Game 8: Michigan at Duke Recap

Dylan Burkhardt
on

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Adam Glanzman

Box score. Beilein presser. Player reactions. Coach K presser.

Michigan made just four field goals in the first 17:44 of the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium but the Wolverines were able to remain within striking distance despite their anemic offense.

While the resiliency was impressive, it was clear that the Wolverines were no match for the Blue Devils. After Michigan had cut the lead to just six points with 9:01 to play, Duke pulled away thanks to two huge threes from Andre Dawkins off the bench. The Wolverine deficit would never reach single digits again despite a foul-filled final two minutes that saw Duke make 13-of-14 free throws.

Whenever John Beilein’s group was able to fix one problem, something else seemed to go wrong. The Wolverines were searching for answers while the Blue Devils had a winning formula. Duke stars Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood both had their moments but needed 27 shots to score 29 points. It was Duke’s complementary stars that doomed the Wolverines. Dawkins hit the big threes, Quinn Cook tallied 24 point sand nine assists, and Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones didn’t allow Nik Stauskas to make a single field goal.

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The per-possession statistics from this game are wildly skewed by the final two minutes of the game. Michigan outscored Duke 19-13 over the final two minutes, or nine possessions. Exclude that production and the points per possession totals read: Michigan .86 points per possession, Duke 1.14 points per possession. That seems much closer to the truth, Michigan’s offense really struggled while its defense started strong and faded late.

Duke did a great job of taking away Michigan’s transition offense (especially transition threes) and Michigan’s half-court offense was reduced to isolation drives and high ball screens.  Michigan tallied just 12 assists to 12 turnovers and relied on Caris LeVert to bail it out offensively down the stretch. Duke defended the three-point shot well (something it has done all season) but the Wolverines’ failure to convert around the basket in the first half was disappointing. Michigan shot just 35% inside the arc in the first half compared to 65% in the second half.

Right now Michigan’s offense is a handful of talented pieces that don’t really know how to play together. There’s no guidance and the point guard play isn’t strong enough to pull it all together. That’s a new problem for a Michigan team that has been blessed with great point guard play for the last three seasons. Duke overplayed and denied on the perimeter defensively all game but the Wolverines never made them pay with a backcut. That’s a tell-tale sign that the offense isn’t all on the same page.

It was a scramble late game situation but it’s worth pointing out that with two minutes left John Beilein finally rolled out a lineup with Caris LeVert at point guard and it worked pretty well. I think sooner than later, that’s a look that Michigan will need to utilize this lineup more often, especially if the point guard struggles continue.

The Wolverines couldn’t have asked to play much better defensively in the first half. They held Duke to 1.04 points per possession despite a disappointing first half rebounding effort. Defense was really the only reason that Michigan was in the game at that point. In the second half, that defensive effectiveness deteriorated as Duke shot 73% on twos, 40% on threes and then hit all of the free throws down the stretch. When Michigan’s offense finally improved, it’s defense just couldn’t make quite enough stops to make a game out of things.

Duke hasn’t lost at home in non-conference play since 2000 so plenty of teams have ventured to Cameron Indoor and lost but Michigan has a lot to figure out. Listening to Coach K talk about how important it is for Duke to develop and get better, the same things apply to Michigan, it just isn’t quite as far along yet. This team is going to figure a lot of things out and is learning on the fly at some important spots.

But the Wolverines are also in a danger zone with three non-conference losses by December 4th. Next up for is another tune up against Houston Baptist before a big home game against Arizona. The Arizona game gives the Wolverines one last chance to leave to the non-conference with a signature win and they’ll have the opportunity to do it in the friendly confines of the Crisler Center. Beat Arizona and Stanford in December and the Wolverines suddenly have confidence heading into league play, drop another game and the questions will start to fly.

Player Bullets

  • Caris LeVert: LeVert was the only player on Michigan’s roster that would put his head down and make a play. He finished with 24 points on 8-of-18 (1-3 3pt) shooting with an assist and a turnover in 36 minutes. He missed at least three or four shots around the rim that he should have made but his aggressiveness was an obvious bright spot. Defensively, LeVert had some critical defensive breakdowns: the late threes by Dawkins and a couple dribble drives by Rodney Hood stand out. LeVert has the tools to defend but is still nagged by untimely mental lapses on that end of the floor.
  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas was coming off an ankle injury but Duke completely took him out of the game with Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones. Both players stuck to him on the perimeter, overplayed ball screens and took him out of his comfort zone. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, where Duke’s great defense completely shut Stauskas down because he was lagging a bit.
  • Mitch McGary: Michigan wanted to get McGary involved early, isolating him in a face-up on the first offensive possession, but it was clear he was too amped up early. McGary padded his stats late but really struggled to find an offensive flow. There’s blame to go around. Early on Michigan’s guards struggled to get him the ball in space on the ball screen and that’s something that is necessary to beat a team that’s overplaying the ball screen. But Mitch also showed some bad habits including the tendency to fade away when he catches the ball at the rim and a handful of rushed shots.
  • Glenn Robinson III:  In a game that was touted as an NBA Draft showcase, Robinson came up woefully short. He shot a lot of ugly jumpers – both from three and mid-range – and didn’t have anymore luck driving to the basket, or look very confident doing it. The majority of his makes were things we’ve seen from him before: alley oops, follows and baseline cuts. There was a lot of talk about Robinson’s offseason improvement in the preseason but his sophomore season has gotten off to a dismal start.
  • Derrick Walton: Walton has had more turnovers than assists in each of Michigan’s three losses. It’s clear that the game is moving a bit too fast for him offensively against some of the better defensive teams that Michigan has played. Quinn Cook (24 points and nine assists) dominated the game and the point guard position was a major difference in the game.
  • Spike Albrecht: The offense runs more smoothly with Albrecht on the floor but he’s still a defensive liability physically. Michigan needs Walton to be its point guard and Albrecht to be its offense-first guard off the bench if it’s going to be the team it wants to be in March.
  • Zak Irvin: Irvin had a few bad misses but finally knocked down a few shots late in the second half. He played 14 minutes in a game that was a match-up nightmare for him at the four when Duke could put Parker on the court.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a great turnaround finish with a foul, probably his best shot of the season, then followed it up with a missed bunny a couple minutes later.
  • Jon Horford: Horford played just six minutes, perhaps because Beilein was worried about dealing with some of Duke’s more mobile big men, and he missed his only field goal attempt.
  • Kam

    When Caris was screened there didn’t look like there was much more he could do. He cant run through the guy nor do i think he could lol The drives by Hood 2 of them if i remember right were just BAD defense. He has that every game. some bad plays on defense. But overall he played solid on hood. only 14 points. He needs to cut down on the over aggressive plays that get him beat.. Offensively the way he attacks the ball is extremely impressive. Glenn just doesn’t have that ability . Glenn once again looks lost. Nik I’m shocked by this. Mitch i think played hard. But i would like seeing Caris play more PG.

    • Daoofgeek

      The one three Horton needed to step up but he let himself get caught in between flashing out and covering the lane. With a shooter like that, you have to flash out and hope others back up up to cover the lane.

      • Kam

        Horford and yes i agree! thats what i said earlier.. He needed to step up and make him pass it or dribble the ball.. Maybe since that kid didn’t play a lot they didn’t have the scouting report. But Caris got screened and jon should have stepped up

        • mikey_mac

          Horford’s performance was a zero in this one, unfortunately. My confidence in Morgan is so much higher comparatively, even knowing Morgan seems like a lock to miss at least one exasperating shot per game.

  • David Remmler

    I think the final outcome was expected. It’s extremely hard to win at Cameron indoor even with the best team in the country. Even with a couple technicals against Duke, referee bias towards Duke was worth at least 2-3 buckets. Michigan is a work in progress and it’s best to look at the positives. Michigan kept their composure and made it a competitive game for the most part and the difference was the refs, a subpar night from the 3 point line and a few careless turnovers.

    • Daoofgeek

      The refs spotted Duke 5-7 points (the missed shot clock violation 3, the horrible foul call on Walton where he scored, the obvious out of bounds ball that hit Plumlee). So pathetic how these were missed.

      Still, very disappointed on the team’s play as a whole. LeVert was exceptional though missing some easy buckets at the rim (a frightening trend I’ve seen in not just Michigan but in college bball over the past several years). There was zero flow to the offense and too many guys standing around, lacking the aggressiveness needed against a team like Duke. I dont think there’s any doubt that Stauskas was not 100%. He just did not have the same explosiveness you usually see.

      Agree, this is a huge wake up call to the young guys and will be interested to see how they respond over the next month, especially when ‘Zona comes to town. That will be a big win. ;-)

    • mikey_mac

      I thought Michigan played with little or no composure for much of the game. The offense was completely out of sorts, and the defense wore down as their confidence was broken. To me, they looked rattled all game, which I think is completely reasonable given the environment and their poor shooting at the start.

  • David Remmler

    Looking at individual performances, I think there are a number of positives. Levert had an outstanding game and showed he is a potential superstar. Walton and Irvin weren’t spectacular but had their moments and didn’t wilt in the spotlight. The future is bright for both. Robinson had a limited role and still needs to work on his aggressiveness but had several plays demonstrating his potential – I think Beilein will push him to create his own shot more. Although he had limited touches, McGary looked good at times.

    I think Stauskas was limited by his injury and Duke was capable of exploiting this by limiting his scoring opportunities. The silver lining is that this gave some other players more chances to contribute. This loss will be a learning opportunity and will help them down the road.

    • Chris De Sana

      I agree they both have very bright futures but would prefer coach brought Walton along slower by starting Caris at the point. On the other hand I think Irvin should get more of GR3 minutes, if nothing else he give greater effort on both ends of the floor.

  • Wayman Britt

    So tough to win at Duke. But I am disappointed that UM did not play better.

    I don’t care how high GR3 can jump, he has not improved one bit so far this season. He cannot create any offense and is even more timid and softer than last year. Coach Beilein and Bacari have their work cut out for them in trying to get him to play.

    • Chris De Sana

      Time to re-think the minute distribution and where GR3 fits. Because if he is going to continue to offer so little we need to adjust accordingly and give minutes to those that give greater effort even if they are not as physically gifted.

    • mikey_mac

      I thought he played pretty well defensively, especially on the perimeter. He was obviously over-matched in the post against Parker, but that was a given, considering GR3 really isn’t a true 4 like Parker is. The size difference was simply unfair.
      On offense, his handle is way too shaky to create his own shot. People used to hate on THJ’s handle, but he was much more capable with the ball in traffic.

  • Chezaroo

    Predictable result IMO. Caris was a positive, but we are going to win very few if any games when Nick doesn’t have a field goal. Lot of questions about the offensive identity direction of this team as we look very unsure of ourselves. Vastly disappointed in the progression of Glen, but don’t know if his injury is still a factor. Sure thought the coaches would have identified a much smoother flowing offensive attack by now. Lot of season ahead, looking forward to Arizona at home, to see where we are.

    • countourzealous

      Honestly, Nik didn’t look fully recovered from the ankle sprain. He wasn’t cutting very well, etc. He also had that ugly turnover when he simply slipped.

  • Chris De Sana

    The whole night wrapped up into a couple of lines…..
    “Right now Michigan’s offense is a handful of talented pieces that don’t really know how to play together. There’s no guidance and the point guard play isn’t strong enough to pull it all together.”
    I know I keep saying it that Caris should start at the point to which many say Walton will come around. I see it as there is a huge difference between the surrounding talent that Burke had as a freshman and what the current team has right now. Also the expectations of both teams are/were far different.
    Caris is the one player that has the ability to get into the paint on a consistent basis, that is the one thing that could help free up our other offensive weapons.

    • ChathaM

      “Right now Michigan’s offense is a handful of talented pieces that don’t really know how to play together. There’s no guidance and the point guard play isn’t strong enough to pull it all together.”

      In a word, chemistry. Beilein was about to use that word in his presser, but he checked himself, probably realizing how it could be misinterpreted. It’s simply going to take time, and there’s no guarantee that it will all come together. I’m optimistic, because of the relatively high level of talent on the roster. Offensive efficiency has not been a problem against lesser competition. Improved chemistry should allow for more efficiency against better teams.

    • guestavo

      Many people have been on the Caris at PG train for a long time now.

  • Mattski

    Just doesn’t look like there is a plan, a solid rotation, or anything coherent going on out there yet. (I begin to agree with guestavo that Caris needs more PT at point.) I found the whole night dismaying, including the personal attacks on players by our “fans.” It’s just too easy–and weak–to make fun of some incredibly talented kid who isn’t performing up to your superior standards. . . from the vantage of your couch. I’m a big Beilein fan, but there is no controlling vision in place there, at least not yet.

    Now the Dick Vitales of this world. . . Anybody who asks you to turn down the volume while they provide a full body massage to the opposing coach for five minutes should be fair game. :)

  • Indiana_Matt

    “Duke overplayed and denied on the perimeter defensively all game but the Wolverines never made them pay with a backcut. That’s a tell-tale sign that the offense isn’t all on the same page.” TRUE. I don’t think our problem is effort as much as understanding. We aren’t making good offensive reads. I think reps are the only thing that will get us there. Probably more ugly games ahead but I have confidence we will make strides.

    • Champswest

      Agree. Considering how young we are, we probably have more upside than any other op 25 team.

      • rlcBlue

        Er, Kentucky’s got a little bit of upside.

  • countourzealous

    Does anyone else think it’d be worth starting Caris at the 1? I mean, there’s really nothing to lose when it’s this early in the season. It could be worth a shot. LeVert creates and dishes very well, and his ability to drive could hurt defenses. Walton just doesn’t look comfortable yet.

    • Kam

      i agree. quite a few others agree too!!

    • CDeSana

      And GR3 to a nice cozy warm spot next to the coach more often.

    • Champswest

      Except that isn’t doing much to develope Walton.

  • Alex

    Yeah I mean we are at probably where many of us thought we would be at this point in the season with the exception of Charleston. We probably have one more loss than expected at this point. If we can finish non-conference play without another loss, which I think is doable since Arizona is at home, then we’ll be in business. I truly think the team we see now will be different by the time March rolls around. Obviously that’s no guarantee of success but one of the things people complained about this team in the past was that it peaked too early. I think if all goes well we will peak at just the right time.

    • Kam

      Charlotte* and Most thought we would win at iowa state too.

      • Indiana_Matt

        I didn’t think we’d win at Iowa State. Notoriously tough place to play and way early in the season to face a decent team in that kind of environment. At this point I thought we’d have 2 losses.

        • Champswest

          Yeah, me too (lose at Iowa State). How does anyone KNOW what MOST people think?

    • DingoBlue

      We are about where I thought save for Charlotte. Might have to lower expectations a bit to account for returning health of several players going into B1G play. It’s going to be tough to win games in the B1G though unless the half-court offense steps up a bit.

  • Dr_ZC

    I think a lot of folks have come down hard on GR3 and his lack of productivity. If folks thought that GR3’s game style would change and he would transform to a great one-on-one player, I want to know where they did they see this happening. In practices? In past games? Glenn is a super athletic guy who moves great without the ball in his hands. His productivity depends on the vision of the point guard to give him the ball at the right spot. I never saw him going against the defense penetrating, spinning and banking shots at the expense of his defender. He can hardly create his own shot.
    People commented about the improvement of his shooting stroke, and pull up jumper, which is as far as It goes, but let us be realistic. It is hard to transform your game within a few months. And people might say that Stauskas and Levert were able to transform their games. I would say that Stauskas became stronger, but he could always drive to the hoop. He showed that last year, but his role was limited to camping in the wings and getting the pass from Trey or Tim for the 3 point ball. Caris played one-on-one against Trey all year long. He improved his confidence and game, but he always had it in him to drive to the hoop.
    Bottom line: We are expecting too much from GR3. We need the point guards to find him in the right spot for him to score. I think his success will be tied up to Walton’s development. We all thought that he would be a pass guard first, and shooter next, as opposed to Burke. However, the lack of assists from our point guards against quality competition is alarming.

  • GMO

    Spike should never run the point… Period! He does not make good decisions holds the ball for too long and he jacks up shots that kill any kind of offensive momentum we have. GRIII looks like Tim Hardaway. He’ll need a third year to gain confidence and figure out who he is. He should be attacking the rim like Nik. He’s the most athletic guy on any court!

  • mikey_mac

    I’ve had my complaints about LeVert’s defense in prior games, but the complaints about last night are misplaced. His lapses on ball screens and close outs came at the point in the game where he had completely taken over on the offensive end. I thought he was just too gassed to keep up that intensity on both ends of the floor, and the team was completely relying on him on offense.

  • mikey_mac

    I didn’t like Beilein’s in-game coaching much in this one. I don’t think UM really had a chance to win either way, but he didn’t use his timeouts well to quell runs and refocus the team. He also seemed unable to calm the team down and have them play smart offensive sets, to take advantage of the Duke aggressiveness. I’m sure a lot that is really from the inexperience of the guys, but I just didn’t get a sense that Beilein was pulling them together and settling them with good direction. Tough environment, poor shooting, just a tough night overall.

    • mikey_mac

      Forgot to mention the gimmicky trap zone that Beilein went to in desperation that was a dream-come-true for Duke’s perimeter shooters. Couldn’t believe they tried that look against a team with four legit 3-pt shooters on the court at all times.

  • Aaron

    I almost would have preferred that Stauskas didn’t even play this game. Yes, Duke shut him down but that’s only when he didn’t move from where he was stationary a good part of the game in the corner for 3. It reminded me of early last season when Stauskas wasn’t taking the ball to the hoop. I just think its using him as a decoy if he’s not even going to attempt to get involved in the whole flow of our office.

    Had Stauskas not played, we would have had an actual scoring threat out there who could move. I actually don’t think Irvin played that poorly offensively and it would have been interesting to see him get more PT in this environment as an oversized 2.

  • ChathaM

    I love this year’s non-con schedule. For a talented but young roster, basically alternating between tough and weaker opponents is a great structure for development. For a less talented team, I’d say that trips to Iowa State, Duke, and PR, along with a home date with Arizona, plus a neutral game with Stanford, is too much to handle. But, as frustrating as it can be to watch at times, it should be perfect for this group. This will benefit them down the road far more than would a cupcake-laden non-con schedule.

    One big positive from last night is that our adjustment to Duke’s defensive game plan forced Caris into a huge role. Until last night, I wasn’t sure whether Caris could handle that level of responsibility against a really good team. Now, we know that he can handle it. In future games, opponents now know that there is one more weapon on the floor, and if they refuse to help off of perimeter shooters the way Duke did, Caris is able to make them pay. His development in just one year (really, less than one year) is incredible.

    Vitale seems like a great guy, and he loves the game as much as anyone. Unfortunately, he’s reached the point where he lends nothing to a broadcast. If you go back a few years, you could always count on Vitale for a few insightful points per game. Last night, his insightful point count was zero.

    • CDeSana

      Not a huge DV fan either but feel he always tries to stay positive maybe to a fault. That said he did make many comments about Michigan’s offense and the lack of movement, passing, ball screens and the like.

      • ChathaM

        You’re right. He was critical of the offensive flow. I felt that he was recommending things that simply are not a part of Beilein’s offence, so the utility was minimal. What really drives me crazy about him is when he does things like screaming a player’s name 4 times in a row (JABARI PARKER! JABARI PARKER! …). Aside from the player’s parents (maybe), does anyone enjoy that?

  • David DeMember

    1.) Duke hasn’t lost a non-conference game at home in almost 14 years. There’s a reason for that, non-conf teams aren’t used to playing there. It’s literally insane in that place.

    2.) Beilein isn’t a first half of the season guy for starters. He coaches to win in Feb-March, he let’s his players make mistakes so they can learn. He’s one of the better teachers in the game.

    3.) Caring about non-conf games is rather new to a lot of Michigan fans who have a hard time remembering the F5 era and the following years. My 15 YO son, who only knows Michigan greatness from documentaries and the past year is already ready to sound the alarms. Patience… we played a weak NC schedule last year, hence the undefeated record with an experienced PG.

    I think Michigan performed about how we expected. Duke got a couple gifts early (shot clock expired 3 and a couple other shaky calls). They were actually getting near or to the hoop early (not finishing though) and their scoring machine had a bum wheel. I think Caris finally emerged as go to option vs a quality opponent, McGary is getting more comfortable every game and Walton showed plenty of signs of good play in that game… Let’s check in with the “State of the Team”
    reports in late January.
    It’s Duke at home!

  • guestavo

    1.Glenn played Jabari Parker better than any other player has so far this college season. 15 points on 14 shots, many of which came in transition. Glenn is a guy that needs to be set up for his offense. I really think much of the hate is unfounded now that I’ve had a chance to let yesterday sink in.

    2.Caris is clearly a lead guard, on the ball player. He can not shoot well when he doesn’t get a dribble or two and he tends to stagnate.

    3, McGary is not a execute in the post player. He should be used how Chris Bosh is used in Miami.

    4. I think our best lineup is probably Levert-Stauskas-Irvin-GR3-McGary. Spike will have to get his minutes reduced and act as a steadying force. This lineup adds length and rebounding

    • Chezaroo

      If we are to come together as a team this year, we undoubtedly IMO, have to let Caris be the full time PG. As raw as he is, he is vastly talented, and gives us the best chance to gel as a unit. Walton is not yet ready to assume this role, and IMO his ceiling is limited. I know it’s early, but it’s time to make a decision and ride the inconsistencies in favor of superior talent. There is still a lot of games to be played.

      • Don’t understand the ceiling comment with Walton. The ability is there, he needs to figure out the game at this level.

        • Chezaroo

          Always respect your opinion Dylan, but the potential of THIS years teams lies in Caris hands. Walton is limited physically ( still believe he is 5′ 10″) and is not a potential playmaker on the level of Caris. With the roster due to change drastically after this year, ( misguided NBA dreams and SR Morgan ) now is the time to lmake a decision and define roles. Undoubtedly Walton is still enamored with being the next Burke, but does not possess the same abilities, and the potential for growth is much higher on the side of Caris for this year. Cook exposed a lot of people last night, but none more than Walton. Always liked Derrick, but will stick with my belief that his ceiling physically is no where near what LeVerts potentially is.

          • Indiana_Matt

            I think he’s going to be a very good point guard. I think it is his adjustment (mentally) to the college game more than his height that are limiting him. But Caris does possess great ability at getting to the basket and finding people.

          • Mattski

            You may have missed the announcers noting that Walton is about where Burke was statistically this time his freshman year. He’s a freshman, and playing okay; he might not be quite as ballsy so far as Trey, but that hardly means we’ve glimpsed his “ceiling.”

            Now whether Spike should be sitting more, and Caris up at the point is another question. . . I’d like to see more of that.

    • rlcBlue

      As I said in another thread, it would be a lot of fun to watch your preferred lineup play the 1-3-1. Traditionally the PG is on the baseline, so Irvin would need to take over on top and LeVert move down under the basket; this adjustment would take a little practice time, but the resulting defense would be a nightmare for many opponents.

    • mikey_mac

      I think offensively this is probably the most effective lineup, but McGary just doesn’t seem to be the rim protector that lineup would need against a penetrating backcourt. I have little faith in LeVert to stay in front of quick 1s, and almost none in Stauskas to do the same against quick 2s. Walton is really the missing link. He needs to figure out his jumpshot and how to make better decisions with the ball, but his defense and quickness with the ball will both be plus assets.

      • guestavo

        Then the solution is to give Caris the bulk of Spike’s minutes at the lead guard and give Irvin the minutes that Levert vacates at on the wing.

    • Chris De Sana

      Mitch like Bosh? Please expand on this….

  • Mr_Sledge

    Jordan Morgan is a shell of his former self. I know he was never a great finisher, but it’s almost comical how he misses at least one bunny per game. He also doesn’t feel like that lockdown defender that he used to be. If anything I was hoping he would provide more leadership for this team, which is severely lacking.

    I pray that GR3 doesn’t go pro. Critics are blaming his lack of production on JB’s offense, but even when he has the ball in isolation he looks lost. Just like LaVert spent time playing 1:1 with Burke. Maybe GR3 needs to spend time playing 1:1 with LaVert. When your only moves are to attempt to blow by a defender (high school style because you are faster) or one dribble pull-up, you’re in trouble. IMO, he would be an absolute bust in the NBA. He reminds me of a shorter Tyrus Thomas, who was a high draft pick based on athleticism and is now playing for….?

    If anything, I think this team would benefit from having AT LEAST 1 play in the playbook that gives McGary the ball in the post. There were so many wasted possessions where the offense had zero flow. This could possibly free up some cutting lanes for Robinson and provide for a decent shot with arguably our most valuable player.

    • Chezaroo

      You nailed it! Sad to see Morgan at this stage, has absolutely no confidence and no defined minutes. Very disappointed about the offensive flow, was expecting much more in terms of production. It’s time to let Caris be the full time PG and let the team know it. Walton is not ready, and looks overwhelmed by the speed of the college game. His future is down the line.

    • Indiana_Matt

      Remember when Jordan scored 27 points against Northwestern as a Freshman (2010-2011).

    • Chris De Sana

      Agreed some post offense would be of great value, not only in developing Mitch but if he is successful in forcing people to double it could mean easier shots around the arc and dump off dunks for GR3.

  • jkuofm27

    Going into the season I thought that GRIII and McGary were locks for the NBA and that Stauskus had an outside shot, because of his ability to fit the Redick/Dell Curry/Korver roll on a team. Stauskus has looked really good, except for the last two games when he has been hurt, assuming that was his problem last night. Is it time to start talking about potentially all of them being back next year? I know there are a lot of games to be played, so hopefully this team in March will look 200% better than it does now. But as a freshman draft prospect I think it is about potential. As a sophomore isn’t it more about production? For example, CJ Fair is currently the 36th prospect on NBADraft.net and GRIII is 16th. I could see those two flipping spots. I know Fair is a senior and the NBA penalizes players for that, but Fair looks ready for the NBA on both sides of the court and GRIII just does not.

    I am not trying to be a pessimist as much as an optimist. What if this is a two year run with this team? Elite Eight this year, Championship next? I am a contingency planner…its what I do.

    • mikey_mac

      I probably agree about the Fair/GR3 argument as far as NBA readiness. But draft stocks are not set in the first 10 games of the season, though, so any thoughts that GR3 is no longer a first round pick are way premature.

  • Kevin

    GRIII: First, played great defense last night which can’t be understated. I think we need to recalibrate our expectations for him this year. I don’t think he needs to be the creator and playmaker that people expect. If we can get good D from him at the 4, a couple transition buckets per game, hit open 3s reasonably well, and a couple garbage putbacks then that’s perfect. Stauskus and Levert are clearly more comfortable as playmakers. If we have those two getting to the rim and McGary giving us a good option at the 5, we’re going to be a very hard team to defend.

    Dylan made a great point about Levert running the point. He’s very comfortable with the ball and it gives us an enormous lineup.

  • Richmond_Eric

    I love watching this team play basketball. While the Duke and Charlotte game were very tough to watch, they will serve as great barometers to where the team will be come end of Feb.March. Can a team with this much talent shoot so poorly so often? I think not and once they gel, we will be fine.

    I do not understand the Walton comments about a ceiling, etc. He looks to be very aggressive attacking the basket when he has the opportunity. Yes, he threw a couple away last night, but I believe this to be part of the adjustment to high level D1 hoops. The “veterans” will certainly need to step up their games, however they are adjusting to a new backcourt and let us not forgot the injuries. McGary and Robinson will get into their groove. Combine that with the vastly improved Nik and Caris, a “seasoned” Zak and Derrick, throw in a little Spike, JMO, and Horford and I think we will have a team that could and should be in contention for a B1G title, the ability to get past the 2nd round of B1G tourney, and the potential to make a run in the Big Dance. Of course, I am presuming that the team gets (and stays) healthy which has not been the case so far.

    • Chris De Sana

      I have been one of the folks here saying that i feel Caris should start at the point but that does not mean that I do not feel Walton has a high ceiling. I think he does….. The difference between he and Burke’s freshman year is that we have options now when we had none then.

  • JVS

    18 hours after walking out of Cameron and thinking through what we showed on the flight back, most of the points raised across the previous 48 posts hit on a lot of it. Fully agree with: 1) a decent debate between the immediate impact of Caris playing PG vs. letting Walton grow into it. No clear answer here, but have to trust Coach Val knows what he’s doing and March/future Marches should be the focus, 2) GR3 needing a PG to be effective, and it will take some time for him to build the skillset that Nik/Caris have naturally. 3) Nik didn’t look 100%, but Coach K schemed perfectly to neutralize whatever was left of him. How we didn’t get more backdoor looks/movement is concerning given how far they were cheating up to block the kick-outs, 4) Cameron is nuts. I can see why its impossible to sustain momentum there w/o a very experienced PG/team. 5) We are a collection of parts, and its going to be more challenging to have Walton/GR3 develop/grow the way we need them to if they are marginalized by others taking their opportunities (eg, Caris starting PG over Walton). To add: 1) Mitch looked quite lost until the last few minutes. Rattled, not focused, not fundamentally sound. His stats were padded in garbage time, and he made at least 10 bad decisions that he wouldn’t have made last March. Not sure why. 2) Fundamentals of rebounding for us were the worst i’ve seen in years. Not properly boxing out, slapping at the ball, turning up court before securing the ball. Didn’t look like Michigan. Part of it was Cameron I guess, but these very basic things are how Izzo makes raw bigs into B1G bruisers. Has to improve ASAP.

  • Champswest

    Too much over reaction to one great game by Carris. If Walton looks good next game and LeVert struggles, everyone will be on the Walton bandwagon.

    • mikey_mac

      To be fair, LeVert’s great performance was coupled with Walton’s shaky performance. But those who believe Walton needs to take a step back for Caris, need to realize that UM has won the games Walton has played well in, and it’s not a coincidence. He’s an important contributor right now, and he needs game time.

      • Chris De Sana

        You are correct that Walton is important, but are we willing to risk the season by blindly putting him out there when a better option is available? He will get better but in the mean time an adjustment is probably in the best interest of this teams goal of going deep in the tourney.

        • mikey_mac

          Walton is our best option to defend good point guards, especially by Februrary, and especially if he continues to get significant minutes now. There’s a high likelihood his improvement is a necessity for any sort of a tourney run. He won’t improve on the bench.

          • Chris De Sana

            You are assuming we make it to the tourney, at this point I do not see that as a given.

    • guestavo

      It isn’t just one game. Many of us have been saying this since Iowa St. I don’t think it’s an either or but I do think we need to get Caris minutes at the 1 and maybe Spike is the odd man out in that situation.

      • mikey_mac

        I don’t think Spike needs to be yanked from the rotation, he should just play off-ball and simply knock down threes. I think Beilein has started to realize this. His limitations facilitating and on defense really do preclude him from playing much, if any, at the 1.

    • Kam

      We have been saying it for awhile

  • MGoTweeter

    late getting on here to post my post game thoughts, so I have not read through everyone’s comments. I am sure many have already stated a lot of what I saw and Dylan hit all the key points in his recap as well.

    After the first ten minutes or so of the game, my initial thought was the anxious attitude of the team is becoming a trend of late for Michigan basketball in big time road games. After some thought, I don’t think that is necessarily fair for this team. Not only is this team incredibly young but the pieces they have with experience still do not have a lot of experience being relied upon for offense. This was really the first big road test for all these guys against a pressure defense. They showed their youth.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the improvement in on ball defense though. For the most part Michigan did a good job of keeping the ball out of the lane and forcing Duke into either jump shots or contested shots. It appeared that later in the game Michigan got steal happy and gave up a lot of easy drives, but the overall balance of the defense was good.

    This team desperately needs a focus on offense. I thought that was the case even against some of the poor teams they played, but it showed up big time in this game. Everything has been far too one-on-one oriented so far on offense with little meaningful ball/player rotation. This is understandable when you lose the guy who dominated the ball for 80% of time last season and the guys who are going to be the core minute players have not practiced together much to this point due to injury. At this point I am not sure what the best route for Michigan is on offense, but I think it has to start with the ball being in Stauskas and Levert’s hands for most of the clock.

    I did think the team played soft for almost the entire game, but I am willing to look past that considering the youth factor against this type of defense. I did expect though, to see the big guys (McGary, Morgan, Horford, and GRIII) be more assertive with controlling the Duke players in terms of positioning on both ends of the floor. Regardless of any pressure on the perimeter those guys have to do a better job of moving opponents around and gaining control inside.

    I am not terribly concerned about this team at this point as I don’t think any of the results so far are that unexpected. They certainly have a ways to go especially on offense, but the pieces are there. Hopefully they are getting healthier and we see more cohesion on offense as the practice time together with the core players builds.

  • Justin

    Fellas…I’ll say this much…Very disappointed in Jordan Morgan this season, it’s like he has regressed throughout his career. GR3 has to hit reset button on the year and find a way to shoot 35 plus percent from the 3pt line.

    I’m not buying this haven’t been much together talk, this year college hoops got more practices than ever before. Guys are just taking too long to adjust to offense without Burke. I’ll say this much, in this day and age most of the teams are young that are in the top 25. Sure they might be older than UM now but we want a young team because that means guys are going to the league etc. and UM is getting top 50 recruits with regularity and the occasional top 20 player. Teams like Creighton and Wichita State have a lot of seniors sure and if they didn’t – well they wouldn’t be or have been ranked this season.

    We want to have a young team of talented individuals. Young talk is a lame excuse. This team needs to look itself in the mirror and ask itself does it want to be a big-time contender in the Big Ten this year. If not, well it’s bubble talk for this squad. Guys need to get into the gym and fire up some shots. UM is not shooting like a Beilein offense right now.

    It’s go time. Arizona is almost a must win for this team right now. Stanford isn’t very good and there is no reason UM shouldn’t win that one. In conference only teams of concern are Ohio St., Michigan St., Wisconsin, and Iowa in no particular order. UM shouldn’t have any problem being the 5th best team in conference but no one here wants to settle for that.