Game 10: Binghamton at Michigan Recap

(caption info) --  Michigan's Trey Burke goes up for a three point shot, Tuesday Dec. 11, 2012, during the first half at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. Michigan leads Binghamton 34 to 14 at the half.  (The Detroit News / Steve Perez)(caption info) --  Michigan's Caris Levert #23 passes the ball past Binghamton's Alex Ogundadegbe (15), Tuesday Dec. 11, 2012, during the first half at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. Michigan leads Binghamton 34 to 14 at the half.  (The Detroit News / Steve Perez)(caption info) --  Michigan's Jon Horford (15) dunks the ball, Tuesday Dec. 11, 2012, during the second half at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. Michigan beat Binghamton 67 to 39. (The Detroit News / Steve Perez)
Steve Perez/Detroit News

Michigan cruised to its 10th straight victory of the season on Tuesday evening with a 67-39 victory over Binghamton. The Bearcats succeeded at taking the air out of the basketball, slowing the game down to just 58 possessions, but the game was never competitive after the second media timeout. Michigan’s defense was strong and helped stretch the first half lead as it held Binghamton to just two points in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Trey Burke led all scorers with 19 points while Nik Stauskas joined him in double-figures for the Wolverines. Seven Michigan players scored and seven players handed out at least one assist in the easy victory.

Michigan’s offense was far from flawless but still managed 1.17 points per possession. Binghamton opted to pack its defense in the lane, daring Michigan to shoot (generally wide open) three pointers. The Wolverines attempted roughly half of their field goals from long distance and had mixed success from beyond the line, mostly because Tim Hardaway Jr. was never able to find his perimeter stroke and finished 2-of-9 from long distance. Michigan’s other players combined to shoot a more formidable 8-of-21. The rest of Michigan’s offense hovered slightly above season-average form as the Wolverines rebounded 37% of their misses and turned the ball over on just 12 percent of their possessions.

Binghamton managed to score just .67 points per possession but its nearly impossible to decipher what percentage of that figure is due to the Bearcats ineptitude offensively or Michigan’s defense. At least five Binghamton possessions ended with a shot clock violation air-ball as the Bearcats attempted to slow the game down to an absolute crawl.  Binghamton finished with as many turnovers (16) as field goals (16) on the night and attempted (and missed) just three free throws. 10 different Wolverines grabbed at least one defensive rebound and combined to corral 81 percent of Binghamton’s misses as the Bearcats essentially surrendered the glass to slow down Michigan’s transition game.

There’s little to take from this game as Binghamton is the worst team that Michigan will play this season. The Wolverines were far from inspiring but did their jobs and executed well enough in a muddled slow-paced game and will move on. Next up for the Wolverines is a trip to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to face off against John Beilein’s old team, the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia enters the game at 4-4 after losing at Duquesne on Tuesday evening, marring signs of progress after a weekend win over Virginia Tech.

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Player Bullets:

  • Trey Burke: The competition was clearly lacking but Burke put together another NBA-type scouting reel in this game. He managed 19 points on 8-of-12 (3-6 3pt) shooting and handed out five assists to just one turnover on top of that. Burke was nearly flawless and was able to do whatever he wanted on the floor from opening tip off until the final horn. It was his best three point shooting game in a while and the majority, if not all, of his attempts were much closer to the college line than we’ve seen in recent games.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: It’s easy to say Hardaway fell in love with the three point shot after he went 2-of-9 from long distance but almost all of his long range efforts were wide open. You can’t ask him not to shoot them but he’s definitely in something of a three point rut. After starting the season 8-of-11 from three point range, he’s just 8-of-37 in Michigan’s last seven games. To his credit, the long range struggles don’t seem to be affecting the rest of his game and he’s able to keep playing well in other areas.
  • Nik Stauskas: This felt like a bad shooting night for Stauskas to start the game as he missed his first two long range attempts but, like any good shooter, he kept firing and finished the game 4-of-8 for long range (although 50% will still lower his season average). Stauskas is starting to run into a few more problems when driving the lane – either forcing over-acrobatic looks at the hoop or getting the ball ripped – and needs to learn to control his drives just a bit more.
  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson was active and stuffed the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds, two steals, an assist and a turnover in 30 minutes. Robinson’s bread and butter continues to be cutting along the baseline when Burke gets in the lane but it’s nearly inexplicable how he struggles so much to finish alley-oops despite his extraordinary athletic ability.
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert handed out three first half assists and looked very comfortable driving baseline – and making the right decision. His first baseline drive he found McGary for a layup in the paint but adjusted next time to kick the ball to the wing for an open Stauskas three. In the second half he got in the scoring column with a nice backdoor cut and burning the redshirt is steadily looking like the correct decision.
  • Jon Horford: Horford has now put together a string of three solid performances. He’s great defensively, providing help and in one-on-one situations, and seems to becoming steadily more comfortable offensively game by game. Horford had two steals on the night, including one on the perimeter where he started a break before getting fouled. Both of his offensive buckets came while slipping to the basket and he caught and finished well.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a light day playing 19 minutes, scoring six points, grabbing a pair of rebounds and dishing out an assist. He played some extended time at the four position, nearly half of his playing time there, and while solid defensively seems to struggle to get involved in the offense at that spot.
  • Mitch McGary: McGary grabbed 10 rebounds (4 offensive) in 17 minutes but his all-out style of play got him into a few problems as well. There are still times when he tries to do too much, like throwing a lazy outlet pass straight down the court that was intercepted. McGary was 3-of-6 but as he continues to refine his game, his finishing should follow along quickly.
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht is proving to be a consistent three point shooter when left open and continues to be steady in relief at the point guard spot. He’s turned it over just once all season and Michigan’s offense doesn’t seem to miss a beat when he’s in the game.
  • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

    Comments were down on this post, sorry guys. Should be working now.

  • ChathaM

    That was an interesting BU game plan. I liked the idea of cutting off driving lanes and daring M to shoot 3’s. About half of M’s FGA were 3’s, but that was dictated by the defence; there weren’t many forced 3’s taken. I didn’t like the complete milking of the shot clock throughout the first half, though. I understand that BU wanted to limit possessions, but all they really accomplished was having to force a lot of poor shots very late in the shot clock. All of those possessions (including the shot clock violations) were effectively wasted possessions and turnovers. They seemed more willing to shoot earlier in the clock in the second half, and I’m sure that was a halftime adjustment, if only in the “screw this, we aren’t gonna win anyway” sense of the word. I was excited to see Canadian Taylor Johnston play. Unfortunately, like most of the BU players, Johnston was in over his head physically in this game.

    I had a very good seat, as there were LOTS of empties for this one; exams and weak opponent. One thing I could appreciate from close up was the length of LeVert’s arms, and the size of his hands. I’ve heard Beilein refer to that, and it really must seem like LeVert’s arms stretch from one sideline to the other in the front of the 1-3-1. The other thing that stood out from that close was the size of McGary. BU’s big men were very wide guys, but McGary was still easily the biggest guy out there.

    I was disappointed in Stauskas’ reactions after being stuffed on drives throughout the game. Once, he turned to the bench with his arms up in the classic “come on, I got fouled” pose. I’m sure it was frustrating playing a team that simply would not allow a drive to the basket, but that type of reaction isn’t acceptable at this level. Of course, Nik is only 10 games out of high school, so it’s not a big deal, and I’m sure the staff and his teammates will help him to get rid of that.

    A part of the offence that I really like is that players are always free to drive baseline, knowing that there will always be an available teammate in the weak side corner if the drive is stopped. Having options in all directions on that baseline drive is a comfortable situation.

  • Mattski

    Meanwhile, WVU lost to Duquesne last night, I see. I will still be excited for that game, including to see more of Levert in action and Jon Horford, who I think brings a bit of an intimidation factor that is going to be increasingly useful to the team.

  • UM Hoops Fan

    I cackle in glee at our big man situation. Morgan is rock-solid. McGary is a future pro — he is huge, with a crazy motor and good skills. He will be a double-double machine soon as soon as he slows himself down to finish off a couple of those rushed bunnies. Horford is a defensive game-changer right now, with blocks, steals, etc. Plus, all are willing to do the work without being the focus on offense. On that note, I think we could get our posts a few more touches down low, especially McGary and Horford. To be where we are now at the 5 compared to where we were recently, and compared to most college squads, is great.

    Trey looked great.
    A lot of Timmy’s shots were in and out. Even just one of those goes in and the stats seem a lot better. He is a bit streaky, but if he can keep the rest of his game going, his floor is a big asset to the team (with a game-changer talent on his good-shooting days).

    I can see why they burned LeVert’s redshirt. He is really good with the ball already, long, a willing passer, etc. In a go-for-broke season, he is a really good option and better for us than Eso, and by next year will be ready for solid minutes depending on what else happens.

    • gobluemd16

      I agree, we should definitely be giving the big men more touches down low, especially in a game like yesterday’s. They need to build confidence for more important games down the road, and also I noticed on multiple occasions that Mitch looked displeased when he didn’t get the ball when he was open on the block. Could definitely give him and Jordan more touches down there.

      • MGoTweeter

        I have been clamoring for this for the last couple years now and I think it is safe to assume it is not going to happen until such a time that a big man shows he can be relied upon down there. The issue appears to me to be viewed as wasted possessions.

        Beilein believes in maximizing every opportunity and he should believe in that. The downside to this is that he tries to get his team to avoid high turnover areas or low percentage shot areas. Its why he does not like long two’s and loves threes off of penetration. One is a high percentage, high reward shot, the other is low percentage and low reward.

        Entering the ball into the post becomes a similar low percentage, low reward situation when you do not have big men who are either dominate scorers on the block or great passers/ball handlers. If they are just ok at either you are asking for a turnover or a bad shot, if they do not get the ball in a position to immediately score. We see that in Michigan’s offense all the time, where a low post player will be open but the perimeter player will not give him the ball. Usually this is because the defender is in good position behind the low post player so that even if the ball is entered there will be no immediate score. Conversely, we have seen the ball entered immediately into the post when either the low post player has a high seal (meaning the defender is sealed to his high shoulder and an immediate drop step scores a basket) or when the low post player is a guard/wing. We saw the latter last game when TH Jr got an immediate post feed even though the defender had good position. The bottom line is the coaches trust that if Hardaway cannot score himself, he can at the very least handle the ball and make a good decision with it.

        The flip of that is that you are creating other opportunities even when you turn the ball over a few times down there, because you are opening up the floor in future possessions by showing the low post threat. However, if those guys never score down there, the threat never materializes and you are left being a street ball team or basically Memphis.

        I still would like them to toss the ball into the post more with the understanding that the big man is going to pass it right back out. Or at least run some high-low situations when they go with the two post look. We actually saw a little of that early in the season maybe in the exhibition, where Michigan ran a high-low. But doing those things even if they are for show, causes a lot of problems in terms of defensive rotations. When Michigan’s offense gets stagnant it is usually a results of too much perimeter passing and easy rotations for the defense.

        • MGoTweeter

          Oh one other thing just to piggy bank off of the idea that Michigan needs to develop this low post threat. I think the next evolution of Michigan’s offense this season may be the development of TH Jr as that low post threat. You can really only use it in certain situations depending on matchups; but seeing how he has struggled with his shot from time to time but always has been effective slashing to the basket. The best use of his abilities might just be to use him as a low post scorer or passer depending on how teams defend it.

  • EchoWhiskey

    If they are practicing alley-oops, they need to keep it going. This is a total nitpick, but I can’t remember a successful oop all season. My feeling is that the timing is just off on them rather than them being poor passes. I love that THIS is my only problem with how this team is playing.

    • john

      Well i can think of some other problems 1. the team rarely wears the same warm ups 2. trey burke wore different shoes than the rest of the team yesterday 3. can you get a technical for being to excited cus its only a matter of time before mitch gets one. As far as basketball goes theres not a big problem i see with this team its definitely fun team to watch.

    • Retiredat23

      The Slippey Rock first-half alley-oop to Robinson was fantastic FYI

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