Photo: Dustin Johnston
Michigan’s offense has been dominant throughout early season play and is showing no signs of slowing down. The Wolverines coasted to another easy victory on Monday evening, handling IUPUI by a final score of 91-54.
A year after winning just two games by 20 points or more, Michigan has already won its first two games by a combined 75 points. Blowouts can only tell so much but as of November 13th, the Wolverines look every bit like a top five team.
A balanced offense combined with a stifling second half defensive performance was enough for Michigan to pull away. Five Wolverines reached double figures and over half Michigan’s makes were assisted in the easy win. Glenn Robinson III had a career high 21 points (on just nine shots) and six rebounds while Trey Burke added 22 points and nine assists. Nik Stauskas (11), Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) and Jordan Morgan (10) also reached double figures.
Michigan’s offense showed no signs of slowing down. The Wolverines scored 1.31 points per trip, which was not quite enough to match their season opener but still a better per-possession output than last year’s team was able to produce over the course of a 34 game season. Michigan’s shooting effort was terrific – 59% on twos, 62% on threes, 72% eFG% – but this game didn’t have the feel of a herculean shooting night. The Wolverines shot the ball well but the shots came easily within the offense and were generally wide open. With eight made layups and eight dunks, almost half of Michigan’s made field goals came directly around the basket.
The Wolverine offense was great throughout the night but the defense didn’t get off to nearly as impressive of a start. IUPUI started the game on fire and Michigan’s defense left something to be desired. IUPUI scored 27 points on its first 22 possessions (an impressive 1.22 points per trip) and trailed by just four points with 7:03 to play in the first half – then the Wolverine defense woke up. Michigan held IUPUI to just 27 points on its final 47 possessions of the game which calculates to a dismal .57 points per possession.
Michigan’s defense was fueled by dominant defensive rebounding (the Wolverines grabbed 92% of IUPUI’s misses) and stifling interior defense (IUPUI shot 35% on twos). That dominant defensive rebounding translated into Wolverine points as Michigan consistently pushed the ball off of its (36!) defensive rebounds. The defensive rebound to outlet pass break led to another fairly fast pace game at 69 possessions and helped Michigan rack up 91 points.
Michigan won games last season because of discipline and toughness. This year it’s clear that they’ll win plenty due to sheer talent as well. This team’s toughness hasn’t been tested in a close game but the talent is blatantly obvious as Michigan continues to blow out inferior competition.
There’s no time for Michigan to rest as Cleveland State is still in town and a trip to New York City is up for grabs. The Wolverines host the Vikings, who topped Bowling Green in overtime, at 8 p.m. at the Crisler Center.
Photo: Dustin Johnston
- Glenn Robinson III: It was a newsworthy event when Robinson missed a shot, in the second half. Robinson’s game just comes so effortlessly that it’s a joy to watch. He scored off out of bounds plays, alley-oops, put backs, a free throw line jumper, a backdoor cut. There’s not much to complain about with Robinson’s play (maybe 3 turnovers?) and it’s almost impossible not to be giddy about his future.
- Trey Burke: Burke started the game three for three from long range and, as you’ll probably read here quite a bit this season, he was in complete control of the game. He tied a career high with 9 assists and scored 22 points with a 66% effective field goal percentage. The Michigan offense ran so effectively that late-clock offense was rarely needed but he made two great late shot clock plays with a blow-by drive late in the first half and a pure isolation 18-foot jumper.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: This was the first game of Hardaway’s career that he didn’t attempt a three point field goal. He’s not forcing things (3-of-5 on the night) and has made defensive rebounding (7 tonight) a clear focus. He continues to be most effective when pushing the ball off of a defensive rebound. He took one all the way to the hoop for a monster dunk and got to the line often doing the same thing. This is the new Tim Hardaway Jr.:
- Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a couple of really strong exhibitions but seemed to struggle in the opener. He regained his form on Monday night with a big 10 point (5-6 fg), five rebound, two assist, one steal performance against IUPUI. Morgan played aggressively defensively and got caught a few times but he was extremely disruptive in the pick-and-roll game including a steal to fast break dunk. He had a fake hand-off to split a double team before a nifty finish, hit a 15-foot jumper with confidence and continued to be in the right spots when rolling to the hoop. Morgan is playing so well that it’s hard to justify going any deeper on the bench.
- Nik Stauskas: Stauskas hit three of four triples, had a great assist to Robinson and got to the free throw line four times. He had a few “welcome to college” moments, including getting ripped when trying to rip the ball through John Hart and getting taken off the dribble by three point specialist Sean Esposito, but his offensive game is effective. He’s lived up to his billing as a shooter and is comfortable putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket.
- Matt Vogrich: It was a fairly invisible game for Vogrich who didn’t score in 19 minutes and missed both three point attempts. He gives Michigan a steady option and his experience is valuable on defense but if he doesn’t hit threes consistently than Stauskas will steadily eat into his minutes.
- Mitch McGary: McGary played just 11 minutes and finished with 2 points and five rebounds. He missed an easy layup off a pick-and-roll and was called for a charge foul when trying to throw a drop off pass. His rebounding is as advertised but he needs to slow down a bit in the paint because he’s rushing his finishes around the basket. Late in the game he did just that, pump faking and pivoting to create space before an easy finish.
- Spike Albrecht: This was the first time we’ve seen Albrecht get jumped by ball pressure and it took him a bit to adjust but he looked much better in the second half. He drove the ball all the way to the basket off of a pick-and-roll and finished with a foul. He hit a three in garbage time but also had a typical freshman mistake over dribbling into a turnover in transition.
- Jon Horford: All Horford can do is make plays in the minutes he’s given. So far he’s doing a pretty good job of just that. He had a monster dunk off of a fake dribble handoff despite playing just five minutes.