For those of you that haven’t been following the site over the summer (shame on you), here is a listing of some posts from this off-season that might be of interest. Feel free to mention other posts in the comments if you think I forgot something.
- An Early Look: Big Ten Returning Minutes
- First Look: Non-Conference Schedule
- Preseason Q&A with John Gasaway
- Mailbag: Season Preview
- Winning Without Rebounds
- Black Eyes
- Darius Morris: Questions Answered
- 2009 Michigan Camp Wrap-Up
- On Harris v. Lucas
- Michigan Madness Videos
- Practice Facility Approved
- Handicapping the Big Ten Player of the Year Race
Big Ten Previews
Position by Position
- Stu Douglass (B-)
- Zack Novak (B)
- Laval Lucas-Perry (C)
- Manny Harris (A)
- DeShawn Sims (A)
- Zack Gibson (D+)
Photo courtesy of Detroit News
It wasn’t always pretty but Michigan cruised to an easy 19 point win over Wayne State in their first and only exhibition game of the year.
Michigan rolled out a starting lineup of Darius Morris, Laval Lucas-Perry, Manny Harris, Zack Novak, and DeShawn Sims. I was a bit surprised to see Laval Lucas-Perry in there but Morris, Lucas-Perry, and Douglass all played around 20 minutes.
Michigan played around with lineups, rotated players around, and gave just about everyone a chance to play. The play was sloppy at times, although Michigan did a great job holding onto the ball, but Michigan was clearly the better team.
Because it’s an exhibition game we are without any wonderful graphs from StatSheet, but here are the four factors statistics from the game.
Michigan held onto the ball, shot it well, and got to the line. Wayne State pulled down plenty of offensive rebounds but that’s about it.
On offense, Michigan let the three pointers fly. 29 of Michigan’s 57 field goal attempts were from long range, but they knocked down 11. Michigan got to the line a bit but the free throw shooting certainly left something to be desired, hopefully that’s an exhibition game aberration.
Michigan played strictly man to man in the first half but in the second half they sprinkled in some 1-3-1. Morris looked good at the top of the 1-3-1 and provides a nice option up there with his length. The defensive effort was strong overall but it’s hard to judge against Wayne State.
Manny Harris reminded everyone just how good he is when he lets the game come to him. Harris scored 25 points on 14 shots and added 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in 29 minutes. The competition was obviously subpar but it was still a very impressive performance.
Overall it was great to see the team get back on the court and start to shake some rust off. The Maize Rage was full, spreading through the extended sections and into the maize seats. Just one week until the season tips off for real.
- Manny Harris: Harris showed no signs of being bothered by the hamstring injury that has held him out of practice at times. He dominated play and was extremely efficient.
- Darius Morris: Morris has great size for the point guard position and did a good job of letting the game come to him. Morris can handle the ball and distribute it but he needs to keep working on this shot because people will begin playing off of him.
- Zack Novak: Novak didn’t show many signs of diversifying his game but he had the three point shot going, hitting on 5 of 8 attempts for 15 points. Novak also is the first one on the ground for just about any loose ball. He played all of his minutes at the four.
- Stu Douglass: Stu hit two out of three three point attempts and pulled down 2 boards in 19 minutes. I was a bit surprised that Stu didn’t get the start but he looked solid without standing out.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: Laval didn’t have his shot going but he looked comfortable running the offense when Darius was not in the game. He is definitely quicker than last year and he looked solid in transition as well.
- DeShawn Sims: Sims coasted a little bit and scored 9 points on 9 shots while pulling down 5 rebounds. He hit a three but he also got the ball in the post several times. Sims had his quick post moves working but he missed a couple finishes.
- Zack Gibson: Gibson picked up where he left off at the end of last year. He scored 6 points and was also active on defense. Consistency is the key for Gibson, if he can give Michigan the same kind of solid minutes every night he will be a valuable asset this season.
- Ben Cronin: Cronin is certainly huge and he made a few plays in limited playing time, notching 4 points, 3rebounds, and two blocks in just 3 minutes. Cronin definitely appears to be the 10th guy in the rotation and this point, only playing in the last few minutes of each half.
- Anthony Wright: Ant got most of his playing time backing up Manny Harris. At this point he seems like he will be Manny’s backup but Matt Vogrich got some time at the three as well.
- Matt Vogrich: Vogrich has a long way to go on the defensive side of the ball. He has a tendency to play on his heels a little bit and it causes him to go flying after even a simple jab step. He wasn’t hitting on his shots but his stroke is definitely pure.
It’s not quite the real season but it’s a chance to finally see Michigan take on some live competition as they welcome Wayne State to Crisler Arena.
Wayne State finished 12-15 (10-12) last year, good for 7th in the GLIAC. Here are some quick calculations of Wayne State’s key tempo free stats last season.
Wayne appears to be a good offensive rebounding team but a terrible defensive rebounding team. They don’t shoot the ball all that well and somehow they scored the exact same number of points as their opponents on the year.
Bryan Wright is the leading returning scorer for the Warriors, the 5’10″ guard averaged 14.1 points per game last year. Redshirt senior Shane Lawal is the man up front, the 6’9″ transfer from Oakland averaged 11.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game last year.
One player with a familiar name to Michigan fans is Carlton Brundidge’s older brother Dale. Brundidge averaged 5.5 points in 18.2 minutes per game his freshman year. It’ll be a great opportunity for Dale and despite his brother’s commitment you can bet that he will be looking to make the most of the opportunity.
The Warriors obviously shouldn’t give Michigan much of a challenge but these upsets do happen. When they do happen, they at least tend to be winning teams in their respective leagues like Grand Valley State over Michigan State a couple years back.
It will be about the more subtle elements of the game tonight. Here are a few things to pay attention to:
- What lineup combinations does Beilein roll out?
- How often does Michigan go “big”? Will Sims play with Gibson? How much playing time does Cronin get?
- Who are the fringe 9/10 guys in the rotation?
- Laval Lucas-Perry is one guy that I will be watching. How comfortable does he look in the offense? Are his passes crisp and on time or is he overthinking things and making passes a second late?
- Have Novak and Douglass diversified their games? A game against Wayne State should give them an opportunity to do more than just bomb away.
- Who is positioned where in the 1-3-1 zone? Darius Morris is a guy that could play in multiple spots.
- How do the freshmen look? More specifically, what specific skill sets will they contribute? Darius Morris can dribble but can he shoot? Matt Vogrich can shoot, but what else can he do?
Feel free to follow along in the comments if you are watching the game online. I’ll also post periodically throughout the game.