Recap: Michigan 47, Wayne State 39

Dylan Burkhardt


Related: Box score / Beilein Post Game / Hardaway, Burke Post Game / Highlights

Luckily this game was just a dress rehearsal. Playing its first game with a freshman point guard in a newly renovated Crisler Arena, nothing seemed to go smoothly for Michigan. From the game on the court, to the scoreboard lacking any stats, everything was just slightly misaligned. The lack of any stats throughout the game might have made the game slightly more tolerable because the post game box score is tough to digest.

Michigan seemed to make every mistake that it could, turning the ball over (14), missing free throws (4-12), missing shots (42% eFG%) and getting outrebounded (65% defensive rebounding rate) by a smaller team. Exciting plays, let alone highlights, were rare and the Wolverines never managed to string together any consistent series of positive offensive possessions. Michigan looked like a team that could use every last hour of practice before its season opener next Friday. The Wolverine defense was good, good enough to hold an offensively challenged Wayne State squad to a meager .64 points per possession.

It’s worth noting that despite the Warriors cutting the lead to four points with 12 minutes to play, the result never truly felt in doubt. However, the four factors prove just how ugly this game was:

Stat Michigan Wayne St.
eFG% 42% 35%
TO% 23% 31%
OR% 24% 35%
FTR 24% 8%
Poss. 61
Pt Per Poss 0.77 0.64

We’ll stick to team bullets and player bullets for the exhibition game, first some macro thoughts:

  • There’s been a lot of talk about how deep this Michigan team is but only four different players scored in an exhibition game against Wayne State. Michigan played nine players but this was a pretty strict eight man rotation with Burke, Vogrich and Morgan playing all significant minutes off the bench.
  • Michigan’s man-on-man post defense was underwhelming. Wayne State’s post players scored the ball relatively easily on the block, split double teams and just looked far too comfortable. Jon Horford made some good plays (two blocks) but he also got beat by some elementary moves.
  • There are obvious questions about the Darius Morris-less Michigan offense and tonight’s exhibition did little to alleviate those concerns. The Wolverine offense looked directionless and lifeless for long stretches with various players trying their hand at being “the guy”, with most being unsuccessful.
  • Against a team like Memphis, Michigan will see heavy doses of full court press with a backcourt of Stu Douglass and Zack Novak. The Wolverines looked shaky against Wayne State’s halfhearted full court press at times in the exhibition and that’s something that will have to be worked out before facing a deeper and more athletic team like Memphis.
  • The left to right pick-and-roll set that Tim Hardaway Jr. ran so well down the stretch last season was not all too effective. Hardaway had just one assist to five turnovers and forced the issue once or twice while trying to dish to the rolling big man.
  • The crowd was surprisingly strong for an exhibition game, a good sign that Michigan might have some nice crowds this season if it can keep up the positive momentum.

Obviously Michigan isn’t that bad of an offensive team. In the 2010-11 season, the Wolverines rolled through exhibition play before falling flat on their faces in Orlando. Winning an easy exhibition game tells you about as little as winning an ugly one. John Beilein and his staff will be the first to tell you that Michigan needs to play better basketball but there’s no better time to have a performance like Friday night’s than an exhibition opener.

Player Bullets

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway looks stronger and more confident on the floor and it showed in his rebounding. He grabbed nine rebounds on Friday night, a total that he only matched in one game last season, and he feels he can do better. He scored 20 points on 17 shots, far from efficient, and never really seemed to find an offensive groove with five turnovers to just one assist. Still, he looked the part of lead offensive player and looks more than ready to carry the Michigan offense.
  • Trey Burke: Assertive and aggressive with a smooth shooting stroke – Burke played as advertised. He wasn’t perfect but he hit a three, forced a five second violation, hit a pull-up jump shot and had a couple of highlight passes. There was a spark to the Michigan offense with Burke on the floor that was painfully absent when he was on the bench. Burke is a playmaker and his playing time is only going to increase as he earns John Beilein’s trust – ideally he’ll make significant progress by the time the Wolverines head to Maui.
  • Zack Novak: Novak was still Novak – taking charges and grabbing loose balls (3 steals) and rebounds – but he seemed much more comfortable with the ball than in past seasons. He shot the ball pretty well (6 of 12) and attempted more than just wide open threes (4 of 6 on twos). It’s just one (exhibition) game but the early sign is that Michigan needs Novak on the floor and he might be the most likely candidate for No. 2 scorer.
  • Stu Douglass: Beilein mentioned that Douglass “controlled the game” but he didn’t create a whole lot with 0 points, three assists and no turnovers in 31 minutes. Douglass is going to play significant minutes this year – the key is consistent three point shooting to negate his weaknesses as a true lead guard.
  • Evan Smotrycz: Evan was 0 for 5 from the field and got off to a very tough start which seemed to hang with him throughout the night. He looked noticeably bigger but grabbed just four rebounds in 23 minutes and was still underwhelming defending on the block.
  • Jon Horford: Horford is capable of making nice post moves when he gets the ball on the block but he’s still a bit too methodical, allowing the double team to catch him off guard. He rebounded well but his hands really let him down as he dropped a number of dump offs, passes and rebounds.
  • Jordan Morgan: I still think Morgan has a better feel for the game than Horford but today wasn’t his best game. He seemed a step late defensively and caught the ball in an awkward spot on his best pick and roll opportunity on offense.
  • Matt Vogrich: Vogrich is just getting back in the swing of things after a knee sprain but he got the first shift off the bench at both the two and the three – a sign that he’ll be the No. 8 man in the rotation at this point.
  • Carlton Brundidge: Brundidge was a bit loose with the ball and got his minutes at the two position in the first half. He didn’t have much opportunity but did have a steal-turnover-steal.
  • Quick Darshan

    My thoughts:

    – The starters should be Burke, Douglas, Hardaway jr., Novak and Morgan

    Burke:  Looked good both offensively and defensively
    hardaway:  He’ll find his groove as the go-to guy.
    Novak: was Novak
    Douglas: Was Douglas
    Smotrycz: Still can’t guard anyone.
    Horford/Morgan: Bad hands.  Tentative when not given a wide-open dunk.
    Vogrich: Looks comfortable out there.
    Brundidge: Wasn’t out there much, but there going to need him.  This team needs playmakers and he, Burke and Hardaway are the only candidates.

    • sane1

      I agree on the lineup. Some guys just play better starting, and some are better off the bench. That’s why I’d start Morgan and bring Horford off the bench. THJ looked like he was rushing things. He has a great motor but has to control it. The most troubling concern for me was how we looked with Stu at PG. On the flip side, the most encouraging thing was Burke’s play at PG. Which is why I’d start Burke and slide Stu over to the two.

      • a2sk

        Starting Stu at the two means putting Novak on the bench, or going back to having him play the four – which would mean that Smot isn’t producing or has been forced to play the five because Morgan/Horford aren’t.  None of these is a good scenario.

        • MrTroyMercy

          Some of y’all give up too darn quick on players .. one bad game and they are instantly under the bus . I just wish some of you guys can shut up and just enjoy the season . I kne once Smot had a bad game that yu guys would already replace him!!!!!! Sometimes I hate reading comments . it is one exitbition game darn! I have faith in this team annd ii am not gonna trash players because of one game!

          Until you geet on a court and play D1 basketball – miss me with the bullshet.

          Sane 1 , Tobie smith , Flwolve , 90mvarsity just shut up and stop being fake um fans!!!!!! Don’t jump on the bandagon when this team shine!!!!

          Just see ho man people thro Mcgary under the bus after a bad game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Mattski

            No all to tell people to shut up Mr. T. You lose whatever moral advantage you might have had in urging people not to get down on the players. 

          • MrTroyMercy

            Whatever man … I’m just saying don’t preedict starting line ups or get don after thee first game of the season. Basketball ain’t easy , despite what you may think.

            Anyways this a argument you win.

          • Tay from the Bay

            Bro the board/thread is for debate … everypne wont always agree which is natural. calm down. we all fans … sheesh.

          • Flwolve

            Uh, what’s wrong with predicting starting lineups on a message board about UM hoops?

          • sane1

            I’ve been on the “bandwagon” for longer than most posters on here have been alive. Being on the bandwagon doesn’t mean that you don’t have opinions. I haven’t thrown anyone under the bus.

          • a2sk

            Please read my comments more carefully.  I’m not throwing anyone under a bus.  I do believe it will be a bad sign if Novak ends up being our best option again at the four – but I didn’t say that it has happened.  I was disappointed in how Smot, Morgan, and Horford played last night.  I recognize that it was just an exhibition and the first game of the season, but I also think it is reasonable to expect at least one out of our three veteran big men to have a decent game.

            As for being a bandwagon fan – I have had season tickets since 1989.  And I am not one of those season ticket holders who only attends the big games.  I was at almost every game even during the worst of the Ellerbe years.

          • gpsimms

             so you don’t get season tickets until we’re in an NC year?  if that’s not a bandwagon fan, i don’t know what is.  (kidding, obvs.)

  • Merlin50

    Burke will be playing 30 minutes plus very soon.  Stu will be coming off the bench like last year.  For a freshman to be the  third best player on this veteran team (behind Novak and Hardaway)  tells you something is special here.  Horford still has a long way to go but I have confidence in Morgan-this was just a bad game for him.  Biggest disappointment was Smotrycz who was just not focused.  Still I think as Burke plays more the players will fall back to the familiar positions they had last year with Morris at the point. Pick and roll will not be as effective but a more traditional Beilein offense will be more effective once the shots fall.

  • CB

    Is there any video from last night’s game? Can’t find it anywhere.

    • TMURDA Use the password for the free month that Dylan gave out. Word of the wise though, watch it on mute. Announcing was so painful.

      • Cargo8005

        eh I thought the announcing was good.  The students at least seemed to know what they were talking about, if you ignore the low volume and technical difficulties.  

  • storm33

    I went to the game, and I was very impressed with Trey Burke.  He really looked smooth with the ball and showed very good body control.  He had 4 assists but several of his good passes were bungled by Horford/Morgan.

    Evan Smotrycz disappointed me the most.  Granted, it’s one game, but he just didn’t seem to belong on the court (although he looked much bigger!).  

    Tim Hardaway showed flashes, particularly in the second half, but he needs to calm down and not do as much.  5 turnovers are unacceptable, though he showed off an improved rebounding skill.

    The bigs, which I guess you could include Evan Smotrycz in, were unimpressive.  Horford had like 2 good defensive plays but was pretty bad, Morgan had a few good rebounds but did nothing special, and Smotrycz couldn’t rebound.

    And Douglass and Novak were Douglass and Novak.

  • a2sk

    Not a good start, but I give them some leeway for first game of the season (and an exhibition as well).  As a veteran team, I had hoped they would have their act together more than they showed last night.  The bigs were really disappointing – they really need to pick up their game in the next two weeks or Maui is going to be very ugly.  I am excited about Burke.

    I give the Athletic Department an D- for not having Chrisler ready for the first game.  The PA system wasn’t working on the east side and I would expect them to have figured out how to put stats on the scoreboard already.

  • mlowry3

    Couple things…

    -Smotrycz looked like he’s still getting used to playing with added weight. Once he gets up to speed, I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s got too much talent not to be.

    -Horford looked better than last year, but he still has that Bambi On Ice thing going on, generally looking unsure of himself in his movements. The basket-and-foul was nice, but out of control. Great upside, tho.

    -Thank you, God, for Trey Burke.

    -The new arena was nice, but you know, I kind of felt the same way that I did when they took out the troughs at the stadium and put in urinals. On one hand, it was sorely needed and modern and nice. But, I don’t know, I had an affinity for the old Crisler. It wasn’t so nice, but it was My Arena, Dammit, and I loved it. I know I’ll come to love this new Crisler – the only thing I didn’t like about it was the lack of legroom, which – as someone who’s 6-foot-3, is problematic. But that’s a minor quibble. Can’t wait to spend the rest of this season breaking in my new seat.

  • G-Go-Blue

    Last year’s depth chart makes me sad:

    I miss Morris :-(

    • Indiana_Matt

      It really is a shame that there probably won’t be an NBA season and he’s just wasting time he could have spent on the floor for us.

  • Mattski

    Hopefully the D keeps them in some games early. Obviously, Trey Burke was hugely encouraging (he even threaded the needle to Horford a la Darius one time, as if to say I got this covered). Hardaway seems to be able to will himself into games, and always ends up with a lot of points. On good nights, we may see him go for 30 a number of times. Zack stepped up a little more, as I predicted he might. 

    I was disappointed in Stu’s play, glue guy or no. I wonder if Brundidge may end up with a lot of his minutes (wanted to see more of him). 

    It’s underneath I’m worried about. Both Horford and Morgan seemed susceptible to every little pump or headfake underneath. Horford’s long arms are going to snag us some much-needed rebounds. I worried even more about Morgan; he looked disaffected. It must be difficult to swallow that your role could diminish (still more, looking down the line) after the stellar year he had last year. Hopefully he finds his mojo cuz we need him. 

    And the free throws. . . ! 

  • Jimmy

    I urge everyone not to read too much into a sloppy scrimmage against Wayne State.  Our individuals will play better, and our team will play better.  It’s not what you want to see but I guarantee this team will learn more from this game than they could have learned from a 40 point blowout.  

    • Agree – not sure this film will necessarily benefit them more but it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. 

      • Tay from the Bay

        I think it’ll benefit Burke who should be starting… “pure” PG play is needed for a program to graduate to the next level (my opinion, what u think?)

  • MarcO

    Was the pace of the game slow? The fg%’s aren’t great but 47 points must’ve been a slow pace, no?

    Did the offense show any ability to find easy baskets? With dmo, he managed to run the pick and roll to Morgan a couple times a game to get some free dunks. Coupled with his ability to dribble till daylight showed and he’d convert a layup.

    Did anyone see any of that?

    • 61 possessions is pretty slow – for reference Michigan averaged 63 possessions per game last season. 42% effective field goal percentage is also pretty awful. Michigan shot that bad or worse in five games last season: losses against Inidana, Illinois, Syracuse, Kansas and UTEP. 

      Burke had a great look right when he checked into the game, getting the ball to Morgan in transition but he got called for the charge.

      • sane1

        WSU deliberately took the air out of the ball. Reduces possessions and causes the superior team to get impatient and press a bit. It worked.

  • Breeze

    Dylan, any particular reason Horford is getting the nod over Morgan?

    • Beilein said afterward basically that Horford has been playing better and he’s his guy at this point.

      • Mattski

        This may support my thesis re: Morgan looking unhappy.

        • Anonymous

          Morgan didn’t start because of a discipline issue, not because Horford improved and was that much better. Beilein was making a point with Morgan. The Morgan swagger will be back sooner rather than later.

    • Erob

      Unfortunately, I think a lot of Morgan’s success last season was because of Darius Morris.  

  • MrTroyMercy

    Apologies for the rant … I’m just a passionate UM FAN…

    • Kick Game

      Do you think Carlton maybe redshirts?

  • Rkwboo

    Michigan didnt play well but its an exhibition game. U would expect them to look rusty and out of sorts replacing darius and havin a freshman pg.Could have been W VA losin to northern kentucky or arizona goin down to seattle this past week.not unusual to see the big boys drop early games to non bcs schools this time of yr.

  • Tay from the Bay

    5- Morgan 4- Smotz 3- Tim Jr 2. Novak 1- Burke
    This lineup makes the most sense to me b/c everyone can create their own shot or create for others and/or space it when they are not involved. Plus- Smotz is the type that needs to start b/c how he plays–some nights he can create for himself and some nights he can use burke or hardaway to help him out… i dunno… we will see novak at 4 tho so 

    • MGoTweeter

      This is probably the most likely starting lineup by the end of the season, but who knows how long it will take them to get there.  So much goes into what the best lineup is and most of those things none of us fans actually see.  Only the coaches know what is going on in practice and only the coaches are really breaking down the film to figure out who made mistakes based on playcalls/defensive assignments.   

      At this point, I wouldnt be surprised to see a lot of different lineups for the first half of the season with those five plus Douglass and Horford.  This is going to be a fluid situation until players really start to assert themselves.

    • maxwell’s demon

      I think we still see a lot of 1. Burke, 2. Stu, 3. THJR, 4. Novak, 5. Your pick

  • GregGoBlue

    I would like to echo Jimmy’s statement about not reading too much into a sloppy scrimmage. This team needs some time to gel; you don’t replace your conference-leading assist leader and major team leader overnight.  

    One thing I was particularly encouraged about in the scrimmage was the improved rebounding all around. THJr looks greatly improved in that department, Horford’s added strength has bolstered his (already decent) ability to get boards. I think rebounding was a weakness of this team (especially two years ago, less so last year), so that’s a good sign. 

    • sane1

      WSU out-rebounded us. 

      • Dirtgrain

        Zones?  Michigan shot a lot of bricks?  Did they not block out well?  Any offensive rebounding?

  • gpsimms

    I also thought that THJr’s ball handling (dribbling, not decision making) did look improved.  his left hand is where his right hand was, and his right hand has taken a step forward.  Looked like he was not dribbling so high, and looked stronger on the ball.

    Also, did everyone see the smile on coach’s face every time he got asked about Trey?   Beilein knows he’s got a good one.

    • gpsimms

       oh, also, colton was not suited up, right?  injury?  in trouble?  anyone know?

  • maxwell’s demon

    Are any of our next 3 opponents actually any better than Wayne St.?

  • Tom_McC

    I posted in the preview that ugliness was to be expected.  It’s not the preferred result, but honestly, I think coaches more or less prefer the exhibition to be a bit of a struggle.  The film will give the coaches a lot of good teaching moments.

    The biggest issue I saw was lack of rhythm in the half-court…for the most part, they got some pretty darn good looks and/or fumbled away some easy buckets and I think that is part of the deal when different guys are assuming new roles and/or the coaches are mixing line-ups.

    I’d expect the play to be much crisper on Friday.  The guys should be a bit more comfortable in the environment and a bit more focused on their roles.