Follow along with tonight’s rare Friday evening tip off in our open thread. Tip off is 6:30 pm and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network (radio: WOMC 104.3 FM). Vegas has Michigan listed as an 8 point favorite but I certainly expect a battle. The game preview lives here and don’t hesitate to join the conversation in the comments.
As mentioned in the preview, we’ll have our typical post game content as well as some nice recruiting and scouting features tonight and over the weekend.
Last year’s game at Utah could very well have been the low point of last season. Michigan suffered a 16 point road loss against a seemingly mediocre team which knocked their record to 4-4, a hole they never seemed to be able to pull themselves out of. Michigan looked discombobulated and inept, playing without Zack Novak, and they barely put up a fight as Marshall Henderson carved them up for 22 points.
Utah returns just one starter, 77 minutes, and 15 points of production from last year’s contest while Michigan returns one starter (Morris), 86 minutes (17 of which belonged to Eso Akunne), and 16 points. Michigan is not only in an entirely different situation than they were a year ago, these are almost entirely different teams. [click to continue…]
We definitely want to make this a regular feature so don’t hesitate to tweet or facebook us your questions to include in the next mailbag.
Why are we the fourth youngest team in NCAA? This is John Beilein’s fourth year. Should have more experienced team. – Artdogg
John Beilein was hired on April 3, 2007, just a few days before the late signing period for the class of 2007 – adding recruits to this class was not really an option. Beilein managed to retain Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady while allowing AlexLegion to slip away. Harris is now a Cleveland Cavalier, Grady dons a winged helmet, and Alex Legion has ended up at Florida International after stops at Kentucky and Illinois. You have probably heard on Michigan broadcasts that the Wolverines don’t have any seniors. I have a hard time blaming Beilein for the lack of any seniors considering this was an Amaker class and a class that was basically stuck in between two regimes.
While each of Beilein’s recruiting classes have shown consistent improvement, 2008 was undoubtedly his worst. Michigan swung for the fences with a couple of big time prospects – most notably Klay Thompson and Joe Trapani – but came home empty handed. German swing forward Robin Benzing committed to Michigan but fell one question short of qualifying on his SAT. Michigan was left with Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, and Ben Cronin (with Laval Lucas-Perry transferring in). Add in the fact that Cronin never played a meaningful minute due to his hip problems and Laval Lucas-Perry being dismissed over the summer, and you are left with a young team.
By Joe Stapleton | Recruits | Posted on December 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm
Derrick Walton is a point guard in the class of 2013 from Chandler Park Academy in Detroit. From his ESPN profile:
Derrick is a talented and skilled scoring point guard. He has great natural scoring ability and is very confident. He is a very good slasher that is able to penetrate at will. He is very good off the dribble and can create for himself and others. Derrick has a solid mid range game and has a good pull up jumper. He has range on his shot to 19 feet. He has some explosion on the offensive end and you can see he will be a force on that end of the court. Walton is a decent defender at this point with a chance to really improve with his length and athletic ability.
Walton has visited Michigan a few times and his recruitment is just now picking up. I caught up with Derrick earlier today and here’s what he had to say:
Describe your game. My game is basically moving around, doing a lot of rebounding, doing a lot of little stuff that other guys aren’t thinking about. Rebounding, checking and scoring, mostly.
Who’s been recruiting you? Michigan, Michigan State, Connecticut, Stanford, Purdue, Central Michigan, U of D and a few other mid-majors.
Have you visited Michigan? Yes. I came down for a football game and I came to see a basketball game but I can’t remember who they played against. I loved the facilities and I loved that they’re rebuilding. I want to go to a school with top-of-the-line facilities.
Which coach has been primarily recruiting you for Michigan? Coach Bacari.
I started this blog because I always have something to say after a Michigan basketball game. The games usually leave me in some unstable emotional state whether it’s shock, anger, frustration, jubilation, or confusion. Tonight’s game might have been one of the most uninspiring Michigan basketball games that I can remember.
Nothing about this game felt right. No offense to Concordia, but this game just shouldn’t have been scheduled. The Cardinals played well, Rocko Holmes played the game of his life and deserves all the credit in the world. The sheer difference in talent on the court was obvious from the get-go and everyone knew it – including Michigan’s team. Unfortunately, the Wolverines settled to play some sort of glorified pick up game rather than execute their offense to perfection. There’s nothing to build off of from this game, it just is. It happened, it’s over, and we move on. But hey, Concordia gets a nice check for allowing Michigan to use their gym.
The offensive performance was good but relatively nondescript, given the competition. Michigan scored 1.21 points per possession while shooting 53.5 eFG% from the field. The Wolverines didn’t turn the ball over and they controlled the glass. Defensively, Michigan left a little more to be desired. Michigan refused to double team Rocko Holmes in the post, despite being unable to stop him — 29 points on 13 of 19 shooting. For the second game in a row, Beilein mentioned that the Wolverines didn’t double because they feared the opposition’s three point shooting attack (the Cardinals shot 28% from long range). It doesn’t quite add up but it’s clear that Michigan’s interior defenders have their work cut out for them before Big Ten season.
Next up is a 5-2 Utah squad that has picked up some solid wins versus Weber State and Bradley early on. Michigan will undoubtedly need a better performance if they want to knock off the Utes, a team that beat them last year. Player bullets after the jump. (Extra: Ken Pomeroy’s player stats are up.)