Drew Montag, Basketball Editor
Drew Montag, Basketball Editor
The (#15) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played three games last week in the EA Sports Maui Invitational tournament, and they won two out of three of them, to move to 5-1 on the season. On Monday (11/21/2011), they beat (#8) Memphis 73-61, on Tuesday (11/22/2011), they lost to (#6) Duke 82-75, then on Wednesday (11/23/2011), they beat UCLA 79-63. As a result, they finished 3rd (out of 8 teams) in the tournament, which is very respectable. It was a very talented field this year, and Michigan’s win over Memphis was huge. Michigan played very well, and it was very encouraging to see, especially after three lukewarm wins over “cupcakes” in Crisler Arena to start the season. UM played pretty well in the loss to Duke, then played another solid game to beat UCLA handily. It was a good tournament.
The (#17) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them, to move to 3-0 on the season. On Monday (11/14/2011) they beat Towson, 64-47, then on Thursday (11/17/2011) they beat Western Illinois (WIU), 59-55. No, that 2nd score isn’t a typo: they only won by 4. It was part of an underwhelming week. Sure, they won the Towson game by 17 points, but they were actually outscored after the first 10 minutes of the game. They opened with a brilliant 21-0 run to start the game, then played even with Towson for the rest of the game. The WIU game was even worse. Every time UM started pulling away, WIU grabbed the momentum back and made the game close again. Michigan never led by more than 9 points, and WIU had a lead in both halves. Not very impressive.
The (#18) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played their first “real” game of the 2011-2012 season on Friday (11/11/2011) vs. Ferris State, and they won 59-33. So, they’re 1-0. Yay!
Yeah, they won by 26 points, but it was only 6 points (22-16) at halftime. They played another lethargic 1st half, and only shot 27.6%. FSU pulled within 1 point (22-21) early in the 2nd half, before Michigan finally woke up. Once they got going, Michigan played well, and won going away.
The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played their one and only exhibition game of the 2011-2012 season on Friday (11/04/2011) vs. Wayne State, and they won 47-39. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they didn’t look very good. It’s not unusual for a team to look a little raw or ragged or rusty during an exhibition game, but this was worse than usual. Michigan never really got into any “flow” offensively, although they did play pretty well defensively. There were a few good plays on offense, and some good individual performances, but nothing very exciting.
The game was dreary, and the stats are dreary. Neither team shot well: UM shot 37.3% (19-for-51) overall, and WSU shot 32.7% (17-for-52). 3-point shooting was even worse: UM shot 20.8% (5-for-24), and WSU shot 12.5% (2-for-16). Even free-throw shooting was bad, at least for Michigan: they shot 4-for-12 (33.3%). It was ugly.
As bad as the shooting stats were, the non-shooting stats were worse. UM got out-rebounded (40-31) by a much smaller team, and they had more turnovers (14) than assists (11).
Individually, only two UM players hit double figures: Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points, and Zack Novak had 14. Hardaway had to take 17 shots (7-for-17) to get his 20 points. Only two other UM players even scored: Jon Horford had 6 points, and Trey Burke had 7. That adds up to 47 points.
Coach Beilein started a slightly unusual lineup: Hardaway, Novak, and Evan Smotrycz were expected, but Horford started ahead of Jordan Morgan, and Stu Douglass started ahead of Burke. Since I already mentioned the four UM players who scored, that means that two of the starters (Smotrycz and Douglass) went scoreless (0-for-5 and 0-for-4, respectively), and so did Morgan (0-for-1). Two other players (Matt Vogrich and Carlton Brundidge) also played, and also went scoreless (0-for-2 and 0-for-0, respectively). Blake McLimans and Colton Christian never even got in the game.
Looking at the stats, it’s obvious that no one had a great game, but some of the players had good games. Novak hustled all over the floor, as usual, and Hardaway played hard (no pun intended), just not always smart. Burke looked pretty smooth out there, and Horford looked improved over last season.
So, the one-game exhibition season is over. On to the real games. First up is Ferris State at 7:00 p.m. this Friday (11/11/2011) in Crisler Arena. Come on down to the new, improved Crisler Arena and see if the real Wolverines show up.