Euro Game 4: Michigan 80, Mons 74

Dylan Burkhardt

For photos check out the Michigan basketball facebook page.

With one final chance at earning a victory across the pond, Michigan came through in the clutch and earned a win.

Michigan played their best game both offensively and defensively of the entire trip. They were lights out in the first half (67% from the field) and cruised to a 50-31 halftime lead. Mons made a valiant comeback effort but Michigan made just enough plays in order to hold onto the much needed victory.

[More: Post game audio and video interviews]

Matt Vogrich made plenty of plays for Michigan as he finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 8 of 11 from the field. Tim Hardaway Jr. was the other double digit scorer with 14 while Novak added 9, Morris 8, and Smotrycz 7. Even more impressive was that they all shot 50% or better from the field.

It’s definitely nice to end the trip on a positive note and also pretty clear that Michigan steadily improved over the week. I’ll have a wrap-up post tomorrow but for now, here is the box score, tempo free stats, and some analysis after the jump.


Tempo free offensive stats:

Poss. 69.8
PPP 1.15
eFG% 64.7%
OR% 11.5%
TO% 15.8%
FTR 13.8%


  • Matt Vogrich shot the lights out. He not only shot well from three, he made all four of his field goals inside the arc. His 82% eFG% on 11 shots is extremely impressive to say the least. Not to mention his team high seven boards.
  • Michigan’s improvement inside the arc is astounding and tough to explain without seeing the game – they shot 70% from inside the arc today. I don’t know if Mons had no shot blocking threat or Michigan was just running their offense more efficiently.
  • When Andy Beilein tweeted that Vogrich was playing some four I was a bit appalled but both he and Tim Hardaway did a great job on the defensive glass today – Michigan is going to need that rebounding from the wing.
  • Offensively, Michigan won this one with their shooting. They didn’t do much of anything on the offensive glass and didn’t get to the line – but it doesn’t matter with a 65% eFG%.
  • The rebounding looks bad at first glance but my estimations (tough with half the box score) but it looks like Michigan rebounded around 80% of Mons’ missed shots which is a dramatic improvement.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. had another strong game… It’s becoming clear that he’s going to be a double digit shot guy but he also had three assists as well. For a true freshman in August, there’s a lot to like about Hardaway thus far.
  • The big man situation continues to play out. Horford got only 4 minutes of playing time today while McLimans, Smotrycz, and Morgan all played a touch under 20 minutes. Each of these guys gives you something a little different but they will definitely have their ups and downs.
  • Darius Morris had a very solid game – 4 of 7 and 4 assists in 23 minutes – he also took significantly fewer threes than before. I’m willing to give some credit here toward Michigan’s offense running a little more smoothly and having to force up fewer desperation attempts.

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  • gordie bell

    I think the top 8 from this game could realistically be what we could see in the regular season.
    Hardaway picked up 26 minutes off the bench
    Vogrich played 33, probably due to the hot hand
    Stu was limited to 16 probably due to fouls
    Smot only played 17 but that was a function of Vogrich’s hot hand.
    Morgan and Mclimans splitting 35 minutes

  • GrandChamp

    Huge wins for the boys!!! Glad to finally see Vogrich come through. Any idea on how often they played zone defense on this trip and was it more successful than their man to man defense?

  • Almost entirely man to man. They haven’t installed the 1-3-1 zone at this point.

  • Tom_McC

    Vogrich had a nice trip…shot .500 from 3 and .565 from the field. In fact, I think he led the team in rebounding as well for the trip.

    Will that translate…hard sayin’ but it can’t hurt his confidence, that is for sure.

  • Evan

    If they were playing man to man this whole trip I say we stick with it because our defense has been pretty good

  • Not sure I would agree with our defense being good before today. Pretty sure opponents have scored over a point per game in every contest.

  • FLWolve

    I was actually thinking that our defense was our biggest problem right now. We seemed to be able to hang with teams but would give up huge scoring runs which can be a function of cold offense and poor defense but from the tweets, it sounded like it was more a function of poor defense. We don’t have alot of good man to man defenders on the roster right now.

  • GrandChamp

    Having THJ’s 6’10 wingspan should help when they do actually play some zone.

  • More importantly than good individual defenders… There just hasn’t been a lot of time to implement defensive scheme. Help defense is something that takes a lot of drilling.

  • Tom_McC

    Exactly Dylan…defensive scheme is every bit as important as having good defenders. I don’t care if you have 5 good man to man defenders, if they aren’t on the same page, they will get carved up.

    Add to that, the 1-3-1 which may end up being an effective defense for this team, was never used.

    It just goes back to the point of the trip…get these guys some experience and give the coaches the opportunity to advance the learning curve so the team will be able to hit the ground running when official practice starts.

    There is no doubt in my mind, they have accomplished what they wanted out of this trip. The next step is to take the lessons learned and apply them to the upcoming season.

  • Alex

    Great win. I think it was such a great idea to do this trip this year. By the time they get to the meat of their schedule they won’t be quite as green. Should be interesting.

  • Trying to roundup other Euro tours for other schools and who they’ve played… This is what I’ve got so far and it’d be cool if anyone else wants to help out and post stuff if you can find it. So far I haven’t found anyone that seems to have played as good of teams as Belgian D1 teams but I am no Euro hoops expert.

    Bucknell ‘10 – 2nd-5th level Italian teams – 3-1 – Lost to 2nd division team
    Northwestern ‘10 – 2nd-4th level Italian teams – Leave Saturday
    Quinnipac ‘10 – Lost to D2 Belgian team, beat two D4 French teams and a Dutch team.
    FAU ‘10 – Belgian D2/France D4/Dutch – 3-0-1
    Kentucky ‘10 – 3-0 vs. Canadian colleges
    Memphis ‘10 – 2-0 vs. Bahamas Select and Cyborts

  • AC1997

    At this point I have really no clue how the rotation is going to look – but I like the various options that the team has. Here’s an early guess:

    1 – Morris
    2 – Douglas (on a short leash)
    3 – Hardaway
    4 – Novak
    5 – McLimans

    6 – Vogrich (spark off the bench at 2 or 3)
    7 – Smotrycz
    8 – Morgan
    9 – Horford (don’t count him out yet)
    10 – Christian (probably will redshirt in a crowded front court)

  • gordie bell

    Why do you think Douglas is on a short leash? Stu is one of the best athletes on the team,one of the most skilled players, and has the most experience.

  • Kenny

    I am bit puzzled by Bartelstein getting 9-10 minutes the last two games on the tour.

    it is too early to make a judgement. He might be the best lock-down defender on the team. If Morgan is able to step up his rebounding, I still think that Jon should redshirt.

  • Slacks

    If anybody wondered how Belgium ranks among other nations, the ULEB ranks the national leagues.

    Although that does not reflect how second divisions factor in. The Italian second division is considered a stronger league than the Belgium league (or at least that is what some people say).

  • Yeah… I assume they work like soccer so the worst teams in first division get moved down.

  • Giddings

    Anybody else hoping that the J-Mo to THJ play starts our team in the same direction as another final-minute backdoor pass to emphatic dunk play which sealed a big win? (of course, I’m referring to A-Wright to Peedi two years ago)

  • Dirtgrain

    Trying to rank the quality of these foreign teams might not apply well to comparing the college teams that played them, as it seems that, in some of these games, the foreign teams do not play (or have available) their best players.

  • Raoul

    Not sure how far back you might be interested in Euro tours, but on Tuesday I put up a post at mgoblog about Tennessee’s August 2007 trip that included games against teams in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria. They went 4-1, but that was a Tennessee team that went to the Sweet 16 in the 2008 NCAA tourney and had a third-team All-American (Chris Lofton) and a honorable mention All-American (Tyler Smith) on its roster.

    For press releases on the Tennessee trip, see

  • Tweeter

    Love to hear the Victors sang by any M team even if it is at an insanely fast pace (though the football team prolly holds the record).

    As far as team defense goes, I wouldnt worry about that. As several pointed out above, defense takes awhile. Having coached a little in more younger years, it really doesnt matter how good guys are individually in basketball. In basketball good offense will always beat good defense, as opposed to football or baseball where defense seems to win out. If a guy is going to make a shot it doesnt matter how far up in their grill a defender is, the shot is going in.

    In my opinion, this trip was all about getting the players experience in game type atmosphere against real opponents. So game outcomes, stats, playing time for individual players, etc., doesnt really matter. The big thing is that guys got to play against new competition and bond together. Hopefully the biggest thing that came out of this trip is that the team found some leaders and rallied behind those guys.

    Now that the trip is over they have a lot of time before practice starts and that time is important. Coaches wont be there to guide them and push them, so its up to those leaders to get it done.

  • Raoul

    Also found that some of the companies that arrange these tours for the schools include on their websites lists of tours they’ve handled.

    For example, the 2005-2010 tours handled by Sports Tours International, Inc. can be found here:

    Another of these companies is Basketball Travelers Inc. See their list here:

    These lists don’t include results, just the school and where they went. But they would be a good place to find past Euro tours that might be of interest.

    Looking at the lists, I never would have guessed that this many tours have been taking place in recent years.

  • Tom_McC

    I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to compare results with other tours. It seems the earlier you go on these trips, the less likely you are too see Americans playing. In other words, if UM played these games in late July early August, chances are the teams would not likely have many Americans(if at all) and the closer you play to these teams regular season, the better they are going to be. There are so many variables that go into how these things play out…it’s not worth the energy to try and gauge things. I mean, it seems like Mons, for example was pretty good. Nice size, experienced NCAA D-I guys who have a track record of being good college players…that should tell us UM played pretty well today.

    Playing nothing but D-I Belgium teams at this point in the season, UM ensured it was going to play some really good comp. At the end of the day, it sounds like the team made some strides…Beilein seemed genuine in his praise for how the guys stepped up and that is enough for me. Let’s just hope the boys can use this experience to help them come Nov.

  • GrandChamp

    Olympus Mons, located on the planet Mars, is by far the tallest volcano in the solar system, rising higher than three Mount Everests and spanning the width of the entire Hawaiian island chain. It is the largest of the major Tharsis volcanoes, rising 15.5 miles (25 km) and stretching over nearly 340 miles (550 km) east-west.

    If you guys climbed this hurdle then you can climb any!!!

  • Thomas

    Hi from Belgium,

    According to Mons fans, Michigan was just playing great and was looking like a team of elite shooters. It woths noting that Mons wasn’t playing in his big arena but in a gym where the 3 point line was the same as in NCAA, which was maybe a factor working against Michigan in the other games.

    About comparing the level of european leagues, it’s not easy as there is many factors, level of the best team, homogeneity of the league, quality of imports and local players. The uleb ranking on wikipedia is bullshit to say the least, ranking Israel so low is hilarious. But belgian D1 (except gent) is definitely better than italian D2 (only 3 imports and second tier italian palyers). The quality of imports is similar in both league but they are more numerous in Belgium D1. Mons PG, Marcus Hatten was playing in italian D2 last year with big stats. Some countries have a single good team who destoyed local competition.

    My personnal ranking would be:
    1) ACB league (Spain) and it’s not even close
    2) Greek A1
    3) Italian Serie A (very homogenous)
    4) Russian superleague
    5) Adriatic league (former yougoslavian league)
    6) Turkish TBL (but not very homogenous)
    7) French Pro A (very homogenous)
    8) Israeli league
    9) Baltic league (best teams from Lituania, Latvia and Estonia) (not homogenous at all, many blowout)
    10) German bundesliga
    11) Belgian D1
    12) Polish league (not homogenous)
    13) Italian Lega 2 (second division)
    14) Spanish LEB gold (second division)
    15) Ukrainian superleague (not homogenous)
    16) dutch league
    17) french Pro-B (second division)
    18) czech republic league (the best team almost never lose a game)

    Most other leagues aren’t good at all with sometimes a few teams better than the rest. About the two college teams that played against belgian D2 teams with a loss and a draw. You have to know that belgian D2 is an amateur league with no import, the difference of level is huge. Playing like you did against Mons, you would have beat those teams handily. Winning against fourth and fifth division italian teams, fourth division french teams, second division dutch and belgian teams is definitely not a big accomplishement.

    I hope I help you to have a better idea and congratulations for your excellent win.

    Good luck next year.

  • Bluebufoon

    Tweeter– thats not correct about coaches nt being there until the start of practice. Once school starts, the players will start individual workouts with the coaches, which I believe is where the coaches can wrk out the players in groups of three, twice a week, til practice starts in October. Plus Beielin gets the option of working the team out one hour a week until practice starts, but I believe there is less time for individual wrkouts if Beilein chooses that option.

  • jBdub

    Thank you Thomas for the report and explanation. The experience the Michigan players gained playing in your beautiful country could go a long way toward accelerating their development and molding them into a true team. At least that’s what we’re all hoping back here.

  • Bill

    Good to see Hardaway played well. Hopefully coach was able to get a better idea how these guys will fit together. Good experience and extra practice time. Not concerned with wins or losses. Hoping a big guy will be able to score in double figures during the season. When you get into Feb the threes tend to fall short more often then not.

  • V.O.R.

    Nice contribution from “Thomas” of Belgium, and I hope Bluebufoon’s contribution regarding practice is true. We know there are things that need to be worked on, however, this european experience against the pro league players will help Michigan to mature quickly this fall. I am excited.