Video: John Beilein previews season opener

John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to preview Michigan’s season opener on Saturday afternoon against Hillsdale. Beilein discussed the season opener as well as the importance of raising another Big Ten Championship banner. Watch Beilein’s complete press conference in the embedded media player below.

Game 1: Hillsdale at Michigan Preview

Basics
Who: Hillsdale (0-0) at No. 23 Michigan (0-0) Hillsdale-College-Chargers-courtesy-of-Hillsdale[1]
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
When: 2:00 p.m., Saturday, November 15th, 2014
TV: ESPN3 | WatchESPN

For the third consecutive year, Michigan will open the season by raising a banner to the Crisler Center rafters on Saturday before taking on Division II Hillsdale College.

Hillsdale is no stranger to facing Division I teams, but should be over-matched even against a young and inexperienced Michigan team.  Last year, the Chargers took a 13-2 lead at Assembly Hall in an exhibition game before the Hoosiers stormed back with a 51-15 run. In 2011, Hillsdale also played a Division I foe, traveling to the Breslin Center to face Michigan State.

Like Michigan, the Chargers are also entering something of a rebuilding year after losing Tim Dezelski, a 6-foot-6 forward who averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game last season.

Only two starters return for the Chargers including junior guard Kyle Cooper, who averaged 13.5 points per game last season and Zach Miller, a point guard who averaged three assists per game. Seven-footer Jason Pretzer is expected to anchor the middle, but he only averaged eight minutes per contest last season. He’ll be joined down low by 6-foot-7 junior Rhett Smith.

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2014-15 Player Preview: DJ Wilson

Michigan 86, Wayne State 43-9
Dustin Johnston

With the start of college basketball around the corner, we’re breaking down Michigan’s roster player-by-player. Previously: Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Spike Albrecht, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Aubrey Dawkins (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

Last week, John Beilein said he isn’t planning to redshirt any of Michigan’s six freshmen.

In Monday’s exhibition game against Wayne State, fans got a taste of all of the newcomers. And among those who impressed the most was DJ Wilson, who scored nine points, dished out two assists, grabbed a pair of rebounds and blocked a shot in just 15 minutes.

This may be Beilein’s most flexible team in his Michigan tenure, and Wilson epitomizes that versatility. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, making him a disruptive defender no matter his position, he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket, and he has a solid jumper.

Beilein has stressed that Wilson’s eventual position is at forward, but the 6-foot-9, 220-pound freshman will also see time at the ‘5’ this winter. Regardless of where he plays, he showed enough potential Monday and in open practices that it’s safe to assume he’ll feature heavily in the frontcourt throughout the year.

Though he struggled early, getting a shot blocked and then missing an open jumper, he improved as the game continued. Wilson helped on a ball screen and stuffed a shot at the rim, beat a defender for a lay-in, made an open corner three and dished out an assist on the pick-and-roll.

“D.J. is a really exciting player,” Caris LeVert said after the win. “It’s going to be tough (for opponents) guarding him and just knowing what to do against him.”

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Mailbag: Zone Defense, Austin Hatch, Schedule & More

Michigan 86, Wayne State 43-11

The UM Hoops Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted (@umhoops), e-mailed or sent via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

 

@skurnie: How much 1-3-1 zone will we see this season? Lots of length and youth

Every year it seems like I write that this is going to be the year where John Beilein dusts off the 1-3-1 zone and it is effective. And then seemingly every year the 1-3-1 zone rarely works and gets scrapped midway through the season.

Over the last couple years, Michigan has generally scrapped the 1-3-1 zone by Christmas and even when it experiments with a zone defense in Big Ten play, it has usually gone with the more conservative 2-3 variety.

Michigan has a lot of length to play with. Putting Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Kameron Chatman and DJ Wilson on the floor at once should make a formidable zone group, at least on paper. On the other hand, Michigan’s roster is so young that the coaching staff might not be able to implement a zone package while still trying to bring the man-to-man defense up to speed. Rebounding out of the 1-3-1 zone is also much more challenging as it requires the center to be pulled further from the basket and eliminates man-to-man box out responsibilities.

I’m sure we’ll see the zone from time-to-time, but Beilein has proven over the last few years that he won’t stick with it if it doesn’t work.  [click to continue…]

PJ Dozier commits to South Carolina

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Class of 2015 guard PJ Dozier committed to South Carolina during a press conference at his high school this afternoon.

Dozier chose South Carolina over Michigan, Louisville, Georgetown and North Carolina. He’s the No. 26 ranked prospect in the class according to 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Dozier had visited Michigan for the Wolverines’ football game against Minnesota on September 27th. Dozier’s Michigan visit was his first of five official visits.

Michigan has no outstanding scholarship offers in the class of 2015 but is actively recruiting German forward Moe Wagner, five-star wing man Jaylen Brown and five-star big man Caleb Swanigan.

Five Key Plays: Wayne State at Michigan

1. Strong transition play leads to easy baskets

On a night when Michigan shot just 31.8% (7-of-22) from 3-point range and looked raw offensively, the Wolverines still scored 1.26 points per possession against Wayne State because of their ability to get out in transition. Michigan did a tremendous job forcing live ball turnovers, but also starting the fastbreak off of rebounds and strong outlet passes.

Zak Irvin got things started by taking a bobbled pass the length of the court for a dunk, showing off some of his physical gains from the offseason with the powerful finish. Spike Albrecht capped a game-opening 12-4 run with a difficult layup, using a Euro step to split two defenders. Later in the half, Albrecht jumps a pass for an easy lay-in for his last points of the game.

The junior guard isn’t done contributing, though. In the second half, he intercepted a behind-the-back pass and then dishes one of his own to a trailing LeVert for the slam.

John Beilein admitted after the game that the team is behind schedule in installing its offense, but the Wolverines’ athleticism makes them dangerous in transition. Against an overmatched Wayne State, it shows.

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