Form Tracker: February 1st, 2014

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Michigan 80, Michigan State 75-11

Our weekly feature tracking the performance of Michigan players performance over two game segments of the season. Form Tracker is now interactive. Readers can vote on each player’s rating by hitting ‘Too low,’ ‘Too high’ or ‘Agree.’ Photo: Dustin Johnston

Derrick Walton: 9.5 (Last week: 4)

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What a week for Michigan’s freshman point guard. Derrick Walton played two of the best games of his career in succession against Michigan State and Purdue. His impact on the win in East Lansing has been well-documented, but to quickly recap: the Detroit native scored 19 points — 10 of which were free throws, and many of thos came in the final two minutes to seal the game — five rebounds, four assists and only one turnover. Oh, he also made an and-1 layup late and sank both his 3-point attempts. Against Purdue, Walton was about as efficient as a player can be: 5-of-6 from the field for 14 points, three assists and three rebounds. One of the most promising trends for Walton over the past week? Seven assists to only three turnovers.

Caris LeVert: 9 (Last week: 6) 

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Caris LeVert has had trouble staying consistently elevated in the Form Tracker because of his tendency to run hot and cols, production-wise. But against Michigan State and Purdue, the sophomore strung together two excellent performances. Versus the Spartans, LeVert wasn’t terribly efficient (4-of-10 shooting) but his three 3-pointers and eight defensive rebounds were absolutely crucial — also, he was chasing around Gary Harris all game, which could explain his lack of legs on his jumpshots. Against Purdue, he was again not extremely efficient (5-of-11) but pulled down 11 rebounds and was a terror on defense. Not only did he have three steals and two blocks, but he graded out incredibly well on the defensive score sheet.

Nik Stauksas: 9 (Last week: 10) 

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It was a fun week for Michigan guards, and of course Nik Stauskas got in on the action. The sophomore was simply amazing against Michigan State, hitting five of his six 3-point attempts for 19 points while handing out four assists. The craziest thing about his performance? Gary Harris actually did a pretty good job on him in East Lansing. Taking on Purdue at home, Stauskas didn’t hit from long range as well but was still 4-of-7 on twos. While he had three assists and three blocks, he will surely be hearing about his four turnovers in film session.

Jordan Morgan: 7 (Last week: 8)

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Jordan Morgan’s performance against Michigan State may have been statistically underwhelming, with only four points on two field goal attempts. However, the center made both his free throws, was a major contributor on defense and his four offensive boards were huge for Michigan. Against Purdue, Morgan had a few bobbles on some tough passes but was still excellent: 11 points on six shots (including a smooth banked-in pull-up), six rebounds and a block.

Jon Horford: 6 (Last week: 5.5)

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Where one big man is in Form Tracker, the other is usually not far behind. Horford’s performance against Michigan State was perplexing. He made all three shots for six points, but he needed to rebound the ball better (he had three). He didn’t grade out very well defensively, but he also came up with three blocks, two of which led to crucial run-out opportunities for Michigan. Against Purdue, Horford played only 12 minutes but managed to score four points on two shots and grab three boards and hand out two assists.

Glenn Robinson III: 5 (Last week: 7)

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It seems Glenn Robinson III has retreated back into the shell he found himself in earlier this season. Over the past two games, Robinson has had his moments, but he has not been able to produce consistently as he was earlier in the Big Ten season. One of the most obvious reasons for this is the fact that he couldn’t hit a 3-pointer for three straight games before hitting one against Purdue — that takes away the threat of his pump fake and disables his driving ability. With LeVert and Walton stepping up, the team didn’t feel his lack of production as acutely as it did early in the season, but Robinson will need to get back to pre-Michigan State form if the Wolverines are to keep winning.

Spike Albrecht: 4.5 (Last week: 4)

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Michigan’s backup point guard didn’t have a great game in East Lansing, though he helped out Walton bringing the ball up the court a few times and somehow pulled down three rebounds. Against the Boilermakers, Spike Albrecht was his usual efficient self, scoring five points in a mere seven minutes by making his only two attempt and his only three attempt.

Zak Irvin: 4 (Last week: 5.5)

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As far as production goes, Zak Irvin’s was down this past week. However, when it comes to impact, the freshman still managed to make a big one in both East Lansing and back at home in the Crisler Center. Irvin hit a 3-pointer before halftime at Michigan State that touched off a run allowing Michigan to close the gap before the break. Against Purdue, Irvin his a three when Purdue had cut the lead to eight. While it would be nice to get more consistent production out of Irvin, he has a knack for hitting big triples.

  • gobluemd16

    Good ratngs this week, I think I pretty much agree with all of them

  • Adam

    I agreed with all but thought Levert was a tiny bit high given his turnovers.

  • captincork

    Walton’s 9.5 says to me that you see his ceiling coming soon. I really hopefully that he can increase his assists enough that it would warent more that a half point jump. I really hope I’m not being optimistic.

    • Walton’s 9.5 is a sign to me that he had the best game of his career in his first game at Michigan State and played a ridiculously efficient game against Purdue.

      There’s more than one way to skin a cat. He’s not always going to shoot this well, but he could distribute better in the future and earn a 9.5 again.

    • DingoBlue

      I don’t take the form tracker as an indication from anyone that they think they are near their ceiling. I view it more like people view power rankings. Eyeball test compared with looking at stats and their impact to the team over the relevant time period.

  • Wayman Britt

    Walton had a great week and deserves more playing time, but the season is long. I hope Beilein continues to give him rest during the Big Ten games in February, because a college season wears on freshman. We want Walton to be fresh come March because that is when the season really starts.