The (#5) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament, both in Crisler Arena, and they won both of them easily. On Monday (11/12/2012), UM beat IUPUI 91-54, then on Tuesday (11/13/2012), they beat Cleveland State 77-47. The two wins raise UM’s record to 3-0, but more importantly, they send Michigan to Madison Square Garden in New York City next week for the championship round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Michigan had an easy time in both games, and Coach Beilein got to play lots of players and try lots of combinations. One thing is becoming clear: Michigan has a lot of weapons this season. When one player is having an “off” night or getting in foul trouble, there are a couple good subs available on the bench. This is a big improvement on past seasons. The first challenge, of course, is figuring out if a given player is just having a momentary problem, or if he should be replaced. The next challenge is figuring out who should replace him, if there are several choices. The final challenge is figuring out which combinations of players work the best together.
Since both games were blowouts, I’m not going to dive very deeply into the team stats. If you want to check them out, they’re here: IUPUI and CSU. Let’s just say that UM shot well overall (around 60%) in both games, shot very well from 3-point range in the IUPUI game (61.9%) and OK in the CSU game (37.5%), owned the boards (42 and 45 rebounds), and kept their turnovers down to a reasonable level (13 and 10).
The interesting stats are the individual stats. Several players had good games scoring, and not just the starters. Three players hit double figures in both games:
Two players came close to double figures in both games:
The lone starter who didn’t have a good week scoring was Matt Vogrich, with 0 and 2. At this rate, Stauskas could soon replace Vogrich in the starting lineup.
Besides Stauskas, the other bench players all chipped in some points (28 and 29 points total):
- Mitch McGary (2 and 6)
- Spike Albrecht (6 and 0)
- Eso Akunne (3 and 3)
- Jon Horford (3 and 0)
- Blake McLimans (0 and 3)
- Corey Person (3 and DNP)
- Max Bielfeldt (0 and 2).
Only Josh Bartelstein (0 and DNP) was shut out.
The last few seasons, Michigan has often been out-rebounded, but not this season. No one player had more than 7 rebounds last week, but many players had more than one in each game:
- Robinson (6 and 7)
- Morgan (5 and 2)
- Burke (3 and 3)
- Hardaway (7 and 6)
- Vogrich (2 and 3)
- McGary (5 and 9)
- Stauskas (2 and 6)
- Bielfeldt (6 and 5)
Pay attention to that last name: Bielfeldt had 6 rebounds in 4 minutes in the IUPUI game, and 5 rebounds in 7 minutes in the CSU game. That’s impressive.
Michigan has two games this week, both part of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Madison Square Garden (NYC). On Wednesday (11/21/2012, 9:30 p.m., ESPN2), Michigan plays one of the semifinal games vs. Pittsburgh, then on Friday (11/23/2012, TBD, ESPN), they play either the consolation game (2:30 p.m.) or the championship game (4:30 p.m.) vs. the winner/loser of the other semifinal game between Kansas State and Delaware. Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Kansas State all hosted “regionals”, and they were expected to get to the championship round in NYC, but the 4th regional host (Virginia) lost to Delaware!
Michigan is the only ranked team in the tournament, and they’re the #1 seed, so they are expected to win both games and the championship. The way UM has been playing so far, they should be able to handle Pittsburgh and Kansas State/Delaware.
Check back next week to see what happened, and why.