Drew Montag, Basketball Editor
Drew Montag, Basketball Editor
The (#22) University of Michigan men’s basketball team only played one game last week, and they won it easily. On “Black Friday” (11/29/2013), they beat Coppin State 87-45 in Crisler Arena. The win raises Michigan’s record to 5-2.
On the day after Thanksgiving, CSU was the perfect “cupcake” game for Michigan. Even with Michigan’s leading scorer (Nik Stauskas) out of the lineup due to the sprained ankle he suffered in the Charlotte game last week, UM had an easy time with Coppin State. The other starter who was injured in the Charlotte game (Glenn Robinson III) was well enough to start the CSU game, but he seemed a step slower. It didn’t matter. Michigan had more than enough weapons to handle CSU.
The stats are pretty impressive: UM shot well overall (32-fo-62 = 51.6%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (10-for-29 = 34.5%), and they shot free-throws really well (13-for-14 = 92.9%). They crushed CSU on the boards (44-19), and they even won the turnover battle (7-11). My favorite stat: UM had 6 blocked shots.
Individually, only three Michigan players hit double figures:
Several players scored in the CSU game, but didn’t hit double figures:
We don’t learn much from a game like this. Coppin State is a team that Michigan should beat handily, and they did. The thing we’ll remember most from this game is “Zak Irvin, with a 3-pointer!” It seemed like the announcer said it a dozen times, even though it was “only” 6.
Michigan plays 2 games this week: on Tuesday (12/03/2013, 9:15 p.m., ESPN) they play at (#6) Duke (as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge), then on Saturday (12/07/2013, noon, BTN) they play Houston Baptist. The game at Duke will be a tremendous challenge. Duke rarely loses at home to non-conference opponents. The game against Houston Baptist should be an easy win, unless UM takes them too lightly. Check back next week to see what happened, and why.
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:
Two players hit double figures in two of the three games:
Two players hit double figures in one of the three games:
Several other players scored in at least one of the games:
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.
The (#7) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won one and lost one. They won the home game on Tuesday (11/12/2013) against South Carolina State 93-59, but they lost the road game on Sunday (11/18/2013) at Iowa State 77-70. Michigan’s record is now 2-1.
First, let’s dispense with the SCSU game: Michigan was way better than SCSU, and the game was never in doubt. We didn’t learn anything new about this season’s team, but it was encouraging to see them put together 2 good halves.
The interesting game was the ISU game. It’s tough to win on the road, especially for a young team, and this is a young team. In particular, UM seems to have trouble with the first true road game of the season. They managed to hang on and win at Bradley last season in their first road game, but they weren’t as fortunate this season. ISU is a good, solid team, and they play in an arena that’s very hostile and intimidating for visiting teams. On a neutral court, Michigan would beat them handily, but it’s tougher on the road.
Time to look at the stats. First the fun game: SCSU. Overall, Michigan shot pretty well (31-for-61 = 50.8%), they shot very well from 3-point range (15-for-28 = 53.6%), and they shot very well from the free-throw line (16-for-19 = 84.2%). They won the rebounding battle easily (43-30), and they tied (9-9) in the turnover battle. Those 15 3-pointers were only one short of the school record.
Now for the stats from the un-fun game: ISU. Michigan shot poorly overall (29-for-69 = 42.0%), they shot really poorly from 3-point range (8-for-29 = 27.6%), and they shot free throws really poorly (4-for-9 = 44.4%). They (barely) won the rebounding battle (38-37), and they tied again (12-12) in the turnover battle. Poor shooting on the road is a formula for failure.
Individually, 3 players hit double figures in both games:
One player hit double figures in one game:
Only one other player scored in both games:
A couple players scored in one game:
This week, Michigan plays 3 games, in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament: on Thursday (11/21/2013, 5:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2) they play Long Beach State, on Friday (11/22/2013, 5:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. EST, ESPN) they play either Florida State or Virginia Commonwealth, then on Sunday (11/24/2013, Time TBD, TV TBD) they play either a consolation game or the championship game. They should win the opener against Long Beach State, but the 2nd round game against either FSU or VCU is toss-up, and there are a couple good teams on the other side of the bracket: Georgetown and Kansas State. It’s a tournament that Michigan can win, but they’ll have to shoot much better than they did vs. Iowa State.
Check back next week to see what happened, and why.
The (#7) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them. On Monday (11/04/2013), they beat Wayne State 79-60, then on Friday (11/08/2013), they beat UMass-Lowell 69-42. The WSU game was just an exhibition, so only the UML game counts. Michigan is now 1-0. Oh yeah: they also raised the 2013 Final Four banner before the UML game, which was fun and cool.
So, why “two bad halves”? Because Michigan played a good 1st half vs. WSU, then they played a very mediocre 2nd half. They followed that up with a terrible 1st half vs. UML, then buckled down and played a decent 2nd half. They were lucky that the two bad halves weren’t in the same game, or they could have easily lost to vastly inferior talent. It’s OK for them to play a lousy half every now and then against a team they should crush, but if they try that against a good team, they’ll dig themselves into a hole they can’t climb out of. The WSU game was never in doubt, but the UML game was scary for a while. The score was tied (23-23) at halftime, and UML actually led in the 2nd half (25-23), before UM went on a 21-0 run to put the game out of reach.
The stats tell the story: in the 1st half of the WSU game, Michigan shot well overall (15-for-23 = 65.2%), and even better from 3-point range (7-for-11 = 63.6%), and even better still from the free-throw line (9-for-11 = 81.8%). That’s why they led 46-30 at halftime. In the 2nd half, they shot much worse overall (9-for-23 = 39.1%), and even worse from 3-point range (2-for-10 = 20.0%). That’s why they barely won the 2nd half, 33-30. The combined stats were: overall shooting (24-for 46 = 52.2%), 3-point shooting (9-for-21 = 42.9%), and free-throw shooting (22-for-28 = 78,6%). These are decent numbers, but you can clearly see the difference between the 1st and 2nd halves. Michigan lost the rebounding battle (36-31), and barely won the turnover battle (10-11). It was an ugly win.
The stats for the UML game are similar, except that the 1st half in this one was the stinker: in the 1st half, Michigan shot very poorly overall (6-for-23 = 26.1%), even worse from 3-point range (1-for-9 = 11.1%), and not very well from the free-throw line (10-for-15 = 66.7%). In the 2nd half, they did better: overall shooting (14-for-30 = 46.7%), 3-point shooting (4-for-9 = 44.4%), and free-throw shooting (14-for-17 = 82.4%). The combined stats are not very impressive: overall shooting (20-for-53 = 37.7%), 3-point shooting (5-for-18 = 27.8%), and free-throw shooting (24-for-32 = 75.0%). UM did win the rebounding battle (39-33) and the turnover battle (7-15).
Individually, only 3 players hit double figures in both games:
One player hit double figures in one game:
Several other players scored in both games:
Max Bielfeldt played in both games, but didn’t score in either. He did try a 3-pointer vs. UML, and he had a couple rebounds.
Mark Donnal played, but didn’t score, in the WSU (exhibition) game, but he didn’t play in the UML. It seems obvious that he’ll be redshirted this season, unless there is a real disaster in the forecourt.
Everyone else played in the last 2 minutes of the UML game, including the new walk-on practice squad player:
Brad Anlauf #14 (6’4″, 195 pounds, F) – Brad is a sophomore who came to the basketball team from the football team, where he was a redshirt-freshman wide receiver.
Coach Beilein tinkered with the starting lineup a little. In the WSU game, he started Robinson, Horford, Morgan, Walton, and Stauskas. In the UML game, he started LaVert in place of Morgan. He probably won’t settle on a permanent starting lineup until Mitch McGary is finally ready to play, which might not be until January.
So, what does it all mean? Should we be worried about a couple bad halves? I don’t think so. This is still a young team, and they’re still learning that they need to play hard, with focus, every minute of every game. They have shown that they can score in bunches, and that they can play solid defense, they just need to work on their consistency.
This week, Michigan plays 2 games: on Tuesday (11/12/2013, 7:00 p.m., No TV) they play South Carolina State in Crisler Arena, then on Sunday (11/17/2013, 5:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2) they play at Iowa State, in Ames (IA). They shouldn’t have much trouble with SC State, unless they take them too lightly, or have 2 bad halves in a row, but the game at Iowa State could be a challenge. Traditionally, UM has trouble with the first true road game of the season, and ISU is a pretty good team with a good record at home. Check back next week to see what happened, and why.
The (#7) University of Michigan men’s basketball team beat the Cardinals last week (Tuesday 10/29/2013), but they were the Concordia (Ann Arbor, MI) Cardinals, not the “other” Cardinals (Louisville) they played in their previous game.
Wouldn’t it have been fun if UM had beaten Louisville 117-44 in the National Championship game last April? Alas, this was just an exhibition game against an overmatched NAIA team, but it’s fun to dream…
Typically, Michigan when plays an exhibition game they almost always win, but they often look rusty or sluggish or raw, but not this time. This was a thorough thrashing. The score was actually closer than the actual game. At the last media timeout (3:52 left), the score was 116-38, and Coach Beilein emptied the bench. In the last almost 4 minutes, Michigan scored 1 point. They could have easily scored 140-150 points, but what’s the point (see what I did there?) This way, everyone got to play, and the practice squad got some game experience.
So, what can we learn about this team from a blowout win against a substandard opponent? Not much. We can see who looks comfortable out there, and we can check out the freshmen, but this wasn’t much more than a scrimmage.
The stats are almost meaningless. Michigan shot very well (41-for-63 = 65.1%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (11-for-22 = 50.0%), and they shot free-throws pretty well (24-for-33 = 72.7%). They pounded CUAA on the boards (43-26), and they crushed them in the turnover battle (6-23) and the assist battle (26-9). Yeah, 26 assists with only 6 turnovers is really nice.
Individually, 6 Michigan players hit double figures, led by Glenn Robinson III with 33 points. He was a grown man, and future NBA player, playing against a bunch of high school kids. He did whatever he wanted to out there. Outside shooting? 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Dunks? 3 of them. Overall shooting? 12-for-15. Free-throw shooting? 5-for-5. He had quite a game, all in 25 minutes. He looked great: confident, smooth, relaxed, in control.
Next up: Nik Stauskas. Nik “only” had 23 points, with great shooting: 7-for-8 overall, 2-for-3 from 3-point range, and 7-for-7 shooting free throws. As advertised, he looked bigger, stronger, more solid, and more confident.
The 3rd leading scorer was Caris LeVert, with 16 points and 10 assists, for a “double-double”. He also had a great shooting night: 7-for-8 overall, including 1-for-2 from 3-point range. I know it sounds like a broken record, but he also looked much more confident out there, and much stronger and smoother. Last season, everything we got from him seemed like “gravy”, but this season he looks like a “main rotation” player, maybe even a starter. The word from practice is that the college game has “slowed down” for him, and he can start excelling like he did in high school.
Finally, a freshman: Derrick Walton Jr. hit double figures in his first (exhibition) game, with 11 points. He didn’t start, but he came in off the bench pretty early, and he looked good out there. He didn’t have a great night shooting (4-for-7 overall, 2-for-4 from 3-point range), but he did have 4 assists against only 1 turnover. He certainly looked comfortable out therefor 24 minutes, which is all that we can ask for at this point.
The other 2 players to hit double figures were Jordan Morgan and Zak Irvin, both with 10 points. Jordan chipped in 7 rebounds, and Zak looked pretty comfortable out there for a freshman. He played 19 minutes.
The only other player to play double-digit minutes was Max Bielfeldt. Max only had 2 points in 11 minutes, and he didn’t do much else while he was out there.
The only other player to score was the 3rd of the scholarship freshmen, Mark Donnal. He played the last 5:28 of the game, and I was surprised that Coach Beilein didn’t put him in earlier. He hit a jumper and a free throw, for 3 points, but he didn’t look very comfortable out there. It won’t be decided/announced until after the 2nd exhibition game, but he sure looks like a good redshirt candidate.
Wait, what about our other All American player, Mitch McGary? Why did GR3 get to have all the fun? Mitch was held out of the game with a sore back. Apparently, he could have played if he had been needed (hah!), but they rested him as a precaution. He’ll probably miss the next exhibition game as well.
This week, Michigan plays 2 games: their 2nd (and final) exhibition game, then their first “real” game. On Monday (11/04/2013, 7:00 p.m., BTN) they play Wayne State (exhibition), then on Friday (11/08/2013, 7:00 p.m., No TV) they play UMass-Lowell. Both games are in Crisler, and both games should be blowout wins. Come on down to Crisler, and be sure to stop by and say hi to the friendly usher in sections 209/210.