Game 15: Michigan at Nebraska Recap

Michigan 71, Nebraska 70 - #15
Pat Radigan

Michigan 71, Nebraska 70. Photo gallery. Beilein presser (video). Player presser (video). Box score.

Despite a frightening defensive performance, Michigan figured out a way to leave Lincoln, Neb. with its third Big Ten victory.

The Wolverines second half defensive effort was reminiscent of their misstep in State College last season. Nebraska shredded the Wolverines with dribble penetration and high ball screens and was poised to grab its biggest win to date in the brand new Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Except the Huskers couldn’t stop Michigan either. All five Michigan starters reached double figures and the Wolverines made just enough plays in the closing minute to pull out their second Big Ten road victory. In a game that featured 10 lead changes, 11 ties and never saw a score differential bigger than six points, it should be no surprise that the result came down to the final possession.

Derrick Walton hit the game winning layup with 23 seconds to play just seconds after giving the ball away on a sloppy turnover. Trailing by one, Michigan’s freshman point guard took a handoff from Zak Irvin and drove baseline, exploiting a poor switch by the Huskers and finishing over Leslee Smith at the rim as a blocking foul was whistled. Walton didn’t shy away from the spotlight in the clutch but missed his free throw, providing Nebraska with a final chance.

The Huskers had two shots on their final possession but Terran Petteway’s driving layup rimmed out and Leslee Smith was unable to tip the ball into the hoop as the clock expired. The Wolverines escaped in spite of themselves.

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It doesn’t take advanced statistics to realize that there were major problems with Michigan’s defense. The Wolverines surrendered 1.19 points per trip, on-par with their worst defensive performances of the season against Arizona and Duke. Nebraska is not Arizona or Duke. The Huskers scored 40 points in 30 second half possessions for a ridiculous 1.32 points per trip in the final 20 minutes.

Nebraska shot 65% on twos (76% in the second half) and 35% on threes for a 60% effective field goal percentage. Those numbers are clear signs that there are very real defensive problems. Michigan’s defense allowed four straight open threes midway through the first half and while it was able to correct those issues, additional flaws were uncovered. The Wolverines were helpless defending dribble penetration, especially off the high ball screen, in the second half.

Michigan allowed 10 second chance points to an average offensive rebounding group, but forced the Huskers into more turnovers and fewer free throws than they are accustomed to. The bottom line was Michigan just couldn’t keep Nebraska out of the lane or protect the rim. That’s especially concerning because there are a lot of guards better than Petteway or Deverell Biggs left on the schedule.

Michigan tried to make some small adjustments but the results didn’t follow. The Wolverines experimented with the 1-3-1 in the first half and gave up a three-point play. They tried to switch all ball screens late but that resulted in isolation defense for Jordan Morgan. On the final possession Beilein went with Robinson at the five  to switch all screens but that still resulted in an open layup and a missed box out. I’m not sure there’s an easy fix defensively. Michigan can make improvements on that end of the floor but the defensive ceiling is low. U-M guards haven’t proven themselves to be great defenders and there’s not a rim protector to make up for their mistakes.

Michigan’s offense was somehow good enough to outpace its struggling defense. Scoring 1.20 points per trip is an impressive feat away from home and Michigan needed every basket. The Wolverines were nearly unstoppable inside the three-point arc. Michigan shot 76% on twos and stuck with what worked, attempting 66% of its shots from 2-point range. The Wolverines only grabbed four offensive rebounds and scored six second chance points but their first-shot offense was so effective that other offensive statistics were insignificant.

Free throws continued to plague the Wolverines. Michigan was just 3-of-9 at the charity stripe against the most foul-happy team in the Big Ten. The Wolverines didn’t get to the line enough and couldn’t convert when they did. Michigan did a decent job of keeping Nebraska off the free throw line (12 attempts) but the Huskers were a much more efficient 11-of-12 at the stripe.

Michigan got a lot of breaks – Derrick Walton hit a halftime buzzer beater from half court, his late drive was a 50-50 call, and Nebraska missed two clean looks at the rim in the final seconds – but it also made plenty of breaks. The Wolverines made the sort of winning plays that they made at Minnesota but failed to make against Iowa State, Charlotte or Arizona. There won’t be many games that come easy to this team, but it has the offensive firepower to win a few close games. Michigan has a great chance to move to 4-0 in the conference next Tuesday against Penn State before traveling to Madison for a matchup with Bo Ryan’s undefeated Wisconsin Badgers.

Michigan 71, Nebraska 70 - #1
Pat Radigan

Player Bullets:

  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson was as vocal as I can remember. He backed his talk up with his play. 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, and four rebounds in 36 minutes is a big time performance. Robinson coughed the ball up three times but he was aggressive and continued to finish around the basket (and with his mid-range jumper) effectively, shooting 8-of-9 inside the arc. Robinson hit a handful of NBA quality mid-range jumpers and was just terrific on the offensive end. Walton’s late shot will grab the headline but Robinson stealing a Nebraska offensive rebound and taking it in for a dunk was a huge play.
  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas has always been able to score the ball but he’s playing winning basketball in Big Ten play. 12 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals isn’t anything groundbreaking but Stauskas carried the Wolverines offensively in the second half.  He scored 7 points on 3-of-3 shooting with two assists in the final 10 minutes of the game and continued his mastery of the pick-and-roll. His final defensive possession was something to forget as Petteway blew past him and then he failed to box out Smith, but his offensive abilities are off the charts right now.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan is playing arguably the best basketball of his career. He finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, four rebounds and an assist in 27 minutes. Morgan took a charge and he’s a great option defensively against more mobile centers. He’s as comfortable on the pick-and-roll as he’s been since Darius Morris was in Ann Arbor as he’s catching the ball, finishing and shooting with confidence.
  • Derrick Walton: Walton made the critical final shots of both halves: a half court buzzer beater at the half and a driving layup to give Michigan the 71-70 lead. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting (2-4 3pt) with four assists and a steal. He only made one other field goal (a corner three) but he continues to develop. He had a handful of freshman mistakes including 2-of-5 shooting at the free throw line and a turnover with 57 seconds to play, but he made winning plays down the stretch.
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert had his best game in a while, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting (0-2 3pt) with five assists, three rebounds and three turnovers. LeVert did a great job of his decision making, deciding whether to take the ball all the way to his rim or find the open man. That’s been a problem at times for him this year but this was a major step in the right direction. He nearly got backdoored late in the game but made a great recovery play to deflect the ball with his length. On the ensuing offensive possession he threw a great pass to Morgan for a bucket — two critical plays down the stretch.
  • Jon Horford:  Horford struggles against teams with a lot of lateral quickness. That shows on the high ball screen but also against teams with more mobile big men that can pull him away from the basket. He plays too upright and Michigan’s defensive rotations seemed to be (even more) off while he was on the floor. While he’s optimal against more traditional bigs, Michigan was outscored by 8 points with Horford on the floor
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht played 12 minutes, knocking down a three and handing out an assist, but Michigan was outscored by 9 points when he was on the floor. He struggled a bit with the quickness of Nebraska’s backcourt and never quite found a groove.
  • Zak Irvin: Irvin had one of the games you expect from a freshman on the road. 0-of-3 shooting and a foul in 11 minutes.
  • geoffclarke

    It seemed like Nebraska was making a concerted effort to avoid fouling, but the way we were shooting, from the floor and FT line, that was probably a bad strategy.

  • gpsimms

    Really happy for Jordan Morgan the way he’s come on the past few games. If he keeps finishing with that kind of efficiency against some tougher opponents, we’re going to finish with a pretty good record in the B1G. I’m excited to see him defend Payne.

    Nik deserves a lot of credit, too. Jordan looked as comfortable on the ball screen action as he did with Darius because Nik was pretty much playing like Darius with the ball in his hands last night. His length makes defending the screen and roll really tough. Also, Caris and Jordan ran some nice action on the handoff once.

    Defensively, wow. Was Nebraska doing something different on the high screen than other teams? Usually Morgan’s hedge is at least effective enough that our guards can recover, but it seems like the help on the big diving to the basket was never there. Beilein adjusted at the end by having Morgan switch onto Petteway instead of hedging, which I actually thought was worth a try, since Morgan has effectively covered smaller guys before, but it obviously didn’t work.

    I missed the part of the first half where we went 1-3-1, but even if we did give up a 3, it felt like Nebraska scored on basically every possession down the stretch, so wouldn’t switching things up have made some sense? When Miles made the switch, we got a couple of easy buckets, but also made a bad turnover. Kids just mess up for you when you throw a new look out there.

    Either way, our guards really have to get better on the perimeter.

    • geoffclarke

      “Defensively, wow. Was Nebraska doing something different on the high screen than other teams?” I haven’t rewatched the tape, but my gut is telling me their ball screens- in general- were closer to the basket- even just a foot or two closer, and hence in a more congested area. That could have affected both defenders a little. Plus their guards were just flat out aggressive and relentless.

      • http://www.ideafusionmedia.com MaizeNBlueJ

        I haven’t re-watched anything yet either, but I did notice a couple of things:

        1) The guards for Nebraska are very quick, and ran off of the screens really hard/fast, compared to our more controlled movements.
        2) Defensively, we just weren’t as tight on their ballhandlers as they were to ours.
        3) They seemed to be doing a fair bit of “screen the screener” action. Essentially, the would run their big off of a screen, before he set a screen for the ballhandler, which caused our bigs to not be in a position to hard hedge.

        Just a few observations.

        • Indiana_Matt

          Good comments

        • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

          Good stuff.

  • Wayman Britt

    Sometimes it’s good to be lucky. We all know Beilein can teach offense, now he will have his work cut out for him in teaching this team to play defense. I would really like to see LaVert, Nik and Walton step up their play on defense.

  • catwomanrx

    Walton needs to practice FTs. They’ll foul him every time with his percentage.

    • Adam St Patrick

      Everybody does. FTs killed us last year when we hosted Indiana and in the NC game. They miss way too many.

      • Snorkelforkel

        Not saying we shouldn’t practice our free throws, but Michigan is actually ranked 57 in FT% right now, so they’re really not all that awful. Walton is shooting around 70% as well. Not bad enough for teams to want to foul him.

    • gobluemd16

      It’s amazing how a team that can shoot so well is pretty deficient from the foul line. They are free after all, guys

  • Mattski

    Several years ago, as I recall, a big part of the success narrative was that Morgan could bang with anybody, including the likes of Jared Sullinger, who he battled to a stand-off in several games. I have welcomed the fact that Beilein’s style was NOT like MSU’s, hoping he was bringing some fresh-flowing air to the B1G. I know that this is about technique, too. But some of this has to be about more toughness on D, no? A la Novak? You bball gurus tell me. It seems like we have got a few fouls to give.

    • Mattski

      Mgoblue.com has a long, fun highlight reel this morning–what a great game! Among other things, for me, a reminder that JoMo really does play very physical ball on offense. Seems like the problem’s often at the top of the key on D, because once the guards have been blown by. . .

      • Mattski

        And Morgan, of course, doesn’t have fouls to give, which may be part of the problem, too.

  • Giebz

    I think you are right on with your analysis of Horford. We can’t afford foul trouble with our bigs, but his hard hedges on high ball screens are atrocious. He is almost bending out of the way to let the ball handler around him and then he is slow getting back. I think he should be a little more aggressive at the top of the key and risk a foul or two.

    • geoffclarke

      Horford probably wasn’t laterally quick to begin with, and then when you add the injuries he’s had, it’s probably made it worse. But can he at least get in a defensive stance?

  • Kenny

    I share with everyone that our defense is painful to watch, especially when our bigs switch off a ball screen on the top of the key.

    My impression is that Beilein is never shy playing zone against non-conference opponents but very restrained in the conference play after first two seasons. Maybe to be competitive in the conference, he should rethink about it. Maybe it is better keep the bigs under the basket and utilize the wings to cut the passing lanes.

    I don’t see the team, at the current state, can get quality wins at home against the top conference teams, and will have trouble getting win on the road against teams in the middle.

    • Indiana_Matt

      I still think we can compete with anyone at home. Arizona is as good as it gets and we were right there with them (and McGary wasn’t much of a factor). I think emotion and crowd could power us to wins at home over Iowa and either Wisconsin or MSU (I can’t imagine both happening). I don’t see us winning against the good teams on the road. Illinois would be a great one to possibly get. I predict 11-7 in the conference, whatever that is worth.

      I agree about the zone. Wonder why we don’t mix it up more.

      • Kenny

        For top conference teams, I meant Wisconsin, MSU and OSU, all more physical than Arizona. I think having McGary on the court is more of his size and skill, but his aggressiveness and energy, without him, the team plays very flat.

        I think that we can held Iowa at home. I will be happy to go 10-8, which means win home except Wisc and MSU, and win 2 games out of 3 on the road vs Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, not an easy task.

        • guestavo

          This isn’t true. I know the B1G has a reputation of being hard nosed but all metrics indicate that MSU is a perimeter team this year and both OSU and Wisconsin are smaller this year.

          • Kenny

            It is not about the size, but the physicality of the game, aka Aaron Craft.

          • guestavo

            All stats indicate that neither team is as physical as prior years both on the boards and interior defense. No one is going to stop our offense, it’s our defense that is a concern.

  • yinkadoubledare

    I have to think that part of the problems with the high screen and roll was Morgan hurting his ankle and gutting through it. He was noticeably gimpy the rest of the game, there’s no way his lateral movement was as good as it could be.

    • gobluemd16

      Good point, but didn’t it look like he hurt his lower back? I may be mistaken

      • yinkadoubledare

        The back would be even worse. As the owner of a balky lower back, when it hurts, it hurts to do everything.

      • catwomanrx

        I replayed it. Looks like his hip got slammed into the opponent’s tailbone (he backed into J-Mo).

  • A2JD

    I’d like to see Bielfeldt get back in the rotation, even if it’s just to provide a couple of hard fouls.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Never really understood this line of thinking unless there’s someone on the other team that really struggles at the stripe (Aaron Gordon maybe). What good does providing a couple of hard fouls do other than giving away points? Bielfeldt hasn’t played very well when he’s had the chance and Michigan gives up size, defense and rebounding when he’s on the floor.

      • UMHoopsFan

        Plus, Horford had one foul (and he and Morgan had 4 between the two) and could deliver a hard foul or two. Unless you want Bielfeldt instead of Morgan or Horford, or believe you should play two bigs instead of Irvin at the 4, Bielfeldt is best as insurance for foul trouble for Morgan and Horford.

      • A2JD

        What I meant is that he can play agressive D that pushes the envelope. I’m not talking intentional fouls. The Beef seems to be an energy guy so I think he could be a positive in limited minutes.

  • UMHoopsFan

    This team is doing aight. Lost its starting center, a preseason All-American, has battled other injuries, is incredibly young (rotation positions 1-4 are all frosh/soph with only GRIII and Stauskas having a bunch of game time). The team is ranked 258 in KenPom luck factor — in other words, statistically their record is worse than how they’ve actually played. And they’re still 11-4 and 3-0 in conference with two road victories. And they still have the 8th best offense in the country.

    Yes, the defense looked pretty bad yesterday. I give some credit to Nebraska for being aggressive and making some tough shots. They were amped up and my guess is they’ll beat a few teams at home this year. But we lost people off-ball for 3s (a problem we’ve had on and off for a while) and gave up too much easy penetration (another on and off problem all year). How much they can improve those will dictate how much the team can achieve.

    GRIII played great yesterday. Outside of one forced pass late, a pretty dominant, well-rounded game. Walton made a bad pass late but made some huge plays. Stauskas is proving how consistent an offensive force he’ll be. Morgan and LeVert fill their offensive roles well. We’re essentially the same team we were last year before McGary broke out — great O, decent D that occasionally lapses into very average. The only question is how close we’ll get to last year’s level. It’s going to be another fun year with some frustrations. Try to enjoy it.

    • Kenny

      There is still a big difference offensively. Last year, when Trey called a screen, he often has three great shooters on the parameter. This season, when Stauskas called a ball screen, he has one less shooter on the parameter. Walton is not nearly as deadly as Stauskas. Although Walton is improving and played well in the last couple of games, I think our best line-up is Stauskas, Levert, Zak, GRIII, Morgan/Horford.

      • guestavo

        Two less shooters than last year. If we are being truthful, Caris isn’t Tim, either.

  • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt
  • guestavo

    The defense is what is is but the TO need to be cut down. We don’t have a high defensive ceiling but Walton, Irvin and Caris have tons of room to grow offensively, taking our O from good to great by years end.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Turnovers? Michigan is 9th in the country in turnover percentage. Turnover numbers were good in this game despite a couple silly ones late against the zone.

      • guestavo

        Overall we were great but Walton, Caris and Glenn had 8 TO. I think we can minimize that number even more.

  • UMHoopsFan

    One more quick thought. I just watched the last play a couple times and, while it wasn’t great D, (a) the first shot was off a good chest bump, arms raised, outside the circle, and (b) the follow, with Nik trying to box out their big, was a one-handed tip with Nik bodying him up a bit. Again, not great D, but it’s also not like Nebraska missed two uncontested layups. A lot better than, say, the end of the Charlotte game.

    • rlcBlue

      I scratched my head when I saw Petteway’s shot described as a “layup” – I’m glad my coach never made us shoot layups over Zak Irvin.

  • Dr_ZC

    Well, we play defense with our gloves on. We do not want to touch anybody and commit fouls. On the other hand, JB needs to see Ohio and MSU play defense. Bodies are flying all over the place Kamikaze style without any gloves. To beat these teams we need to play physical and not with the gloves on. I remember in the game, Caris was on the NZ guy. He was backed from the top of the key to the basket with his hands straight up, and he was scored upon. GR3 had 2 steals where he basically scraped the ball from them. That’s the way we need to play on D.

    • rlcBlue

      Nebraska outscored us by 8 points on free throws and you think we should have fouled them more?

      • Dr_ZC

        Never said about committing fouls. I suggested to play tougher on defense. When you do that, you can very well avoid a situation where you have to foul. Playing matador D, forces you to foul more often than not.

  • GR_Blue3

    I’d really like to see the last possession again, but didn’t DVR the game…hopefully the video finds it’s way into a recap.

    My eyes left Stauskas, and everyone is talking about his missed box out. If it was a true pick n roll, the offensive big has a huge advantage in getting inside possession (hence Morgan getting between his man and the basket many times during the game).

    Just curious to see it again….either way, a win on the road is huge.

    • UMHoopsFan

      It’s at the end of the mgoblue highlights. Nik didn’t “miss” the box out – he gets decent original position considering the disadvantage you notw but the Nebraska big shoves him out of position. Nik could’ve gotten lower and held position better but that Neb big is pretty beastly and Nik did just enough to make the tip shot harder.

      • GR_Blue3

        Thanks, rewatched 5 times….i suggest others do too. The coach that should be mad is Nebraska’s. The big did s poor job of sealing out NIk. On a switch situation like that, there is maybe a 10% chance a guy 3 inches shorter and probably 25 lbs lighter gains better position than that….if he trails and doubles Petteway, it’s an easy pass for a dunk. I think Nik did just fine on that play….thankfully he didn’t shove harder and undercut him.

        • rlcBlue

          MIles is probably second-guessing himself a little. Beilein sent the 66 lineup out on the court to line up for the inbounds, then called a timeout to give the guys more coaching. At that point Miles knew that there would be no center on the court for Michigan, and he had time to draw up a play to get his big an easy look, but he chose to stay with the dribble penetration by Petteway (which had admittedly been working pretty well). And his big did get a chance to tip in the miss, so maybe it was the right decision after all.

  • chazer

    I think we’re all happy with 3-0 in conference play given the injuries and youth of the team. Perfect situation for JB and Michigan as they are a better underdog than front runner IMO.
    Not sure we’ll see much zone early on as JB continues to teach MTM defense. Fundamentally you have to play good MTM to play good zone….unless of course you’re at Syracuse. At some point I keep thinking the 1-3-1 was built for the 6-6 squad but not sure that’s our best team yet. Maybe the concerns with zone is our Big’s and foul trouble if the guards penetrate.
    Good to see we’re in the hunt with Walton and Irvin progressing. It will take 5 or 6 more games but I think we’ll be a better team defensively. The injury to Mitch had an impact on the chemistry and team defense. Not many Freshman can keep up with guys 3-4 years older….but they don’t have a choice. The OSU game concerns me….can we stay with Craft?
    Wow…. was Trey Burke good! THJ might be a better pro than student athlete…I never saw that.
    Go Blue!!

    • guestavo

      The chances of beating OSU in Columbus are so low, why bother worrying? LOL

      • chazer

        Yes, Agreed, pretty funny when I think about it….. I guess I’m using OSU and State as measuring sticks for success. I’m quite sure those games will help us get better and prepare for the tournament. I think a player like Craft can make Walton better just by playing against him, and I’m wondering if JB will put Irvin on Harris. I’d Like to see the match-up given their history.
        At this point I hope we don’t have to win two B1G tournament games to get a decent seed in the tournament. I think 2 more B1G games takes a lot of energy. I’d rather play OSU again than have to scramble for a tourney seed especially if you get them at home.

  • MTung

    I have posted this before and will probably do it again: Defenders on the pick-n-roll need to overplay the pentrators dominant dribbling hand and force him the other way. Most college players aren’t nearly as proficient with their off hand. How could it possibly be any worse than what we are going through with dribble penetration at-will? Coach JB seems a bit stubborn on this, like not fouling the 3-point shooter at the end of games, not guarding the inbound passer at the end of games, and always pulling the player for the half after he commits 2 fouls. What the hell — he’s only won about 700 games…
    That being said, every B1G road win is a terrific win.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Interesting point. I think it takes a *very* good perimeter defender to force an offensive player away from a screen by themselves. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott would do this to Trey. Playing so close and forcing Burke to the wing, never able to get over the screen. I don’t think Michigan has perimeter defenders that can accomplish that.

      Michigan is trying to hedge the screen, a very hard hedge would hypothetically force the defender the other way, but has trouble recovering from the hedge. Right now it’s more of a long hedge as the big man slides with the dribbler but are U-M bigs quick enough to cut off the dribbler?

      • GR_Blue3

        if the Big Ten actually sticks with the new “rules”, crafty point guards are going to get bigs that hedge into foul trouble very easily. Now, I was at the MSU/OSU game in the second row, and those refs let those teams kill each other in the last 10 minutes, and didn’t call anything chippy the entire game really. Was just like last year.

      • MTung

        It’s a concept we’ve had success teaching at a lesser level. If the perimeter defender isn’t as skilled as Craft or Scott, he needs to exaggerate the overplay even more to allow the penetrator no other option but to go the other way. Caris should be able to do this well, but he elects to re-adjust his position after every head-fake or hesitation. You’d be surprised/impressed at how many 2-dribble to their left off-balance fade-away jump shots this results in.

        • arete

          This sounds like a good point. It is distressing to watch the way UM guards get beaten on the perimeter. They seem to play too far away from the ball handler. I wonder if umhoops.com can pose the question raised by MTung to the coaching staff during a press event.

    • ChathaM

      The trend in defensive play (at every level) seems to be more towards directing the dribbler to a specific area of the floor, rather than simply forcing him to use his off hand. I’m not saying that this is UM’s focus, or that the strategy makes more sense than the traditional one of forcing off-hand play; only that it’s worth a thought.

  • ChathaM

    Some great comments below. A couple of keys to the game for me…

    1. I liked N’s defensive game plan of “building a wall” to limit UM’s dribble penetration off the ballscreen. The UM players’ ability to adjust (particularly Stauskas and Caris) was a key to the win. Rather than try to force their way to the basket, as the game wore on, they accepted the fact that N wasn’t going to allow that, and hit the diving screener a number of times for layups. I’m sure that was a coaching point at halftime, but just as much credit goes to the players for making the adjustment on the fly.

    2. After Walton’s missed FT at 71-70, everyone in the gym knew that N would run the same set they’d be running with success throughout the final 8-10 minutes (ballscreen for Petteway from the left wing). For whatever reason, the N players didn’t properly set up the play, and Miles had to call timeout. I didn’t get the impression that Miles wanted to call a timeout there. Had Miles not had to call it, UM may not have been as prepared to defend the set. Yes, they also knew it was coming. But, to have the luxury of using the timeout to tell the players exactly what was going to happen, and to set the defence exactly the way the coaches wanted, was huge. Maybe Irvin wouldn’t have been as well positioned to alter the shot, and Petteway would have had an easy finish.

    That looked like a great crowd in the new arena. Miles seems like a smart guy (admitting that you really don’t have a great look at things from the sidelines isn’t something you’ll hear from many coaches). If he can’t start to recruit better talent with those new facilities, then maybe it just can’t be done at Nebraska.

    I think UM has proven that it can adjust to different defensive schemes and continue to score efficiently. Against the best teams in the league, I can’t see offence being an issue.

    • ChathaM

      Haha…I swear I upvoted my own comment by mistake!

  • guestavo

    I came across this and it made me feel pretty good about the next couple of months and this team http://basketball.realgm.com/article/231005/In-Season-Improvement-Part-2

  • Chris De Sana

    Nice write up and very much on point. The on ball defense is simply not good and their lack of ability to close out on the 3 ball shooter was and is equally as bad. THis game also proved I was wrong on one front and that is Caris should run more point, he struggled other than a couple of dribble drives. I think our team going forward will depend on the play of which ever player is running the point.

    GR3 was the bright spot as he seemed to be engaged on both ends of the courts and is finding his sweet spot in the offense coming off screens and rolling to his right for that pull up jumper or dribble drive across the lane.

    Nik has to make those free throws, but other than that he played well and especially well in the last 10 minutes. The one thing he needs to work on in running the P & R is keeping the dribble lower, that high dribble gets away from him from time to time.

    Morgan has his best offensive game in memory, rolling to the basket and again hitting that short jump hook. It appears he needs more touches when he can get deep position in the paint.

    Horford seemed a little lost playing against smaller more athletic players.

    Walton also needs to make the free throws, if he is to be trusted with the ball at the end of games he needs to knock them down. Obviously he made the big play on the dribble drive which shows he is not scared, that will pay dividends for sure.

    In regards to Caris I just do not see it the same, but hey that is why they make chocolate and vanilla.

    Spike and Irvin got very few minutes as it appeared coach had a short chain on them both, which could be a sign of the future as we get into the heart of the BIG schedule.

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