Final Horn: Michigan 105, Youngstown State 46

Zach Shaw

Michigan earned its third consecutive blowout win to improve to 9-3, but don’t say it wasn’t impressive. Behind high-flying dunks, another triple-double and a blizzard of 3-pointers, the Michigan basketball team froze the Youngstown State Penguins, 105-46.

MVP: Derrick Walton Jr.: Aubrey Dawkins was an early contender thanks to a one-handed, and-one alley-oop and a 360-degree dunk toward the end of the first half, but Walton’s overall game stole the show. The junior guard earned just the fifth triple-double in school history with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.

Though Caris LeVert stole some of Walton’s thunder with the program’s fourth triple-double on Tuesday night, Walton’s was just as impressive. The point guard carved up Youngstown State’s zone defense, controlling the Wolverines’ offense no matter what rotations and personnel were on the court.

It was over when… Committing to a zone defense against one of the nation’s best offenses, Youngstown State fell in an 26-7 hole it could never come out of. You might say the Penguins slid down a slippery slope. Michigan led by 33 points at half time and busted off another 20-1 run early in the second half to cruise to a 59-point win.

Key Stat: Though Michigan has not been bad at sharing the ball this season — averaging 15 assists to 10.8 turnovers per game thus far — the passing game was on full display Saturday. the Wolverines ended the game with a season-high 29 assists on 40 made field goals and eight players ended up with eight points or more, obliterating any hope the Penguins had at slowing the Michigan offense.

Hope to see more of: Defense into offense

Michigan’s defense held the Penguins to just .65 points per possession and much of its offensive success was driven by clean defensive stops. The Wolverines outscored Youngstown State 12-0 in fast break points and 19-4 in points off of turnovers. Michigan guards routinely took the ball off the glass before pushing the pace for easy offense on the other end.

Four Factors

four factors - ysu
  • MGoTweeter

    1.49! .65! Those are pretty shiny numbers

  • Corperryale

    Great game…. white-hot shooting and wonderful offensive flow. That said, I can’t help but wondering if back-to-back triple doubles (when the 2012-14 squads couldn’t even manage one) says something about the quality of the non-conference scheduling this year….

    • rlcBlue

      The schedule is a little weaker (using current KenPom rankings as stand-ins for the year-end ones in previous seasons). You can see that for the last 5 seasons the extremes have been pretty consistent – every year we play 5 teams in the top 100, of which at least 4 are in the top 50. Every year we also play 3 or 4 teams that are barely in D1 – ranked worse than 300 or in D2. The difference this year is in the “middle third” – the 3 to 5 games against teams ranked 101-300. This year the “middle third” is 4 teams ranked in the 200-300 range, which includes Northern Kentucky and Youngstown State.

      Of course the other difference between this year’s team and the 2012-2014 squads is who gets rebounds; Morgan, Horford, McGary and Smotrycz all had much higher rebounding percentages than our current bigs, while LeVert and Walton grab way more boards than Stauskas or Burke ever did.

      • Nice graph ! I would say the schedule is pretty comparable overall — good assessment.

        • rlcBlue

          It does show a certain consistency in approach, which is what people love (or hate) about Beilein. It seems designed to accommodate a team that’s expected to be good but still developing – if the team starts out well, there’s enough quality to build up a really strong record (as in 2013); if the team starts out with some issues to solve, they won’t be beaten into dust before they can adjust (as in 2012 and 2014).

          However, I think there is a modification as a result of last year’s results. The 2015 schedule was put together with the expectation that there would be at least one upper class big man on the team. The truly disastrous results came in the “middle third,” with the home losses to #166 NJIT and #144 EMU. So I’d call this year’s the “no experienced bigs” version of the schedule – a little bit less threatening in the middle.

          • But I don’t think NJIT was really expected to be any better than Youngstown State, etc. EMU maybe a little bit better.

          • rlcBlue

            True – KenPom had NJIT at 293 when they arrived at Crisler. They went 16-3 to finish the season. EMU was pretty much top 150 all season long.

          • Corperryale

            Really nice graph but if I read it correctly, the absence of “middling” (green) teams IS a very notable change. It’s as if JB said to his director of operations “I only want to play teams that are beyond terrible”. That way, we guarantee ourselves a decent record (and probably an NIT spot) while hurting the RPI. My only concern — does a month-long cupcake feast lead to a hangover on the road in Champaign? That’s a must win game if you look at the overall schedule and the path to a 10-8 conference record.

          • I think that implies a certain level of scheduling control that isn’t always realistic.

            The game against Charlotte (and Charlotte being absolutely terrible) was a bad break. The whole schedule was likely designed around that being 3 HMs in 3 days.

            The Elon game was also packed in with Atlantis. Elon also could be a top 200 team per KP when the season is over (up to 211 and on a 5 game win streak).

            Now maybe you could throw one EMU level school in there, but I doubt that’s going to make any major difference either way.

  • Champswest

    Good defensive effort. The offense looks better, more fluid. A weak opponent, but if you can’t look good against a team like this, you never will against a really good team. Sometimes you need a game like this to get yourself right.

  • jemblue

    Wasn’t able to watch the game tonight but holy cow, 1.49 PPP? It must have been pretty entertaining.