This clip isn’t the best quality but it’s another opportunity to see Michigan’s 2011 point guard commitment, Trey Burke, in action. The footage is from the Nike All-Ohio City Series championship game and features Trey Burke (#2 white) going head to head with Florida State commit, and top 50 guard, Aaron Thomas. Both Burke and Thomas scored over 30 points in the game but Burke’s squad claimed the championship (and Burke was named MVP).
Next up in our series of Big Ten previews featuring bloggers and writers from around in the conference: the Indiana Hoosiers. For this one we called on our friend Alex Bozich from the best Indiana basketball website on the internet, Inside the Hall.
The last two years have to have been tough for Hoosier fans with just 16 wins in two years. Obviously those are not the expectations in Bloomington but what do you expect from this year’s team? Is this the year they make the leap back into the upper echelon of the conference?
The expectation in Bloomington continues to be progress year-over-year. IU won 10 games last season, but didn’t have its best player, Maurice Creek, for the entire conference slate. Had Creek remained healthy (sharpshooter Matt Roth also missed all but two early games), I think it’s safe to say the Hoosiers would have won a couple more.
With the strength of the conference as a whole, I don’t expect IU to jump back into the upper echelon just yet, but it is realistic to expect a jump into 7th or 8th in the league. A postseason berth of some kind is not out of the question, either.
One of the main reason’s for IU’s struggles last year was Maurice Creek’s injury. Creek only played 12 games but he looked the part of a big time player. What can we expect from him this season?
Creek’s return to 100 percent health is coming along slowly, but he did get the start in IU’s exhibition opener. Tom Crean has stressed that Indiana will continue to take baby steps with Creek and I would expect that his minutes will be somewhat limited until the IU medical staff gives Crean and Creek assurance that it’s time to go full tilt. Assuming he’s able to return to form by the start of conference play, he’ll likely be the guy IU turns to for a key bucket in crunch time.
The names and faces were different but the shooting numbers were eerily familiar. After hitting their first two three pointers, Michigan proceeded to make just one of their final 19 attempts. Luckily it was an exhibition game and Michigan’s woeful shooting totals will be wiped clean before their season opener on the 13th.
The Wolverines got out of the gates quickly, jumping out to a big lead behind their starters: Darius Morris, Zack Novak, Tim Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz, and Jordan Morgan. Once Michigan had opened it up, Beilein experimented with a number of lineups and Saginaw Valley crept back into the game. Michigan’s lead ballooned as high as 20 points (twice) but Saginaw Valley also cut the Michigan lead to single digits on multiple occasions.
|O Reb %||25.0||31.0|
While Michigan’s shooting was terrible – 38% eFG%, 48% 2pt, 14% 3pt, 66% FT – they did do some things very well. Most impressive was Michigan’s ability to get to the free throw line. They posted a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 76% and attempted a total of 41 free throws – these numbers were boosted by SVSU intentionally fouling 2 minutes remaining, giving Michigan 14 free throws in the final two minutes. To put that free throw rate into perspective, Michigan only posted a free throw rate of 40% or higher four times last season.
Michigan also controlled the defensive glass, rebounding 75% of SVSU’s missed shots. Jordan Morgan led the team in rebounding, pulling down 15 boards (10 def, 5 off) in just 20 minutes. Saginaw Valley was undersized up front, but Morgan and Smotrycz’s play on the glass was encouraging.
It’s become so routine that it’s almost expected, but Michigan only turned the ball over on 8% of their possessions. Beilein’s teams have always done a good job taking care of the ball but this is still noteworthy when six of the ten players in the rotation have never played a college game.
Saginaw Valley didn’t play particularly well offensively but that doesn’t mean that Michigan’s defense didn’t raise any concerns. No team is perfect defensively from in November and Michigan’s youthful squad is no exception. There were a few too many late rotations and missed shifts but those will undoubtedly be worked out in time. My main worry is how much trouble Michigan had with SVSU guard Greg Foster on the perimeter. Foster was quick, but there are going to be quicker guards to defend as the year goes on.
Exhibitions are exhibitions. They are a chance to get some film, a bit of experience, and move on. Jumping to conclusions based on an exhibition game is a terrible idea, but there is still room for individual evaluation. Player bullets for all 10 Wolverines that checked into the game are after the jump.
Here is video from John Beilein’s post-game press conference after Michigan’s 68-59 win over Saginaw Valley State. Highlights are after the jump, for those of you that prefer reading your news.
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There was limited time for post-game interviews after Michigan’s exhibition win over Saginaw Valley State but here are Evan Smotrycz and Jordan Morgan’s reactions to their first games in the Maize and Blue.
|Who: Michigan (0-0) vs. Saginaw Valley St.|
|Where: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, MI|
|When: Friday, Nov. 5th, 7pm ET (BTN Replay at 11am Sunday)|
|TV: BigTenNetwork.com ($)|
|Radio: MGoBlue, WTKA 1050 AM, 950 AM|
Michigan faces Saginaw Valley State in a Friday evening exhibition tilt at Crisler Arena. Exhibition games are little more than glorified practices and it’s important not to jump to too many conclusions about one exhibition game. However, for fans whose best information about this year’s team revolves around box scores versus Belgian professional teams and grainy practice video, there will be plenty to watch tonight.
Saginaw Valley State is a mid-level GLIAC school. They finished 16-12 last year, and 13-9 in the GLIAC. They are picked to finish third in the GLIAC North division this season and have two players on the GLIAC North preseason second team.
Those players are a pair of guards, Greg Foster and Chris Webb. Foster averaged 13 points and three assists last season while Webb averaged 10 points and shot 42% from three point range. Saginaw Valley St. head coach Frankie Smith was named GLIAC coach of the year last season, his fourth year at SVSU. (HT: KJ for already previewing SVSU). In short, SVSU is a good not great GLIAC team but the more interesting elements at play tonight will involve Michigan.
The expected starters for Michigan are Darius Morris, Zack Novak, Tim Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz, and Jordan Morgan. This is the same group that started Michigan’s first (closed) scrimmage versus Eastern Michigan. I expect Beilein to go with a deep bench, especially early on this year, so Stu Douglass, Matt Vogrich, Blake McLimans, Colton Christian, and Jon Horford should also see plenty of time tonight.