Five Key Plays: Michigan vs. UCLA


1. Jon Horford’s 5-for-5 performance in the first half

We’ve been waiting for Jon Horford to show why John Beilein thought he was good enough to start in front of Jordan Morgan early in the season. Horford was solid against Memphis and struggled against Duke but he had a breakout performance in the first half versus UCLA, scoring 12 points off of 5-for-5 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds. He was the benefactor of a couple great passes by Hardaway and Burke but Horford made the right reads, caught the ball effectively and finished around the hoop. His most impressive first half bucket came with 2:30 to play. Horford establishes position against Travis wear on the block and receives the entry pass from Stu Douglass, a rarity in the Michigan offense. With Wear on his back, Horford fakes left, turns back right off one dribble, and nails an fade away jumper right over Wear. Michigan simply doesn’t have playmakers with their back to the basket and this is a great sign that Horford has the potential to be that back to that back to the basket scorer.

2. Trey Burke’s spin and finish, followed by a freshman move on the defensive end

With ESPN’s draft guru Chad Ford in attendance for the Maui Invitational, Trey Burke generated a bit of NBA Draft buzz this week. This play is an NBA move. In transition, Burke flies into the lane and spins, finishes and draws the foul.  This wasn’t Burke’s best game but, with time, he’s showing signs that he has the ability to be an elite Big Ten point guard.  Two possessions after his beautiful finish, Burke reminds us that he’s still a freshman and commits a silly foul under the UCLA bucket. Off a missed 3 pointer, Reeves Nelson grabs the rebound under the hoop and puts it back in for a two. Burke, who’s nine inches shorter and not strong enough to influence Nelson’s shot, reaches in and gets called for the silly foul. Freshmen mistakes are to be expected but you can bet that fouls like this (and on jump shooters) will be a point of emphasis in film sessions going forward.


3. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s dunk and hustle

Tim Hardaway Jr. averaged 20 points per game in Maui and was named to the All-Tournament team and this dunk was one of his more emphatic highlights. Off a handoff from Morgan, Hardaway explodes through the right side of the lane all the way to the basket thanks the dramatic lack of help from any UCLA defenders. As was the case most of the night, Josh Smith is still stuck near the top of the paint as Hardaway throws it down. Michigan’s next offensive possession shows that Hardaway is no prima donna superstar. Hardaway dives on the ground between three UCLA defenders after a Jordan Morgan back door pass is deflected. He doesn’t just tie up the ball, Hardaway somehow comes away with the ball and finds Morgan, who goes up and draws the foul. Morgan missed both free throws, and the play might not have helped Michigan on the scoreboard, but it didn’t take away from the great hustle by Hardaway.

4. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s skip pass to Zack Novak for the transition three

Zack Novak had a career night and this might have been his biggest shot of the game. The play starts on the defensive end where Michigan does a great job of doubling Josh Smith with Evan Smotrycz and Zack Novak providing great help defense for Jorgan Morgan who was trying to front the post. Stu Douglass comes up with the loose ball and looks to run, outletting the ball to Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway could shoot the ball in this situation, and has forced this shot many times in his young career, but instead he makes the alert cross court skip pass to Zack Novak who buries the three. This pushes Michigan’s lead to double digits and UCLA would only cut the lead to eight points twice in the final 11:35.

5. Hardaway’s 3-pointer buries the Bruins

UCLA was already living dangerously, trailing by 13, but this Hardaway 3-pointer served as the knock out blow. Hardaway’s deep three pointer capped a 15-4 Michigan run and giving the Wolverines a 16-point lead with just over eight minutes to play. Hardaway gets the ball off of what amounts to a triple screen from Douglass, Burke and Smotrycz and the UCLA defender makes the mistake of playing under the screen. Hardaway is deep, easily NBA range, but doesn’t hesitate and fires the three point attempt knowing that he has space.

  • Ryanpmcgraw

    will there be a torrent for mich/ucla game at mgovideo?

    • It’s up now.

      • Sven187

        Now if only I could get to the site without using a proxy server.

      • Billiam

        Please help my foolish self: I noticed that I can watch the video at MGoVideo, but I don’t have the option of torrenting the video.  How exactly is this done?

        • Click on the link at MGoVideo that says “Tracker”, click the link for the game, then click the DL text. This will give you a .torrent file that you open with a torrent application (like uTorrent). That will start the download process.

          • Billiam


  • philip balger

    It was great to see a guy who obviously put in a lot of work at the gym dominate a guy who did nothing but put in a lot of work at McDonald’s. And i thought Derrick Nix was fat and slow…wow Joshua, just wow!!!

  • Rkwboo

    GR3 high school is playing hamilton southeastern sat(UM commit zak irvin) and Gary harris. Should be a great game!

  • GregGoBlue

    If that Trey Burke play made the Sportscenter Top 10 plays (which, c’mon, it HAD to), then congrats to Trey on making the Top 10 Plays three games in a row! 3 games, 3 top 10 plays. This kid is special. 

  • sp1ms

    The variety of ways that THJ is scoring in is scary.

  • Mattski

    We might just get to 23-24 wins this year. 

    • Mith

      I know it’s early, but after the strong showing in Maui…

      Every non-conference game is very winnable and we’ll be favored in each one.  So while 12-1 is possible, let’s say they get tripped up twice and go 10-3 nonconference.(I think 11-2 is more likely.)  I would think a 12-6 or 11-7 conference mark is quite doable, so I think this team should be about 21-10 on the lowend going into the B10 tournament.  23-8 wouldn’t surprise me though.

      • rlcBlue

        I’m struggling to curb my enthusiasm at least until I see the team play a true road game. If we can compete on the road, the sky’s the limit. If not, then the games at Iowa and Nebraska become questionable, and at Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois, and MSU unlikely.

        • rlcBlue

          Just to continue that thought:

          Last Michigan win at:
          2011 Iowa City
          2011 East Lansing
          2011 Minneapolis
          2011 State College
          2009 Bloomington
          2009 Evanston
          2003 Columbus
          2000 West Lafayette
          19?? Champaign
          19?? Madison
          ???? Lincoln

          We get to skip the trip to Wisconsin this year, thankfully. Would love to break the streak at Illinois.

          • Sven187

            Me too since I’ll be there for that one.

  • Rkwboo

    GO BLUE1! GR3 vs Z.IRVIN tonight!!