The (#25) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they won it handily. Of course, it was at home against a Division II team, but still. Wins are wins. On Friday (11/13/2015), UM defeated Northern Michigan 70-44. Michigan’s record is now 1-0.
Michigan looked a little sloppy and lethargic in the 1st half, and only led by10 (36-26) at halftime. They opened the 2nd half with a 12-2 run to make it a 20-point lead, and that was the ballgame. The lead got as high as 29 (70-41), before NMU hit a 3-pointer in the last minute to make it a 26 point game.
The stats look like you would expect: Michigan played pretty well, but a little ragged at times. UM shot pretty well overall (27-for-52 = 51.9%), but not so well from 3-point range (6-for-16 = 37.5%). They didn’t shoot very many free throws, but most of them went in (10-for-15 = 66.7%). They tied in the rebounding battle (32-32) and won the turnover battle (12-19). Both of those last 2 stats are a little troubling: Michigan is a much taller team than NMU, and they should have won the rebounding battle, and 12 turnovers for UM is worrisome.
Individually, Coach Beilein went with the same starting lineup as in the exhibition game: Kameron Chatman, Aubrey Dawkins, Mark Donnal, Caris LeVert, and Derrick Walton Jr. Only LeVert (18 points) and Dawkins (15 points) hit double figures. The other 3 starters had 6 (Chatman), 6 (Donnal), and 4 (Walton) points. Eh. LeVert and Dawkins looked like they came to play, but the rest of the team didn’t play with much enthusiasm.
The bench chipped in a few points: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 5 points, Spike Albrecht had 7, Ricky Doyle had 2, Duncan Robinson played but didn’t score, Moritz Wagner had 2 points, and DJ Wilson had 5, including a nice 3-pointer. Zak Irvin is still recuperating from pre-season back surgery, so he didn’t play.
There was some question about whether or not Wagner would be redshirted this season, but Beilein left it up to him, and he wanted to play, so he did. He looked OK out there, but he still obviously needs some work. I wouldn’t be surprised if he contributes some important minutes as the season goes on, and he could be a factor down the stretch.
This week, Michigan plays two games, both in Crisler Arena. On Monday (11/16/2015, 7:00 p.m., ESPN3), they play Elon in the “mainland game” of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, then on Friday (11/20/2015, 9:00 p.m., BTN), they play Xavier in the inaugural Gavitt Games.
The Elon game should be interesting, since Elon has 5 players who are 6’8″ or taller. Michigan had a decided height advantage against LeMoyne (exhibition) and NMU, and they still had trouble on the boards. Elon could be a challenge. Even though this game is considered part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, Michigan will play in the “championship” phase of the tournament in the Bahamas next week regardless of whether they beat Elon or not. That’s just the way it goes with these “destination” tournaments.
The Gavitt Games are the Big East/Big Ten challenge. Xavier is probably the best non-conference opponent that UM will face at home this season. This game will also be a challenge. We should know a lot more about this season’s UM team by this time next week.
Come on down to Crisler Arena to see how they do.