The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they won it handily. Of course, it was an exhibition game against a Division II team, but still. Wins are wins. On Friday (11/04/2016), UM defeated Armstrong State 77-49 in Crisler Arena. This was an exhibition game, so Michigan’s record is still 0-0.
Since it was an exhibition, Coach Beilein got to play almost everyone, and he got to try lots of different lineup combinations. Michigan pulled away early, and was never seriously challenged. The lead hovered in the 14-16 point range for most of the 1st half and the beginning of the 2nd half, before UM pushed it up into the 20s.
The game was sloppy for both teams, with 13 turnovers for Michigan and 19 for Armstrong State. Michigan shot pretty well (32-for-63 = 50.8%), but only OK from 3-point range (6-for-19 = 31.6%). Here are the complete stats.
The starters were Zak Irvin, Sean Lonergan, Duncan Robinson, Moritz Wagner, and Derrick Walton Jr. Lonergan started in place of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who didn’t play due to an ankle injury. Andrew Dakich also didn’t play. I don’t know why.
Who Looked Good
The star of the game was Wagner. He only played 25 minutes, but he was the leading scorer, with 15 points. He shot well (7-for-9, 1-for-1 from 3-point range), only had 1 turnover and 2 fouls, and even grabbed a couple rebounds.
Irvin also had 15 points, but he was much less efficient than Wagner: 6-for-12, and 1-for-4 from 3-point range. He did grab 4 rebounds and a couple steals.
Walton hit double figures, with 12 points. He also shot 50% (3-for-6), grabbed a couple rebounds, and had 7 assists.
DJ Wilson played well in his new role on the wing. He had 10 points, on 4-for-10 shooting, and 9 rebounds. He also had a couple blocked shots, and played pretty good defense. He ran the floor well, and seemed to be much more comfortable out there.
Freshman Ibi Watson scored 7 points in 18 minutes, and looked pretty smooth out there.
Who Looked Not-So-Good
Robinson had a fairly mediocre game: 6 points on 3-for-7 shooting, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range. All 3 of his 3-point attempts were wide open; he just bricked them.
Freshman Xavier Simpson played 14 minutes, but failed to score. He looked fast and fearless, and he had 5 rebounds, but he needs to chip in a few points.
Mark Donnal was the backup at center, and he had a quiet game. He scored 2 points on 1-for-2 shooting in 7 minutes of action. He did have 4 rebounds.
Who Else Played
Lonergan played 20 minutes, and made both of his attempts for 4 points, along with a couple rebounds.
Freshman Jon Teske was the 3rd center, and he played for 4 minutes. He made both of his attempts, for 4 points.
Freshman Austin Davis was the 4th center, and he only played for 3 minutes. He made his only attempt, for 2 points. It sure looks like he’s going to be redshirted this season.
Redshirt freshman Brent Hibbitts played for 4 minutes, but failed to score.
Converted manager Fred Wright-Jones played for 2 minutes, but failed to score.
The Big Picture
What can we learn from an exhibition game? Not much. Michigan was obviously quite a bit better than Armstrong State, and they took care of business. It wasn’t pretty, but it was good practice. Michigan looked about as good as expected. On to the real games.
Note: At one point, Michigan did have 4 of their 5 “W” players on the court at once: Wagner, Walton, Watson, and Wilson. Only Wright-Jones was missing. I just noticed that all 4 of those names have 6 letters. Weird, huh?
This week Michigan plays two games, in the “Ann Arbor Regional” in the 2K Classic. These games are technically part of the 2K Classic, but they don’t affect which teams go to the Championship Round on 11/17 and 11/18. They’re just “warm up” games.
On Friday (11/11/2016, 9:00 p.m., BTN Plus), Michigan plays Howard, then on Sunday (11/13/2016, 12:00 p.m., WatchESPN), Michigan plays IUPUI. I expect Michigan to win both games handily, and get more chances to experiment with different lineup combinations.
Come on down to Crisler Arena to see how they do, and check back next week.