Game 29: Minnesota at Michigan Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan 83, Minnesota 55. Box score.
There’s something about Minnesota that brings out the best in Michigan. The Wolverines have beaten the Gophers in four straight games and three of them haven’t really been close. Michigan has outscored Minnesota by 51 points in their last four match-ups which equates to an average score of 74 to 61.

It was the last home game in a season marred by offensive ineptitude but just once, Michigan managed to play perfect offense. Perfection is really the only way to describe Michigan’s offensive performance. They scored a sizzling 1.5 points per possession, the best mark of Beilein’s tenure in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s shooting line (eFG/2pt/3pt) was a ridiculous 67.8/70.5/42.1. Michigan didn’t have a single player shoot under 50% from the field. They turned the ball over on only 7% of their possessions, rebounded 34.8% of their misses, and had a respectable free throw rate of 30.2%. They scored 83 points in a 55 possession game which is simply phenomenal.

Michigan got the job done of the defensive side as well. Most of all, they forced turnovers. Minnesota coughed it up on 25% of their possessions and those 14 turnovers resulted in 18 Michigan points. Minnesota’s offensive scored a respectable .972 points per trip with a shooting line of 48.2/45.5/18.8. They also rebounded almost half (45.2%) of their misses but it wasn’t enough to match Michigan’s offense.

At this point I think we are beyond calling good performances “bittersweet”. Everyone knows how this season has gone and right now it is what it is. You can’t really expect Michigan to build on something like this because their Achilles heel all year has been their inconsistency.  Regardless of anything else, it was great to see DeShawn Sims end his career at Crisler Arena on a high note. Let’s just take a step back and enjoy this one for a bit.

Next up is a trip to the Breslin Center and a rematch with the Spartans, who will likely be playing for a share of the Big Ten title. Michigan spoiled Minnesota’s tournament hopes, maybe they can play spoiler one more time before all is said and done.

Recruiting: Four star 2011 big man (Scout #3 center, Rivals #4 center) Marshall Plumlee was in town for the game.

Player Bullets:

  • DeShawn Sims: This is the good DeShawn Sims that we all know and love. He scored 23 points on 10 of 16 (0-2 3pt) shooting with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. When Sims has his full arsenal clicking, he’s just a joy to watch. He probably drove everyone crazy at one time or another but he has improved his game tenfold over the last four years. I’ll have a full post on the seniors so I’ll save some of the sentimentalism for that.
  • Anthony Wright: Wright hit one of his trademarked three pointers in his last home game. He certainly wasn’t the most consistent performer but I’ll always remember him for his three point barrage last year in Kansas City versus Oklahoma.
  • Zack Gibson: 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in 14 minutes for Gibson. Gibson has been getting a few more minutes lately and he’s been pretty productive. His one “moment” in my mind will always be his big game versus Illinois at home last season.
  • Darius Morris: He’s just a pup but he definitely shows flashes of what he can be. He had a couple beautiful assists (6 assist to 1 turnover) and he controlled the offense. His two best games of the year have been against Minnesota so I hesitate to get carried away, but there’s no doubt that he has a bright future.
  • Manny Harris: Manny, like everyone else, looks a lot better when his shots are falling: 8 of 12 (2-2 3pt),2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals. Harris was effective inside and out and he really let the game come to him.
  • Stu Douglass: Douglass notched 10 points on 4 of 8 (2-5 3pt) shooting with 3 assists and one turnover. He played off the ball most of the game and looked pretty good. His jump shot at the end of the shot clock with Minnesota defenders draped all over him certainly left me speechless.
  • Zack Novak: Novak had a remarkable stat line: 6 points (2-4 3pt), 6 defensive rebounds, 6 assists, 0 turnovers. Novak actually played the off guard tonight for what must have been the first time since December of last season.
  • Matt Vogrich: Vogrich made the most of his 5 minutes of playing time. He hit a three and also scored a nice bucket on a backdoor cut.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: Laval only played five minutes and as I mentioned, Zack Novak played the two for the first time since December 2008. Laval had 3 fouls and two missed free throws in his limited playing time, certainly nothing to inspire confidence.

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  • Great win for the seniors, it leaves a good feeling when three guys who gave their all for a program go out on such a high note. Congrats on three great careers.

  • AG2

    Wow, this was only a 55 possession game?

  • Yeah..55 or 56. Unreal how well we played offensively.

  • other steve

    well that is definitely a nice way to send out the seniors (especially Deshawn Sims). Best game of the year by far and at least its nice to see glimpses occasionally that this team actually does have some talent. Also, this should show that Beilein’s offense can be unstoppable when players hit shots. 83 points in a 55 possession game is ridiculous. Congrats to UM. Good win.

    Btw can we schedule Minnesota for all 18 games in the Big Ten next year?

  • I just finished watching this game (DVR’d it). Like many true U-M fans, I continue to put myself through the torture that has been the 2009/2010 season. This team is so odd. I mean…it’s clear that when Manny and Sims play well (>20 pts each), we win. It’s also clear that when we shoot lights out like this game, we win.

    I was really impressed with Morris. Kid seems to be improving every game. He is actually driving to the hole and distributing the ball. Shocks me that besides Manny and Sims, nobody on this squad even bothers to take a 2 pointer. I still have faith in this program. These kids play hard and never give up. Bottom line is that we need some talent. Hopefully we’ll land a few key recruits, Manny stays for another year, and Morris steps up.


    Go Blue. MSU then BT Tourney. You never know.

    DJ Waldow
    U-M, Class of 1998

  • JRose

    qingyang–go someplace else, we don’t need your lousy promo “comment” here. Loved D Mo’s assist at the end of the half. Great game, now let’s get State! Go Blue!

  • JimC

    qinqyang makes a good point. Nike shoes! Yes!

  • JimC

    Morris was fun to watch last night. His drives to the basket are looking better and better. It’s great to see that speed in our point guard, and he’s using it more and more.

  • Nice win and I will enjoy it, but can’t help but think what if?
    What if UM shot just a few better percentage points in some earlier games. Oh well.

    Very encouraged that Plumlee was at the game. We must be a legitimate contender. Great. Maybe he and Trey will talk and want to come to UM to bring UM basketball back on the map.

  • MattM

    I know this is far fetched, but is there any shot that we we could get Amir Williams and Marshall Plumlee? Or is it certain that if one committed it would insure the other would go elsewhere. Would be amazing to have two big time post players again.

  • BL11

    I would think that especially in Beilein’s system having two highly rated bigs might not be liked from a recruits perspective. I can tell you that this could happen assuming we don’t fill out 2010 recruiting. If we still have two spots for 2011 Beilein would consider this (of course assuming both players stay interested in UM).

  • maxwell’s demon

    If we beat state who wins osu purdue tiebreak? Head2head draw

  • Brian W

    I’d think the potential of getting Williams and Plumlee will depend on if UM gets a 2010 big man. If UM lands Horford or another big guy this year, odds are you’d only see one of the two come to UM. If not, I’d hope they could get Williams and Plumlee. UM’s been playing Gibson and Deshawn a lot more at the end, and Beilein’s said that he wants more size. Two guys like Williams and Plumlee would help a great deal. They were giving Plumlee a lot of attention yesterday, and he appeared to be having a good time. It would be great to have him pull the trigger and commit. That would help with Trey’s recruitment.

    The defense last night was outstanding. Novak is a small post defender, but he’s brilliant none the less. He was playing a guy several inches than him at one point and used his lower body to move the guy six feet out of the post and force a bad shot… When UM had Stu (6-4), Manny (6-5), Novak (6-5), Sims (6-8) and Gibson (6-10) on the floor at the same time, the defense was particularly potent last night. Darius plays good ‘D’ also and showed he wasn’t afraid to to be a leader at one point when he told another guard to get his man on defense.

  • JayRich

    Did Michigan really just win by 28. This game almost frustrated me more than anything. WHere has this been all year?

  • Sid

    I follow this blog regularly and appreciate it very much. What do you think about the idea of putting the final score in the headline of these post-game posts or in some other prominent place? It’s usually the first place I check after a game :-)

  • Michael P

    If Stu is 6-4 then I am 6-5.

    Darius Morris Most Improved Player on this team.
    21 assists vs 4 turnovers….wow.

  • Darius is a special player, and fun to watch. If Manny returns–and I am optimistic–I don’t see quite the fall-off in talent that many of us were worrying about at mid-season.

    When do we start getting word on some recruits?

  • AG2

    If Purdue and OSU tie OSU gets it because they are 1-0 vs. MSU and Purdue is 1-1.

  • Jake

    Is there any way we can move up to the 7 seed and play indiana then Purdue? i like our chances a lot more with them especially without hummel

  • If we beat MSU and NW loses to Indiana. I think that would put us at 7. They would be 7-11, we would be 8-10.

  • Merlin

    Do you think the reason we did not offer Horford is that we are waiting to see if Plumlee will commit. If Plumlee does not commit now maybe Beilein will offer Horford. It was abit strange Plumlee being there last night.

  • 2k10

    Michael – Stu is 6’4 and I am 6’5. I ride the Commuter North with him occasionally. He’s about an inch shorter than me

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  • ToBlav

    That game was fun. I could feel the cleansing every time we scored on several possessions in a row.

  • Andy

    We could theoretically get to the 6 with a UM win and Minn and NW losses. Not likely, but possible. It doesn’t really matter though in my opinion. Minn, NW, and UM are playing Iowa, PSU, and Indiana in some combination and the winners are playing OSU, Purdue, and MSU. I suppose theoretically it’d be best to get Purdue matchup wise, but I don’t see any real difference between the bottom three. To make it all the way, they’re going to have to beat 3 of Purdue, MSU, OSU, Wisconsin and Illinois, so it’s tough any way you look at it.

  • Section13Row15

    I saw Plumlee walking around the concourse yesterday during half time. He’s got to be 7 feet tall but man, he is one of the skinniest people I’ve ever seen. His brothers need to get him going on that Duke weight program. I wish the students were there yesterday so they could get the Marshall chant going…great game to watch. Wish Beilein would’ve played Novak at the 2 more this season and put Gibson and Sims in the game at the same time. That lineup is pretty good.