for medical reasons.  He has a hip injury that will require surgery.

 

The Big Picture

Michigan won another game they should have won, and they won it convincingly.  They still have 2 more winnable non-conference games left before they start Big Ten play.

 

Here’s the 2008-2009 schedule/results:

 

Date

Opponent

Site

Result

Score

Record

11/06/2008 (Thu)

Saginaw Valley State (exh)

Ann Arbor

W

81-55

0-0

2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer

11/11/2008 (Tue)

Michigan Tech

Ann Arbor

W

77-55

1-0

11/12/2008 (Wed)

Northeastern

Ann Arbor

W

76-56

2-0

11/20/2008 (Thu)

UCLA

New York, NY

W

55-52

3-0

11/21/2008 (Fri)

Duke

New York, NY

L

71-56

3-1

11/25/2008 (Tue)

Norfolk State

Ann Arbor

W

83-49

4-1

11/29/2008 (Sat)

Savannah State

Ann Arbor

W

66-64 (ot)

5-1

ACC/Big Ten Challenge

12/03/2008 (Wed)

at Maryland

College Park, MD

L

75-70

5-2

12/06/2008 (Sat)

Duke

Ann Arbor

W

81-73

6-2

12/13/2008 (Sat)

Eastern Michigan

Ann Arbor

W

91-60

7-2

12/20/2008 (Sat)

vs. Oakland

Auburn Hills, MI

W

89-76

8-2

12/22/2008 (Mon)

Florida Gulf Coast

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

12/29/2008 (Mon)

North Carolina Central

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

12/31/2009 (Wed)

Wisconsin

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

01/04/2009 (Sun)

Illinois

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

01/07/2009 (Wed)

at Indiana

Bloomington, IN

 

 

 

01/11/2009 (Sun)

Iowa

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

01/14/2009 (Wed)

at Illinois

Champaign, IL

 

 

 

01/17/2009 (Sat)

Ohio State

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

01/20/2009 (Tue)

at Penn State

State College, PA

 

 

 

01/24/2009 (Sat)

Northwestern

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

01/28/2009 (Wed)

at Ohio State

Columbus, OH

 

 

 

01/31/2009 (Sat)

at Purdue

West Lafayette, IN

 

 

 

02/05/2009 (Thu)

Penn State

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

02/07/2009 (Sat)

at Connecticut

Storrs, CT

 

 

 

02/10/2009 (Tue)

Michigan State

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

02/15/2009 (Sun)

at Northwestern

Evanston, IL

 

 

 

02/19/2009 (Thu)

Minnesota

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

02/22/2009 (Sun)

at Iowa

Iowa City, IA

 

 

 

02/26/2009 (Thu)

Purdue

Ann Arbor

 

 

 

03/01/2009 (Sun)

at Wisconsin

Madison, WI

 

 

 

03/07/2009 (Sat)

or

03/08/2009 (Sun)

at Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN

 

 

 

Big Ten Tournament

03/12/2009 (Thu)

First Round

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

 

03/13/2009 (Fri)

Quarterfinal

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

 

03/14/2009 (Sat)

Semifinal

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

 

03/15/2009 (Sun)

Championship

Indianapolis, IN

 

 

 

 

The Upcoming Week

As you can see in the schedule above, Michigan only plays one game this week.  On Monday (12/22/2008, 7:00 p.m.) they play Florida Gulf Coast University in Crisler Arena.  This is the team that Reed Bakertransferred to from Michigan after his freshman season (2006-2007).  He’s one of their starters now.  Come on down to Crisler, and cheer on the Wolverines.

 

Go Blue!

 


Drew Montag
Men's Basketball Editor, UMGoBlue.COM

 
 
 
 
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