NCAA 2014: Michigan vs. Texas Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan 79, Texas 65. Photo Gallery. Press Conference. Player Reactions. Coach Reactions.

Michigan and Texas both were able to do what they do best in their round of 32 clash on Saturday night in Milwaukee, but Michigan controlled the game with a 27-6 run midway through the first half and never looked back.

The Longhorns imposed their will in the paint, rebounding over half of their misses, and defended the rim, but they shot like they’ve shot all season and couldn’t defend the Wolverines on the perimeter.

“We knew that number, that rebounding number, we probably weren’t going to win that today,” John Beilein said in his postgame press conference. “We had to win the other numbers to win the possession number.”

Michigan won all of the other numbers.

The Wolverines racked up 16 assists and only turned the ball over four times. They outscored the Longhorns 15-2 in points off of turnovers, 10-5 on the fast break and got to the free throw line more often. Most importantly, they made 14-of-28 threes, a program record in the NCAA tournament, while Texas attempted just 11.

There’s more than one way to win a basketball game, but right now it’s tough to argue with Michigan’s formula for success.


Michigan shot just 38.5% on two-point field goals, but still managed to score 1.38 points per possession – the most Michigan scored against a major-conference foe this season and the most that Texas allowed this season. How did the Wolverines manage it? They turned the ball over just 4 times in 57 possessions and shot 14-of-28 from three-point range. Six different Michigan players made at least one three and they all shot 50% or better from long range.

Texas has done a great job of defending the interior, but Michigan’s perimeter talent was just too much. Texas couldn’t come up with a working solution to defend Michigan’s ball screens. Wolverine guards drove off the switch, shot over the soft-hedge or found the roll man on the trap. Texas’ bulk is great around the rim, but stretched out onto the perimeter the Longhorn man-to-man defense had no hope of containing Michigan’s wealth of attacking talents.

The story of the game was tempo. In the first half, both teams went up and down for eight and a half minutes without a break. There were no fouls or timeouts until the 11:25 mark in a stretch of basketball that went back and forth more like soccer.

The Wolverines did a very good job on the defensive glass in the first half, grabbing two-thirds of Texas’ misses, as the up-and-down action clearly tired Texas’s big men. Clean defensive rebounds allowed Michigan the opportunity to push the ball off and it racked up 10 fast break points and scored 1.45 points per trip in the first half.

Texas managed to change the complexion of the game in the second half by unleashing a zone defense. The zone slowed down Michigan’s offense a little bit — it still managed 1.30 points per trip in the second half – but it kept the Texas big men near the rim and saved their energy to crash the offensive glass. Texas rebounded 68% of its misses in the second half and Michigan snagged just five live ball rebounds – eliminating almost all transition offense. Texas’ offense was able to keep pace in the deliberate second half game as they scored 1.27 points per trip.

That was enough to keep Texas in the game – the Longhorns eventually cut the deficit to six points – but Michigan had too much clutch production from Glenn Robinson III, Caris LeVert and Jordan Morgan down the stretch.

Michigan is headed back to the Sweet 16 and maneuvered its way through the opening rounds without breaking much of a sweat. Sterner challenges do lie ahead, but the Wolverines are guaranteed to face a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16 against either No. 11 Tennessee or No. 14 Mercer.

Michigan 79, Texas 65-12
Dustin Johnston

Player Bullets:

  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas didn’t make a two, but he was 4-of-9 from three-point range and had eight assists to zero turnovers. He was the facilitator of Michigan’s offense, but he set the tone with his three-point shot early. He did a great job getting in the middle of the zone, even if he only made one field goal in the second half.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan had his second straight double-double and finished with 15 points and ten rebounds. All of the hype leading up to the game was about Cameron Ridley, but Morgan vastly outplayed him during the 35 minutes (a career high) he was on the floor. The idea of making ‘winning plays’ feels cliché and beaten to death, but at this point that seems to be what Morgan does every game.
  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson had 14 points on 5-of-10 (2-3 3pt) shooting, five rebounds, two steals and a block. When Texas was making a run midway through the second half it was Robinson that answered the bell. He had a huge block, a very strong drive and finish at the rim and then a wing three-pointer. Robinson is slowly starting to look like the player that everyone wanted him to be and he couldn’t be rounding into form at a better time for the Wolverines. Jonathan Holmes, who I thought could be Michigan’s biggest match-up disadvantage, scored just nine points on 4-of-9 shooting
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert drew the assignment of guarding Isaiah Taylor and he struggled a bit with his quickness. Offensively, he finished with a solid 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting with three assists and hit the three that gave Michigan the cushion to hold on late.
  • Derrick Walton: Walton scored 8 points on 3-of-7 shooting, handed out two assists and most importantly didn’t turn the ball over. He kncoked down a nice 11-foot pull-up jumper and was one of five Wolverines to make at least two threes on the night.
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht’s second-half performance was reminiscent of last year’s NCAA tournament as he helped seal the deal. He checked into the game with Michigan leading by eight and 8:27 to play. When he left with 2:10 remaining, Michigan had re-secured a 15 point lead. He added a three, two free throws and two rebounds in that six minute span.
  • Zak Irvin: Irvin scored six points on 2-of-4 three-point shooting in nine minutes. He goes as his three-point shot goes, but his ability to catalyze a Michigan run with a couple quick threes off the bench is invaluable.
  • Jon Horford: Morgan was so dominant that Horford couldn’t really stay on the floor. He only played five minutes and was whistled for two fouls and picked up a turnover on an ill-advised backdoor pass.
  • kam


  • Daniel My Brother

    I believe you meant No. 11 Tennessee

  • ChathaM

    The Texas zone was a 2-3 for the one possession that they played zone in the first half. They started the second half with the same 2-3 zone, which we shredded. The zone that they switched to for the rest of the game, which gave us trouble, was tough to identify. Sometimes, it looked like a 1-3-1; sometimes a flatter 3-2. Beilein alluded to it being a sort of match-up zone, and I guess that’s what it was. But, it really had the look of a zone that Barnes drew up on the fly because none of their traditional looks could slow us down. Barnes takes quite a bit of heat from fans for being a poor coach, but whatever the adjustment he made, it almost got Texas right back into the game. It was a brilliant move, even if his players were a bit confused out there, because our guys were more confused than his for about a 10 minute stretch.

    I love the confidence Beilein has in Spike. Spike sat for the majority of the game, before coming in when we needed to control the ball above all else. Of course, as usual, Spike was flawless in the role. Someone who can control the ball that well, yet not be a guy who’s relied upon to score and play 30 minutes a game, is a very nice weapon to have.

    I stubhubbed a single seat to Friday’s games in Indy. I can’t wait.

    • kam

      MSU fans always call spike “scrub” or say he’s terrible.. Spike is a good role player.. Can pass, hustles, doesn’t turn it over, can hit the open jumper and seems un phased by pressure. i have NO clue how people can think he’s bad

      • BlueBear_E

        Anyone that calls Spike a scrub is either an idiot or has not seen more than 40 minutes of Michigan basketball this year. He is not a top 20 college PG, but if you can’t see the value that he brings to the court, you must have some form of basketball blindness.

    • robpollard

      Eh, I’m still not impressed with Barnes. In the 2nd half, we missed at least three wide-open 8 foot jumpers in the lane (use the backboard, fellas!), missed a dunk and generally just missed some shots we were making in the first half. Their full-court pressure was a good idea, though, as we didn’t handle that great (which we normally do).

      That said, beyond Beilein’s wizardry in finding ways to attack any defense (including Texas’ zone), he’s even better than Barnes in using time outs. Specifically, why did Barnes not call a TO during the first 8 minutes of the game (which went by like lightning) and had UM go out to a 10+ point lead? Texas’ bigs were sucking air, momentum was going against Texas (we were on an 18-4 run), but Barnes just waited until the (belated) first TV time out, which was at the under 12 minute mark. Dumb. On the flip side, when the gap was starting to close in the 2nd half, Barnes called a time out after a made dunk by Texas brought them down by 10 — pressure is best when the other team doesn’t have time to setup.

      All in all, while Beilein isn’t perfect (no coach is) that game was example #132 why I’m glad he’s our coach.

  • Putin

    Not only was Spike +7 in his six minute stretch toward the end of the second half; he also pushed the pace for our stagnant offense. UMich went from 58 to 75 points over that time and reestablished the tempo that built up their initial lead.

    • Picknroll21

      Just like all season long, the team plays much better with Spike in the game! Passing, ball movement, working to get teammates open. How about the long pass to Morgan that Texas got the flagrant foul call? And Morgan is really a thrill to watch the way he is playing, just keeps getting better! GO BLUE! Great balanced team play yesterday! now, Next up, Tennessee or Mercer?

  • Daoofgeek

    Though LeVert surrendered 22 points to Thomas, it took him 22 shots to get there, so from an offensive effectiveness standpoint, that’s not too great.

    This team is so dang tough; I am looking forward to seeing what they can do next week (and possibly further). GO BLUE!

  • Wayman Britt

    I hope GR3’s dad can make it to Indy, GR3 plays so much better when his dad is in the house.

  • Kenny

    The one that impresses me the most in the last two games is Morgan, who showed aggressiveness on the offensive side that I have never witnessed in his collegiate career.

    • Mattski

      Agree. But I am a little worried when Horford comes in lately. Our bigs are likely to be an issue against either Mercer or Tennessee.

  • A2MIKE

    How did we rate in transition D? I thought we won that battle, which was to me, the most important factor in the game. It helped that we shot 50+ from 3 and only had 4 TO’s. At the game, I was calling for them to put spike on the floor. I knew he would change the offensive flow. I thought Derrick was dribbling a tad too much and the ball wasn’t moving side to side. Derrick played a great game and hit some big shots. I really think he will make the beilein leap next year and be a stud. Fwiw, I thought their zone was a diamond and 1, with the 1 following any cutter to the wing.

  • guestavo

    GR3 has hit so many big shots: against Stanford, Ohio St, Illinois, Texas… might be our most clutch player.

    • KBLOW

      And the buzzer beater at Purdue!

      • guestavo