Game 2: Bowling Green at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Post Game Video: Beilein / Players

Watching this year’s Michigan is an entirely different experience than watching last year’s squad. First, I have no idea what to expect from the new faces on the court. Second, it’s free of the weight of expectations that seemed to doom last season. Bowling Green and USC Upstate clearly aren’t very good teams. They are both projected near the bottom of their respective leagues and haven’t played well in early season action. Despite their woes, it’s encouraging to see Michigan handle business and come away with a decisive victory.

It’s important not to jump to conclusions based on these early season results. In 2007-08, Michigan rolled over Radford and Brown before being served an extra large portion of humble pie with losses to Georgetown, Butler, and Western Kentucky. In 2008-09, they knocked off Michigan Tech and a decent Northeastern team before shocking UCLA in the Garden. In 2009-10 they beat Northern Michigan, Houston Baptist, and even Creighton before being blown out of the gym by Marquette and losing to Alabama. The bottom line is that you can’t take too much from an early season win over a team that appears to be in the bottom third of Division I basketball.

The game was relatively close for the first 17 minutes, with Tim Hardaway Jr. sidelined with a pair of fouls accumulated in the first 90 seconds of play, until one play changed the entire game. That play was Novak chasing down Luke Kraus and denying what looked to be an easy fast break layup. The layup would have given Bowling Green a lead but the block led to a wide open Vogrich three on the other end. Over the next 10 minutes (into the 2nd half) Michigan would go on a 22-5 run and never look back.

Offensively, you obviously have to love the way that Michigan shot the ball, especially from three point range. Michigan only topped tonight’s 47% three point shooting in two games last season (at Iowa and at Minnesota). The two point shooting, 45%, leaves a bit to be desired as there were at least three or four missed layups and dunks. The Wolverines attempted a healthy 31% of their field goals from three point range and an impressive 20 of 26 makes were assisted. Michigan was solid but unspectacular on the offensive glass, where Jordan Morgan led the charge with four offensive boards, but didn’t make it to the free throw line often. The cause for concern offensively is in the turnover department. The Wolverines turned the ball over on 20.8% of their possessions, a figure that isn’t terrible but is below the high standard that’s been set under John Beilein.

Defensively, Michigan was impressive again. The Wolverines held the Bowling Green to a meager 31.5% effective field goal percentage – just 20% in the second half. The Wolverines also did a tremendous job on the defensive glass, rebounding 79% of the Falcons missed shots (more impressive when you consider 3 of BG’s 9 offensive rebounds came on one possession). The main struggle on the defensive end was forcing turnovers. Michigan experimented with the 1-3-1 zone on a couple possessions but most ended up with an easy basket for Bowling Green.

Up next is a 2-1 Gardner-Webb team that holds wins over Charlotte, Mary Washington (?), and Virginia Intermont (?). After that the true test looms — Friday versus Syracuse in Atlantic City. Player bullets after the jump.

Player Bullets:

  • Darius Morris: Morris was tremendous until I tweeted that he had 9 assists and 0 turnovers during the second half. He played under control, did a great job finding open shooters, and had a couple nice shots in the paint early on. He started forcing things a bit more in the second half but still finished with a career high 11 assists to just three turnovers. Morris’ play has been very impressive early on and probably second to only Jordan Morgan in terms of pleasant surprises.
  • Zack Novak: The two blocks obviously stand out (when was the last time you saw two chase-down blocks underneath the backboard?) but Novak was all over the place. He shot 40% on his threes (2-5) but didn’t hit any of his twos (0-2), which seemed a bit more forced. Novak seems to be most comfortable shooting the three when he catches the ball on the fast break or secondary break. 8 rebounds (7 def.), two assists, and a steal are just icing on the cake from another solid performance.
  • Evan Smotrycz: Smotrycz showed how deadly he can be when his shot is on. Offensively, he was the driving force when Michigan opened up their lead late in the first half. Evan was Michigan’s leading scorer (14 pts on 4 of 6, 3-5 3pt shooting) despite playing just 22 minutes. Down the line Smotrycz’ handle is encouraging, but at this point he’s not ready to be leading the break (evident by his two turnovers).
  • Jordan Morgan: A very solid stat line from Morgan with 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting, 8 rebounds, and two steals. Morgan seems to have a very good chemistry with his point guard (and roommate) Darius Morris which led to a number of easy looks around the hoop. He probably should have even had a few more points as he missed a couple bunnies and shot 50% (2-4) from the stripe.
  • Stu Douglass: Douglass is making a conscious effort to take the ball to the hole and, thus far, good things are happening when he does. In just 18 minutes, Douglass had 5 points on 2 of 4 (1-2 3pt) shooting to go with three assists. Barring foul trouble, I think the 20 minutes per game range is how Stu is best utilized on this team.
  • Matt Vogrich: Matt can really shoot it and looks extremely confident when that’s all he’s doing. The problem is that his defense and ball skills (3 TOs) are still a work in progress. I also think that Vogrich is probably the most adept at utilizing the backdoor cut, however he needs to continue to improve once the ball is delivered.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: The difference in athleticism with Hardaway on the floor was apparent when he returned to the game in the second half. Michigan’s fast break has the potential to be much more effective with him on the floor. After sitting for 18 minutes he seemed to struggle to get back in the flow of things (4-10 shooting) but despite a team high in FGAs he didn’t seem to force shots, even picking up 3 assists in 17 minutes.
  • Blake McLimans:  Blake popped a couple nice jump shots but still hasn’t found the range from three (not for the lack of trying). Morgan is much more of a complete package at this point but McLimans could make a difference if he can hit a jump shot or two in his 15 minutes per game.
  • Colton Christian: Christian definitely gives this team a shot of adrenaline but it’s clear that his offensive skills are lagging behind. He had a great tipped in layup but also fumbled a decent pass from Novak in transition. He is a great change of pace to Smotrycz who presents an entirely different skill set.
  • Jon Horford: Horford only played four minutes but did have a nice tipped in layup. He’s very active, and might have the most potential of any Michigan big, but clearly is lagging behind Jordan and Blake physically right now.
  • drae

    When Vogrich gets in the game I cringe! He can shoot, yea… But man does his D need help… Not sure what Mr. Dumars skillset is but if he could maybe take that backup 3 role from Vogrich and play some solid D that would help… The way this team has played thus far is how I wished they would of played last year… Everyone is involved in the offense and it’s pretty even across the board… Still really surprised by the play of D-Mo and J-Mo…

  • Grandchamp

    Does anybody know of any iphone apps that I can listen to the games with??

  • Brian W

    Even though Bowling Green wasn’t the stiffest competition, it was a fun game to watch. It was nice to see the team spread the ball around and find different scorers. The three-point shot was used quite a bit, but there were also several dribble drives, pick n’ rolls, and shorter shots that led to scores.

    The work that Darius and Stu did in the offseason appears to have helped diversify their games some; Darius had some nice drive and spin moves that led to some good looking shots, and Stu’s driving ability helped quite a bit.

    I couldn’t make the last game, but it was pretty evident between the exhibition against SVSU and this game, that the true freshmen have started to better understand the defenses that Michigan deploys. Hardaway and Smotrycz shined again, and Horford and Christian added some good things with defense and rebounding. It’s really early in the season, but Colton sorta has a Mike Griffin/Dennis Rodman vibe, where he does the dirty work of defense, screens, and rebounding first and just looks for a shot when its convenient. Will be interesting to see how the true freshmen evolve and contribute as the season goes along.

    I’ve been really impressed with Jordan Morgan, though. Being the big man in the middle can be a chore sometimes, and he’s done well rebounding, setting screens, and playing some solid defense. It was nice to see the guards reward him for the hard work by feeding him the ball on several occasions.

    The tests with Syracuse, Utah, and Kansas will provide some good challenges before the Big Ten season, and I’m curious to see how the team responds and grows over those games.

  • gpsimms

    wow. vogrich…he can shoot. but um, he might be the worst defender/ball handler/passer/anything that is not shooting-er that i have ever seen in my life

  • Mith

    fan vs fan, You really come across as a jerk. If that’s your intention, then you’re succeeding. I don’t want to get into a big flame war, but dang, why don’t you take it easy?

    As for the game, it was the first time I got to see the guys in action. I love Morgan, THJr and Smotz, I think they’ll contribute a ton as freshman and I think they are only going to get better! Just seeing the improvement in Darius from last year to this year is encouraging and gives a glimpse of the potential of this team in the next few years. GO BLUE!

  • matt d

    Observations – both good and bad:


    Morris – he completely controlled the tempo of the game, and looks totally comfortable running the team in both half court sets and transition

    Smotrycz – if this kid can hit the outside shot at a reasonable rate, his handle at that size will open his game up offensively, although I must say, he’s not the fastest kid on the court

    Transition – I like the idea of pushing the ball off of misses from the opposition, it allows us to get easy buckets, and it also allows our 3 points shooters to get looks where they have their feet set

    PLAYERS AT THEIR RIGHTFUL POSITIONS – this is perhaps the biggest factor to the early success in my opinion. On offense it is clear that having Novak at the 2 makes for much better spacing and opens the court up. Stu is technically labeled as a PG, but there were many possessions where he played off the ball, this gives our shooters a chance to get their feet set or come off screens for shots rather than shooting contested 3s. Defensively, it is so nice to have 2 guys on the court that are 6’8 and up.


    Lack of Athleticism – this was very evident throughout the game, as the team missed at least 3 open layups(Vogrich, McLimans, Douglass) underneath the basket simply because they don’t have the required elevation to finish those shots. Defensively, lateral quickness is an area where our guards are going to be exploited against better competition. On several occassions, a simple crossover(or any change of direction move for that matter) resulted in either Douglass, Novak, Vogrich, and Morris(although his arm length somewhat negated this) going 1 way while the opposition went the other.

    Vogrich – I want to give this kid the benefit of the doubt, but at this point the reality is that this kid simply isn’t B10 material in terms of skill level and athleticism. The fact of the matter is that if he isn’t shooting well from the outside he is a liability on the court. Defensively he simply lacks the lateral quickness to stay in front of players. Offensively, his decision making is poor at best. Don’t know how much PT you can give the kid during B10 play if the 3s aren’t falling.

    TO’s – I’m not that worried about this, although the number is high by Beilein’s standards, it is the result of pushing the tempo off of misses. I’m praying that these guys can catch the ball on the break, we’ve had issues with that during these first 2 games, and those are opportunities that change the momentum of the game.

  • Chris

    I think fan vs, fan has a point. If you feel defensive about it, maybe you should question why that is.

  • Brian W

    For some reason I thought UM played Kansas in December, but they play them in January.

  • aMaized
  • MaizeNBlueJ

    Torrent of the Bowling Green game is up at

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    Hey, MaizeNBlueJ, what do you open the torrent download with on a Mac to watch it?

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      @YpsiTuckyBoy – Do you mean what do you use to open the .torrent file? Or the .mkv media file after it’s been downloaded?

    • MaizeNBlueJ

      @YpsiTuckyBoy – If you’re talking about the torrent file, then most MAC users on the site use Transmission.

      If you’re talking about the .mkv file once you’ve finished downloading the torrent, then you’ll want VLC. Links to both are below:


      • YpsiTuckyBoy

        Any suggestions for faster download speed, other than to not use a UM wireless network? 3GB is a lot of info.

        • MaizeNBlueJ

          What kind of speed are you getting now? You’re going to be a little limited, because my upload speed isn’t stellar. I think I max out around 110K/second with otherwise idle internet. I have another torrent that I’m seeding at the same time, so it’s roughly going to be half of that.

          We really need more people to start leeching it to build up the speed of the swarm.

          • YpsiTuckyBoy

            Was getting about 95 KB/S sitting in class.

        • MaizeNBlueJ

          Yeah, you probably won’t get a whole lot better than that (95kb/sec) until it gets spread out to more people. You have the misfortune of being one of the first to download it, so you’re limited by my upload speed.


  • Kenny

    The game gives me a lot of hope for the future of this team. Of course Morris and Morgan being the two big pleasant surprises. Morris definitely has his game at a different level from last year, and Morgan emerge to be a force on offense, but he needs to improve his free throws.

    But I have to say that all other players except Novak show potentials to improve as the season proceed, a lot of their mis-excution is matter of inexperience. Smots had two turn-overs on break, and a near turn-over saved by Novak. Stu penetrates but missed a lay-up early on. McLimans was not able to convert two early opportunities under the basket, Christian and Horford have not found their role in this offense, Hardaway picked up two quick fouls and missed a dunk, but such things will improve as the season progresses and they gain more game experiences.

    on the defensive end, we tried 1-3-1 two times but neither worked, but that should also improve over the time.

    On Vogrich, he had several nice 2pt jumpers in the exhibition and i would like to see more of that.

  • Tweeter

    @fanvfan: I have never understood fans telling other fans how they should be fans. Sure it is wrong to boo your own team or not support them at games, but what is wrong with saying negative things on message boards? Does it really matter? I will cheer for Vogrich like crazy when I am at games, but the fact is that he was atrocious last night when he had to do anything other than catch and shoot. That’s not to say that the kid can’t/won’t improve, but to ignore that fact right now is just putting your head in the sand.

    • Champswest

      To answer your question, IMO, what is wrong with it is that these are 18 year old kids playing a college sport. They aren’t getting paid millions and shouldn’t be publicly subjected to harsh criticism from any yahoo with a keyboard. Most of us wouldn’t appreciate that kind of public criticism.

      • Tweeter

        generally agree with you about public criticism. However, I would argue that there is a big difference between vocal criticism of kids at the sporting events or in person and criticizing the way that a kid played in a particular game. The former I would never agree with, the latter, however, I’m pretty sure Matt Vogrich would agree that he did not play well. It’s not like anyone is saying he is a bad person or a failure or that he has no role on this team. All I am saying is what I would imagine that Matt would say if asked about his game last night. He struggled and played very poorly for a couple minutes there.

  • UMQuasi

    If Horford’s role is going to be to play 4 minutes a game, I hope Beilein decides to give those minutes to McLimans and redshirt Horford. I know most don’t expect Horford to redshirt, but for me, that is simply not a big enough contribution to justify preserving the class imbalance in the front court.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      I think the decision not to redshirt Horford is based on the fact that they see potential in him and are intrigued by how far he could come by the end of the year. Couple that with questions of how consistent Morgan (injury issues) and McLimans can be as the season goes on and it makes sense to bring Horford along too IMO.

      • bird

        I trust Beilein to do what’s right by the kid and the team, but I agree with UMQuasi.

        Horford needs to mature physically.
        The early returns on Morgan support a player’s ability to develop in the system over the course of a year in practice.
        Redshirting Horford would break up the mega class and add a big to ’11. (The benefit, of course, being contingent on Horford playing through his 5YS season — so who knows?)

        I like the future we’ve glimpsed, but I’m not exactly expecting a deep run in the NCAAs this year anyway.

        I’m not clear on the redshirt rule, either. At what point does Beilein lose the option to redshirt Horford? Is the question already moot?

        • Dylan Burkhardt

          If Beilein comes out in his press conference next week and says Horford has some sort of back injury … Then he can redshirt Horford if he’s played in less than 20% of Michigan’s games (about 6).

          • Kenny

            sort of the same deal Gardner had. Has NCAA ever reject such applications?

  • georgeesq.

    I think that people are being a little too hard on Vogrich. He’s still a relatively inexperienced player who needs to develop physically. Two of his turnovers were just bad decisions. He has a lot to work on, but I’m not writing him off. Plus, he has shown his ability to hit the mid-range jump shot and threes consistently so far this season.

  • Rob in AA

    This was a solid win for a young team. As you said, Dylan, they took care of business.
    I’m just getting into the season. Why was Jordan Dumars in street clothes? Is he hurt? I have a good sight line to the bench from my seats, and he seemed more into girl watching than game watching at times.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Dumars is not eligible to play until the second semester due to transferring during the middle of last season.

  • UM Hoops Fan

    Vogrich will be fine. He’s a GREAT shooter and probably the best cutter on the team. With a little more muscle and experience, he’ll be potent offensively. His defense and handle are improving but need some work — although that’s true of other of our young players (like THJr losing his man, for instance). Some people always need to complain about something.

    • matt d

      Potent – I think that’s stretching a bit. There’s only so much you can do to improve athleticism, you pretty much have it or you don’t. Servicable, and maybe above average are more realistic goals for Vogrich. I can’t see him as a playmaker, he simply doesn’t have the skill set, athleticism, or decision making tools to do that. He’s a catch and shoot player, and that’s it. He can make good cuts, but the reality is that he is going to have trouble finishing because he isn’t athlectic enough – as evidenced by last night’s crisp cut followed by a shot block.

      • Kenny

        A clear shot-block does not happen so often. As he gain experience, he should be able to at least draw a foul.

      • UM Hoops Fan

        As for the blocked layup, he will learn how to use his body, the rim, and fakes better to avoid blocks, and more muscle and training will help too. Vogrich in high school showed a lot more ability to take it to the rim, and he’s shown a nose for the ball inside (last year and in Europe).

        Also, Robbie Reid averaged 13.5 points a game with not much but an ability to hit open 3s. Ask JJ Redick what catch and shoot guys can accomplish in college. I’m not saying Vogrich will be Redick or even Reid, or will turn into the ultimate five tool guy, but he has the potential to be a very positive offensive factor for us in the years to come.

        • Deacon Blues

          For what it’s worth, Redick was hardly just a catch-and-shoot guy. He was incredible at creating space off of jab-steps, behind-the-back dribbles and fallaways. Tougher to do in the NBA, though, obviously.

          For me, the real question with Vogrich is defense. Since we’re not a 1-3-1 team right now, everyone must be able to stick with his man. He could be worthwhile as a catch-and-shoot guy, but he has to play decent man-to-man on the other end.

          • UM Hoops Fan

            True enough, and I agree the defense side is more of a concern…

  • Section13Row15

    I agree with a lot of the comments and like how everyone is playing in their true positions this year. I thought Horford brought a lot of energy to the game when he was in and deserved to be left out on the court longer. I was a bit embarrassed by the turnout last night, I’m hoping everyone comes out for Ray Jackson, Jalen Rose, and Jimmy King on Sunday. I don’t think Ray Jackson has been back for quite some time. Please come out and pay these guys their due!

  • Polisci

    In an ideal situation, Vogrich should be a red-shirt freshmen this year. I think anonymous internet fans are too quick to make judgments.

  • jack simms

    non-anonymous internet fan here

    while the idea of a sweet-shooting guard in this system is very attractive, the actual physical limitations of vogrich seen thus far in his second year make me worry that he will never be able to get his shot against competent division I defenders

  • maxwell’s demon

    What fun would sports analysis be if we eliminated all discussion regarding negative plays and performances? This is sports we’re talking about not the glee club.

    • UM Hoops Fan

      There’s a difference between discussing limitations of players, areas for improvement, plays/aspects of the game that fell short, versus in a public venue calling kids on the team we’re supposed to fans of “atrocious” and “cringing” when they enter the game. The former is fun, the latter not so much.

  • Andy

    I have to agree that Vogrich seemed really outmanned. I would prefer Novack to be getting the minutes as the backup 3. The 1 through 3 can be manned by the combination of Morris, Douglass, Novack, and Hardaway. No reason all three of them can’t get roughly 30 minutes a game.

    I strongly disagree that Douglass is best suited playing only half the game. He is too good of a player relative to the rest of the team to be playing such limited minutes.

  • Gary Grant Fan

    This team has two things going for it that we hadn’t seen in the Beilein era:

    1) Michigan’s lineup is a lot more conventional than it had been in the past, now that there are two bigs, two wings and a point guard on the court at the same time. Novak was out of his league guarding power forwards, and having a guy who can rebound and defend from the 2 spot will only help. But more than just that — this team shoots (and often misses) a lot of threes, and playing two bigs who can pickup offensive rebounds could be crucial if this team is going to have any success. Like many others, I like what I’ve seen so far from Morgan, but I don’t think we’re going to get a lot of low post scoring from him or any of the other forwards. This game showed what this team can be successful with offensively: scoring in transition, dribble drive penetration, and converting offensive rebounds into garbage points. And if they can make some threes to open things up inside it would be helpful as well.

    2) I also like the balanced scoring. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that there’s an upside to no longer having Manny and DeShawn, but it seems to me that its harder to defend a team that has five guys who can score, rather than just two. After 18 minutes had gone by last night, MIchigan had nearly 40 points — and no one was in double figures. And best of all, they did it with (arguably) their best player sitting on the bench with foul trouble. Ironically enough, I think that if Morris can continue to play under control and find the open man, this team has the potential to be better offensively than they were during the Manny/DeShawn era.

    Right now, what concerns me the most about this team is interior defense. And they still don’t play the 1-3-1 very well…

    • Tweeter

      I think the big thing with the offense so far is that they are way more diverse at this point than they were last year. This team relied almost exclusively on Manny and Sims to either score or create shots for everyone else. Right now we are seeing that the offensive system and the players running it, can create a wide variety of shots without those two. Really the only missing aspect right now is a low post scoring threat. That is not likely to change this season but hopefully we will see some signs of it by the end of the year from at least one of the bigs.

      As for the defense, I believe the interior defense struggled last night for two reasons. One, there was way too much switching of guards on to bigs in the first half. BGSU did a good job of going to those mismatches when they got it. In the second half UM appeared to be fighting thru more of those screens instead of switching. Two, penetration remains an issue. BGSU was able to attack and draw help a lot last night off the dribble. That always opens up holes and creates easy dump off baskets. I would guess that most of the penetration is just a result of young guys getting used to playing against D1 competition.

      As for the 1-3-1, I believe Beilein has said and I think Merritt echoed it last night, that they have only just begun to practice it. So with 6 freshman it’s no surprise that all the rotations are not being made as quickly as they should be. That said the few possessions they have run it, they have been able to make the other team really work to find an opening. It’s just been one or two slow rotations that have opened up towards the end of possessions. By the end of the year, I could really see this team using the 1-3-1 as a good weapon with all the length we have.

  • Champswest

    This was a very good analysis and recap. However, if BG is expected to be bottom third of D-1, where is UM projected? If many are picking us to finish 10th or 11th in the Big Ten, wouldn’t that put us pretty close to bottom third?

    I have seen all 3 games and have been very impressed with the level of play, the improvement of several players, the team attitude and cohesivness. They have improved from game to game.

    I think that the balanced scoring that we saw in this game will be typical for the year (with the leaders changing from game to game). Personally, I like the fact that scoring cam come from just about anyone and you aren’t relying on 1 or 2 guys to carry you every night.

    What more can you say about Novak? You just have to have that guy on the floor as much as possible. What a great example he sets for his teammates. That photo of him (above) should be enlarged to life size and placed in Chrysler Arena, Schembechler Hall and every other athletic facility on campus.

    • J-Turn14

      I’m sure michigan is projected well ahead of BGSU. The bottom third of the big ten is still 50th percentile, at worst, most years in regards to all of D-1.

  • JimC

    First impressions of the 2010-2011 team:
    -Matrix has a sweet stroke! Looks very smooth in general.
    -All this height seems like a luxury, with 4 (!) big men, compared to last year when we had 1.5.
    -Pretty excited now, but Dylan is right. Way too early to tell what we’ve got.

    (Dylan, I take it someone has already pointed out that the years are mixed up in your intro on this post)

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Sorry with the years I usually refer to this as the “2011 season”… So the games were actually all a year before the date I listed according to calendar year. I updated it a bit to hopefully make it more clear.

  • kevin

    yesterday was the first chance i got to see the team in action. bowling green was easily the worst shooting team i have ever seen, they had an 0-18 stretch from the end of the first half and to start the second. bowling green was more athletic however and michigan still managed to play good defense. even with limited time hardaway showed he is the teams best offensive player, by far. he made a couple good dishes (morgan missed the wide open dunk), has the second best shot on the team and can finish in traffic, he is going to be awesome. from what i seen out of the bigs, morgan will give the team the best chance to win (from the 5) and should play the majority of minutes, mclimans, in my opinion should be used as a backup. with that said i think horford will be the best of those three bigs, he has the most upside of any of them and seemed to be in the right place at the right time last night in more than one occasion. novak is a hell of a team leader, his high motor helps the team a great deal but he tried creating a couple times last night and it didn’t really work to well, he should stick to spot shooting and defense. smot and morris played really good as well. i know it’s early but i think there needs to be more of a rotation, the main guys don’t stay in long enough to get into a rhythm in my opinion, but like i said it is early and they’re probably just checking some things out.

  • drae

    Hey Dylan I know you said Dumars want be able to play until fall semster is over but question was have you heard anything about him in practice that would you to believe that he can come contribute and maybe take one of the back up roles @ the guard position?

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      No, not really.

  • Matt

    McLimans has one of the quicker releases I’ve seen for a big man.

  • David

    Despite BG’s poor showing, I think there are some takeaways from this game for a young Michigan basketball squad. I think our team has much more depth in years past, with players that have unique talents that fit in a team concept as opposed to just focusing on complementing our stars like Manny or Sims. Additionally, Beilein is finally stepping it up on the recruiting trail as players like Smots and Hardaway look to make a big impact as freshman and Darius Morris is going to breakout as a sophomore.

    Novack – for anyone that didn’t see the game, he had the play of the game in the 1st half with a come from behind block on a fastbreak layup that turned into a three on the other end. It started a nice run for UM in the end of the first half and we coasted in the 2nd half. He looks much more comfortable playing the 2/3 than the 4 in the offense (shocking i know for a 6’4 kid) and looks to be a leader on this squad
    Douglas – he seems to be driving to the hoop a lot this year in the first two games so far. I haven’t seen him shoot much so far, but his vision as the backup PG and SG looks good and he is one of playmakers and initiators of offense for our bench squad. He is a great alternative to Morris when/if Morris gets into foul trouble. I am still looking forward to next year when Trey Burke and Carlton Brundidge are able to provide even more depth and offense from the point guard spot in this offense.
    Morris – he was in total control of this game, as the announcers mentioned numerous times. He set a career high in assists and could easily have had 3-5 more on blown layups, shots, etc. He dominated the BG pg (not hard, since he was only 5’6) but he got into the lane whenever he wanted and initiated the offense perfectly. He still needs to work on his jumper or else teams are going to slack off him in the Big Ten season.
    Morgan – a necessary glue guy for this team. Since Smots is a stretch 4 and mostly played on teh perimeter, we need Morgan to be a solid post defender and a finisher around the rim on offense. He isn’t very tall (maybe 6’8), but he played excellent defense on BG’s freshman center who was supposed to be their best player. He has been a strong rebounder which is essential for our team. He doesn’t seem that athetlic in the shot-blocking center mode but he is definitiely tough and does not need plays run for him on offense.
    Smots – this was a glimpse of the future for Smots. You can see why he was almost a 5* recruit. His shooting form looks great, especially on threes. He really impressed me when he took the ball up the court at least 3 times, he was very quick and confident in the open court and made some sharp passes. He still needs to bulk up if he wants to contribute at all on the defensive side of the ball, but he looks special on offense. I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps growing either, maybe reaching 6’11 (he still looks so young, has tons of acne, ha)
    Hardaway Jr – he struggled early with 2 fouls in the first minute, so I didn’t get to see much of TImmy Jr. From exhibitiions, the trip to Europe, and the first game I’ve seen great things though. He is 6’5, has great form shooting the 3, and played the top of the zone in our 1-3-1 defense. He seems more of a catch and shoot guy than a slasher, which is contrary to what I read coming out of high school but maybe he is just adjusting to the college game. He has a bright future as one of our top all-around players.
    Christian / Vogrich / Mclimans / Horford – The remainder of our rotation played a very good game at both ends of floor. Vogrich still looks tiny on the court but he nailed at least two dagger threes effortlessly. Colton Christian looked like an athletic freshman who is capable of playing very good defense and finishing around the basket or dunking on fast breaks. Mclimans took a great charge, grabbed quite a few defensive rebounds, and knocked down two mid range jump shots. I think he can be an effective player going forward but again, as a redshirt freshman, he still needs to bulk up to bang in the post during the Big Ten season. Finally, Hortford made a nice play in the first half grabbing an offensive rebound with a nice putback, but if it it were up to me he would be redshirting this year. He looks like he is 6’8 but weights 165, and he could definitely use an extra 20-30 pounds before he will be a capable post player.

    Plus we’ve got Joe Dumars’ son on the bench, and he will be eligible after the first semester ends as another pure shooter of the bench.

    I really have no idea if this team can do anything this year. I am excited about watching them grow. I believe that Beilein has the support of the new AD Brandon and that with continued recruiting efforts going forward (I still see the need for more depth in the front court and an athletic wing) Michigan should be on the cusp of NCAA tournament next year as we will return our entire squad. This squad seems to be able to do the one thing necessary in the Beilein offense that our previous teams couldn’t do – shoot the damn rock – so that bodes well for this year and our squad going forward.