Game 3: Michigan vs. UCLA Post Game

Michigan 55 – No. 4 UCLA 52

I had a good feeling about this game but I tried to restrain myself after the constant let down that Michigan basketball has been. Today is what we have been waiting for. This is the type of game that can make bandwagon fans into believers. This is the game that everyone who has been dragging themselves to Crisler through the rain, cold, and snow for the last few years deserves. This is most of all a sign that John Beilein has this program headed in the right direction. And let’s be honest is there any better time to win over some football fans? They will be looking for anything to brighten their spirits after this year’s football season.

The part that will be forgotten by some is how Michigan played in the first half. The team weathered three runs that would have crippled past Michigan teams. UCLA tipped the scales three times taking leads of 9-1, 18-10, and 29-19 but Michigan responded to each one. This is mental toughness that we just haven’t seen in this program over the recent history — we are seeing this team grow up.

On the other hand, the play that nobody will forget is the back door slam my DeShawn Sims with 30 seconds left. Now that’s Beilein Ball. DeShawn Sims gets my game ball: 9-15 shooting for 18 points and 5 boards. We’ll have to just excuse him for the missed front end late in the game. I loved to see DeShawn throwing it down with authority a couple times — inside is where this team needs him this year. “Peedi” also needs to be starting but that’s something they will probably deal with after the trip to New York City.

Stu Douglass is runner up for the game ball though (he’s only a three star!). The kid hit some flat out huge shots (4-5 (2-3 3pt) for 10 points and 5 assists). I think that we need to run a few set plays to Stu every game because if he’s open from anywhere he will bury the shot. I also thought the freshman played admirably at the top of the 1-3-1 even though they were clearly physically outmatched. There were times that Collison and Holiday coasted into the lane (mostly in man to man) but they are going to do that to a lot of defenses.

Michigan got out-rebounded 45 to 28, didn’t convert easy baskets in transition, and shot 1-12 from long range in the first half. But on the other hand they shot 4-8 from long range in the second half, the 1-3-1 worked to perfection, and only turned it over 10 times. It was ugly at times but this is the Beilein recipe for success.

Critics will say that this isn’t the UCLA team we will see at the end of the year but one of the best three players on the Michigan team isn’t eligible until December 20th.

Enjoy this night because it’s back to business tomorrow in a game that will be an even stiffer test against Duke. Although this is where Beilein’s tournament success comes into play, his schemes are a radical change from anything Duke has game planned all year.

Tonight Michigan proved to themselves (most importantly) and the world that they can play with anyone in the country. Of course we would never want to call this a statement game.

  • BJ

    Michigan 71 Duke 69

  • UMDC

    I can’t remember the last time we had a big win like this. Anyone else think of one?

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    Guys where are you linking our visitors to watch games? Suicide on Justin.tv.

  • Mason

    A couple thoughts…

    -Obviously, great, huge, monumental win. Now let’s see how we can play against Duke…

    -Love the new DeShawn. He just seems so much more powerful this year.

    -Stttttuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…he’s going to be a good one for us. His passing ability is, i think, just as good as his shot. He is a huge asset for us. How did he get no other DI offers?!?

    -At the same time, there has been nothing impressive about Novak so far. Seems about a step slow and not the greatest defender, and if you’re a step slow, you aren’t going to find shots (reminds me a little of a left-handed Gavin Groninger – slow, 6-foot-5 Indiana boy with a flat stroke). I know he’s only played 3 games now, and i do hope he gets much better, but right now Stu seems leaps and bounds ahead of him.

    -Gibson…oh Zack…gotta get tougher inside…right now he’s just not doing the job…he does have some offensive skill but…yeesh…i’d love to see Puls get some minutes inside…why not? worth a shot right?

  • BJ

    Puls = Sheridan

  • Ryan

    Gibson really seemed to be at the heart of every scoring run UCLA took in the first half. Im not trying to be a hater, I just think he is so soft inside. The guy got abused all night. Really puts a lot of pressure on the health and development of Cronin. I think we are going to see a lot more Peedi in the middle as the season goes on. Especially once we get into the B10. I am really looking forward to walking out LLP, Stu, Manny, Anthony Wright, and Peedi. That lineup should be strong enough to compete with most of our opponents.

  • Mason

    Also, i wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of Shep. Maybe he is hitting his stride. He’s not a 30-minute and 15-ppg player, but he can play 10-15 and play some good D, and maybe penetrate like he did tonite on his only bucket, there may be a place for him out there, especially when Ant isn’t hitting his shots.

  • Erik

    Yep BJ is right. UofM over #1 Duke in 1997 was the last time UofM defeated a Top 5 team.

  • Ryan

    Illini in 2006 was a big win, tho I believe they were just outside of the top 5.

    What do you think about playing Duke twice this year?

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  • http://www.collegefastbreak.com/ Ryan

    Favorite play of the game was Stu’s sick pass to a trailing Sims, but Lee’s dish to Sims was quite fulfilling as well.

    Duke is experienced. I see this going badly, but not terribly.

  • Bluebufoon

    What a night !!! I was taught as a kid that you build a basketball program or in U-M’s case you rebuild a program with baby steps like this years recruiting class and then next month the addition of LLP
    but tonight was a huge step– especially for the badwagon jumpers (like Dylan said) but also for the talk-show pessimists, that have been running down this program for years and the Detroit skeptics,
    because each of them got to see U-M win a big game on National TV with Manny and Peedi leading the way and we all got to see the havoc Beielin’s 1-3-1 defense can cause to a quality team if they aren’t prepared and they don’t execute.

    That being said, U-M playing back-to-back nights at a neutral site against another quality team (Duke) is a bit too much for this program at this time– so I wouldn’t be shocked nor totally disappointed if tonight Duke blasts us by a huge number.

    Two things stand out for me regarding Michigan’s immediate future, if they now can steal the Maryland game on December 3rd a 11-2 non-conference record heading into Big Ten play is possible and somehow U-M needs to find a way to slip Big Ben Cronin into the rotation for at least 10-15 minutes a game, I would feel much better about things in the short-term because obviously Zach Gibson isn’t going to help much against quality competition.

    Would love to know what Trey Ziegler thought about last nights big win ? Can you imagine all the propaganda the Michigan contingent have bombarded and will bombard Ziegler with in the coming days ?

    Go Blue !!!

  • MaizeNBlue2

    I think the play that I loved seeing more than anything was Peedi going up and grabbing that rebound towards the end of the game with authority. He may have even let out a little yell with it. I really think he’s turned a corner. He was getting in guys faces when they weren’t hitting the boards hard. Not that we’re ever going to be a great rebounding team, but I think we’re movin gin the right direction.

    C.J. Lee to Peedi was #10 in SportsCenter’s Top 10 this morning. Go Blue! Let’s get the Dukies tonight!

  • Spartan625

    Great win. I thought Douglass was quite impressive. Duke will be tough, but coming off of this win is huge. Michigan 65, Duke 60.

  • Gary

    It was a great win against a team with a lot of talent. I was impressed with the way they came back after a very slow start. Sims and Douglass had great games with clutch plays at the end while all the pre-game attention was focused on Harris.

    Not to get off the subject here, but the late start got me watching the UM women on the B10 network and I found myself switching back and forth during the first half of the men’s game. The women played even against a #7 Texas A&M team, losing by 3 after a missed 3-pointer in the last seconds. It is nice to see both UM hoops programs on the rise although the women also clearly need some love from the fans – from the TV view, there couldn’t have been more that a couple hundred in attendance at Chrisler.

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  • AG2

    I want to say that Duke is winnable, but I’m concerned this team might be too gassed. Man, it is so refreshing to see a team that takes care of the basketball.

  • Old Style

    Watching this team come around and play well made watching them struggle last year all worth while. May not have been the prettiest game to watch but I sure loved watching it.

  • http://www.umhoops.com Dylan

    Sure Duke might be “winnable” but make no mistake about it — no matter what happens tonight. This weekend was a success. Don’t let your optimist dampen even if we lose.

  • browntown

    does anybody else think zack novak should be seeing less time? i dont understand why he is getting even the limited amount of minutes that he sees.

  • UMDC

    A win tonight will give us two wins in two days that equals what we did way back in the 1992-1993 season when on Dec. 29th we beat North Carolina (79-78) and then on Dec. 30th we beat Kansas(86-74). Both teams were in the top ten. Of course, so were we.

  • Kenny

    Maybe we will have chance to play Duke three times this season. What the difference a year makes, everyone on the Michigan team plays better. I know that Beilein can coach but I never knew wright can make that perfect backdoor pass at the end of the game, and shep can play quality minutes at 4, but I know that Beilein can recruit, not necessarily 4*s and 5*s on everyone’s radar but kids like Stu.

  • The Pickle

    Why does everyone hate Novak. I think he plays the top of the 1-3-1 much better than Stu. He forced I believe three or four turnovers yesterday. Sure he got burned by Collison but the kid has some defensive skills.

    Stu reminds me of, I believe his name was Mike Gandy at WVU. Great shooter and passer. In the first two games I was waiting for him to pull the trigger everytime he got the ball great to see his shot finally.

    DeShawn is playing amazing, i’d like to see him finish better but I can’t take anything away from his game yesterday it was amazing.

    I really liked that we didn’t just give the ball to Manny. We won a big game and Manny not going off really excites me because I did not see a second go to option and now Sims and Douglass look like they can score and give Manny a break.

  • IbleedMaizeNBlue

    What a great win for a program on the rise!! After he was invisible the first half, Stu came out firing in the second. He’s going to be a solid asset for this team for years to come. And with Vogrich (and Morris) coming in next year!? I’m very pleased with our progress. With Cronin healthy and LLP in the lineup, we are capable of some big time wins this year.

    I was displeased with two things: two or three horrendous looking transitions (including a botched 4 on 1!), and our simply awful rebounding (for the second game in a row). There was one point where two UM players went up for a defensive rebound uncontested, and somehow neither could come up with it and it bounced to a waiting UCLA player. We can’t even rebound against ourselves! This is a major weakness in our game that needs to improve.

    In case you all were wondering the Garden had a healthy amount of UM fans there, and towards the end of the game it seemed like we were the majority. I don’t think it’s going to be the same tonight since those Dukies love to travel. Oh, and Dickie V took the UCLA Bruin hard to the hole one-on-one during halftime. The bruin played some smothering D.

  • Giddings

    Yeah it was definitely a blast to be at the Garden last night… Agree though that we will probably be outnumbered tonight bg Dukies. Duke is beatable but we need to hit more than 5 threes.

  • Steele

    I don’t even care what happens with Duke- win or lose, I feel better about this program than I have for years. That was a HUGE night for these guys!! The team didn’t look perfect at times, but still found a way to keep it together and come out on top.

    I’ve been high on Stu since the preseason and I’ve gotten some crap from my friends for it. Now they’re starting to see some of his true potential. I have a good feeling about his future…

  • The Oracle

    I see as fans we always have to have a whipping boy and it looks like Novak must be the guy right now. I don’t get it. He played 13 freakin minutes, didn’t hurt us at all out there, does a very nice job at the top of the 131. You need a bigger guy with long arms at the top so it’s not so easy to pass over. Who else should be in that spot. He took one shot. Like someone said above, he caused 3-4 TOs. I don’t see what the problem is here. If we were playing strictly M2M, I’d agree to an extent, but not here.

  • Ken in Vegas

    There were some very pivitol points in that game. I’m almost certain that if Stu hadn’t made that pull up three that looked like a forced shot, we would not have won. The pass from Anthony Wright to seal the deal was sensational. Ant will be hot and cold on offense, but he showed me a lot tonight. He battled on the boards, had some very impressive passes, and played with a lot of emotion. I thought he played very unselfishly too, by not taking bad shots like he is prone to do.

    I have to say that I was very happy and surprised with our guard play. Merritt, CJ, and Grady all showed a lot of poise and didn’t make many mistakes. Grady will be our starting point guard by the end of the year. He is maturing before our eyes.

    Not impressed with Novak and Gibson. Although I have to give Novak props on defense. He seems to have a knack for forcing turnovers and sucking up loose balls.

    Anybody know the spread on the Duke game?

  • Bluebufoon

    Anthony Wright shoots the ball way too quickly but I love how he played last night– the kid showed guts and he made some plays. That being said as long as Wright and Gibson are playing significant minutes it shows U-M roster is still depleted.

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  • Voice of Reason

    Good win for the Michigan program. One would assume that a number four team is better than a number eight team, and if you beat the number four team then you should have a good shot at beating number eitht.

    However, we know that Duke is loaded, and rankings themselves are overated. This Duke team seems well balanced. They’ve had a bottom feeder’s schedule thus far, and seems like Michigan will be the best team they’ve played to date. While Michigan has had to deal with a good solid #4 UCLA team.

    Michigan has a puncher’s chance in this game, and if we’re for real, then we should win at least one of these two games we play against Duke (12/6/08).

    However, even if we don’t win we can measure improvement by how we play against a solid Duke team. If we’re in these games until the end, cut down on mistakes and fouls while having a strong showing against Maryland (12/3/08) then expect Michigan to make some noise in the Big Ten this year.

    My hope is that Michigan becomes good enough to get to the big dance in March. As far reaching as it sounds, if we remain healthy with steady improvement I believe that it’s possible. Any NCAA tourney experience would go a long way in helping next years team mature faster. Give Beilein some credit, he’s seems to be doing an outstanding job this year.

  • aaron

    alright the moment that impressed me the most was when collison hit a three that gave ucla a 1 point lead late in the game, right then i thought, ” dang here comes the collapse” but we went down on the next possession and scored, and eventually won, the NIT looks pretty good right now, still the only thing that worries me is teams with a good post player, that, and we still need some more depth because the starters(except the pg’s and including sims) logged a ton of minutes last night.

    i think this win will really help out recruiting in 10′

    as for tonight im not expecting a win, i think duke is very good and very deep, but ill be rooting the big blue on the whole time.

  • http://takegooded.in/ Neo

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