Michigan knew the importance of this game but they played without any mental toughness. They blew routine layups, fell asleep on inbounds plays, couldn’t hit a shot, and lacked defensive intensity. The whole nine yards.
Right before players were introduced John Mahoney motioned to CJ Lee, who was sitting directly behind the Maize Rage, to come down on the court and put on a jersey. He was obviously kidding, but there is no doubt that it would have helped. It’s beginning to sound redundant but the void in leadership is painfully obvious. It’s time for someone to take ownership and get this team on the same page.
On offense, it just isn’t working. Boston College packed the lane and dared Michigan to beat them from the outside. It obviously worked. Michigan shot 38.7% on two point field goals and 26.5% from long range (39.2% eFG). They simply couldn’t buy a basket. The shooting has to get better but what I’m most worried about is the flow of the offense. At this point it seems like there is far too much thinking going on before the correct reads are made.
The defense was brutal as well. Yes, it got better as the game went on but Boston College had already established their dominance. Boston College ran the flex offense to perfection against Michigan, mostly thanks to Corey Raji who scored 24 points on 11 of 16 shooting. According to the numbers at SCACC Hoops, through the first 30 minutes of play Michigan was giving up an astounding 1.30 points per possession.
As someone that has tried to be a consistent voice of reason, it’s hard not to panic at this point. Michigan laid an egg, at home, in a game they had to have. The season is still young but this team is playing terrible basketball, there is no other way to put it. At this point, every game seems to raise more questions about this team.
How do you fix it? This team’s confidence is rattled and who knows what will get it back. This stretch is eerily similar to Michigan’s swoon in late January when the offense seemed to disappear and Michigan lost 5 of 6 games. In the middle of that stretch, I wrote a piece proclaiming that Michigan needed to “Just Play Ball” rather than be crushed under the weight of expectations. At this point, there’s not much more that Michigan can do.
- Manny Harris: It’s hard to call 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover, and 2 steals a bad game but it’s reality. There are enormous expectations on Manny’s shoulders but I don’t think he would want it any way else.
- DeShawn Sims: Ugh. Michigan needs a lot more from Peedi. I don’t know whether it’s effort, focus, or hustle but Sims needs to produce. He has all the talent in the world but he needs this is his senior year, he needs to bring more to the table.
- Zack Novak: Love Zack’s hustle but after the first few minutes his shot disappeared. He was banging against a 6’9 Joe Trapani all night which might have something to do with it. Zack Novak is going to play a lot but that means he needs to hit shots, especially if he is going to take 11 field goal attempts.
- Zack Gibson: Gibson is playing very well: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks in 16 minutes. He needs minutes, I’m not sure where they come but he needs to get them. This game emphasized why Beilein is hesitant to play Sims with Gibson, as both big men got in foul trouble in the first half.
- Darius Morris: Not ready for primetime. Darius isn’t ready and that was clear by his minutes which almost disappeared during the game.
- Stu Douglass: Stu is typically a gunner but by the end of the game he had lost his confidence as well. Him passing up a three point shot (yes, it was deep) with around 1:30 left and Michigan trailing by 6 says about all you need to know about how he feels about his shot.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: Not LLP’s best day to say the least. His missed layup looked like perfect material for the Not Top 10, he had some terrible free throw misses, and couldn’t buy a three pointer.
- Matt Vogrich: Vogrich is going to be a good player but right now his head is still swimming. It was good to let him get some playing time but I think Beilein is limited with what he can do with Vogrich on the court. Needs to stay confident in his three point shot because the drive isn’t happening against bigger and more athletic teams.
- Anthony Wright: I am rarely positive about Anthony Wright’s game but I really liked what he gave the team. He hit a three but I also thought he came in the game with more defensive intensity than anyone else on the floor during the first half.