Euro Game 3: Oostende 70, Michigan 55

Dylan Burkhardt

For more photos see the Michigan Basketball Facebook page.

Michigan suffered another loss in Belgium today, falling to Oostende by 15 points. The Wolverines played Oostende to a draw through the first quarter but let the game slip away in the second quarter. Michigan went to half time down 18 but managed to fight back, cutting the Oostende lead to single digits with a 17-10 third quarter before letting the game slip away in the fourth.

[More: Post Game Video/Audio Interviews]

Michigan is obviously over-matched by these professional Belgian teams. We don’t have a perfect measure of how good the teams are but it’s pretty clear that they can play. There are a number of American players that were very good college players that have likely only gotten better and stronger.

The offense has been horrendous – 32% shooting today – but there are plenty of logical factors playing against Michigan including the longer three point line and 24 second clock. Despite their struggles Michigan battled, didn’t quit, and appeared to play tough defense today.

Michigan wraps up their Euro-tour tomorrow with a 1 p.m. eastern game versus Travis Conlan’s former squad, Mons. Box score, tempo free stats, and analysis from today’s game after the jump.

Poss. 73.175
PPP 0.819952
eFG 41.1%
OR% 16.7%
TO% 16.4%
FTR 21.0%


  • It was obviously a very rough shooting game for Michigan, there were some exceptions (Douglass, Morgan) but again Michigan shot just 34% from inside the three point arc.
  • Great performance by Stu Douglass from behind the arc… Hopefully he can find some consistency.
  • Jordan Morgan had four of Michigan’s nine 2-point field goals including a nice put back (which just happened to be his only rebound).
  • McLimans, Horford, Smotrycz, and Morgan combined for 57 minutes. That means that 23 of Zack Novak’s 30 minutes came at the four position.  Despite that, Novak didn’t pull down a rebound.
  • We don’t have a full box score for Oostende but 10 steals is encouraging. That means that Michigan is doing a good job forcing turnovers. The defense was impressive enough to warrant a promotional tweet from Bacari Alexander.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. didn’t shoot the ball all too well but it seems like he is going to be a safe bet to put up double digit field goal attempts this year. Probably would be nice if he could go inside a little more (7 of 11 FGA from three).
  • Nice to see Darius Morris with 5 assists to just one turnover but another dreadful shooting night from the field (1-8) and the stripe (1-5).
  • 4 of 13 at the free throw line? I don’t think they move the free throw line back over there.
  • Despite his slender build, Jon Horford appears to be one of the best rebounders per minute of the young big men.
  • Josh Bartelstein played 9 minutes to Eso Akunne’s two. That seems surprising to me.

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  • Ryan

    I believe the 12 turnovers are encouraging, with the experienced defense they’re going against and the short shot clock.

  • Low turnovers is always a good thing but has never been Michigan’s problem (besides Charleroi game). I’m not all too worried about turnovers overall… Much more worried about shooting, rebounding, etc.

  • AG2

    I have to believe that a lot of our problems shooting 2s on this trip are due to a combination of the trapezoidal lane, fatigue, and the fact that they’re playing pros. I expect them to do a lot better vs. college competition. I also can’t wait to see Beilein’s legit lineup rather than experimenting with guys who probably won’t see much action.

  • Dirtgrain

    At least there is some time for these guys to work on their shots before the season starts. As early as this is, on the road with so many games crammed around jet lag, I don’t think the shooting woes necessarily show what we’ll see this season (although last years crappy shooting is a better indicator). I’m still hoping for improved shooting.

  • JayRich

    This is what I dislike about having novak play so much. I love Novak and his work ethic and all that but some games he gives us nothing. I know the stat sheet can’t give you all the details but how do you play 30 minutes and not get a rebound. He had no assists. Shot it horribly. but hey, he had two steals, right?!

  • It definitely wasn’t his best game… But he does have a track record of being a very good rebounder. The picture on MGoBlue is almost comical as he’s getting pushed away by a guy twice his size.

  • gordie bell

    All three games so far, Michigan is getting whupped in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Maybe it is fatigue, maybe the bench isn’t performing, maybe the Euro’s kick it up a notch, I dunno.

  • JayRich

    Dylan, I agree about how much bigger the guy is but doesn’t that mean he probably shouldn’t be playing out of position. I think you helped make my point rather than refuting it. I know these guys are older and more developed than college aged kids but you get to a point where Beilein shouldn’t be playing him at the 4 if he can’t be productive.

  • What about in the first game when he was the leading scorer? You have to figure you want to play the young guys with someone has a clue what is going on. It’s really tough to judge from the box.

  • FL Wolve

    Dylan, you’re not talking about Novak having a track record of being a good rebounder, are you? He’s probably the worst rebounder in the Big 10 on a per minute basis for all 4s. Granted he shouldn’t be playing that position but he hasn’t shown a good rebounding ability so far in his career.

  • If you move him to a guard spot I think he would be considered a good rebounder. He isn’t going to sky over the 6-9 guys that he’s guarding at 6-4 but he isn’t going to put up 0 rebound games often, or ever? I’d have to look at the box score. I expect him to be one of the better rebounders on this team.

  • I’m trying to get tempo free conference numbers but in Big Ten play last year… Novak avged about a half rebound game less than Manny.

  • JayRich

    Novak was also expected to rebound I think more than Manny was. Novak almost exclusively guarded post players thus being in a much better position to defensive rebound.

  • I’m not really sure where this debate is going… Novak is going to play, and play a lot this year. He’s going to play the 2-3-4 depending on who else is good enough to play. He’s our second leading scorer on the trip and is one of essentially three players with any experience in game situations.

  • Brian W

    I don’t remember seeing this already, but Rivals updated their top 150 rankings on the 24th, and Dominique Pointer is now a 4-star, ranked 81.

  • Brogrich #1 Fan

    Vogrich needs to shoot the ball more. 4 attempts in 21 minutes? He isnt going to get much time during the season unless that changes.

  • Polisci

    I don’t think that Beilein was putting Novak out on the court expecting him to be a traditional 4. My guess is that the hope was that the mismatch of Novak on the defensive side of the ball could be countered by the mismatch he created on the offensive side of the ball for a big guy trying to cover him.

    So, slamming Novak for not being an elite rebounder seems petty to me. If you compare him to average B10 rebounders he is fine averaging over 4 a game.

    I don’t know why one should assume that he was expected to get more rebounds than Harris. Turner averaged 9.2 rebounds for OSU last year. Should we now slam Lauderdale (5.2), Buford (5.6), Lighty (4.5), and Diebler (2.8) for getting fewer since there is no way one should expect the point guard to lead the team in rebounds?

    Novak would have been the third leading rebounder on PU last year, 5th on MSU, 3rd on NU, 2nd on IU, 3rd on UI, 4th on UW, 3rd on UMINN, 4th on UIowa, 4th on PSU. And in most cases we are talking about less than 1 rebound per game separating Novak from all but the elite rebounders in the B10. Oh, yeah, and he is a 6-4ish sophomore, who people on this board love to call unalthetic.

  • Brian W

    Polisci, well put. U-M’s system has been geared toward eliminating turnovers and not necessarily winning the battle on boards. Novak’s done pretty well on rebounding.

    As for Vogrich, just my opinion, but he has a habit of imitating a postage stamp and either sticking in a corner waiting to shoot a three or not moving his feet and having his man blow by him on defense. While taking and making more shots is important, there’s some other parts to his game that he can improve on to get more playing time also.

  • Jim

    Novak gives everything he has all the time. The results aren’t pretty on occasion, but the effort is always there. You put his heart in everyone on the team and they would easily win another 5 games on heart, determination and effort alone. The kid is a keeper!

  • Adam

    yeah I’m with the Novak comments. They have been starting Morris, Douglass, Vogrich, Novak, and McLimans. I think they should start Morris, Douglass, Novak, Smotrycz and McLimans and that would be the ideal starting lineup. Where Novak isn’t a great rebounder for a 4, he is a really good rebounder for a 3.

  • AG2

    Adam, I really don’t think you can afford not to start Hardaway. He already seems to me like this team’s best go-to scoring threat the way Manny used to be.

  • sven

    Yeah I think Stu needs to be coming off the bench. Hell in a perfect world him and Zack both should be coming off the bench.

  • Kenny

    Both Stu and Zack will come off the bench next season, if not the second half of this season. Zack was playing 4 because of the Cronin and Morgan injuries and the Udoh transfer. But now Beilein has 5 guys that he can rotate at 4/5, and as those young players mature, Zack will see most of his time at 3, which is his natural position.

  • Adam

    Yeah I hear ya AG2. THJ is probably going to be our team’s best player this year. The problem is it is hard to justify benching Douglass or Novak just to start THJ. And on top of everything else our rebounding should suffer even MORE this year than in the past with Novak at the 4 because we don’t have Manny around to grab a bunch of rebounds and help out at the 3. THJ may be able to rebound a little bit but I highly doubt it is at the level of Manny. And McLimans can’t rebound as well as Sims either. So starting Novak at the 3 will at least help the rebounding situation a little bit.

  • I really believe that where Zack plays depends on who develops the best and where they are most comfortable. If Smotrycz doesn’t develop as quickly, we’ll still see Novak at the four — especially early on.

  • Adam

    Novak at the 4, McLimans at the 5, and THJ/Vogrich at the 3 is downright SCARY for rebounding… the 3 of them combined will average less than 10 rebounds per game

  • sven

    I don’t know I just don’t see the point of playing Zack at the 4. All it does is suck valuable playing time away from the people who need it and its not going to make us that much better. I’d rather let the young guys learn on the job.

  • James

    I suspect Horford will be starting at the 5 by the Big Ten season.

  • Kenny

    I am with sven, I don’t see point of playing Novak at 4 as soon as others are ready to step in. Yes, they are freshmen, but didn’t Michigan have the most storied freshmen group in college basketball history. The success of this coming season really depends on how the freshmen (including morgan and mclimans) develop and even when things do not go well, it is more beneficial for the future to play them instead of Novak at 4.

  • Jones

    Sad to see the way seniority is trumping skill on this already talent-starved team. Hardaway needs to start, and Horford should get more action, too. Morgan should get more of McLimans’ minutes. These Belgians may be pretty good, but I am scared of what happens when we face Jared Sullinger and co.