Game 9: Eastern Michigan at Michigan Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

After a rough first 9 minutes, Michigan regrouped and took care of business. This one was a tale of two halves, Eastern got out to an early 18-11 lead and Manny Harris went to the bench with 2 fouls when the Michigan “role players” stepped up. Everyone is calling for David Merrit and CJ Lee’s minutes to go to Laval Lucas-Perry but they at least gave Beilein something to think about today.

A couple of notes about the teams performance in general. The turnover percentage was phenomenal, Michigan turned it over on only 7.1% (5 out of 70) of their possessions and had 24 assists. Michigan also shot the ball very well, 52.2% (48.5% 3pt) for an eFG% of 64.2%. This is starting to look a lot more like patented “Beilein ball”, hold onto the ball and make 16 threes (school record!).

The only glaring flaw was the poor rebounding (also typical of Beilein ball). Eastern Michigan rebounded 37.2% of their missed shots and Michigan didn’t really get a body on anyone to box out all night. Jerry Dunn actually went with man to man almost exclusively in the 2nd half and scrapped the 1-3-1. I would assume this had to do with Eastern getting some easy looks coupled with the poor rebounding and going with something he’s more comfortable with.

Player Bullets:

  • Dave Merritt: Dave had a big first half and really stepped up when Michigan was down early. In the first half he made both of his three point attempts and also had 3 rebounds. Merritt finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.
  • CJ Lee: CJ and Dave showed exactly why they are chosen as captains. CJ also hit a pair of three pointers in the first half when Manny went to the bench and Michigan was down. CJ isn’t the best shooter but those were just huge shots and he was ready when he was called on.
  • Manny Harris: Manny decided to put on a clinic in the second half. Manny was held to 2 points (and 3 assists) in 8 minutes in the first half after picking up his 2nd foul. In the second half he decided to show off his three point shooting, including a stretch where he hit two threes in a row and scored 11 straight Michigan points. Manny finished the game with 22 points in 23 minutes on 8-16 (4-7 3pt) shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 TO.
  • Jevohn Shepherd: Shepherd is another guy who had a huge first half. In the first half Shep was 6-7 for 13 points. He didn’t get going in the second half but he wasn’t afraid to make plays in the first. Shep’s improvement is clear and he has established himself as the starting 4 on this team. Overall it just seems like the game has slowed down for Jevohn, as someone that has been a fan since he was a recruit I’m glad to see him playing well.
  • Kelvin Grady: Yet another guard who had a huge first half. Kelvin was letting them rain from long range with 3 three pointers in the first half. Kelvin added a layup in the second and finished with 11 points on 4-5 (3-4) shooting and had 3 assists and no turnovers. He looks far more comfortable and confident on the court and that’s going to pay dividends down the road.
  • DeShawn Sims: DeShawn looked to be on cruise control today. He scored 18 points but was only 7-17 (1-5 3pt) and really seemed to be settling for decent shots instead of getting inside.
  • Zack Gibson: Scored some points in garbage time but is really struggling with his confidence. Michigan is going to need him this year so hopefully he can get it together.
  • Eric Puls: He’s got the Beilein stroke! Great to see him get in there and make a three late.
  • Ben Cronin: Cronin not getting in the game pretty much seals his fate as a redshirt. I noticed Pat Beilein talking to Ben for a while during the last time out and it looked like he was explaining the situation to him. I also got an email that Beilein mentioned Cronin would redshirt at an alumni function before the Maryland game.
  • Others: Quiet day for the freshman, it was good to see Stu make a three but Novak never really got going. Anthony Wright didn’t get many minutes but didn’t force things either.

Overall Michigan took care of business and got the easy win. It was a little sloppy early but I think not having Beilein on the bench could be part of that. Hard to complain about a 31 point win no matter who it’s against. Hopefully Beilein can rest up and is ready to go next Saturday’s game at the Palace which should be the debut of Laval Lucas-Perry.

  • Someone want to tell me what Doyle said on BTN? Something about U-M not being a tourney team?

  • gpsimms

    keady said that michigan is, right now, the best team in the b10 and resvine prett much agreed. doyle just said he wasn’t ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet, and predicted at some point in the b10 schedule they burn out or whatever and don’t cut it.

    he’s right we’re not sure how this team will respond to the grind…but we look so good, i just feel like we’ll be able to keep playing at this level more games than not.

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  • ryan

    I know alot of you said it didn’t matter. But Michigan will move even closer to the rankings next week ( i would think to 26th in the AP poll because the 25th and 26th teams lost this week. Those being Kansas and Dayton. Clemson should take Kansas’s spot in the top 25

  • We will continue to get closer as long as we win. It’s something that will take care of itself IMO.

  • JimC

    As great as it would be, I don’t mind them not being ranked now. It’s still to easy to feel like the whole season is a success because of the 2 big wins. I remember the team broke the top 25 about 5 or 6 years ago, then collapsed & never made the tourney!
    Got to play strong through the B10.
    (Get well soon JB!)
    p.s. cool site.

  • Voice of Reason

    I’ve heard a couple of reporters speak about waiting to see how this team responds to the “grind” of the B10. As true as that can be, it’s not as though this is a completely new team. This is the same team from last year that went through the B10 season, except for three freshman this year and LLP. LLP didn’t play but he was able to observe what his team was going through. Keep in mind, this team was playing better (not great) as they were closing out the B10 schedule.

    One Detroit paper stated that Michigan was a team that other teams didn’t want to play in the B10 tourney. Coach Beilein said his team played every team well for 30 minutes and he wanted to improve on that. My point is, except for the few new guys, this is a veteran B10 team that is not going to be caught by surprise during the B10 season with the “grind.” They should be good enough to win at least half of their games.

  • They did split their last 8 games in the conference season last year but also blew one to Northwestern in that stretch.

    This team has mostly been through a season but they still start freshman and there are plenty of x-factors. The lack of quality depth is a huge issue.

    What if Peedi got hurt? What if Manny got hurt?

    Another point, the WVU team that made the Elite 8 had a 5 game losing streak in conference. Marshall, BC, Notre Dame, @ Syracuse, UConn. They were only 8-8 in conference and then got extremely hot and went on a ridiculous run to the Big East final and then to the Elite 8.

    His next year’s team lost 3 out of 4 at one point.

    My point is that there will be some droughts in the conference season but I think we will be able to compete night in and night out with anyone. I could also see us lose 3-4 in a row easily.

  • BJ

    Getting a little ahead of myself, but the Wisconsin Illinois homestand is going to be huge. Those games will really set the tone for the Big Ten season. If we can get both of those I will be feeling downright spectacular about our dancing chances. It’s a shame that they’re both break games, to be witnessed only by the blue rage. *sigh* On another depressing note, there will be no food in the Maize Rage until February 5th against Penn State.

  • Peter
  • Jokisch Tacopants

    The late season swoon brought on by a harder schedule at that point is my biggest worry, because the selection committee takes how a team finishes so seriously.

    How many times in the last 11-12 years has U-M had a team that would have made the tournament if only their exact same number of wins and losses had been more evenly spread out instead of finishing worse (sometimes merely due to a tougher late season schedule)?? 1996-7, 2005-6, 2006-7…

  • JimC

    Prediction for B10 order of finish:
    OSU, WI, PU, M, MN, MSU, IL, NU, IA, PSU, IN

    Is this right???
    Yeah, I know, no respect for Sparty. But as our football team proved this year, you can’t win games on reputation!

  • Ky Fox

    Great game yesterday. I was very happy with our performance especially with coaches absence. I am still VERY frustrated with Gibsons play. I just dont understand what his problem is. I know JB doesnt stress rebounding but at some point, especially heading into bigten play I think it needs to be emphasized just a bit more, and maybe just with certain players(Gibson, Wright, Shepherd) The problem with Gibson is that he is too slow and not quick enough to be any real threat on offense, so my hopes would be that he understands his role on the team, toughens up, gets a little attitude, gets physical and starts REBOUNDING, and holding on to rebounds when hes called upon! Maybe thats just not his style, and ok if its not, but its hurting us greatly when he spells Peedi and gets balls ripped from his grip. Its one of the most frustrating things regarding this team. Jordan Morgan cant come soon enough.

    Moving forward I think we will be okay as far as the big ten goes. I just think we are going to be really tough at home, and if we win 90% of our home games, and steal 1 or 2 bigger games on the road we will be fine. I somewhat agree with Voice of reason in that this team shouldnt be too surprised when we get into bigten play. Also near the latter part of last season I think a good portion of our losses could be blamed mostly to lack of depth and not inexperience. JB even mentioned that. I think with the edition of Perry(who is another scoring threat and another threat from deep) along with another year under JB with everyone knowing what they are supposed to do and what they bring to the table, we should be fine. We will have to play small but thats okay because our shooting has gotten that much better, and when our role players are called upon(Gibson, Wright…ect) they need to play hard, they dont always have to score but they have to play tough and hardnosed..getting loose balls getting REBOUNDS, and hopefully getting those garbage points. Gibson isnt ever going to be a go to player or even a guy whos going to get you 6-8 points on consecutive nights, so he needs to understand what he CAN bring to the table, and its not turning the ball over, playing tough, and tough minded, and most importantly rebounding and holding on to rebounds. I believe if we can do those things we will be just fine.

  • Ky Fox

    In reference to BJ’s comment, I think we have a fair chance at being 14-2 after the home game against Iowa. We should get through Oakland, and the rest of our non conference.. then we play a very beatable Wisconsin team at home followed by home against Illinois, then at Indiana..what could be a stiffer test than expected, but we should win by 12 going away. Then we have Iowa at home. Not saying its a given but we could very well be 14-2 after Jan 11th.

  • BL11

    anyone know when the game will be replayed (if it even is) on BTN?? or anywhere else I can find the replay? Thanks

  • Kenny

    Speaking of potential 5 game losing streak, here is a perspective from probability point of view. Let’s say each of the 18 conference game is a toss up, which is not too far from the reality, at least at this point. There is actually quite neat formula that gives the chance of getting a run of at least r heads in n coin of tosses. Let n=18, r=5, the chance is 22% and for r=4, the chance is about 44%. So we should all expect a four game loss streak and possibly 5 game losing streak.

  • bf1118

    Hey how was the attendance at the game on Saturday? I know it probably wasn’t nearly as full as the Duke game but was the Maize Rage in full force?

  • I thought the Rage was solid. There was a pretty good crowd there early and the bleachers were full. I believe there might have been a good chunk of students in the corner of the yellows as well (presumably free tickets).

    I’d give it a B all things considered (Eastern, finals, etc)