The (#25) 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 (11/06/2015), UM defeated Le Moyne 74-52 in Crisler Arena.
Since it was an exhibition, Coach Beilein got to play almost everyone, and he got to try lots of different lineup combinations. After a few close minutes at the beginning of the game, UM pulled ahead for good, and the outcome of the game was never in question. In general, the Michigan players looked rusty, and they didn’t shoot particularly well, so the game was closer than it should have been.
The stats look like you would expect: Michigan played pretty well, but a little ragged at times. UM shot pretty well overall (29-for-58 = 50.0%), but not so well from 3-point range (10-for-31 = 32.3%). They didn’t shoot very many free throws, but most of them went in (6-for-9 = 66.7%). They won the rebounding battle (39-28) and the turnover battle (8-9). Those are reasonable stats for an exhibition game against an overmatched opponent.
Individually, this season we’re going to expect to see most of the scoring done by “the core four”, as Beilein calls them: Spike Albrecht, Zak Irvin, Caris LeVert, and Derrick Walton Jr. Irvin is still recuperating from pre-season back surgery, so he didn’t play. Albrecht played sparingly, and only took (and made) one shot, a 3-pointer from the corner, so he only scored 3 points. The other 2 “core four” players did pretty well: LeVert led all scorers with 22 points (including 4-for-9 from 3-point range), and Walton had 13 points. The only other player in double figures was the new transfer player from Division III Williams College, Duncan Robinson, with 15 points, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range. He looked pretty good out there.
LeVert and Walton started, along with Kameron Chatman, Aubrey Dawkins, and Mark Donnal. They didn’t score much. Chatman had 1 point, Dawkins had 2 points, and Donnal had 6 points. Chatman took, and missed, two 3-pointers. Dawkins took, and missed, four 3-pointers. Donnal took, and missed, one 3-pointer. It was sad.
Among the bench players, we’ve already looked at Albrecht and Robinson, and no one else really contributed much. Ricky Doyle had 2 points, Moritz Wagner had 4 points, and DJ Wilson had 6 points (but was 0-for-4 shooting 3-pointers). Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Brent Hibbitts both played but failed to score.
As I mentioned, almost everyone played. The only healthy players who didn’t get in were Andrew Dakich and Sean Lonergan. They are both hoping to redshirt this season, and I just learned that only freshmen can play in exhibition games and still redshirt. Since Dakich and Lonergan are both juniors, they would have used up a year of eligibility if they had played in the exhibition game.
This week, Michigan only plays one game, in Crisler Arena vs. Northern Michigan, on Friday (11/13/2015) at 7:00 p.m. Of course, Michigan will be heavily favored, and it would be a huge upset if they lost. I expect them to win handily, and get another chance to experiment with different lineup combinations.
Come on down to Crisler Arena to see how they do.