Game 2: IUPUI at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan 91, IUPUI 54 - 9
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.

Michigan 91, IUPUI 54 - 19
Photo: Dustin Johnston

Player Bullets:

  • 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.
  • jlustig22

    We just seem to score in bunches. The shooting won’t continue at this rate but we seem to have so many more scoring options. They are really pushing the tempo and playing much faster. That will lead to a few more TO’s but I think the tradeoff is worth it if it leads to more scoring opportunities. It will be interesting to see if we continue to play at this pace when we played tougher competition and in the Big 10 which tends to be a slow conference.

    The Defense needs work. They left a lot of shooters open and didn’t rotate or recover well enough to contest shots. I assume it will get a lot better with more experience but against better competition, it could come back to haunt us.

    I still think we are at out best with the smaller line-up. The option of having 2 bigs out there together is nice and will be needed at times but I feel like the teams still operates better with 4 perimeter players. Spacing is better with four perimeter threats and gives Burke more room to operate. I think we’ve seen that the game at both the pro and college levels has been trending for some time towards the stretch 4 now that the ball screen is such a prominent part of most team’s offenses.

  • Nick

    anybody see timmay lose his mouthpiece celebrating?

  • sflmaize

    Dylan do you think Horford isn’t getting as mant minutes due to getting back from injury and also trying to develop McGary?

    • A combination here.
      1) Morgan is just playing so well.
      2) They definitely want to develop McGary and he’s a lot more comfortable at the five than the four right now.
      3) Jon just started practicing again recently and is still working into shape.

      Those three guys are good and Michigan is going to have to find a way to get some of them minutes at the four or there won’t be enough to go around I think.

  • ChathaM

    The talent level does look high, but the only thing I know for certain after just a couple of games is that the off-season transfers were the right move for all involved. Those guys would simply never have played.

  • Mattski

    So far I would have to say that Hardaway at the two is working out–he’s really contributing some great play-making, ripping down rebounds, pushing the tempo, and bringing a kind of leadership intensity that feeds the whole team. And Morgan has really advanced his game as well. I wouldn’t have anticipated that much advancement from both players through the off-season.

    • Champswest

      Couldn’t agree with you more.

  • geoffclarke

    Anyone want (1) free ticket to the game tonight (8pm)?

  • robpollard

    At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think UM was a Top 10 team — Top 25, but not THAT good. I know the opposition is nothing to write home about so far, but I’ve seen enough — in terms of both talent and smarts, sprinkled with some experience, you can tell – this team is a legit Top 10 team. To pick one, that end-to-end scoop & score by Burke was next level stuff.

    Can’t wait until UM plays NCSU. If UM wins that, the sky is the limit.

    • Champswest

      You (and others) may be right about UM’s high ranking, but I don’t think you can really tell about any team until they play several games (and against better competition). Having said that, I am very impressed with them so far and expect them to be an outstanding team. Just how high they will rank, I do not know.

  • MGoTweeter

    Dylan, I think you mean trailed by 4 with 7:03 left in the first half, not the second.

    Michigan seemed to come out not coasting, but not near top level intensity. I think this team can score the ball so easily at times that they fall into a lull in terms of energy and the defense suffers. If you just looked at the close outs in the first five minutes of the first half as compared to the first five of the second half, you would think that Michigan was two different teams. Obviously, it is early and tough to get up for IUPUI but it would be nice to see them come out tonight with that early second half intensity.

    One of the best things I saw for the offense as a whole, and there were several, was hardaway actually initiating the offense when the defense tried to deny Burke. That is a real big key for this team as I believe Michigan will see some teams down the road that try to take Burke out of the game and force someone else to get the team into it’s offense. Hardaway’s ballhandling has come a long, long ways.

    McGary looks like he needs to lose about ten to fifteen pounds. He can play at his current weight, but he seems to be struggling to move fluidly right now. Maybe that is still the lingering injury and not the weight, but his movement is just not where it was a year ago.

    It was great to see Albrecht respond in the second half to the pressure by blowing by his man and finishing through contact. I was a little worried in the first half when he struggled to just get the ball up the court, but he has a real knack for getting inside and being crafty around the basket.

    • Yep good call, fixed that.

    • GregGoBlue

      Just when we were beginning to count Albrecht out in his relatively weak showing against Slippery Rock he comes out and nails a three, looks comfortable handling the ball, and makes a really difficult contested layup against a guy twice his size. As Albercht continues to make plays, the more comfortable I am with Beilein spelling Burke for periods like he did in this game. Pretty good for a frosh PG without a D-1 offer.

  • GregGoBlue

    Vogrich’s senior leadership is really valuable, which is likely why he is getting the nod as the starter this early in the season. If he continues to have games like this though, I can see Stauskas starting mid-season and Vogrich coming off the bench much in the capacity in which he performed last season (and, perhaps, where he feels the most comfortable). Stauskas is a gamer, for sure, and his skillset is much more valuable than Vogrich’s; all he’s missing is the experience (ie knowing not when to make an ill-advised full court pass through traffic).

    Really like the new Tim. Seeing him fight for rebounds and dishing out assists rather than forcing the offense brings a tear to my eye. Sure his scoring numbers may have been down in this game (though 25 points in the last game averages out nicely) but his ability to help the team in other ways is so so valuable with as many scoring options as we have this year. This is the type of improvement I was hoping to see out of Tim, and I’m pleased with his development.