Game 16: Kansas at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Photo Credit: Detroit News

Post Game Interviews: Beilein / Morris, Hardaway & Novak

It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game but Michigan displayed a resilience and toughness that, simply put, we haven’t seen all season. The Wolverines defended Kansas better than any other team but just couldn’t make enough shots down the stretch to pull out the upset. Michigan never led during regulation and the game was only tied twice: at 0-0 and the regulation final of 51-51.

Kansas led 20-7 after 12 minutes of play and it looked like Michigan would struggle to break 25 points for the game. There was no doubt that Michigan was lucky to be that close as the Wolverines could barely run their offense and had few decent looks at the rim. Michigan answered with an 11-3 run over the final eight minutes of the half and somehow trailed by just seven at the intermission despite just barely scoring more than a half point per possession.

A majority of the second half was similar to the first as Kansas made enough baskets to keep Michigan at bay and Michigan never seemed to be able to get the lead under seven points. Then Michigan switched to the 1-3-1 zone, something we have barely seen all year, and the game changed. Kansas was obviously rattled and Michigan closed the game on a 15-6 run over the last 6:38. Morris’ step back jumper in the lane with 34 seconds left was good enough to send the game to overtime.

Kansas was just too much in overtime, even after Novak opened the extra session scoring with a three pointer to give Michigan their first lead of the game. Jordan Morgan fouling out with 3 minutes to play coupled with some huge three pointers by Markieff Morris and Tyrel Reed were enough to end Michigan’s upset hopes. 

It was a struggle for Michigan on the offensive end all day. Kansas touts the nation’s #1 defense and the fans at Crisler Arena were provided with a healthy sample of it. The Jayhawks have athletes across the board and play the type of suffocating defense that just doesn’t allow open shots at the basket. Michigan struggled shooting the ball with an effective field goal percentage of just 37% – 49% on twos and 14% on threes. Not only did the Wolverines shoot it poorly, they also turned the ball over on 21% on their trips down the floor.

Michigan was able to stay in the game because of its defense. Michigan held Kansas to .90 points per possession and it was the first time the Jayhawks have been held under 1 point per trip this season. Kansas posted an effective field goal percentage of 39% – 50% on twos & 17% on threes – which was well below its NCAA best season average of 60%. Michigan also held the Jayhawks well under their season average on the offensive glass, pulling down under 30% of their misses, although Kansas did come up with some back breaking offensive boards.

Despite the effort and resilience, it’s tough to be left with anything but disappointment after a loss like that. Michigan unraveled a bit once it went up by three in overtime and Kansas hit some huge shots – these are the possessions that this team will have to learn to win going forward. A win like this (or Syracuse, Purdue, etc) has the potential to dramatically change the outlook of the season but for now we are left in the same spot. Michigan has another chance on Wednesday as the #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes head to town.

Visitors: Carlton Brundidge (2011 commit), Glenn Robinson III (2012 commit), Gary Harris (2012), Khaliq Spicer (2012), Sherron Dorsey-Walker (2012), Steve Haney (2013), Derrick Walton (2013), Cha Cha Tucker (2013), and Chris Harrison-Docks (2012) were all at Crisler Arena for today’s game.

Photo Credit: Detroit News

Player Bullets:

  • Darius Morris: It wasn’t his best game by any means but he made some huge plays: 16 points, 7 assists, four rebounds, and four turnovers. The step back jumper in the lane to tie the game was obviously superb, and probably the biggest shot of Morris’ career, but he is still giving away too many possessions. On a side note, the one handed fast ball passes need to be eliminated because they just waste a possession.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan remains opportunistic around the basket and does a great job of playing off of Darius Morris’ penetration. He played tough physical defense on the Morris twins, who were a combined 12/25 form the field), and really battled. He still doesn’t provide a lot of help side defense and botched up a couple looks near the hoop that could have been layups but it was a very productive outing for the freshman big.
  • Zack Novak: If you are looking for a guy that leaves everything on the floor then look no further. Novak played 44 of 45 minutes, scored 12 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds. He didn’t shoot the ball well (4 of 9, 2-7 3pt) but he hit two of the biggest Michigan threes of the game and was great on the glass.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: A poor shooting day — 5 of 9, 2 of 10 3pt — but Hardaway was as aggressive as he’s been this season. He put the ball on the floor (8 FTA) and also had some nice looks on two point jump shots. His defense has improved ten fold since November and he has learned to use his length and quickness to his advantage, evidenced by two steals and two blocks.
  • Stu Douglass: This was Douglass’ second consecutive terrible shooting game: 37 minutes, 2 of 9 (0-5 3pt), 1 assist, and four turnovers. To his credit, Douglass had the best rebounding game of his career pulling down 10 rebounds. At the end of the day Michigan needs Stu to hit some shots, he had better looks today than he did versus Wisconsin but he just couldn’t find the bottom of the basket.
  • Jon Horford: Nine minutes for Horford who didn’t really influence the game in limited playing time. He played hard once Morgan fouled out but just doesn’t have the strength to deal with bigger players like the Morris twins.
  • Matt Vogrich: 0 for 2 from the floor and his one three point attempt was close but rattled out.  Vogrich did have a nice hustle offensive rebound and picked up a steal in 10 minutes of playing time.
  • Evan Smotrycz: Smotrycz limited himself with foul trouble (4 in 13 minutes) and never really found his offensive game – 0 of 3 from the floor.
  • Blake McLimans: Blake played three minutes and picked up a basket but he is a major liability on the defensive glass. McLimans was abused on a free throw as one of the Morris twins threw him out of the way and grabbed the miss, and just doesn’t have the tenacity or awareness to make a difference on the defensive glass.
  • Dylan Burkhardt

    A little glitch with stat sheet… Waiting for the corrected stats, sorry guys.

  • Mith

    I this game will be a microcosm of the season when we look back on it a few months from now. A gritty, lovable team that battles and battles but comes up just short. But it’s OK, I think these games will build character and could very well pay dividends next season or the year after.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Quite possibly… the most important thing is to build from it.

      • Champswest

        They have been building on it all season long. They learn and improve, both individually and as a team. There is a ways to go, but they are moving forward. This team is so much more fun to watch than last years team.

  • wayman britt

    This team does not give up and am very impressed with the defense, I just wish we could shoot better. To have any chance to make the Big Dance, we need to steal a few from the top teams. Against KU we almost had that chance. Just need to make plays at the end.

  • UMQuasi

    I have to say, I’m tired of hearing announcers and other fans rip on Darius Morris for his one-handed passes. Yes, they usually result in a turnover, but it’s only because his teammates can’t catch the dang ball. There’s a reason those turnovers aren’t credited to Morris (most of the time). We would never excuse a wide receiver for a drop because the QB threw the ball too hard so why do we do it for basketball players?

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Part of making a good pass is that it is catchable so that the person receiving it can do something with it. A lot of those passes either set up teammates in a terrible situation or simply aren’t accurate. Maybe some should be caught but that doesn’t make them good passes. If you want to be one of the best point guards in this league you need to make your teammates better and truly set them up for quality chances.

      • MarcO

        I’m split on this as I see both your points.

        While Morris could potentially throw a more catchable ball, If Morris puts the ball in the hands of his target, I don’t care how hard the pass is, catch it. If it hits you in the hands and you drop it, that’s on you.

      • lavell99

        100% agreed UMQuasi. Being too tentative has been a massive reason for many of our struggles the last ten years. Now we finally have someone with enough confidence to fire the ball into his teammates and people criticize it. I think the dropped passes are more a result of needing to play together longer to get used to the passes. Those passes will be unstoppable once his teammates adapt.

        • I tend to agree with this. It’s kind of a baseball wrap around; he’s still perfecting it, and his team mates are still learning to catch it. But in time that can be a deadly weapon.

          Sometimes I get little glimmers of Magic, not only in those passes but the way Darius holds himself.

    • JimC

      I’m split too…and the only thing that matters is the end result:
      Remember Morgan’s first big dunk early in the game? That was off a 1-handed bullet pass from Morris. No one complained then.

    • gpsimms

      I think before this game, the conversion rate on Darius’ rediculous high velocity passes is pretty high, more then a point per possession for sure. I hope he keeps wingin’ em in there. So overall I agree with you.

      Howeva! Your argument about who is credited with the TO is probably moot. Darius is the star of the team, and has one of the top assist:turnover ratios in the country. The scorer is just some dude, not the all knowing who’s-fault-was-that-turnover god. So, being a home game, and Some Dude is probably a fan of Michigan, and wants Darius to be recognized for his sweet skills, the scoring is probably not 1000% objective.

      Check who gets credited for the turnover on the road…I’ll bet he’ll get more of those to his credit.

      • gpsimms

        And on second thought, Some Dude on the road is probably not all that objective either. Darius is the star of the team, like I said, and every is hearing about his a:to. So I’m sure that scorer is biased as well.

  • UMQuasi

    P.S. – Kudos to Manny Harris–27 pts and 7 boards tonight for the Cavs

    • TheYooper

      Love seeing Manny starting to (hopefully) put it together.

    • Wow!

  • PeteM

    I was there, and thought it was a great effort. At times, with the crowd on its feet, it felt like the 2008 Duke game.

    As bad as our shooting was, I wish that we’d gone for a 3 on our last shot in regulation rather than 2. Yes, Darius scored, tied the game and took it to OT (and yes — our 3-point percentage was terrible) but I really felt like our odds of winning in OT were slim given the talent differential.

    • Sam

      We had so much momentum going into OT though I don’t think you can say our odds were slim. We matched them through 40 minutes, why not for five more? I don’t necessarily disagree with what you say, but I think your reasoning is flawed.

      • Dylan Burkhardt
        • Sam

          Very interesting; however, I think one must take each game on an individual level. From what it sounds like he simply took rallying to mean that a particular team made the last shot to send it to OT. It doesn’t really say anything about being down for the whole game or anything like that. And in this case, we were down 13 fairly deep into the second half. I don’t care what the stats say for rallying teams going into OT and it not carrying over, I have to think we have a better shot taking a two-pointer and going into OT (as we did) than taking a three, especially the way we were shooting. Everything seemed to be going in and out. I don’t think you can simply take this test and broadly apply it to every single situation like this.

  • Tweeter

    I still do not know how that game got to overtime. Incredible second half effort. I thought there would be no way that we would hold Kansas under 40 points in the second half and five minutes in they 13. Over the next fifteen we shut them down. Beilein really deserves a ton of credit for the way he can get a team of mostly non-athletes to play great defense. On the flip, Kansas’ defense will be exposed at some point here. They left guys wide open in transition all day but our guards struggled to find them. Plus they rely way too much on their length rather than positioning to make plays. They are certainly a tough team to score on individually but as a whole they do not hold a candle to Purdue in terms of defense.

    Today was the first game where I thought that Hardaway flashed a little of Manny Harris. He made a lot of plays with his length and started to just put the ball on the floor and dribble through people. That is one reason why we have struggled to attack teams that pressure is that guys are too afraid to dribble through defenders and instead try to dribble around them. A lot of times the best play is just to put your head down and force the ref to make a call, if he doesnt, keep going all the way to the basket. Not his best shooting day and he took several questionable shots, but I think it was, Hardaway’s best game as a Wolverine.

    • MarcO

      At what point are we allowed to get tired of these losses?

      • Tweeter

        Idk? Not right now with a team that does not even have one senior on it and only has two juniors. I don’t think I was going crazy about this and saying that I am happy that we took Kansas to overtime. I was simply pointing out that the effort in the second half was terrific. I am not happy that we lost. I am never happy when we lose, but I can see the fact that there were some positives in this game.

        Certainly there will come a time when there is only the bottom line that we lost. But right now is not that time.

      • JimC

        If we lose at IU, everyone can get sick of the losses.

        @Tweeter: agree it was THJr’s best game. He was not at all intimidated, like some of our guys seemed to be.

        • Brad

          agreed. He didn’t look intimidated at all. That was exactly what I was hoping from him coming into the year. I can almost guarantee his dad raised him to compete with the best, and his AAU team played top-flight competition nationally…the kid knows he can play with anyone, and he’s got a bright future if he keeps up the current work ethic and rate of progress…

    • Go Blue

      Ill tell you how they got it to overtime, the 1-3-1 zone. It had Kansas completely baffled. Sometimes coaches get too cute and go away from whats working.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        I don’t know that Michigan “got away from the 1-3-1 zone”… They ran man out of one time out and it resulted in a basket. However, even when Michigan is using the 1-3-1, so to speak, they only run it after made baskets and play man after misses.

        • Go Blue

          Either you are minimizing the amount of 1-3-1 played down the stretch and its role in our comeback or I watched a different game. Btw we started the OT in man to man. Maybe im just crazy, well actually I know I am so disregard ..haha

    • Hardaway’s “wow” moment for me was when he got the ball in transition at half court with a defender or two in front of him, and just turned on a different gear and streaked towards the basket leaving everybody in the dust.

      What a sweet looking athlete he is, and his ceiling is very high.

  • Tweeter

    Oh yea and lol, I don’t think I have ever seen a pass thrown from one teammate sitting on the ground to another teammate sitting on the ground! That was crazy and the best part of that play was that Self had a terrific wtf smirk on his face when he called the timeout.

  • AG2

    Well, let’s hope they were saving all the 3s for Ohio State.

  • Paul F.

    They fought hard and came up just short. The first half kill the chance of a win but, I like the comeback.

  • Brian W

    I agree with the part on the one-handed passes from Darius. Sometimes the standard pass works more effectively than the one with extra mustard on it. The pass from Darius in overtime underneath the rim that got dropped wasn’t quite a one-handed pass, but it wasn’t a good pass either.

    Even though losses like this aren’t great, they can sometimes spur good things to happen in the future. Michigan lost some tough games to North Carolina in the 1980s that helped motivate them in 1989 when they went on to win it all. The games with Duke during the 1990s did the same type of thing for the Fab Five. I’m glad that Darius and others on the team don’t like the taste of losing games like this. Use that as motivation for OSU and other games coming up.

    Always nice to see the U-M commitments, Glenn III and CB, in attendance. Glenn was even rocking the Michigan sweatshirt. Hopefully Gary Harris pulls the trigger for U-M at some point.

    Anyone else notice the progress on the new practice facility. The steel beams were supporting parts of a floor/level in spots. At the current rate of the football coaching search, maybe the practice facility will be done first. Just kidding… I bet we see the new U-M football coach at halftime of the OSU game.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      I wouldn’t get your hopes up for Harris.

      • Beast1530

        Yeah, he’s either IU or MSU bound.

  • matt d

    Being at the game last night, I feel really bad for our kids. Our team played all out for 45 minutes, and they deserved to win that game. I don’t care what the scoreboard said, we played the better game, despite a serious disadvantage in terms of athleticism and overall talent. I hate to take this road, but it certainly applies to this game – the officiating actually determined the outcome of the game. There were some calls that were simply shocking(the blocking call in the first half in particular, or the lack of a tech for the elbow in the 2nd half), there were at least half a dozen plays that were clearly poor calls at best. There is no way in hell an official should blow the whistle on Morgan for his 5th in a tightly contested game coming down the stretch. From the stands it looked like all ball, and the replay showed very little contact. I know it may sound like an excuse, but I’m telling you in all seriousness, that was a very poorly officiated game and we suffered because of it.

    • Sid

      The replay on the “elbow” showed no elbow, though he did clear some space with his upper body after Novak got in his grid a little. The no-call was fine IMO. I agree that a couple of the Morgan fouls seemed kind of ticky-tack, but UM got away with a couple as well, including Hardaway’s “clean” block.

      • mgocanada

        No, although no camera angle could confirm the contact, the elbow was a dirty move and par for the course for Marcus Morris… refs were in the bag for KU; they didn’t want to have an upset on their hands and undergo more scrutiny than necessary. Reffing is going to be an uphill battle for us all season long. Hopefully we can get some fair calls at winnable road games; i.e. Minnesota, Northwestern, and heck, Illinois (if UIC can do it so can we).

  • Kenny

    disappointed at the end, but the boys should be applauded for not giving up after trailing 15pt to a Kansas team that was ranked #3 and 14-0. I still don’t understand why 1-3-1 was not deployed in OT when Kansas was slow to bring up the ball every time.

    Novak is getting better, has more confidence in his game. Same can be said about THJ, although he had a poor shooting night.

  • Moral victories are pretty dubious, but that’s about as close to a win as you can get with a loss. Message to recruits at the game: help put us over the hump. This is going to be an elite team.

    Was great to see the crowd so into it. Michigan can do this.

    • MarcO

      Yawn, we’ve been cheering moral victories for too long. I want W’s.

  • Polisci

    Before we get tired of a loss like this, just remember we were picked by everyone to be last in the Big Ten with guys ripping our players saying we only have like 2 guys on our roster that even belong in the Big Ten.

    We’ve now taking two top ten teams to the wire. We have plenty of good teams yet to play. We’ll get one or two of them.

    • MarcO

      From your lips to ….

  • mgocanada

    Amazing tenacity and defensive resilience, lackluster shooting performance. Once again, we have all the pieces of the puzzle to be great, but we can’t put them together on the same day. The KU game’s most impressive element was the Manny-esque shot creation of Tim Hardaway — he didn’t hit most of them, but he asserted himself and put the ball on the floor. On the other hand, Stu and Vogrich weren’t hitting anything deep, and Stu made a few ugly plays beyond his terrible shot selection.

    But this game confirmed for me that what we need is SIZE — once Morgan fouled out, we were effectively dead in the water. The “small line” was infuriatingly inept on the boards and I was completely perplexed as to why Horford wasn’t given all the minutes that Morgan sat.

    McLimans was a defensive non-entity and he is going to get pushed around against every B10 front court — he’s one player who hasn’t earned a spot on this team.

    Hopefully we can keep up this tenacity against OSU, but man, Diebler’s gonna be hot from deep no matter how we defend him, and Sullinger-Lauderdale may make the Morris twins look quaint — so if we shoot like we did yesterday, forget about it.

  • Flip

    A great effort by Michigan. Glad we can sit here and pick apart how we could have won instead of scratching our heads with another butt whooping by a top team. What that, 9 straight losses to the top 25? I hope the “baby blues” can stay hungry, pissed and focased for the Thad five! Down with the Buckeyes!!!

  • Section13Row15

    It was a great atmosphere yesterday, particularly at the end of regulation and I felt like the crowd rattled the opponent quite a bit. It took us a little too long to figure out that we needed to try to drive by our man since they were playing so tight on the perimeter but once we adjusted, Hardaway and Morris were the benefactors of some fouls called and we were able to get in the lane for better looks. We are still missing that one tall, athletic forward that we need on this team. Someone that can handle the Morris passes, get by their man with the dribble (and finish at the rim), and play solid defense. I think Beilein was hoping Colton Christian would be that guy but clearly he’s not ready. Hardaway can be that guy at times but he still wants to be more of a jump shooter (which is odd because the better games he has are when he goes to the rim). Stu has worked on his dribble drive over the off season and it shows. To me, Morris looks frustrated at times that there’s not another athlete around him that can get open inside the perimeter. Anyone else sense that a little bit?

    • MikeM

      DMo’s body language is a tough read to me. He sometimes seems frustrated at the weight he’s carrying for this team, and sometimes seems to relish the control.

      • CJD

        Most here do not agree; but my take is that D Mo dribbles himself into frustration. When he does his best 1 on 5 imitation others just seem to stand around and watch. He needs to move the ball better in the first part of the shot clock and many of our bad shot selections late in the clock will go away.

        Just my .02 cents.

  • MaizeNBlueJ

    Torrent is up at

  • MikeM

    The thing I’m taking away from this game is a sense of identity from this team. THJ’s athletic, aggressive play, Darius taking leadership and the big shots, Novak playing with a ton of heart, Morgan showing a lot of presence as a frosh, plus the great team effort on defense. This is a solid blueprint going forward.
    Some better 3-pt shooting from Stu, Vogrich and Smot, plus small improvements at finishing at the rim by Morgan and Horford, and this will be a very dangerous team.

  • Jeff

    I’m not trying to bash him, but does anyone else think Hardaway needs to be a little more selective on the shots he takes, especially from three? He’s making 26% of his threes and 35% overall. Those are pretty brutal numbers. I think he needs to quit taking the quick threes and only shoot when he’s a little more open. He definitely needs to work more on pump faking and driving, which he did some against Kansas.

    • Tweeter

      Yes, absolutely yes, on the pump faking and driving thing. Both the kansas and wisconsin games he showed a lot of promise with his ability to get the midrange shot and get to the rim.

      On the threes, yea he could be a little more selective, but its always tough to put that thought in a scorers head. Hopefully he just learns as he gets older when its a good shot and when its a bad shot. Plus in a game like yesterday’s I dont really mind since no one else on the team seemed to be able to create room to get a shot off and Hardaway with his length is capable of shooting almost at will. So I would rather him chuck up a guarded three then to see another possession get down to 2 on the shot clock and Dmo or Stu with the ball out near midcourt.

      • Jeff

        Good points. I was wondering how many of his shots were due to his teammates inability to create their own shots and how many were just bad shots. I guess it’s a combo of the two

        • MarcO

          When TH Jr is guarded so tightly, that’s exactly when he should put the ball on the floor. If their def isn’t accounting for his ability to put the ball on the floor, he needs to make them pay.

          Doesn’t shooting the ball over them play into their defense? Once they respect his drive, he’ll have open 3’s or force another team to double him. If he can knock down some 3’s too, watch out!

          • CJD


      • CJD

        I share your point of view for the most part; yes i would like him to be farrrrrrrr more selective in his 3 point shots especially early in the clock. And again on your later point I far prefer his shot selection than running the shot clock down to the last 3 seconds and tossing up a prayer from 10 ft behind the 3 ball line.

  • What an atmosphere that must have been for our visitors! Any postgame reactions?

  • Kainkitizen

    Hey Greg there is a post from a KU visitor on about Michigan Fans. Check it out!

  • MarcO

    Anyone notice how difficult it’s been for UM to run their offense when the defense gets extended past the 3 point line? Conversely, did anyone notice how hard it was for Kansas to do the same? Then, 51-47 and Hardaway creates the turnover to put us within 2.

    Anyone want to see more of this? I know I do.

  • CJD

    My more than .02 cents on the game.
    D MO: As much as he has improved he still has glaring weaknesses such as too many poor processions ending in desperation shots and doing his famous 1 on 5 spin and hope shots. He also needs to defenses honest by going to his left now and then even if it is just to pass the ball.

    Novack: Continues to get more out of what he has than any other player on the team.

    THJ: Coming around in a big way; I still say he is the only guy on the roster right now that will have a real NBA career. That said shot selection needs to improve, loving the dribble drive aggressiveness and his defense may be most consistent on the team.

    Smot: He looks shell shocked by better competition; if he is not going to be able to score we may as well put another big in the game to help in the low post defense and rebounding.

    J MO: Continues to get better every game, that said he needs to do a better job finishing around the bucket as at times he looks rushed on put backs. I would also like him to try those 12 – 15 shots that most teams are willing to give him.

    Stu: We need more than he has given us the past few games; and his ball handling and decision making just has to be better for the veteran player that he is and leader he wants to become.

    Vogrich: He has a great stroke but his defense is just flat out bad; doe snot know how to fight through screens and often loses track of his assignment. If he could clean that up I think coach would find him more minutes.

    Horford: Not enough minutes for my liking; especially when you play teams like KU with twin towers.

    McClimans: I think he needs more minutes as well; not that he has earned them but we are not winning the national championship or the big ten this year for that matter. All minutes this year will be an investment worth making for the future.

    Christian: I wish we could red-shirt him. He does not look ready (at all) for this level of play. I am sure in high school he was one of the better athletes on the court and that was enough; never will be the case in the big ten.