Michigan opened its Italian tour in style with a 99-60 victory over the Perugia Select All-Stars in Rome on Sunday.

The Wolverines jumped out to a 13-3 lead and never looked back, extending their lead to 26 points by the end of the first quarter and 36 points at the half.

“Offensively, that first quarter was not what I was expecting. With us playing so well offensively that led to us playing so well defensively,” John Beilein said after the win. “You don’t know what to expect in games like these. The first quarter was probably a little above what I thought we would do. The last three quarters were a little more predictable for a team on a trip like we are on.”

Derrick Walton, Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Kameron Chatman and Mark Donnal got the start for the Wolverines. Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Ricky Doyle were the first two players off the bench, according to Michigan Basketball’s twitter account, while Aubrey Dawkins checked into the game shortly after.

Zak Irvin led Michigan with 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while fellow sophomore Derrick Walton had 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Caris LeVert had an impressive all-around game, finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.

“I really shot the ball well today; however, I have to give my teammates credit because they were looking for me and getting me the ball,” Irvin said after the win. “The big thing for me was getting to the hole and I was able to do that. I was able to score inside and outside. It was a great start for us, a great game and hopefully we can keep this going.” [click to continue…]

Primer: Michigan in Italy 2014


Michigan arrived in Italy on Friday afternoon and will play four games in over the next week on foreign soil. The Wolverines will visit five cities in Italy, starting out in Rome before heading to Vicenza, Verona, Venice and Lake Como. Here’s everything you need to know about the Wolverines’ overseas tour.

When are the games?

Michigan will play games on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in Italy and will travel from Rome to Vicenza to Poggio Rusco.

  • Sun, Aug. 17: vs. Perugia Select Team, Rome, Italy, 12 p.m. ET
  • Tues, Aug. 19: vs. Vicenza All-Stars, Vicenza, Italy, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Weds, Aug. 20: vs. Petrarca Padova Oderzo All-Stars, Vicenza, Italy, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Fri, Aug. 22: vs. Mantova Stings, Poggio Rusco, Italy, 1:00 p.m. ET

Will the games be streamed?

No. As of today, Michigan officials and tournament organizers have no plans to stream any of Michigan’s games while on tour.

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Four questions for Michigan to answer in Italy

Dustin Johnston

John Beilein couldn’t help but laugh when he was asked if he had any questions that he hoped to answer when Michigan heads to Italy for a ten day trip.

“I have a lot of questions and they’ll be answered over time,” he said with a grin.

Beilein’s roster is littered with questions, not because of a lack of talent or anything else, but because he’s barely had a chance to see so many of his players play. The Wolverines had ten practices in August, but a chance to travel to Italy and play four games will provide an invaluable experience for his team to grow up. Here are four questions that the Wolverines will hope to answer as they leave for Italy today.

Can Michigan’s centers survive?

The first stat I’ll look for on any box scores that make their way state side will be the rebound column. Is Michigan winning the rebounding battle – mainly on defense – and who is grabbing the rebounds? The U-M frontcourt doesn’t have much of any experience and is the first question on John Beilein’s mind.

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Video: PJ Dozier Summer Highlights

PJ Dozier will visit Michigan officially on September 26th and will make his college choice between Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisville and Georgetown. Dozier had a big summer on the AAU circuit and proved that he’s fully recovered from his ACL surgery. Watch footage from Courtside Films in the embedded media player below.

Five impressions from Michigan’s open practice

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-23
Dustin Johnston

Members of the Michigan media had the rare opportunity to sit in and watch the Wolverines practice on Wednesday as they prepared for their trip to Italy. It was the first chance to see Michigan’s freshmen in action and also an opportunity to watch how the team was coming together. Here are five impressions from the open practice on Wednesday.

1. Leaders need to emerge

Michigan has had some great senior leaders in recent years, but it has also found itself relying on its youth to carry the team. The Wolverines could be looking to their younger ranks for leadership once again this season as Max Bielfeldt is the only senior on the roster.

“As far as vocal leadership, it has to fall on the oldest players and Spike and Caris and Max have to be a big part of that,” John Beilein said on Wednesday.  “Those guys know almost nothing but Elite Eight and Final Four appearances, but they know the intangibles it took to get to that point.”

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Notebook: Michigan battling injuries ahead of Italy trip

Michigan 77, Purdue 76-20
Dustin Johnston

Michigan heads to Italy on Friday to play four games in ten days against an assortment of Italian club and All-Star teams. The Wolverines won’t only be at an experience disadvantage overseas, they’ll also be shorthanded when they make the trip overseas.

DJ Wilson and Max Bielfeldt will both make the trip to Italy, but won’t play in games as they recover from injuries. Bielfeldt is still sidelined from hip surgery this spring while Wilson is out 4-6 weeks with a broken pinky.

“The (injury) we probably planned on the least was D.J. Wilson. Right from the beginning, his injury to his right pinkie kept him from doing almost everything,” Beilein said when speaking to the media on Wednesday morning. “We’ve found that he can shuffle really well without anyone guarding him. That’s been difficult because we were trying to experiment with him at a couple of positions but we never could do it.

Bielfeldt’s hip surgery was originally supposed to keep him out for ‘most of the summer’, but there was an expectation he’d be ready to play in Italy. He participated in some drills during practice on Wednesday, but was a spectator in most live action.

“We were very hopeful that Max Bielfeldt could play when he’s over there (Italy), but he’s not going to be able to play,” Beilein said. “He’s still not moving in the way we want him to move. Austin Hatch is continuing to do rehab; he’s in some drills and he probably will play in some games over there, but he’s not as ready as we hope he will be later on.”

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