Game 15: Michigan at Indiana Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

Disaster averted. It definitely wasn’t pretty but Michigan escaped Assembly Hall with their first win since 1995. The first thirty minutes or so it looked like every other game at Assembly Hall, everything that could go wrong went wrong.  I’m not even quite sure how it happened but somehow Michigan pulled out a win. You can talk about how bad Indiana is or what an ugly win it was but in the end a win is a win, especially on the road in the Big Ten. One thing I’m not going to do is excuse any poor performances because of last year. This is a different team and if we are serious about making the NCAA tournament this year there is no room for moral victories; losing this game would have been devastating to this season.

The first half was hard to watch. Devon Dumes couldn’t miss, Matt Roth hit a three pointer from about half court, and Michigan was down 17 at the half. Indiana shot 50% from the field and 62.5% from long range in the first half while Michigan shot just 25% from the field and 16.7% (3-18) from behind the arc.

The second half was a different story. Statistically Michigan dominated the second half but it still seemed like they wouldn’t have enough to win the game. Michigan shot 51.9% from the field (41.7% 3pt) and held Indiana to 36% (22% 3pt) and 20 points in the second half. Michigan needed several breaks down the stretch and finally got a friendly roll on a Laval Lucas-Perry three to tie the game. In overtime Michigan got out to just a big enough lead that they could hold on for the win.

My game ball goes to CJ Lee. The captain came in and made some huge plays in the second half that helped get Michigan over the hump. CJ hit two three pointers and also broke up a 2 on 1 fast break that would have probably put the game away. CJ has bailed out this team several times and he made the plays that a captain is supposed to make, he is definitely a steadying force for this team.

I’m not sure how Michigan won three of the four factors to winning (eFG%, turnovers, and free throws) but they pulled it off. 40 of Michigan’s 61 field goal attempts from long range and they kept chucking away. I thought most of the shots in the first half were pretty good shots and Michigan got rattled because they were missing wide open shots. Of course there were several that were forced, DeShawn and Manny combined for 2-12 and definitely took some questionable shots. They shot a higher percentage inside the arc but their comeback was built on the same three point shots that dug them into a hole.  Live by the three, die by the three.

Defensively Michigan is really struggling in the first half. Through three Big Ten games opponents are averaging 40 ppg compared to only 25.3 ppg in the second half. I don’t know what it is but there just has to be better defensive intensity in the first half. You can’t let your opponents get out to that big of a lead and shoot over 50% every night because miracles don’t always happen.

A win is a win no matter how ugly and I’m sure a game like this will help bring the team together but it’s not going to get any easier from here on out.  This team has heart and there is something to be said for avoiding upsets and battling through tough times. Michigan isn’t good enough to dominate teams but they are good enough to beat anyone if they are hitting their shots. They are a team that can give up points in a hurry and also score points in a hurry. That means a lot more roller coaster games are likely in the future, it’s time to throw out the tape and move on to Iowa.

Player Bullets:

  • Manny Harris: 17 points (4-12), 11 boards, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 blocks. Manny really struggled at times tonight, he feels like he has to be the one to make the big shots and takes some very poor three pointers.  Manny still hit a couple big threes, made most of his free throws, and pulled down a huge rebound late that iced the game. He has struggled in the early Big Ten season but he just has to realize he doesn’t have to do it all.
  • Zack Novak: Zack just plays hard. He didn’t shoot the ball that well today but he hit a huge three to start the comeback and was very vocal keeping guys involved. The play that stands out for me is Zack diving to tip a rebound away from an IU player, this is the kind of play that won’t show up in the box score but was so important. I am going to love watching every second that Zack plays for the next four years.
  • DeShawn Sims: The (forced) outside shot wasn’t falling for Peedi today but he played very well inside and was 7-11 on 2 point attempts for 14 points to go along with 2 blocks and 2 steals.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: LLP missed some shots early on but he hit the big one to send the game to OT. Laval was 5-12 for 18 points with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Michigan has to be thankful for Laval because he can get in the lane, he was the only player besides Manny Harris to shoot a free throw.
  • CJ Lee: As mentioned above, CJ Lee hit two huge threes in the second and broke up a 2 on 1 fast break late in the game. CJ likely posted great +/- numbers again and I think he is starting to show us why.
  • Kelvin Grady: Stepping out of bounds at the end really killed me but overall it was an ok game for Kelvin. Kelvin hit 2 threes and had 4 assists and 1 turnover as well as 5 rebounds.
  • Stu Douglass: Stu is in a slump but he is still a freshman, he also hit a three in Michigan’s comeback right after Novak’s as the shot clock was ticking down. 18 minutes, 3 points (1-4), 2 boards, 3 assists, 2 turnovers.
  • Zack Gibson: Gibson didn’t follow up his best performance of the year in a very impressive fashion. Zack traveled twice when he was in the game and really looked out of it.
  • Dave Merritt: The mostly clueless announcers mentioned that Dave had been under the weather and that probably explains his 2 minutes. Because of Zack and Dave playing only a few minutes, we saw probably the tightest rotation all year in a game where Michigan only played 7 guys for 10 minutes or more.
  • Tommy Amaker: I know he’s not a player but on a day when most people will probably point to this as a game that a Tommy Amaker’s team would have lost. I want to give Tommy his props for knocking off Boston College tonight.

Finally, thanks to everyone who showed up at the LiveBlog. Something like 900 people participated thanks mostly to Brian for posting it on MGoBlog. It was fun seeing the anger, excitement, frustration, and overreaction after every play.

  • Old Style

    I thought the team lacked intensity and effort in the first half and even a little in the second. Too much standing around and watching teammates. That being said, amazing comeback.

  • I agree, they came out flat. Slowly but surely I think they are remembering what the Big Ten is like. It’s war on the road in this conference no matter who you are playing.

  • Aaron

    In some games, Beilein’s philosophy is, “If at first you don’t succeed, shoot, shoot again.” I predict that we’re going to get blown out some game this season by 25+ points because there must be some game where we won’t hit any shots. There just has to be.

    Also, our rebounding was atrocious today. While somehow we were only out-rebounded by 5, there have been plenty of times where everyone on offense was above the free throw line and we’d only see 4 guys in cream and crimson to grab the board. This is not helpful especially when you’re falling behind and only shot 3-18 from three in the first half. I know the 1-3-1 isn’t the greatest defense to have if you want to get a rebound, but do we have to look like we’re going out of our way NOT to get a rebound on both ends of the floor?

  • sdl

    Michigan REALLY needs to stop turning the ball over in their own zone. It’s a free momentum boost to the other team, in addition to free points. Just putting that out there.

  • Im not trying to be too critical here but Manny really struggles with dribbling the basketball. He has NO chance of playing in the NBA if his handle doesnt improve drastically! I also think coach should try to discourage him from shooting the 3 ball, he has to be aroung the A. Wright percentage about now. Having said that, hes still our best player and I would hope he gets out of this funk soon.

  • Sheryl

    Both Manny and Sims said that the rim they had in the first half was harder than the one the second half. Kind of fits the difference in percentages for each team from half to half.

  • Aaron

    Correct me if I’m wrong on this tactic. But when it was 59-59 with about 7 seconds left, we only had 4 team fouls. Why not foul off the inbounds until we got 6 team fouls left? That way they eat up clock just passing in the ball and getting their bearings. If all went well, we’d leaving only a second or two for them to inbounds get off a clean shot. Instead they actually had a wide open look in the corner that could have blown the game.

    I’m happy that this one is in the bank.

  • Beilein’s Battalion

    Michigan’s numbers defensively in the first half certainly dont look very good. However i cant bring myself to say that they played poor defense in the first half. I really think they forced Indiana into alot of long threes, contested jumpers, and difficult fade-aways…the problem was IU made them all. Mad props to coach Crean and all of the IU players. They played one hell of a game. This Indiana team is going to be back on top quicker than people expect

  • Giddings

    Aaron, that would have been the smart tactic and the announcers of BTN mentioned it as well. I was surprised that we didn’t foul.

    I didn’t expect this, but I think the biggest effect of the LLP addition has been in our dependence on the 3-pointer. Without LLP, we averaged 23 attempts per game (and made 8, for 34.8%). With LLP, we’ve averaged 32 attempts per game (and made 10.8, for 33.9%).

    Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

  • Amazed

    That was a great win. They played terribly for probably 34 of the 40 minutes, with 6 minutes of truly inspired ball. But, all in all, a hell of a comeback and a huge win to keep them in the hunt, both in the Big Ten and NCAA.

    I would like to thank Dylan for pointing out the play Novak made on that rebound tipping it away to, I believe CJ Lee. That play defines Zach Novak and is why he is a phenomenal player. He is all heart and never gives up, and, in all honesty, I think that saved the game. If he doesn’t tip that ball, they have a fresh clock and drain the clock way down.

    Go Blue!

  • James

    CJ’s tempo free stats are off the charts:

    His shot selection has been outstanding, and he’s really done about as much as you could expect out of your 9th or 10th guy off the bench.

  • Drew

    I have been a die hard Michigan basketball fan for my entire relatively young life. I was somewhat able to comprehend the little success we had with Tractor and Co. I have mostly seen nothing but failures throughout the Ellerbee/Amaker/Horton era. Perhaps its just the game of basketball itself that has kept me interested, but tonight, when LLP’s three hit front rim and somehow dropped, I felt like I was finally being rewarded for that dedication.

    There is something about this team that rarely can be found in any other basketball team. Maybe it’s just an attribute to Beilein, or maybe its the players themselves, but there is a refusal to lose. Seeing CJ hit those three’s is what queued this thought for me. No Michigan team in the last ten years would have had a flying chance in a hell to come back in that game. And from what my memory holds, I’ve never even been able to appreciate the sight of a Michigan win at Indiana. But as much as I was cursing out just about everyone on the squad in the first 30 minutes of the game, something inside kept telling me that “god dammit this is our year to make the tournament and no way THESE Hoosiers are taking it away from us”. Sure enough, Dumes took a dumb shot off the offensive rebound, Indiana made a stupid decision by attacking the basket and getting it stripped by CJ instead of pulling it out, and the rest was history. Well not without a little overtime drama…

    This is a Michigan team that finally knows how to win. And let’s hope they don’t soon forget.

  • jg

    I decided that I’d keep track of the # of passes we made each possession to try to get some idea of how many quality possessions we had and the first half was just atrocious. I didn’t start keeping track until after the first TV timeout.

    We had a number of 0-2 pass possessions. We had 24 offensive sets (not including fast breaks) in the first half. Ten were of the 0-2 pass variety and on only six possessions did we make 6+ passes.

    It makes no sense to me why we settle on a 3pt shot early in the shot clock so often when that same shot is available 20 seconds later if we need it.

    In the second half we had 30 sets and just nine 0-2 pass possessions (five coming in the final 6:48 when time was becoming a factor) and six with 6+ passes.

    We really struggled on the fast break tonight as well scoring just once on six break out opportunities.

    It was only the forth game away from Crisler and just the second true road game. I’d really like to see us work on getting the ball inside the lane more at the beginning when were on the road. Feed it to Sims in the post, create dribble penetration with Harris, Grady, and LLP, run some back door cuts, whatever. It is just very frustrating to watch when we have 4 possessions in a row where the ball doesn’t even cross the 3pt line once.

    Its one thing to get down early at home. You still have the fans and you still have the familiar surroundings. Getting down early on the road is an entirely different beast. Against any other team in the conference this game is over at halftime.

  • Kevin

    You’re right about being on the road. Indiana’s crowd was really into the game, especially the first half. Also just thought I’d comment on the Novak play. After he dove in front of the IU player for the defensive rebound he ran down the floor and tipped the offensive rebound back to Sims. He just wanted it more than anybody else on the court, it’s inspiring to watch.

    Also, I don’t know why, but LLP seems to have some trouble finishing in transition. He had the one miss, but then it seemed like he was more content to drift toward the three point line instead of making his final cut to the basket. It’s interesting because in the normal offense he doesn’t have much difficulty driving and finishing.

  • Kevin

    Also, congrats to Tommy. Great guy, just wasn’t the right fit. Good for him. (sorry for the double post)

  • AaronBL

    Nice website found it through MgoBlog. Man I was there, Assembly Hall is the most poorly designed major college basketball arena I have been in. Second would be Fifth Third Arena where U.Cincinnati plays. I am beginning to appreciate Crisler more and more as Crisler is not great, but really not that bad.

    I was way up there in the balcony for $23 and all the extra charges! That’s a $10 seat in Crisler with a better view and is also easier to get to your seat. Unless you were maybe in the lower 30-40 rows your seats sucked. They just go up on a steep angles. I live in suburban Indianapolis and was at the Purdue/Illinois last week at Mackey Arena. That arena isn’t state of the art but there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Crisler’s upper bowl doesn’t really have a bad view either. But Assembly Hall just sucked bigtime.

  • Sid

    This game scared the bejeebus out of me. That UM managed a win is a minor miracle given the first half. My two cents:

    I agree we got good looks in the first half, they just weren’t dropping. What can you do? Maybe find Peedi more inside? Unfortunately, the missed shots eventually flustered us on the defensive end too.

    “Belein’s teams don’t rebound well” is a weak excuse – they need to rebound better than that.

    Also, does the offense allow for some picks for Manny, on or off the ball? He’s often criticized for trying to force it, but his game is getting into the paint and, well, forcing the action – a helpful pick once in a while might let him play to his strengths more.

    Well, great win for us – and tough loss for IU.

  • JRose

    Was at the game last night and was really impressed with the IU crowd in the first half. I believe they rattled us a bit and the IU kids fed off of them. After getting heckled for wearing my M gear at halftime, I was more than proud to wear it out of there with a W. I am worried that I can’t remember a back cut in the past 3 games. Defenses seem to be pushing us further and further away from the basket, therefore our 3’s are deeper than normal. A backcut here and there would keep the D honest.

  • Gary

    Sorry, but I don’t see much to be happy about here. They were very lucky to get this win. Indiana this year is probably the weakest B10 team we will ever see in terms of experience and talent. They thoroughly outplayed us in the first half. Yes, we played better in the second half, but at that point it was Indiana’s game to lose, and it was their mistakes that determined the outcome. I was really distressed with our mistakes during the last few minutes and in OT – we gave them plenty of opportunities to get the win even after our comeback.

    Don’t get me wrong – I am more excited about this team than I have been in a long, long time. But they still need to mature a lot. They are going to lose a lot of games if they keep playing like this.

  • Evan

    Maybe I’m an idiot, but I wasn’t really worried during this game. As we fell behind in the first, it was clearly a case of Indiana playing out of their mind and us missing shots that were there for us, but just didn’t go in. I believe in regression to the mean, especially for a team like IU that is so young. They also had a lower mean to regress to than Wisconsin, which played out of their minds in the first half and when they slowed down still had enough cushion to stay ahead. Going into the second half I figured we would be good if we cut the deficit to 10 with 10 minutes left and 6 with five minutes left. I think both of those things happened, or we were at least close. And then we get the LLP 3-pointer to fall, which was better timing than if that shot had fallen in the first half and he’d missed it at the end of the game.

    Last year, we didn’t score at the end of games that were tightening up with us trying to hold onto a lead. This year it’s Indiana’s turn to be yound with a new coach, and that’s what happened. I would be heartbroken if I were Indiana, but I recall being on the losing end of games like this and playing well at the end of the game comes with experience – experience like these games.

    Overall, I’m more happy that we came back from a 20 point deficit than frustrated that we let a 20 point deficit happen. Coming back is the type of skill you need in tournaments, and Beilein has done an excellent job of getting the kids to believe in the system, so when they find themselves down like that, they just focus on what they need to do and they can make it happen.

    It’s no mystery our defense has to be better in the first half. Whenever I feel like I spot a problematic trend on this team, Beilein fixes it. He’ll fix this, too, and we’ll just keep getting better.


  • Bluebufoon

    For the folks that aren’t happy with last night’s win, I feel your pain
    but what I’ve come to realize about this Michigan team is that this is year two in a major rebuilding job and although U-M isn’t great we’re considerably better than last year and with the players already recruited for next year the future looks very bright.

    Finally it amazes me that Coach Beilein has U-M even competitive with the lack of talent and depth Michigan has in the front-court. The only players above 6-5 that play are Deshawn Sims and Zach Gibson off the bench and obviously both of those two are limited defensively, although Mr Sims has improved from last year.

    This team shouldn’t be beating Duke and UCLA and I will savor
    every victory they are able to eeeeeeeek out the rest of the season
    because I’m convinced this is just the appetizer for what Coach Beilein and Michigan basketball will be in the future. But back to this year, our roster is too flawed for us to compete night in and night out in this conference.

    PS (If I can vent on one topic) Why the frick can’t we run a 3-1 or 2-1 fastbreak and get an easy look, essentially a lay-up. These fastbreaks are the easiest plays in basketball, yet the way our guys run the break, we look like the most inept team in the game.

  • Bluebufoon

    For the folks that aren’t happy with last night’s win, I feel your pain
    but what I’ve come to realize about this Michigan team is that this is year two in a major rebuilding job and although U-M isn’t great we’re considerably better than last year and with the players already recruited for next year the future looks very bright.

    Finally it amazes me that Coach Beilein has U-M even competitive with the lack of talent and depth Michigan has in the front-court. The only players above 6-5 that play are Deshawn Sims and Zach Gibson off the bench and obviously both of those two are limited defensively, although Mr Sims has improved from last year.

    This team shouldn’t be beating Duke and UCLA and I will savor
    every victory they are able to eeeeeeeek out the rest of the season
    because I’m convinced this is just the appetizer for what Coach Beilein and Michigan basketball will be in the future. But back to this year, our roster is too flawed for us to compete night in and night out in this conference.

    PS (If I can vent on one topic) Why the frick can’t we run a 3-1 or 2-1 fastbreak and get an easy look, essentially a lay-up. These fastbreaks are the easiest plays in basketball, yet the way our guys run the break, we look like the most inept team in the game.

  • Evan

    Also, congrats to Amaker.

    I can’t pass up this priceless quote from BC’s coach:

    “I tried to pre-warn them,” said Skinner.

    Well, that’s far better than post-warning them, which I find to be totally ineffective.


  • jamie mnac

    Evan, Thats funny about Skinner…..i hate those know-it-all post warning people as well.

  • jamie mnac

    As an IU alum, I am happy the team has come out and not looked totally out of place in their first two big 10 games…..yet, saddened because I wonder if they can rally and rebound after choking such a winnable game…..overall encouraged because they have some talent, are getting better and next year an excellent recruiting class will supplement–and in some cases supplant–this core. Better days are ahead and they should find themselves back in postseason contention perhaps as soon as next season.

    As a lifelong UM fan, I am pleased because a win is a win. When you’re trying to break a decade long ncaa draught, every win is important. michgian has the resume, but they have to avoid the proverbial “bad loss.” last night was a bullet dodged.

    Like Dylan said in his post, time to move on to Iowa.

  • El Capitan

    I’m still shocked that we pulled that thing out. Throughout the first half, I kind of sat back and expected us to weather the storm. I figured we would hit a bunch of threes towards the end of the half and go into halftime down by only a few.

    But NO… down by 17 at the half

    Then after seeing us cut the lead to six early in the second half, I figured we were going to finish off the Hoosiers without much trouble.

    But NO… the lead ballooned back to 12

    It was at that point that I wanted to stop watching the game and start on my homework since I didn’t want to get behind after the first day of classes.

    But NO… I could hear my roommates screaming as C.J. hit those huge threes and cut the lead back to 4.

    Finally, I decided to turn the game back on and watch the final five minutes of regulation and overtime. And I’ll tell you what… that overtime showed our true colors (and Indiana’s, too). We do just enough to get by, we hit our free throws, and we don’t have too many defensive lapses (there isn’t much you can do about Roth hitting 30-foot threes). As for Indiana, they simply kept turning the ball over and they didn’t hit their free throws. In a world where there aren’t many teams younger than us, we sure were fortunate to be playing maybe the most inexperienced team in the NCAA.

    Look for us to trample Iowa on Sunday. We’re due for an impressive victory.
    Michigan 62, Iowa 45

  • El Capitan

    Also, just wanna throw it out there that I correctly predicted Indiana scoring 66 points… I was just off on Michigan’s final score, the 20-point comeback, and the whole overtime thing haha.

  • Adam Sez

    Hey Everyone, i love this website and check it multiple times a day I am Maize N’ Blue threw N’ threw and stand by these guys 24/7. After saying that……..Listening to the 1st 10 minutes of this game on the way home on I-94 and turning it on right away when i got home I am glad i was by myself. The fact that we continue to play down to our opponents and waiting till the 2nd half to start playin ball is so frustrating as a fan. I also believe that we are ahead of schedule and was able to calm myself down by remebering just how far this team has come in such little time, but last night was just a joke. Watching Coach B. throw his hands up in frustration more then 2 times re-assured me that i was not over-reacting, the shot selection, turnovers, rebounding was atrocious! I know its the system at times but i dont understand how we take long distance 3’s when there is NOT ONE GUY with-in 15 feet of the rim!!! im just venting mostly and will forget this and move on to IOWA.

    1 more thing……..whats with LLP not being able to make a freakin lay-up when we need the bucket when being down!!!! i belive this was the 3rd lay-up hes BRICKED in 2 GAMES!!!!!! again, just venting frustration and i will take being frustrated and winning then being calm and losing any day.

    On to IOWA

    GO BLUE!

  • Adam Sez

    Just wanted to say to Dylan that this site is AWESOME!!! you do a fantastic job and i check this site before i even get my coffee in the morning. Thanks Dylan, and Brian @ MGoBlog does an awesome job also!!!

  • Ken in Vegas

    I know that results in the first half won’t go a long way in supporting this argument, but I loved seeing Grady start and run the point most of the game. I really think that this is becoming his team, in the sense that he is the most vocal and shows the most leadership amongst our regular players. (props to CJ of course) There were multiple times where he called for the ball to reset the offense, pumped up the defense by clapping and getting into a crazy shifty arms, come and get me stance, or pointing to his head and telling everybody to “be smart, be smart”. Not to mention, his speed and ability to turn seemingly normal situations into 2 on 1s or 3 on 2s is quite underrated. I’m just really proud of the guy for how hard he has worked, and think that he will continue to improve and impress.

    Also, last night I watched the second half again as I always do in a winning game. It was astonishing at how many little variations of outcomes on about 10 plays would have ended the game for us. We really needed all those things to happen exactly as they happened, and they well…..happened. Watching it a second time really leaves you with a sense of being destined to somehow win that game. I’m soooo much more happy than frustrated, because as you can see by last night’s scores around the top 25, just because we are good, doesn’t mean that we are invincible. Our expectation to beat every team we are favored against is a little arrogant in my opinion. Just remember that any of the 5 teams we beat in the big ten last year were probably ripping their hair out. We will have a bad loss this year, so just prepare for it.

  • Ky Fox

    I absolutely agree with Bluebufoon, and also jg I think. In a season where we expected improvement and just improvement alone, without wins over UCLA, and now 2nd ranked Duke, I have to take a step back and remind myself that this is indeed year two of a total re-hauling process of UM basketball. Like Bluebufoon said, we have absolutely no frontline to speak of. Gibson(with the exception of last Sunday) plays like a 6’2″ guard most of the time, and that leaves Sims…who is a versatile 4 man, but usually its just him out there trying to be our entire post presence. Novak helps a little but its just not enough. All in all I get so frustrated that we rely on the trey ball so much, and like Dylan said you live by it and you die by it. But I kind of think its by necessity that we hoist so much, because we do not truly have a viable option down low. My hopes are that when we have some skilled bigs in the rotation that we indeed try to go down low just a bit more in the early going of games, especially on the road in a hostile environment. I always have to go back to balance, and what kind of team we are building for success not just in conference but nationally as well. I trust in JB and I am positive once he rakes in a couple more recruiting classes that we be better able to judge the total package that sums up JB’s program/style. After all we are still just so young. GO BLUE, and beat iowa to go to 13 – 3

  • Giddings

    It would have been interesting to see the effect of a healthy Cronin this year. I would guess that he could provide some of that low post presence (we saw flashes of it in earlier games), and our dependence on the 3 ball wouldn’t be quite as high.

  • SubAlum06

    @Bluebufoon thanks for the perspective that these guys are only in the second year of the rebuild. I recall Coach Beilein saying in one of his WTKA interviews (12/24 or 12/30)that “2nd year teams are like roller coasters.”

    There will be a lot of ups and downs this year. There unexpected wins and unexpected losses, but look how much better they are than last year. Beilein will keep teaching and they will keep getting better. Hold on and enjoy the ride!

  • MattNYC

    I’m not that down on this team at all. Brian over on MGoBlog is talking about reducing expectations and the KenPom rating serving as a huge red flag.

    Well, I’m not ready to concede this is a bubble 9/10 seed team yet. The defense HAS to get better in the 1st half of games though.

    The offense is fine, this is coach’s system guys. Outside of this game and the EMU game this team has had a more balanced attack. They were jacking up 3’s last night, but that is the abberation so far.

    And: this is a good shooting team, a good offensive team. The offense is the least of my worries. Defence is the problem right now, especially the lack of intensity in the 1st half of games.

    I still see this team as finishing no worse than 5th in the conference and getting a 6 or 7 seed in March.

  • Steele

    Based on recent performances, this M team is not as good as their record and definitely over-rated in the polls. But somehow they keep finding ways to win, which is huge (and wasn’t even a possibility last season). They have now come back from 20 point deficits twice this season- and even though the competition wasn’t top notch, it still takes a ton of confidence and poise to respond in that situation. There are a lot of issues that need fixing, but overall this team’s attitude, the chemistry between the players, and the way different people have stepped up and taken on leadership roles (CJ Lee, Peedi) have made me a whole lot more optimistic than I was earlier on.

  • JimC

    Valiant comeback, great tenacity.

    There were a lot of problems–shooting/selection, D, etc. The one thing that looks like a fundamental flaw is the inability to drive/dish, both on fast breaks and in half-court. e.g. it is maddening to see Grady drive into the paint (rare to begin with) then pass DIRECLTY BEHIND HIM! So I second Bufoon’s comment too.

    But hey, it was a thrill & a W!!!

  • Ky Fox

    Slightly agree with you steele. I wouldnt quite say they are overrated though. If UM is considered being right outside of the top 25, and having watched about every game they have played.. I think they could beat most teams ranked 15th and worse on any given night. UM is a good team right now, I believe that they are lacking two ingredients to the recipe to make them a VERY good team. In my estimation those ingredients are… having one more versatile forward to back Peedi, and 2 is getting Cronin, Jordan Morgan, Mclimans in here to help out on the front line. There is no doubt UM is still in the toddler stages of what JB is building here, and they are still a bit fragile and thin in areas. But they have some skilled players and its starting to unfold. Sprinkle some more experience with the afore mentioned lacking ingredients and we will soon have a solid squad. To say UM is not deserving of their record Im not sure…Teams still win and lose games for a reason, and UM is winning because they have gotten much better.

    To regards to Matt’s comment; I do agree that JB’s system relies on shooting the 3 ball. But I think the number of 3’s attempted is inflated because of lack of any other option(other than Manny, Grady, LLP driving). Also I believe that how you execute and how well you are scoring/shooting on offense has an effect on your defensive intensity. Now very good teams will trust in their defense and bring the intensity even when shots arent falling, UM is not quite there yet…probably due to inexperience…a post season run would do wonders for experience. I think that if they had a few more ways to score(low; Ben Cronin, Jmo, garbage points…ect) in games where they find themselves on the road in hostile places and their shots arent falling, scoring in those other ways can get a team on track and open other things up, as well as fuel for the defensive side of the ball. Its balance. Like Dylan said teams that rely strictly on the 3 ball will live and die by it. I would hate to think of UM as one of those teams. I want to see a balanced well rounded team. I think when we have all the cylinders firing we will have a more balanced attack(still a lot of threes, but not quite as many as this year) and that will feed our defense. Like Gidd’s said, it would have been interesting to see our offense run with a healthy Cronin. Next year we should have a dangerous little line-up.

  • Steele

    After reading my last comment, I think it sounds contradictory. M DOES find ways to keep winning and HAS come back from a 20 point deficit twice, so being ranked just outside the top-25 isn’t all that inflated. The stats might not be all that impressive at times, but this team has still fought it’s way to a 12-3 record. My main point was that I’ve definitely got a lot more faith in this squad than I did pre-season…mostly due to attitude, chemistry, leadership, etc.

  • Bluebufoon

    Guys– regarding Ben Cronin even though he was forced to redshirt
    and will have surgery next week– the little bit he played I was impressed with his nose for the ball. Plus he appeared to have nice hands and he wasn’t afraid or timid when it came for looking for his
    shot and he stayed in the post where big men belong. Am I being too optimistic in regards to Big Ben ? Has anyone heard Coach Beilein
    or another staff member discuss Cronin’s potential –from the little bit they’ve been able to work with him ?

  • rlc

    Well, the good news is that this was UM’s last chance to play down to the competition – barring a rematch with the Hoosiers in the Big Ten Tournament.

    The bad news, of course, is that every team left on the schedule is at least as good as we are – every single one is currently in Sagarin’s and Pomeroy’s top 65 teams. Every game remaining is a “could” win – though I wouldn’t give very good odds on the games in Storrs, Madison, and West Lafayette – but none of them are “should” wins.

    And I think this is a good thing. This team plays much better when it believes it is overmatched and can only win by executing the coach’s system. When the players start reading their press clippings and thinking they can win on talent alone, they come up with some miserable performances – which, luckily, have not translated into any losses.

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  • MooN

    I think part of the problem here is that we are watching our team every game. We haven’t watch the every other team in the country play all their games. I am sure you could find reasons for anyone not being as good as their record, but the point is that it is our record so who cares. What’s your point? That were going to fall apart. That won’t happen with JB in charge. Obviously, we won’t keep winning at the same rate, but what is exactly the point point behind were not as good as our record. In fact, you could say that Maryland got lucky when they beat us.

  • MooN

    Sorry, for not posting more, but I usually post from my old school smart phone and well…. it’s a pain in the arse!