7-0. Still perfect. Seven wins and no losses. It’s a good start.
The (#3) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they won both of them. On Tuesday (11/27/2012), UM beat (#18) North Carolina State 79-72 in Crisler Arena as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, then on Saturday (12/01/2012), they beat Bradley 74-66 in Peoria, IL. The two wins raise UM’s record to 7-0. Oh yeah, the Big Ten and the ACC tied 6-6 in the Challenge, so the Big Ten keeps the trophy since they’re the defending champs.
Both games last week were tough, and that made sense for the NC State game, but not for the Bradley game. NC State is a good team, a Top 25 team, a team from the ACC. Bradley is not. They were lousy last season, and they’re a little better this season, but they still should have been cannon fodder for Michigan. Instead, UM let a 16-point lead almost disappear in the last 3:34 of the game. They let Bradley go on an 11-0 run in 3 minutes, but managed to stop the bleeding just long enough to run the clock out. It was scary. Sure, this was Michigan’s first true road game (the 2 games in NYC were neutral site games), and the Bradley crowd was pretty big (over 11,000) and loud, and UM played pretty well overall, but they seemed to lack the killer instinct against an overmatched opponent.
On the other hand, the win over NC State was pretty impressive. Michigan controlled the game, and once they got a decent lead, they never let NC State back into it. They did let the lead slip a little near the end, just like the Bradley game, but it’s much more understandable against a Top 25 team.
Time for some stats. First, the NC State game. Overall, Michigan shot pretty well (27-for-54 = 50.0%), but not as well as usual from 3-point range (9-for-24 = 37.5%). They got to the free-throw line a lot, and shot a good percentage: 16-for-20 = 80.0%. That was the difference in the game, since NCSU was only 6-for-9 (66.7%) from the line. Those extra 10 points made the difference. For the first time this season, UM was out-rebounded (25-31), but UM did a great job of protecting the ball, with only 6 turnovers.
The stats from the Bradley game are about the same. Michigan shot pretty well overall (26-for-53 = 49.1%), but much better from 3-point range (7-for-15 = 46.7%). Once again, they made more free throws than Bradley attempted. UM was 15-for-21 (71.4%) from the line, while Bradley was only 8-for-12 (66.7%). Those extra 7 points sure helped in an 8-point victory. Michigan won the rebounding battle this time (32-24), but had too many turnovers (13).
After 6 games of the “Matt Vogrich Experiment”, Coach Beilein finally replaced Vogrich in the starting lineup with Nik Stauskas for the Bradley game. Stauskas has played very well in every game this season coming off the bench, and Vogrich hasn’t really done much, so the change makes sense.
Looking at the individual stats, three players hit double figures in both games:
- Trey Burke (18 vs. NCSU and 16 vs. Bradley). Trey also had a career-high 11 assists in the NC State game, for his first career double-double.
- Glenn Robinson III (11 and 13).
- Nik Stauskas (20 and 22). Nik was the leading scorer in both games. Each game represented a new career high. He was 4-for-7 and 4-for-5 shooting 3-pointers. He was awesome.
Two other players came close to double figures in both games:
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (16 and 9). Tim continued to have trouble shooting from 3-point range: 1-for-9 and 1-for-2.
- Jordan Morgan (6 and 10). Jordan did have 10 rebounds in the Bradley game, for his second career double-double.
The other (semi)starter didn’t do much:
- Matt Vogrich (0 and 0). Matt is going to have to fight his way off the bench.
Besides Stauskas, some of the other bench players chipped in some points:
- Mitch McGary (8 and 2). Mitch also had 5 rebounds in each game.
- Max Bielfeldt (DNP and 2). Max didn’t play vs. NC State, but he played for 9 minutes in his hometown (Peoria) vs. Bradley. He did fine.
A few other bench players played in at least one game last week, but didn’t score:
- Spike Albrecht – Spike did OK running the point in relief of Trey.
- Eso Akunne – Eso didn’t play in the Bradley game.
- Jon Horford – Jon didn’t play in the Bradley game.
- Caris LeVert – Caris didn’t play in the NCSU game. In fact, it looked as if he was going to be redshirted this season, but I guess that’s not the case any more.
Michigan has two games this week, both at home. On Tuesday (12/04/2012, 8:30 p.m., BTN), Michigan plays Western Michigan, then on Saturday (12/08/2012, 12:00 p.m., CBS), they play Arkansas.
WMU is pretty good this year. They’re 6-1, and they’ve beaten a couple pretty good teams: South Florida (on the road) and Oakland. Their only loss was in their opener at Cornell. Arkansas is 3-3, and they’re down a little from last season, but they still managed to beat Michigan at their place last season, so this is a revenge game on national TV. I expect both games to be exciting and hard-fought, but I expect Michigan to win both of these games.
Check back next week to see what happened, and why.