2011-12 Report Card: Matt Vogrich

Michigan at Nebraska 5

Last summer, whispers from around Michigan basketball were that Matt Vogrich was poised to be the “super sub” that Michigan badly needed. He was playing well in practice, had added muscle and was ready to go. Then he sprained his MCL two weeks before the season began. Vogrich struggled to regain his comfort and shooting stroke and it showed. He started the season just 1-for-13 from behind the arc throughout Michigan’s first nine games and began to pick up his fair share of criticism as Michigan’s shooter that couldn’t shoot.

John Beilein backed Vogrich throughout his slump, insisting that he would snap out of it, and he was correct. Vogrich hit 3-of-5 three-pointers in a December 13th win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff and his confidence began to grow from there. After the abysmal start to the season, Vogrich finished conference play first on the team in 3-point percentage at 43 percent. When all was said and done, Vogrich played his role about right on what would be expected in conference play. He provided spurts of energy and just enough timely jumpers to help Michigan to a Big Ten title. 

The Good:

Three-point shooting: It’s no secret that this is Vogrich’s biggest strength. He was recruited to shoot the ball from deep. Though Vogrich’s season 3-point percentage was just over 30 percent – second-to-last on the team behind Tim Hardaway Jr. and over eight percent worse than a season ago – that can be attributed to his 4-of-18 non-conference start. When the lights got brighter and the stakes got higher in conference games, Vogrich started hitting some big shots.

Michigan 56, Ohio State 51- 4

Energy: It’s impossible to put a number on this one, but if you could, Vogrich’s numbers would be at the top of the Big Ten. You were never quite sure what you would get out of Vogrich offensively, but you always knew one thing — he was going to play hard. Vogrich’s rebounding numbers certainly aren’t stellar, but there were several times this year when Vogrich would somehow find a way to come away with a big rebound when surrounded by much bigger players. Vogrich had just 13 steals on the year, but there were plenty of times when Vogrich got his hand on the ball to create a turnover or disrupt the offensive flow of the opponent.

Backdoor Cuts: Vogrich is still primarily a three point threat, as only 30 percent of his field goal attempts came inside the arc, but he proved to be a deft backdoor cutter and provided a number of timely buckets around the hoop. Vogrich made 57 percent of his limited two point opportunities and could find more two point opportunities with increased playing time.

Room to Improve

Consistency: In a five-game stretch in February, Vogrich was 9-for-15 from behind the arc. That means nine of his 16 made threes were during one five game period. Besides that stretch, Vogrich failed to hit at least one 3-pointer on back-to-back nights all season. Not exactly what you want to see out of a guy whose main weapon is shooting it from deep. Everybody knows he has the physical skills to put the ball in the bucket from deep. Vogrich’s biggest issue here seems to come from what’s happening upstairs.

Defense: Though Vogrich has improved dramatically defensively since his freshman year, he still is not quick enough to defend faster guards. He can get by playing in a 1-3-1 or 2-3 zone, but in man-to-man, he is often exposed. Some added strength has helped, and he has active hands, but more often than not he is a liability on the defensive end of the floor.

Ball-handling: It’s pretty clear that Vogrich is never going to be a point guard or a phenomenal ball handler. But as a guard, he still has average ball-handling skills at best, although he did show signs of improvement this year. With Douglass and Novak now gone, there’s a good chance Vogrich will be called upon to handle the ball more often next year, and he will have to continue to improve over the summer if he wants to have a bigger role on the floor for this team.

Shining Moment: Nine points on 3-of-6 shooting behind the arc in a 67-55 overtime win at Northwestern. The numbers may not be staggering, but each bucket that Vogrich hit was huge in a game that Michigan needed in order to stay in the hunt for a Big Ten Championship. Without him, there’s a good chance Michigan would have lost this game and wouldn’t be hanging a Big Ten banner in the Crisler Center rafters.

Bottom Line:

Though most of Vogrich’s numbers were down this year in comparison to last, his role was much of the same. Coming off the bench, he brought energy and would surprise many with a big rebound or steal in critical moments. Though he struggled offensively in non-conference play, it’s hard to complain about a 3-point shooting percentage of 43 percent in Big Ten games. He may not have had the greatest year, but there’s no doubt that Matt Vogrich had a role down the stretch.

His senior season will be the one to remember. There are ample opportunities for Vogrich, the only senior on next year’s team, to seize a greater role after the graduation of Zack Novak and Stu Douglass. Vogrich has played both the two and the three and should see more minutes, but could also emerge as one of the team’s leaders. In past year’s Vogrich’s production was a luxury, next year Michigan is finally going to rely on him. Whether Vogrich sinks or swims in an increased role will not only affect Michigan’s fate, it will also be what people remember when reflecting on his career.

Grade: B-

  • mitch

    C’mon Matt.  Please be a threat off the bench next season. 

  • ChocoJoe

    I’d like to seem him start over the freshmen the first couple of games. But if Stauskas or GRIII prove themselves, I won’t be complaining about having a better team.

  • SnortingBeileins

    I think he’ll start next year. Burke-Vogrich-Hardaway-GRIII-Morgan with Stauskas and McGary getting heavy minutes off the bench and competing for starting spots. Albrecht and Horford playing 5-10 minutes a game because Burke can only play about 35 a game and Horford will probably be the best rim protecting center we have.

    A college team has 200 minutes a game to fill. Burke and Hardaway in the mid-30’s and the other 5 rotation guys at about 25 minutes a game makes sense.

    • ColinNer

      A little unfair to comment on your post because a lot of people say it but I don’t see Albrecht getting 5-10 minutes next year. I think Eso will get the first shot at backup pg and Albrecht will average about 3 minutes per game. Before he got hurt, Eso did a serviceable job spelling Burke and Douglass. Also Beilein’s offense is hard for a freshman to pickup: this is what made Burke so impressive last year. 

      • SnortingBeileins

        I’m thinking Albrecht gets 5 minutes a game backing up Burke based on the fact that Burke played 36 a game last year with no pure PG backup. From watching a game of his, I believe that Albrecht can really pass the ball and is a smart PG.

        Unless he’s incapable of handling being picked up full court, C grade defensive work and hitting 30% of his 3 pointers I think he’s a better bet to play the 2-3 minutes a half Burke sits.

        Akunne is not a PG. He did hit some shots last year, but the sample size is probably too small. He is a senior, though, and should be better on D than Albrecht, so it wouldn’t shock me to see him get Burke’s backup minutes with the ball handling responsibilities falling more so to Robinson against the 4. Not much pressing in the Big Ten either. Whoever shoots and defends better in practice will play, I’d imagine.

    • Sven187

      Why do people keep trying to put the worst ball handling guard on our team at the 2? Hardaway, Stauskas, and Robinson are all far better ball handlers than Matt. His max this year was literally 3 dribbles then pick it up. His best asset is his movement without the ball.

    • SamGoBlue

       Couldn’t agree more, I really think Vogrich is going to play big minutes next year, starting at the two. While Stauskas may be a slightly better shooter and more talented overall, the difference between a senior and a freshman is vast. Vogrich will start and shoot 45%+ next year on well over 100 attempts from downtown.

      • BlueRev

         Could happen, but not so impressed with MV his first years here that I couldn’t see him get passed by a overall solid shooting guard prospect like Stauskas.

  • BlueRev

    Kev & Dyl et al,
    Wonder what you guys are really expecting–if MV will be a starter/6th man or as low as 9/10th in rotation. Staukskas reportedly shoots as well and does everything else better skill-wise while being taller. THJ and GRIII are going to get LOTS of wing minutes and only so much left (of course a few more if more of GRIII plays most of his time at 4).

    Classic case of system veteran going up against talented newcomers. He’ll have a role, but my guess is closer to 10-15 mpg than starter or 6th man at 25mpg and Stauskus takes on that 5/6th spot–if he defends well enough. I still like Vogrich as sniper/hustle guy off bench tho.

    • I’d bet Vogrich starts at the beginning of the season before Stauskas gets his feet wet. Once Stauskas settles in, I’d say he takes over the starting role probably a few games in.

      • BlueRev

        Yes, thanks, that sounds about right.

  • Michiganman12

    Beilein likes to play an 8 man rotation. I see MV playing about 10 mins a game next year, just like he did this year. I dont think his role will change too much, hopefully a bit more leadership. I assume the starting lineup w/minutes in parentheses will be [Burke(35)-Hardaway-(35)-Robinson (35)-McGary (30)-Morgan (25)]. Bench players Stauskas (20)-Vogrich(10)-Horford(10). This is my opinion of the 8 man rotation, 200 minute distribution.

    • BlueRev

      Too many minutes per starter… (Burke/Hardaway 33, Robinson 28, McGary/Morgan 23). Solid bench gets 30% playing time–including more for Horford. Bielfeldt, Albrecht, others will combine for about 10 too.

  • Wayman Britt

    After the month of December next season, I don’t see Vogrich getting more than 5 – 6 minutes a game.  He is a liability on defense and unless some team is stupid enough to leave him open on the wing he cannot get any other type of shot off.

  • section13row15

    Do you guys think with our added length next year we’ll see more zone which could keep Vogrich on the court longer?

  • Fresh

    everything is going to come down to how the freshmen pick up the offensive/defensive schemes…………vogrich i suppose could always raise his game also to garner more PT.  it is always nice to have some experience though coming off the bench

  • Kool Breeze

    The biggest weakness MV has to work on is his confidence with the ball in his hands IMO. Dude has hot potato-itis. As soon as he catches, he wants that ball out if his hands.

  • Rkw

    This just in! dave brandon thinkin of leaving denard robinson in ann arbor for the alabama game as well! this is a damn joke! get it together brandon!

  • A2JD

    I think that’s a generous grade for Matt. I think even he was probably a little disappointed with his season. C- seems more accurate. 

    I do agree that the effort was always there, just not the level of production many of us expected after the strong finish to his sophomore season. I’m glad he did contribute in a few key games.
    I’m not sure if the minutes he would’ve gotten will be taken by Nik but it seems possible. Hopefully, Matt will work his butt off to have a Senior season that will please everyone, including himself.