Game 2: Northeastern at Michigan Post Game

Michigan passed their first test tonight with a comfortable 76-56 win over Northeastern. Michigan will play next at Madison Square Garden against UCLA (presumably) next Thursday at 9pm on ESPN2. Highlights!

Manny Harris seems to get better every night. After posting a career high 30 points last night Manny came 2 assists short of a triple double tonight. Yesterday the only thing you could criticize about Manny’s game was that he didn’t have many assists. Well he posted 8 tonight and seemed to be looking for the open man most of the night (while still managing to score 26 points). Manny shot it efficiently (6-9), got to the stripe (13-14), and rebounded (10) — I don’t know what else you can ask from him.

Beilein on Manny:

“It was a pretty good two days for him, that’s for sure. We are trying to give him better opportunities to see the floor, to rebound, to do everything. He had eight assists and I think he had three the first night. Those numbers we think can be way up. We are trying to get him into some space.”

A lot of Manny’s assists were to DeShawn Sims on the block. Manny got in the lane and found Peedi all night long. DeShawn still isn’t a great finisher (he was 8 of 16!) but I was impressed with his hands for the most part and he played hard all night. He seems pretty comfortable playing down low, he played a lot of five tonight and I really like him in the middle of the 1-3-1.

Rebounding is becoming a huge issue, however a reader reminded me today that Beilein’s teams have never been good at rebounding. He passed along these numbers to prove his point:

2006-2007
Record: 27-9
Rebound margin: -3.4 (272 out of 326 ranked)

2005-2006
Record: 22-11
Rebound margin: -10 (325 out of 326 ranked)

2004-2005
Record: 24-11
Rebound margin: -3.9 (287 out of 326 ranked)

Somehow Michigan actually outrebounded Northeastern 33-31. However the very troubling number is that Northeastern had 20 offensive rebounds. It seems pretty clear that Beilein can win without rebounding but man it’s frusturating to watch teams get so many second chances. Maybe it’s just not even worth mentioning night in and night out.

On the other hand I was very impressed with the defense. Matt Janning was pretty much shut down, I know he ended up with 14 points but he shot very poorly and got a lot of his points later in the 2nd half. Michigan held Northeastern to 29.3% shooting (16.7% from long range) and only 56 points.

Other notes:

  • David Merritt is playing great, he clearly worked on his jumper all summer long because for the most part he is hitting the open three.
  • Gibson needs to stop picking up those cheap fouls because there just isn’t enough post depth.
  • The freshman guards shot it pretty well today, I’d actually like to see a couple more set plays designed to get Stu the ball coming off screens.
  • I know Jevohn Shepherd isn’t a threat on offense but I think he will play in games like this when Michigan is really struggling to rebound the ball. Shepherd can play solid defense and is also a good rebounder even if he is a liability on offense. He even had a nice dish to DeShawn today and made both his free throws.
  • Another concern I had was how Michigan handled the full court pressure. The guards didn’t look comfortable breaking the press all night. I would expect UCLA to bring the full court pressure all night long.
  • Free throws! 25-26! Also check out the second half shooting percentage: 68.2% from the field (50% form long range). For the game Michigan shot 52.5%.
  • Can someone turn up the volume on the new speakers?
  • Apparently I missed the memo sent out to season ticket holders that the season started December 6th…
  • Giddings

    I was kind of surprised hearing after the game that people are concerned about us being able to break the press. We might have turned it over once, but I thought they handled it really well… much better than in previous years. Also, it helps when you can just give the ball to Kelvin and he can outrun the entire team. Seriously, I might be more comfortable just giving the ball to KG and sending everyone else up the floor instead of screwing around with multiple people.

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    I know we maybe only had one turnover, but I was gritting my teeth every time. There were some scary passes, and a couple times we played right into the trap.

  • The Oracle

    I don’t think the press is going to be that big a deal. Obvi, our biggest issue will be rebounding, we just have to find ways to overcome it because it’s not going to get any better. UCLA will be our measuring stick…that’ll tell us where we’re at…if we keep it under 10, that’ll be encouraging.

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  • James

    Does anyone else cringe watching DeShawn stand flat-footed on D for half the game?

  • Gary

    After missing the first two games for family obligations, I made it to my first game this season last night. A few thoughts positive and negative:

    +Manny was great – what impressed me the most were his assists to DeShawn. I am still not sure I understand why Sims is coming off the bench, but it seems to be working.

    +You have to be happy with 25-26 at the free throw line. I’d like to see that kind of performance all season!

    -Defensive rebounding was terrible. I know that Beilein teams have a history of poor rebounding, but you can’t let the other team have 2 or 3 chances every time they come down the court.

    -Breaking the press – I agree with Dylan. They looked tentative and made poor decisions against the press. I hope it is just an early season issue.

    +David Merritt’s play was a pleasant surprise. He has really developed as a player since this walk-on days. Not taking any credit from his hard work, but it is a positive change from the Ammaker era when players seem to get worse the longer they played for Michigan.

    +New sound system! First time I didn’t have to cover my ears during the dance team routine.

    +I liked the new band seating. They were easier to see, which made it easier to connect with the crowd. They did a good job filling a very empty half-time (hamster ball races?!?!). But I’d like a little more volume.

    -I hope the commercials at the start of every time-out were an aberration related to tournament sponsorship. They sucked the energy right out the building.

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    Gary – I’m pretty sure the commercials for the 2k stuff just had to do with the tournament.

  • Merlin

    My main concern is actually not the team but the fans. When will they start showing up? This team deserves better support. Beilein is working his tail off to bring up this program and I just wish we would show him some support.

    A good showing in the game against UCLA on ESPN2 might do the trick. There are some positives things for that game. First UCLA is playing alot of freshman-maybe they will have trouble with the zone. Second Beilein has always done will against Howland. One bad thing is that ysterday NE shot horribly from 3 and that was the key to beating that 1-3-1. UCLA looks like they can shoot from 3. (on a side note the crowd was sparse at Pawley yesterday as well).

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    UCLA turned the ball over 24 times last night FWIW. Catching them early might be our best chance, I believe they play their 5 freshman extensively.

  • Andrew

    Ok, so I’m no basketball statistician, tempo-free or otherwise, but do have a couple of observations re: rebounding.

    Both Michigan’s and Northeastern’s offensive rebounding ratios (offensive rebounds to missed FGA) are about 1:2. Assuming 1 team rebound for each team was an offensive board, Michigan’s ratio was 10:20 and Northeastern’s was 19:41. Both are right around 1:2. More misses = more offensive rebound opportunities, obviously. I don’t know if the ratio is typical (anyone want to email John Gasaway or Ken Pomeroy?), but they’re consistent in this very small sample.

    Again, don’t know if this is a “typical” or average result, but the data would suggest that Michigan wasn’t worse than Northeastern, although they weren’t better, either.

  • josh

    Man, our fans really suck. how about some support instead of me only watching the game with about 1,000 other fans at the game. It really is pathetic, but i am also not surprised, because michigan fans simply have a history of backing out when things are going bad. you will see what I mean this Saturday in football too.

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    Interesting take Andrew. I do know that Michigan never gave up 20 offensive rebounds all last yr. I’ll do some digging about the #s.

  • http://theschaafs.org Benjamin

    Josh, Michigan needs to win before fans show up. If you build it (the program), they will come.

    Until then, its going to take more free tickets, better packages, and incentives to get people into Crisler.

    EMU is having ‘Fan Appreciation Day’ later this month. Free admission to all. Maybe Michigan should do the same?

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    The fans have been downright pathetic. I know it’s only Northeastern and we won 10 games last year. But pathetic is the only way to describe attendance so far.

  • BJ

    I was pleased with the student section turnout however. There was definitely alot less energy from the students for a game like this last year. Free Jimmy John’s before the game = GENIUS! I bought season tickets the last two seasons, but live alot further away from Crisler this year so I don’t have tickets, but I’ll definitely hit up the free games and buy a few others. Manny looks great, his dribbling has vastly improved. I really like Stu and Zack, really when we have all the right type of players for the system I think we’ll consistently be challenging for the Big Ten title (like football).

  • Steele

    I agree that the fan support has been pathetic, but I’m not at all surprised. I don’t think there’s a team in the country that can come off a 10-win season after a decade of underachieving (and sometimes flat-out terrible) teams and still have a full house. If the team keeps playing like it has been, fans will come back. The excitement surrounding the younger players will help with that, too. And IMO, the athletic department’s indifference towards the basketball program has only fed the fans’ indifference, but that’s also changed for the better. Everything’s heading in the right direction- just needs a little more time and a few more wins…

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  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    Don’t even get me started about the athletic departments indifference toward basketball. I guess you could say it has maybe improved a little but that is being nice.

  • josh

    Its one thing if we were only half filling Crisler, but it is terrible, close to 1/4 full probably. Its sad. And dont gimme the whole well tell them to win. How about some support and backing ur team up. You don’t think that will help?

  • Steele

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing the fans. Better fan support would help the program in a million different ways (from recruiting to actual wins on the court) and it sucks to see Chrisler empty. It’s embarrassing when ESPN points their cameras towards the stands and NO ONE is there. I’m just saying it would happen to any program in Michigan’s situation. I’m convinced it will get better over the course of this season and next- I like the direction things are headed…

  • Giddings

    Benjamin, to be honest, even if last night’s game was a “U-M Fan Appreciation Night” where everyone who showed up to the door got in free, we wouldn’t even be close to filling up the Blues, let alone the Golds.

    You could have walked up to the door last night, bought a Gold ticket for $5, and sat in the Blues. I’ve actually seen many occasions where the ticket scanner people at the gate have given away tickets for free if someone comes to the door and says “oops, I must have left my ticket at home”.

    Ticket prices are not the issue. The issues are marketing and perception of the team.

    Amazingly, I think the AD has done a decent, improved job of marketing so far this year, but they still have a long, long ways to go. Imagine how awful these first 3 games would have been if students didn’t get in free and there was no Beilein’s Bunch and there were no student incentives. The next step is taking some of these marketing ploys for students and applying them to the General Public.

    Team perception appears to be headed in the right direction after taking a nosedive last year, but we will need a marquee win against either UCLA or Duke to get people in the seats for the Big Ten season.

  • Gary

    I am not excusing the apathy of many Michigan fans, but you have to consider the realities of early season college basketball. With 18 home games in a season ticket, only the most die-hard (and unecumbered by family and work) fan is going to make it to every one of them. The early games against mediocre opposition are the ones that suffer the most. Unfortunately, when you can’t attend one of those games, interest is so low that you also can’t give your ticket away. A better team (they are getting there!), better promotion (jury is still out on this one), better game atmosphere (some progress), and a change in the perception that Michigan is just a football school will all help. But I was a season ticket holder during the Fab Five era and remember being surprised that the place wasn’t packed every night. We can do better, but early season games will always suffer.

    There is one thing fans do here which drives me crazy – the regular rush to the exits long before the game is decided. I am tempted to suggest locking the doors midway through the second half, but I know that won’t fly. Actually last night the people in front of me left at the half.

  • umdcbball

    Gary, you bring up an interesting point about the perception of UM being just a football school. Nothing gets my blood boiling more than when I hear this. Especially from people who claim to be fans of UM! (I know you’re not saying that, Gary.) It seems to me that I’ve found myself correcting people regarding this point more and more over the last number of years.

    I’m really looking forward to playing UCLA. Not necessary because I think we are going to win, but because I think we can play with them. The last time I thought we had a team that could play with big time competition was early in Tommy’s last year. Then we got killed at NCState (not big time competition), at UCLA, and at home by Georgetown (which I saw in person).

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