Game 11: Oakland at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt
on

imageimageimage
Photo Credit: AnnArbor.com / MGoBlue

This was supposed to be one of Michigan’s toughest games of the season to date and the Wolverines passed it with flying colors. Michigan’s defense held Oakland – a team that has already faced West Virginia, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State, and Tennessee – to their worst offensive output of the season. I’ve been hesitant to believe that Michigan’s defense is the real deal, because making bad teams look terrible only goes so far, but right now there’s no denying that Michigan is playing great defense.

John Beilein’s game plan for dealing with Keith Benson couldn’t have been better. Benson made just one more field goal (5) than he had turnovers (4) and was held to a quiet 11 points and 7 rebounds. The Wolverines never allowed Benson to get comfortable on the offensive end as they threw an array of double teams at the 7-footer which forced him into turnovers or poor shots.

My pre-game prediction about Michigan playing lots of zone couldn’t have been further from the truth as the Wolverines played zone on just one possession. However, the prediction regarding the winner of the Darius Morris/Larry Wright match-up winning the game was right on the money. Morris finished with 18 points on 7 of 14 shooting, 5 assists, and 4 turnovers. Larry Wright was held to 1 of 9 shooting for 2 points, 6 rebounds, four turnovers, and three assists in 35 minutes. Morris was arguably the best player on the floor while Wright was never able to find his offensive game.

The four factors illuminate the difference in this game pretty clearly: shooting. Oakland had an effective field goal percentage of just 35% — 41% on twos, 19% on threes, and 53% on free throws. The end result of that dismal shooting is just .73 points per possession from the Grizzlies. The last time Oakland shot that poorly came last season in a November game at the Kohl Center. Michigan did a tremendous job on the defensive glass, as they rebounded 73% of Oakland’s misses.

Michigan had their slumps offensively but they scored just enough points to win comfortably. The offense scored 1.00 points per possession thanks to their 50% effective field goal percentage. Michigan’s offense attacked from the inside-out as they scored on a number of easy looks in the paint coming off great passes of cuts. The Wolverines attempted just 33% of their field goals from three point range, a mark well below their season average, and only connected on 32% of the long range looks. The name of the game was balance, as eight of the nine Michigan players that saw game action made at least two field goals.

This was a game that most expected Michigan to struggle through, they didn’t. The Wolverines responded with what might have been their best game of the year and ran Oakland out of the gym. The tests will only get tougher from here on out, and it remains to be seen how the Wolverines will match-up with the Big Ten, but you have to like how this team is playing basketball.

Next up is Bryant, a team that has already matched their win total from last year with a win over Iona. Michigan fans, and probably players, would be lying if they said their eyes aren’t creeping ahead to the December 28th home game versus Purdue. Pershing guard Sherron Dorsey-Walker was at the game and in the lockerroom afterward.

image
Photo Credit: MGoBlue

Player Bullets:

  • Darius Morris: Morris was the best player on the court. When Michigan needed a basket it was Morris that answered the call with a circus shot in the lane or a smooth assist. Morris has obviously become comfortable in his role leading this team with the ball in his hands.
  • Zack Novak: 13 points, 12 defensive rebounds, and four assists. Novak has become a force on the defensive glass whether he’s at the two or four position and he’s one of the main reasons why Michigan’s defensive rebounding has been so improved this year. He’s not shooting the ball great – 3 of 7 today – but his rebounding has been paramount.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan was obviously bothered by Benson’s length and shot blocking ability inside (2 of 7) but he did grab 11 rebounds (5 off, 6 def) in 18 minutes. The foul troubles woes continued but if Horford is providing quality minutes, that might not be the end of the world. I thought Morgan did a great job of playing strong in the post and was doing the pushing rather than being pushed around.
  • Jon Horford: Another quality performance from Horford: 4 points (2-4 fg), 6 rebounds, and three blocks in 17 minutes. Horford probably should have had four more points if it wasn’t for missed tip-ins, and he’ll lose some battles based on sheer lack of strength, but he is providing a spark for this team. Horford is the best shot blocker on the team by a wide margin and continues to have a nose for the ball.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.:Hardaway’s inconsistency remains, as he didn’t find the scoring column until the second half, but he has the ability to score points in bunches which was evident by his 10 second half points.  The shooting still isn’t there, 3 of 9 (2-5 3pt), but 4 rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block in 28 minutes. Hardaway was probably as aggressive as he has been all year taking the ball to the hole.
  • Matt Vogrich: Lately when Vogrich shoots the ball, you think it’s going in. He hit one of two three point attempts today and finished with 5 points in 12 minutes. Hardaway struggled early on and Vogrich provided Michigan with an early offensive spark that got the ball rolling.
  • Stu Douglass: An efficient night for Douglass: 3 of 4 shooting (1-1 3pt) for 7 points in 28 minutes. Douglass played within himself and never forced things offensively, leaving very little to complain about in a game where Michigan didn’t need him to go above and beyond.
  • Evan Smotrycz: Smotrycz had a pretty solid performance overall thanks to a couple great stretches of play. He hit a couple of shots in the first half but more notably started a huge Michigan run out of the gates in the second half. First, running the same play that Michigan ran out of the half versus Utah, he had a nice assist down low to Jordan Morgan. Smotrycz followed that up with a three pointer and a big block on the other end which. 3 for 8 (1-5 3pt) isn’t great in terms of shooting numbers but Smotrycz did hit some huge shots.
  • Blake McLimans: 5 minutes, 1 foul, not other production. McLimans continues to check into games before Horford, maybe to burn a foul?, but he hasn’t produced.
  • maxwell’s demon

    Who would have thought our post play would be pretty solid this year? The post was definitely my biggest fear heading into the season and I think the impressive results are partly why this team is playing a bit above expectations. Plus Morris is playing probably as well as anyone in the B10. This is gonna be a tough team to beat in A2.

  • http://umhoops.com Wayman Britt

    Great game plan by Coach Beilein. There is no doubt he can prepare a team and good with game management.

    Well it looks like at a minimum UM is NIT bound, which is better than I expected before the season. The conference run is going to be interesting and a huge test for UM. I like their chances if they can go 9-9. Hope the freshman remain healthy and strong in March.

    • tin mad dog

      IF they go 9-9 in the Big 10, forget the NIT, they’ll be making the big dance. That would be shocking.

      It’s too early for those dreams, though. Let’s see if we can beat our last cupcake and then go 1-0 in conference first.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        9-9 is bubble territory. Problem is the lack of quality wins in the non-conference. Michigan was one of the last teams in in 2009 when they went 9-9 in B10 play and beat Duke and UCLA… They probably need 10 wins in conference which is a very tall task.

        • Sullycu

          9-9 would probably get them in because of how good the b10 is

          • Beast1530

            As of now, Michigan does not have a marquee win. 9-9 would not be enough for Michigan to get into the NCAA tourney.

            Regardless, Michigan is not a NCAA tourney as of now. They are destined for NIT.

          • Gus Johnson Pure

            Depends which 9 they win. Beat OSU, maybe MSU or Illinois, or get a couple road wins against top-half teams and that could make up for the lack of a marquee OOC win. Also, like Gordie Bell mentioned below, we can still KO Kansas. Beat Kansas and win 9 conference games and we’re a lock, IMO.

            Here’s an interesting scenario: 8-10 regular season in conference, 2 wins in the B10 Tourney, 10-10 overall. Good enough to dance?

          • UMQuasi

            Gus Johnson, I don’t think that would get us in. Conference tournament wins generally don’t count for as much as the regular season in the mind of the committee. It’s possible to play yourself out of a bid in the conference tournament but it’s tough to play your way in (unless you win the tournament of course). Also, in that situation, we’d be 10-11, not 10-10–if we won two games in the BTT then we’d have a loss in the third game.

          • Gus Johnson Pure

            UMQuasi: Good point re: 10-11. Missed that. And I agree that it probably wouldn’t be good enough to dance.

        • gordie bell

          not too late to knock of Kansas

          • tin mad dog

            I’m assuming any team that gets 9 wins in the Big 10 will have beaten at least 1 or 2 teams of note. We’d still probably have to win 1 game in the Big 10 tourney as well.

            Even if we end up winning 6 or 7 games in conference, I’m happy that there was at least a point in this season that we thought we actually MIGHT do better than that.

            My expectations coming into this season were much lower, with the NIT being the ceiling.

        • steve sharik

          “Michigan was one of the last teams in in 2009 when they went 9-9 in B10 play and beat Duke and UCLA…”

          Remember, UCLA finished outside the top 25 in 2009, so it really became that Michigan had more top 100 wins than other bubble teams. (IIRC, we had 12 or so top 100 wins.)

          When you’re on the bubble, you are grouped with other teams that are b/w 25-75 in rpi and likely have at most one win against the top 25, otherwise you’re rpi wouldn’t be so low. It, therefore, becomes a comparison of how many top 100 wins you have and how many sub-200 losses you have.

          Right now Michigan has a very bad loss on its resume, a loss to #199 UTEP. UTEP has to do well in CUSA to help, but it’s really about Michigan doing well in the Big Ten.

          RPI is obviously a fluid situation, but by season’s end we can expect around 8 opposing Big Ten teams to be in the top 100 of the RPI. (If Indiana can sneak in there, that would make 9 and would be really helpful to the entire league…except for the teams that lose to IU, of course.) The teams we play only once are Minnesota and Penn State. Both will likely be inside the top 100, and one of the games is away (Minn.) while one is at home (PSU).

          Adding #4 RPI (at the moment) Kansas gives us approx. 15-17 more shots at top-100 wins. We currently have 3, so IF Indiana cracks the top 100 and we go 6-11 against that top 100, and IF we don’t lose to Bryant or Iowa, that would make us 18-13 and 9-9 in the league with 10 top-100 wins, only one loss to a sub-150 team, and a 3 point neutral court win against a top 10 team (‘Cuse).

          LIke Dylan said, that’s bubble territory, but it’s pretty strong, imo.

          • Taddie

            Actually, michigan only plays purdue and illinois once, which has got to be the best draw in the big ten. And utep is currently #68 in pomeroy’s rankings, and while the selection committee doesn’t use pomeroy, their rpi is bound to go up.

          • steve sharik

            wtf…i must’ve read a previous years’ schedule, though I can’t recall us playing PSU only once (Minny either).

            My bad. I think I’ll go back to mgoblog and stick with football.

    • Champswest

      We haven’t even played a conference game yet, so I think it is a little early to start predicting post season destinations. Most observers had us sub .500 for the season (maybe only winning 10 games total, or less), so I am just going to remain optimistic and enjoy the ride.

      • Gus Johnson Pure

        No doubt. Gotta keep perspective. I was thinking 2-4 conference wins preseason, now I’m upping the expectations to 4-6. Still, can’t help but dream after today’s performance.

  • CJD

    My keys to the game were as follows:

    – Morris moved the ball better than he had all season and we saw more of what the motion offense is supposed to produce.
    – Morgan not giving an inch in the defensive paint.

    Things that still need to be worked on:

    – THJ needs to take it to the rack more often; he has the length to do it and he could use the easy points that come from the free throw line.
    – Shooting the 3 early in the shot clock; today there were more examples of what the extra pass will produce and we need to keep getting better at that.
    – I would also like to have seen Morgan and Horford or McLimans in the game at the same time with Smot because I think it will be needed somewhere along the line in the big ten schedule. Great 2-3 zone back line…..

    • sven

      I think most of the team needs to learn how come to a jump stop and pump fake when driving to the hole.

  • FL Wolve

    That picture of Jordan Morgan on the front page is unreal. Does that kid have some freaking guns on him or what?!?

    I think 9-9 would put us squarely on the bubble but we would have to beat a few of the top teams like MSU and OSU. Racking up 9 wins against the bottom 5 teams probably won’t do it.

  • JimC

    The crowd was getting into it today, and the players responded.

  • W3

    Beilein doubled Benson from the baseline in the first half which REALLY bothered him, then switched it and the 2nd half it came from the top. The one time they went back to the baseline double Stu took it away from him. Great game plan on D.

    Darius was great today, but everyone really got involved. Agree with Dylan that Benson bothered Morgan on O. Smotrycz sat a lot today…he was making plays until he got the tech then Beilein sat him for what seemed like the majority of the first half.

    I think 9 could get us in the tourny. B10 is great this year, ACC, Pac 10 and even SEC is a bit down…if we keep playing ball we could sneak in….

    BTW..we beat Kansas at home in a couple weeks

  • Paul

    Wow – the size of Michigan’s win today was super unexpected (at least by me)! They are now playing like a team that will make the Bid Dance, and if they keep playing like this, their recruiting level should pick up too. I hope they crack the Top 25 soon. Go Blue!

  • junderground

    They looked great, and if you want to start dreaming about the Big Dance, that’s your prerogative, but I don’t think they’re there yet. I just appreciate this win for what it is.

  • smance

    Dylan, did anyone catch up with Sherron Dorsey-Walker? Wonder how his visit went? Must have been positive you’d think….

  • Colby

    Dylan, two quick questions. Were there any other recruits at the game today? and Are we still recruiting Jeremy Hollowell? Thanks

  • gordie bell

    M is outscoring teams by and average of 13 a game. We have a legit shot at making the tourney with the way we are playing. We didn’t just beat Clemson we dominated them, same with Utah and Oakland, this is beyond fluke status, this team is good
    While I am pleased as punch with the play of Darius Morris, now I am concerned that Darius, Stu, and Zack, will all be gone after next season. Sooo…. with that being said, are we going to need a point guard in the 2012 recruiting class?

    • Beast1530

      No marquee wins for Michigan. Clemson is a solid team. Utah isn’t as good as they were in the past. Oakland is overrated because of the recent win and close loss to MSU.

      • Paul

        I’m starting to like our Big Dance chances

        • KRN

          Keep in mind that the new tournament expansion could play into our favor. If we go 9-9 in the Big 10 and do our usual one-and-done in the Big Ten tournament, we could squeak in despite the lack of a marquee non-conference win.

          • Jeff

            Only three teams were added, won’t make much difference. 9-9, with a win over Kansas and at least one win in BTT would probably do it. PSU got left out after going 10-8 two years ago, and the B10 was pretty good that year.

    • steve sharik

      “…now I am concerned that Darius, Stu, and Zack, will all be gone after next season.”

      Why would those three be gone? No way. Darius is only a soph. and he isn’t NBA-ready, while Stu and Zack are only juniors and aren’t near the NBA radar. All three will return.

      • Taddie

        He said they would leave after NEXT year. Stu and zack will be seniors, and darius would jump a year early (which I definitely don’t think he would do unless his freshman to sophomore improvement happens again, the kid is super humble and won’t rush to the cash)

        • steve sharik

          I can’t read…mea culpa.

          • gpsimms

            you’re on fiya! how’s it goin mr. sharik?

  • smance

    TOS had a pic of Zack Irvin (Sp?), so I assume he was there.

    • Paul

      Excellent

  • http://@ufl.edu Mattski

    When all is said and done, I’m not sure Oakland was or is ALL THAT. But the way we beat them–convincingly–certainly was. To get to the dance (and it’s pure conjecture now) we would need to beat one or two ranked teams, methinks. But we might have a good chance of winning a couple of B10 tourney games, and enhancing the resume.

    And beating a couple of the better B10 squads at home no longer looks like pure fantasy.

    Was there a good crowd at the game? These guys put on a good show.

  • http://www.yeastboundanddown.com PaulVB

    Awesome win by Michigan today. The young guys are all taking steps and getting better. They’re going to be fun to watch.

    I am really trying to not put expectations on this team. They’re playing well, and look like they could get to the bubble, but honestly I was hoping for .500 before the season. I’m happy with the pleasant surprise, and I’d rather stay happy than set it up so I’ll be disappointed.

  • Brian W

    The crowd was okay. It was somewhere around 9,500, and they were into it. The way the team is playing, the crowds should be larger during the Big Ten portion.

    Women’s team is having an off-night and is going to lose to Detroit.

    • http://@ufl.edu Mattski

      Thanks. Hope the crowds start to swell now and that word is getting out.

  • Cyrus Ernesto “Ernie” Zirakzadeh

    Peformance at the free-throw line is definitely improving — yet another good sign.

  • Tweeter

    the team defense really is tremendous. So many teams have had such terrible shooting games against us, that it can no longer be considered fluky. It is quite amazing what Beilein has done with these guys on that end of the floor considering that I do not think any one player is great one-on-one defender. Morris is probably above average, douglass is ok to good, but beyond that the guys really are not great as individuals. Yet as a team they function at a high level.

    Hopefully the team doesnt look past Bryant with all the distractions of break and the coming Big Ten season.

    • Gus Johnson Pure

      The supreme effort to clog passing lanes makes up for our lack of a great one-on-one defender. That’s what has made our D so successful, IMO.

  • mgocanada

    Love the performance today. The team is exceeding expectations on a number of fronts: nobody expected Morgan to be such a solid inside presence, nobody expected Horford to make such an immediate defensive impact, and nobody expected Darius to become a bonafide STAR PG so quickly. THJ and ES still need to emerge from their inconsistent play for us to reach our full potential this year, at which point UM will be a dangerous opponent for anybody, anywhere (yes even the Kohl). Stu and Novak are showing leadership and determination, and serve as tremendous role players and scoring threats. I didn’t have great expectations for McLimans, as his celebrations from the bench last season reminded me of a cross between a harp seal and a Price Is Right contestant bidding on a showcase — 6’10 plus a good GPA does not a Big ten schollie make. That’s myone and only gripe.

    This team could make the tourney without beating kansas — any argument to the contrary would suggest that our scheduling from the outset doomed us to de facto ineligibility, since aside from losing to top-flight D1 programs (Utep was last year at least), we haven’t and will not suffer a bad non-conference loss. Plus, i believe that with the strenhgth of the b10, there are plenty of opportunities for in-conf marquee wins. also, whatever Mr. Pomeroy might believe, we have a very solid chance to knock off any team in conference except OSU. (For those that thought seniority and size made Illinois invincible, tell that to UIC or whatever non-Butler team that just owned them!) The Big Ten should get 6 or 7 bids this year, and if we get climb into the thick of things by stealing one from state and minny and picking up a few road wins, we’re in. But obviously, tall order duh. That said, bold prediction time: Brundidge and Burke and robinson get us over that hurdle into conf top 3 territory.

    • sven

      Blake will be fine down the road. He not just tall. He also moves very well for his size and has a nice shot despite what we’ve seen of it so far.

  • Champswest

    The beauty of this team was youth, the lack of star power and low expectations. So they said, “Hey, lets all get together and play together and play hard and see what happens. Let’s create offense by playing great defense and let’s get more offensive opportunities by not turning the ball over.” If they keep doing that, they could be pretty good. They are getting great coaching and they are listening to it and executing it.
    What fun it is to watch a team play as a TEAM.

    • jihadistjohn

      exactly!…and that’s how beilein drew it up…this is the first year that every guy is his…no players on the entire roster were brought in by an unwanted unqualified dewkie, and it shows…just a great feeling to have genuine excitement every time they tip-off

  • Bluebufoon

    Zak Irvin and Gary Harris had a big game down in Indiana tonight, which Beilein and and U-M assistant LaVall Jordan attended. Look for Zak Irvin to visit U-M for the Purdue game along with Mitch McGary, who’s originally from Chestertown, Indiana and now attends Brewster Academy.

    This tweet tonight was from Scout.com’s Brian Snow :

    BSnowScout Tim Fuller of Louisville is here, Steve McClain from IU was spotted, and LaVall Jordan from Michigan to go along with his boss

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Yup. Sounds like like Irvin struggled a bit though.

      Here’s an interview we did with Irvin in September:
      http://www.umhoops.com/2010/09/02/2013-intro-wing-guard-zak-irvin/

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        It’s also worth noting that Brundidge played pretty poorly against Brandan Kearney and Percy Gibson in a loss to Southeastern. Kearney looked better than I’ve seen him before. We’ll have a video and report up tomorrow.

  • Ryan

    Morgan, Horford and great double and even triple teams were helluva successful on Benson. Morgan wasnt afraid of bodying Benson, and Benson didnt really get off too many jumpers.

    OU had tons of open shots and just didnt hit em, just a bad game all around unless your name was Reggie.

    Solid win nonetheless over a very dangerous mid-major. Though the press by OU REALLY revealed how mich lacks ball handling.

    Also, Darius is big time, has 15 year nba career in the bag.

    • CJD

      Little early to make that huge leap in regards to Darius in my opinion; lets see how he plays against stronger players and point guards in the Big Ten.

      • Wolverine

        CJD it seems like you are just a Darius hater you always knock him i agree this whole team has a whole lot to prove in the Big 10 but Darius is just a sophomore and will just continue to get better. But I imagine when he eventually has a bad game like all human bball players have u will love the chance to bash him. It’s funny to me lol

        • Ryan

          I’d bet my tuition that Morris will be a top 20 pick when he enters the draft in a few years. The writing is on the wall.

  • Bluebufoon

    The play that stood out for me from Saturday’s game was when Zak Novak came down the lane (second-half) and scored a lay-up on Keith Benson. That’s what Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford need to learn how to use their body to get their shot off versus a shot-blocker. If our bigs get better at that Michigan scores an extra 10 to 12 points against Oakland. To be fair, it helps Novak that he is left-handed.
    I

    • CJD

      All our big men need to work on catching the ball; we could have had far more points in the paint yesterday had they been able to simple catch the ball.

    • Kenny

      Morgan was obviously over-excited on Saturday, lost his usual coolness.

  • Alex

    Penn State’s Non-conference SOS was weak compared to what ours should be by year’s end. A hypothetical 9-9 Big Ten record plus a Big Ten Tourney win or two would probably make us competitive. As others have said we only know the team has exceeded expectations to this point. We haven’t played a Big Ten game yet and we don’t know the strength of the bubble yet. Still a lot of season left. Whatever happens I have had a great time watching different players step up each night and am psyched about the direction of the program.

  • Kainkitizen

    The more improved play and winning games sure does change everybody’s attitude when it comes to writing comments, not only here but on other sites also. Winning cures everything. If this team is this good now. I can only imagine what the team is going to do next year with Burke and Brundidge. I bet you we run with Ohio State, Michigan State for Conference next year. I can’t believe I’m saying this at this point of the season for next year. Maybe its just overly excitement from the season progression and today’s win. I bet we give Kansas there first loss of the season. It’s going to be like Duke 2 years ago at Crisler.

  • Bluebufoon

    Lifted this from Northstarbasketball.com

    In some other news that was reported by Jay Gomes of NJHoops, Sean Grennan ’11 of Monsignor Donovan (NJ) is back on the market. A 6’2 shooting guard known for his stroke from beyond the arc, Grennan had been committed to Davidson.

    The report from NJHoops stated that Grennan had been denied admission to Davidson, one of the nation’s truly elite academic institutions. Grennan should not be short on suitors the second time around though, likely including other superb academic schools.

    Before pledging to Davidson this summer, Grennan had offers from schools such as Bucknell, Holy Cross, Fordham, Lehigh, and New Hampshire. In addition, programs like Boston College, Michigan, and Seton Hall were showing interest.
    **************
    Someone is going to get a good guard– it’s a shame U-M doesn’t have room for him.

    • YpsiTuckyBoy

      Lol @ Davidson being “one of the nation’s truly elite academic institutions”

      Btw, Michigan looked great. I really think that Michigan has been giving great effort on D for the past few years, but that we finally have the size to make it pay off. I just don’t think people realize how much of a difference size makes in winning defensive battles.

    • Kenny

      admit someone denied by Davidson? I am glad that U-M doesn’t have room for him.

  • GrandChamp

    Great defensive effort at usual, starting out each half strong was key.

    Funny note : Central Florida is now 10-0 with Sykes and Tom Herzog.

    • Giddings

      Interesting to note also that Sykes has played in every game, averaging 19 mpg, but has yet to attempt a 3-pointer this year. This was one of our biggest questions after watching his film, and even though his coach claimed he “could shoot”, I would think that a guard who can shoot would have attempted at least one trey by now. Looking back on it, it’s probably best that he went to UCF – Beilein may have been swayed a little by the outside voices saying “U-M needs athleticism!”.

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    Dylan et al, this is kind of a random thought, but… Does anyone think that it really helps having these sons of NBA guys, in part, because they probably grew up with a lot of confidence? THJ, in particular, just seems to have a lot of swagger. And I think you can see it in Horford, too. I think self-confidence on the court is vital and also contagious. It’s what you need to seal the deal against opponents like MSU that have had not only a physical, but a mental, advantage for the past decade. You have to snap out of an inferiority complex and know that you can beat a rival, win in the Kohl Center, etc.

    • ZRL

      I think it helps in that they are not going to be intimidated by anyone (like a lot of freshman are) considering they have been playing pick up ball against HOFers their whole life.

  • Pingback: Rush The Court » Blog Archive » Around The Blogosphere: December 19, 2010()

  • GregGoBlue

    Perhaps the thing that I love to see the most out of this young team is their passion: making tough plays, getting fired up and being congratulated by their teammates. I can remember after Horford’s dunk against Utah, he came to the bench and was annihilated by Jordan Morgan and THJr in celebration. In this Oakland game, Jordan Morgan was fighting hard against future NBA lottery pick Keith Benson on every play, not hesitating to tangle with the Oakland and get his nose in there. And how about Smotrycz with the T, protecting his teammates!

    You can see it in their eyes and their behavior that this is a talented young team that wants to win. The chemistry that this team lacked last year is clearly present this year, thanks in part to a great Eurotrip. This team will be a pleasure to watch for the remainder of this year, and in the coming years.

    • Jeff

      You got a little carried away there. Benson will be lucky to go in the 2nd round, but more likely will have to try to go the route of Manny Harris. Very good college player though and UofM did a great job against him.

      • Brick

        He’s currently projected as a late first rounder. He will not go undrafted. I’m interested in seeing Benson v Sullinger.

  • Mac

    Question: Are the students back for the kansas game Jan. 9th

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Yes.

  • http://umhoops.com ToBlav

    Thanks to the interviews on this site I feel like I know something of each players personality. In addition to things said be others, it is really great that every last kid on this team is a likeable, reasoning young man that anyone would admire in general as well as for athletics.

    • Brick

      Having met a number of them after the exhibition game, I couldn’t agree more. The thing that struck me is that they really are just kids. I forget how young they are sometimes.

  • Anthony

    How important has lavall jordan been in the defensive scheme ? I really like our team defensively i dont think they have enough scoring yet, and utilmately i would be happy with the nit. I think this team is going to be tough at home, i cant wait for the purdue game and i would use the same game plan as today.

  • Lee

    This year’s team is really fun to watch. They play like a real team depending on each other and leaning on each other – so unlike last year. They are so young with a really stellar upside. With the defense they are playing, they are going to surprise some B10 powers this year. I think they do have a great shot at the big dance and next year should be great.