The (#14) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played three games last week, and they won the first two and lost the last one, barely. All three of the games were in San Juan, PR, in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament. On Thursday (11/21/2013), they beat Long Beach State 85-61, on Friday (11/22/2013), they beat Florida State 82-80 (in overtime), and on Sunday (11/24/2013), they lost to Charlotte 63-61. The two wins and a loss leave Michigan with a record of 4-2.
The 1st round game against LBSU may look like a blowout, but UM only had a 9 point lead (61-52) with 9 minutes left. A 9-3 run by Michigan pushed the lead up to a more comfortable 15 points, and another 12-6 run put the game out of reach.
The 2nd round (semifinal) game against FSU wasn’t as close as it looks. FSU led most of the way, including a 16 point lead early in the 2nd half. UM kept chipping away at the lead, and finally tied up the game with 7 seconds left. Michigan took control in the overtime, and although the final score looks close, FSU scored a meaningless 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to make it a 2-point win instead of a 5-point win.
The 3rd round (championship) game against Charlotte was miserable. Michigan shot terribly, threw the ball away a lot, and looked very disorganized. They were down 12 points midway through the 2nd half, and they looked lost out there. Yet, somehow, they managed to fight back late in the 2nd half and tie the game up with 8 seconds left. Charlotte took the ball down, missed a layup, grabbed the rebound, and put it in for the win. It was a lousy ending to a lousy game.
Let’s look at the stats. First, the LBSU game: UM shot pretty well overall (31-for-58 = 53.4%), they shot pretty well from 3-point range (14-for-30 = 46.7%), but they didn’t shoot very well from the free-throw line (9-for-15 = 60.0%). They won the rebounding battle (34-30) and the turnover battle (10-16). Those are stats worthy of a blowout.
The stats for the FSU game aren’t nearly as impressive: UM shot pretty poorly overall (28-for-65 = 43.1%), they didn’t shoot 3-pointers very well (9-for-24 = 37.5%), and they didn’t shoot free-throws very well (17-for-27 = 63.0%). They did win the rebounding battle (39-34), which is impressive since FSU had two 7-footers in their lineup. Michigan also won the turnover battle (7-13). Those 11 extra possessions really helped Michigan win this game.
The stats for the Charlotte game are pathetic: UM shot terribly overall (19-for-61 = 31.1%), and they shot terribly from 3-point range (5-for-23 = 21.7%). They did shoot acceptably from the free-throw line (18-for-24 = 75.0%), but that wasn’t enough to make up for the lousy shooting from the floor. They lost the rebounding battle (40-47), but they won the turnover battle (13-17). It was an embarrassing performance.
Individually, only one player hit double figures in all three games:
- Nik Stauskas – 24 vs. LBSU, 26 vs. FSU, and 20 vs. Charlotte. Nik scored the tying basket at the end of regulation vs. FSU, and he was the only reason UM had a chance at the end of the Charlotte game. He had a great tournament, but the rest of the team didn’t show up for the Charlotte game.
Two players hit double figures in two of the three games:
- Caris LeVert – 20, 5, and 11. Caris had a decent tournament, but he came up short at the end of Charlotte game.
- Glenn Robinson III – 14, 13, and 4. GR3 also had a decent tournament, but he was invisible in the Charlotte game.
Two players hit double figures in one of the three games:
- Mitch McGary – 6, 14, and 6. Mitch is still getting back into playing shape after missing the first 3 games (and 2 exhibition games) of the season. He certainly isn’t the same player who dominated in the NCAA Tournament run last season.
- Derrick Walton Jr. – 9, 15, and 0. See that 0? That’s the problem.
Several other players scored in at least one of the games:
- Spike Albrecht – 2, 5, and 6. Not bad for the backup point guard.
- Max Bielfeldt – 2, DNP, and 0. Max missed a couple layups vs. Charlotte.
- Zak Irvin – 3, 2, and 8. It took Zak a lot of shots (14) to get those 8 points vs. Charlotte.
- Jon Horford – 2, 2, and 2. At least he was consistent.
- Jordan Morgan – 3, 0, and 4.
Andrew Dakich played in the LBSU game, but didn’t score.
So, what does it all mean? Should we be worried that Michigan played so poorly in the championship game vs. Charlotte? I think so. They have had a couple bad games now, and the team chemistry just seems to be off. They have enough talent, they just seem to disappear for long stretches at the wrong time. They can still fix things, and have a successful season, but they need to start heading in the right direction soon.
Since this is Thanksgiving week, Michigan only plays 1 game: on (Black) Friday (11/29/2013, 3:00 p.m., BTN) they play Coppin State in Crisler Arena. They shouldn’t have much trouble with them, unless they take them too lightly. Check back next week to see what happened, and why.