Game 23: Wisconsin at Michigan Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

It becomes more clear with each passing game, this team’s confidence and psyche are shattered.  They look worn down mentally and become increasingly frustrated with each mistake. When opponents make a run the look on the faces of Michigan players is clear: “here we go again”.

In many ways I think the team on the court has the same feeling as the fans off of it. How did this happen? It’s clear that this is a lost season and these kids aren’t dumb, they know it too.

Wisconsin put on a shooting clinic in the first half. The Badgers shot 15 of 22 (68.2%) from the field and 9 of 13 (69.2%) from three point range for an eFG% of 88.6%. Wisconsin got a handful of great looks but they also hit some incredibly difficult shots as well. In the first half Wisconsin scored 1.75 points per possession, not too shabby.

Wisconsin did cool off in the second half, finishing with an effective field goal percentage of 67.1%, but they controlled the offensive glass and rebounded 37.5% of their missed shots. Wisconsin played the game at their tempo, a remarkably slow 48 possession game. Wisconsin would milk almost the entire shot clock before draining a three or getting a wide open look under the basket.

Michigan’s offense wasn’t bad in the first half. They shot the ball well, 12 of 20 (2-2 3pt), and would have been right there if Wisconsin wasn’t making everything in sight. That offense dried up in the second half. Michigan shot only 5 of 19 (26.3%) and went 0 of 9 from three point range. DeShawn Sims scored only 3 points after scoring 15 in the first. In short, Michigan never came close to making a dent in Wisconsin’s 14 point half time lead.

From here on out, it’s about playing for pride. Motivating a bubble team is easy compared to motivating a team that’s trying to play their way into the NIT. There are a few winnable games left on the schedule but at this point it’s tough to predict what kind of performance you will get from this team on any given night.

Next up is a Thursday road trip to Minnesota, where just under a year ago we were celebrating a victory that pushed Michigan into the NCAA tournament.

Recruiting visitors: 2011 Country Day big man Amir Williams made the trip to Crisler. 2011 commitment Carlton Brundidge was also in attendance.

Game Highlights:
Player Bullets:

  • DeShawn Sims: Sims is the most consistent scoring threat on this team. The problem is that he isn’t all that consistent. After a 4 point outing in Evanston, Peedi bounced back with 18. However, 15 of them came in the first half with only 3 (1-5) in the second.
  • Manny Harris: It’s obvious that this season has worn on Manny. He doesn’t look comfortable and frankly he just can’t make a shot. Manny is now 23 of 68 (33.8%) over the last five games. I think this is both physical (hamstring) and mental (frustration) but it isn’t a good combination.
  • Zack Novak: Zack Novak looks worn down. He took several shots versus Wisconsin, including one that split his lip. He has been battling down low all year and it looks like it’s got the best of him. Beyond his physical expression, he also missed 3 free throws and just doesn’t seem to be getting enough lift on his jump shot.
  • Darius Morris: I still think that Darius is going to be alright: 8 points (3-4 shooting), 3 assists, 1 turnover. Darius hasn’t developed quite as fast as some people would have hoped but he is going to need to take a big step forward next year. He still has those freshman moments (getting burned on an inbounds play for example) but he has been having more positives than negatives of late.
  • Stu Douglass: 37 minutes, 0 points (0-3), 1 rebound, 3 assists. It’s not Club Trillion, but 37 minutes is a lot of playing time to have that almost no effect on the box score.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: LLP appears to be in the dog house, he lost his starting spot and only played 7 minutes.

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  • AG2

    First of all, I think Michigan getting Zeigler is extremely unlikely. If MSU and Duke are now in the mix, I just don’t know how we could compete. If he’s decided to wait until the late signing period its probably because he’s holding out for a better offer or he’s seriously weighing his options. Either way it gives him more time to realize he’d rather play somewhere he can get on TV a lot or at a school that gets a visit from College Gameday or at a school that will make a Final Four run. Frankly, I’m not convinced he’d choose us over UCLA, either.

    As far as Manny, it still about whether he thinks he can get more out of Beilein’s coaching. If he does, he’ll stay. Otherwise he’s only going to hurt himself more by coming back. If he thinks he can get better coaching from a European pro team or NBDL or whatever then he’d leave.

    I can see why some are frustrated enough with Manny that they don’t care if he leaves, but if for no other reason than we need someone to hold down the fort while guys like Smotrycz and Hardaway grow into the college game.

  • Matt

    If Zeigler wants to play early, he’ll come to Michigan. There are a lot of junior guards on MSU’s roster and I don’t really see many of them leaving early. UCLA has a committment from Tyler Lamb who would most likely play Zeigler’s spot and they have a guy by the name of Malcom Lee who you could be hearing a lot about eventually. Duke always has killer classes coming in and there’s no telling how many people he would have to compete against to get the starting job. Oklahoma has 3 committments as of now and 2 are small forwards and one is a shooting guard who are all built just like Zeigler.

    Zeigler coming to Michigan would be great for us and for him I think. I would say every high school student coming to a division one program wants to start as a freshman and if he comes to AA, he’ll have the best opportunity.

  • mtung

    Manny needs to stay for his senior year. And Michigan needs him to stay.

    We have no one ready (yet) to take DeShawn’s minutes. Gibson will not be missed, nor will Wright if this turns out to be his last season. Morgan/McLimans/Smotrycz/Horford(?) will need to play and contribute in the front court next year. We need their size.

    Grady will help tremendously even if he only plays 15 minutes per game next year. The Stu Douglas as Point Guard experiment needs to end. D. Morris needs to shoot jumpers all summer and prepare himself for the responsibility — he can be a leader on this team next year. Someone out of the LLP/Douglas/Hardaway/Vogrich logjam needs to step up and average 12 pts per game next year.

    Zach Novak needs a vacation. Now. He looks physically beaten down and wasted. I’ve never seen anyone work so hard with so little to show for it.

    If Ziegler commits, that’s a nice bonus, but it is difficult to count on him. He would be a good fit in the UofM system. He is multi-skilled and has an excellent basketball mind. Does he want to be a superstar at CMU, a star at Michigan, or a contributor at Duke or MSU?

    Beilein Ball will work (with patience). He just needs more talent and size. Sometimes I wish he would pick up a “T” just as momentum changer.

    Hang in there hoop fans. It will get better. In the meantime, we just need to find out where Novack’s headed for on vacation — he looks like he could use a beer.

  • Jeff

    Matt, the problem with that theory, is that someone with Zeigler’s talent isn’t going to worry that much about playing time. I would think he has the confidence that he’ll be able to earn playing time on a good team. One thing is for sure, all players want to win. Right now, it’s a lot easier to win at MSU, Duke and UCLA. I haven’t given up all hope of getting Zeigler, but I would have liked our chances a whole lot better if we had been able to build on last season instead of taking a big step backwards.

  • Alex

    This may be a completely foolish comment but what if he is waiting to see if Manny stays? Can recruits make their final decisions after the season ends?

  • Jake

    Recruits dont have to make their final decision until i think may 19th. I also think that could be a factor in Zeigler’s decision, he may not want to have to come into a program and take the reigns right away.

  • JimC

    If guys want playing time, c’mon down!!!! Geez they’ll be talking about it in HOURS per game, not minutes. Well, i get excited, but Manny + Darius are the only guys with guaranteed major PT next year, in my view. Am i forgetting someone? A clanker?

  • Matt

    I don’t think you are forgetting anyone but I do think Jordan Morgan will come in and start for us next year. He’s the only player on Michigan’s entire roster that can play the 5 spot and I think Beilein realizes that we need some muscle down low and giving Morgan his redshirt really shows his patience. And not to mention, he was injured for the majority of the fall and winter campaign. I’m really intrigued to see what kind of play comes out of Blake McLimans. I know he has literally no “bulky” size but he is 6″10 and I really think he could spread the floor for us if his shot is as good as it was before he got to AA.

  • jim-e-p

    While Manny has his shortcomings as a player (poor shot selection at times,unreliable shot,losing the dribble in traffic, etc.)he has never struck me as a selfish player unwilling to make the pass. He would do better with a better supporting cast, one in which driving lanes might actually exist and open threes might actually get knocked down. We must get bigger and more talented next year. That means Novak cannot start at the four. If he starts at the three (I think he would do better here than trying to guard twos), then Manny needs to start at the two. Barring unforeseen improvement ( I say unforeseen since there was so little from last year to this season) from Stu or LLP, neither belongs in the starting lineup next year. A starting lineup of Morris, Harris, Novak ( or Zeigler or Hardaway), Smotrycz, and Morgan/McLimans holds some promise. In addition, a bench with Stu, LLP, Vogrich etc. is pretty decent. mtung makes many good points a few posts back. There will be better days ahead.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I’m not going to say I wish Manny would leave but I can understand the mentality. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we would be a better team next year without him. I think it’s more along the lines of: (a) Manny can be pretty frustrating to watch (b) despite his talent he doesn’t seem like someone that can lead the team (c) it would be nice to just move forward with the program and develop Beilein’s recruits.

    However, for recruiting sake we can’t afford another terrible season so if Manny wants to stay then we definitely need him. Plus he could always improve.

  • Tom, Too.


  • Alex

    The regular signing period can’t come soon enough for me. I hope the team finishes strong so that Ziegler and Horford feel better about coming to the program. If they were to come Beilein’s 2010 Recruiting Class would be loaded.

    MSU has to be worried about Ziegler possibly coming here. If both Ziegler and Horford come here things could get really interesting in both games versus Michigan State and recruiting.

  • Manny is exactly the same size and build as Rick Hamilton. Rick has made a very good living in the NBA on curls and pull up jumpers. Why does Manny try to knife his way between two defenders once he starts his drive? He could just get his man moving and then stop and shoot like Hamilton does! He did it once against Wisconsin and made an easy shot from the foul lane! He needs to do it more often!

  • JimC

    But isn’t Rip Hamilton super duper fast with his cuts too. I don’t know if Manny has THAT much speed.

    Manny’s strengths: driving & drawing fouls, FT, spot-up jumpers, ball handling is good, rebounding, anticipating the pass for steals, and he loves to throw down a dunk.

  • Manny’s form on the pull-up is sometimes off; improving that might be one reason to stay. Hamilton moves with incredible efficiency, stops so fast; I always admired his play. Clearly, Manny would be benefiting if Michigan’s passing and off-the-ball movement on offense were crisper. Against MSU and Wischonsin, they sometimes looked like they were laboring in mud.

    It’s a worn-down, dispirited team; the starters play way too many minutes. That’s why global judgments on these guys, on how good they are, often miss the mark; Douglass and Novak played better last year, too, in many respects.

  • Jeff

    Chuckie, I really agree with you on that. He’s not a good long-range shooter, but he seems to be a lot better from closer in. The lane gets so clogged and so many fouls aren’t called, that sometimes it may be a better option for him to pull up and take a shorter jumper. I wish more players on this team would attempt midrange shots. Sims seems to be the only one who does it. Novak for example, I’ll see catch a pass just inside the line, then step back to take an off-balance three. Inside of just shooting it from where he catches it.

  • Tweeter

    Hamilton was in another world in college in terms of his offensive game compared to Manny’s. Hamilton was an extremely fluid offensive player that could score just about any way he wanted. He was really more of a skilled player that happenned to be pretty athletic.

    Manny right now is an athlete that has some skill. He doesnt handle the ball well and his offensive game is limited to going to his right and shooting spot up jumpers. IF he had the ability to consistently shoot and score off midrange jumpers, I am sure he would be taken more of them.

  • Manny is not getting open shots as it is, so he needs to create some space himself! I think the pull-up jumper would do it! It also would make him less predictable. Does he read these blogs?

  • Tweeter

    Im not saying it would not be a good move, I just dont think he has the ability right now to make that shot with any consistency.

  • Junderground

    Who you’re forgetting in terms of major PT next year: Novak and Smotrycz, with Douglass and LLP getting time at the beginning of the year, theirs to lose, which they very well might.

  • fresh

    ill maybe accept novak getting mins in the fir 5-8 games but if he is getting major playing time next year then something is wrong, unless of course we have injuries again………i dont care how much the kid hustles we will finally have multiple guys to play at the 4 if come midseason he is still starting at the 4 i might not watch michigan basketball any more

  • fresh

    hustle and intensity can only take you so far, after awhile, size, skill, and being reasonable need to take over……..douglass and novak after this season need to see their mins start to decrease by a lot. the kids may have experience but they are not capable of carrying a team against division one athletes, and never will be able to…..put the kids that are going to be the real contributors in and let them work out the kinks…….which is exactly what beilein should be doing with vogrich at this point…..if that means starting multiple freshmen then so be it, but douglass and novak are not big ten starters and nor do i believe they give michigan the best chance at winning

  • fresh

    it needs to come to a point for beilein to say ok lets start over…….lets get back to how my offense is supposed to be run…….having 2 bigs on the court and going from there……..people want to see what his offense is suppose to look like, i for one am sick of waiting to see it

  • Junderground

    I would love to see Douglass’s minutes eliminated altogether, and I don’t think Novak should start at the 4, per se, but I bet he gets starts at some undefined Novak position early in the year, and averages 20 per game. Beilein loves him, so it’s going to be hard for the youngsters to supplant him. I agree that hustle isn’t enough, not enough to justify 30 min., particularly when theat hustle is accompanied by 31% shooting, or whatever he’s at exactly, but it does count as a positive contribution–he definetly contributes.

  • Matt

    I don’t think 2 bigs is his offense. His most successful years at West Virginia really only consisted of one big man, Kevin Pittsnogle. His forwards, Mike Gansey and Frank Young, were only 6″4 and 6″5. I don’t think Beilein is restricted on height only, it’s how the players play the position. He wants a banger at the 4 (Jordan Morgan) position who rebounds, plays good d and can block shots and a player who can stretch the defense at the 5 spot and get valuable rebounds on the defensive end. Getting to the basket is huge in Beilein’s offense because it allows the defense to collapse and for the shooters to have wide open shots around the arc. I really do think Beilein’s one and two spot are essentially the same. They have to be able to shoot beyond the arc and have the ability to get the ball to teammates.

    Darius Morris will be excellent for us in the long run if he can develop his shot from three. He can get to the basket, he plays good d, and he can pass the ball well.

    I really do think Beilein recruited Blake McLimans to come in and play the 5 spot like Pittsnogle did. Smotrycz I think we’ll play the 3 spot eventually. I hope he can develop his game a lot like Joe Alexander did. If Morgan can be anything like Young was, I think Beilein will have a well developed team in the next 2 years.

    The only question I have is the 2 spot. Who is going to play the position next year? It’s really between 5 guys in my opinion.

  • Jeff

    Fresh, you may be disappointed next season. While I agree with you that Novak and Douglass are best suited to be reserve role players, I still think, Novak especially, will get lots of time next year. I know a lot of us were hoping that this years freshman and Cronin would be taking some of their PT going into this year, but that hasn’t panned out at all. Freshman often don’t contribute much in Beilein’s system. As far as next year goes, I can see Douglass’ time getting cut. Morris looks like he’ll be ready to play 30 mpg at PG next year. So Douglass will probably split time at SG and backing up Morris. You have to remember that Douglass appears to be firmly ahead of LLP at this point, so the hope would be that Vogrich makes a big leap next year and takes more playing time. I’ll be surprised if Hardaway is ready to play heavy minutes right away. With Novak on the other hand, your choice is to play two freshman at the 4 and 5 or keep playing Novak at the 4. Also, other than Smotrycz you’re talking about freshman who were marginal recruits. I hope I’m wrong, but I still think we’ll see a lot of Novak at the 4 next year.

  • Beilein’s Elite 8 team (05) played D’Or Fischer a pretty good amount. He was a traditional big man.

    Also, someone is comparing Jordan Morgan to Frank Young? Huh!?!

  • Matt

    I was just referring to Frank Young being “Frank The Tank” and Morgan being a banger like that. I know Morgan won’t step out and hit 3 point shots cuz that is not his game. I coud really see Morgan and McLimans switching the 4 and 5 spot constantly. Depending on what defense the teams is running during the game, they could switch spots during a game. And I totally forgot about D’Or Fischer. I loved his game. It’s just crazy to think about all those players that Beilein had at WVU and see how they weren’t highly recruited and weren’t high on many recruiting boards.

    I know I am way too optimistic but I look at Beilein’s career and that’s what makes me optimistic.

  • Morgan is a five man. McLimans I think can play the four.

  • JimC

    I’m going to watch Izoo pop a vein in his voluminous neck tonite. That is, unless they don’t cancel due to snow.