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The Wolverines were able to snag a win today after a rough opening, trailing at one time by 8 points to the Illini. However, they built momentum late in the 1st half, which fueled a strong 2nd half showing. With a few big runs, Michigan was able to pull out to a massive 17 point lead at home before winning by a final score of 71-58. This was the second regular season sweep of Illinois in a row for the Wolverines and puts them at 5-0 in their last five games against the Illini. Michigan is now 23-4 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten.
The big performer of the game was Trey Burke, who put together 26 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds. This was Burke's second game in a row with 25+ points. Other leaders on the team were Tim Hardaway, Jr. and GR3. Hardaway was able to get 13 points and 7 rebounds. He only went 1-4 from outside the arch, but he was one of the key pieces in facilitating the 2nd half runs through turnovers. GR3 went 5-9 during the afternoon in route to 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Of course, the monster dunks didn't hurt either.
Illinois had several players with decent games including Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson, and Tracy Abrams (each with 10 points), but Michigan was able to slow down the two-headed monster of Paul and Richardson and held a great 3 pt shooting team to just 7 conversions from outside the arch. The Illini had a five game win streak entering the game (including wins over Indiana and Minnesota) before falling to Michigan. They now fall to 20-9 overall and 7-8 in Big Ten play. They will still need to do some work to guarantee themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan still has some big games on the horizon (MSU, IU), but they were able to get a solid performance together that kept them in the Big Ten title race and returned much of their momentum. Their next game will be on the road against Penn State on Wednesday and then at home against MSU next Sunday. Today's game was hard fought by both teams, but the Wolverines got the win they desperately needed to get back on track.
(Photo Credit: @lfpratt)
Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit
Maybe I'm overreacting, but I'm a little scared for next year without Burke. I hate Dan Dakich as an announcer, but he brought up a good point when he said sometimes we look like a offensive disaster if the ball isn't in Burke's hands. I think we are relying on him too much. I know Walton is a beast, but he's no Burke.
Ya next year we will have some growing pains at PG. I think Walton along with Spike will do fine though. We should be a contender again next year with the young guys getting more experience and the other really good freshman. I've already conceded Burke and Hardaway to the draft. It would be huge if Robinson would stay for one more year, not sure it will happen though.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Irvin step into the starting lineup immediately and be one of the top scorers if both Burke and Hardaway leave.
I know they have talked about this before, but Beilein is a coach that usually sets things up to allow for the point guard to create on his own, whether through passing or scoring. Morris did it primarily through passing and Burke has been doing much of it through scoring. I don't think there's any doubt that Michigan will dropoff at the point guard position next year. Burke is the kind of player that doesn't come around every year. However, Michigan has a great player coming in with Walton and will have the additional depth of Spike to assist him, something Burke didn't have in year 1.
Along with this, don't forget that the frontcourt will likely be a strength for this team next year. With Morgan, Horford, McGary, and Bielfeldt all returning and Donnal coming in as a freshman, there is going to be a boatload of talent there. You can already see the potential of players like McGary and with a summer to work, they should be even better. And finally, if Michigan is able to hold onto Hardaway, GR3 or both, the team should be even better and if they don't, they still will have Stauskas and LeVert coming back with the addition of Irvin.
Michigan will probably dropoff somewhat next year, especially considering the specialness of Burke, but they should be able to find ways to at least be a pretty solid team. Most thought Michigan could at least be Top 25 without Burke this season so with the addition of Walton, improvement of at least 4 of this year's freshman class, it's hard not to think they will at least be capable of achieving that benchmark.
Agree we'll be fine in the longrun, I don't know how much the PG dropoff will be though. Hopefully it isn't too much. Maybe I'm underestimating Walton.
I think Trey and Timmy are gone, but GR3 stays. If that happens, do you think it is possible Stauskas could move to SG and GR3 move to SF? GR3 is only about 6'6, maybe 6'7. That's too small for a 4.
I think and hope that Beilein will use more of a big man presence next year. It should be a strength of the time next year. Could easily be PG:walton SG Stauskas SF GRIII PF: Morgan C: Mitch. With Beilein loving a smaller shooter line up prob add Levert at the two and shift the rest back. There is just a lot of talented experienced big men on this team, will be hard to keep them on the bench.
I swear I saw somewhere that Irvin is up to 6'8", so he could be plugged into the 4 for a smaller, more athletic lineup. I'm not a big fan of having 2 of McGary/Morgan/Horford out at the same time. Donnal could figure in at the 4 as well. Lots of options.
I'd love to see that lineup. Irvin could be the 6th man. Or, we could put Irvin @ SG and make Stauskas 6th man.
Our depth will be crazy next year.
It was a post by Mitch Again in the basketball thread. He linked a Zak Irvin video and the commentator said Irvin was 6'8.
Why aren't you a fan of having 2 of Morgan/Mcgary/Horford out at the same time? The more post play we have on the court, the better imo. Granted, Horford isn't that great of a post player.
Oh yeah. In reality, Stauskas might even fit a little better there than at the 3, but in Beilein's offense, it doesn't make a big difference, especially in the smaller lineup. He should be good there and he has shown he can handle the ball and drive it, which will be huge if Hardaway leaves.
I also agree with the anti McGary + Morgan/Horford talk. Unless somebody besides McGary can improve offensively, it's just too much of an offensive hit to put them both out there at the same time, especially if GR3 is back. However, I wouldn't assume McGary immediately gets the 5 over a Morgan or a Horford. He has the body, but his jumpshot is starting to come along haha
Well, Thomas already said it, but I just don't think there would be enough offense on the court. The team struggles this year when two of the big guys are out there. You can say there would be more of a post game, and there may very well be next year after a summer and fall of development, but as it stands right now I wouldn't say any of the 3 bigs are low post offensive threats. They've all shown flashes, but haven't been consistent.
It may be true about them not having enough offensive presence. Im just sick and tired of looking soft and getting out rebounded. One of reasons MSU is always good or always stays in games is because they play defense, are tough, and rebound the rock. The offense we run is so hot and cold. If were not hitting in the tournament we are done. Teams that have an inside presence stick around.
I played the 5 my whole life and it pains be to watch how much we shy away from any thing physical besides Mitch.
I would die to see a three man game with feeding it in and kicking it out. Instead we would rather dribble and take a step back NBA three.
I love this team don't get me wrong but I wanna see our big boys rough it up a little bit.
Yup, I played the 4 my whole life. I can't believe the lack of boxing out, and hustle on loose balls.
Ya man boxing out is all about heart and want to. Gotta have pride about that sort of thing. This teams mentality seems to be were to good for that. Gotta bang with the big boys if you wanna see early April.
The problem with Michigan trying to play 2 bigs and using a post game is that our bigs cannot post up. We absolutely suck when we throw the ball into the bigs in the post. Personally i think every time we try to post up Horford, Morgan or McGary it is a worse offensive possession than Trey taking a step back 3. They are just not efficient offensively at this point. All we need our bigs to do is finish efficiently when they get easy opportunities around the rim. We are averaging like 55 points a game from Trey, Timmy, GRIII and Nik so all we really need out of our bigs is an efficient 12 to 15 points.
very good point. Besides what you said all we need is them to play great defense and rebound. If we could find a post game I think we would be unstoppable.
Hopefully Mark Donnal provides some next year. He has some back to the basket moves to go along with being a good shooter. And yes i know that won't help this year.
Oh and speaking on bigs and defense, Jordan Morgan showed today how much we missed him on the defensive end. Coach B was absolutely right in that Morgan is the heart and soul of our D.
This is exactly what everyone said when Darius Morris left. We have more talent than we used to and we have better talent coming in. Walton won't likely be as good, but nothing to be worried about.
Oh young one you have such little faith in Coach B. My thoughts are Levert, Stauskas and McGary come back as better players. If Robinson comes back I can see him taking over as our leading scorer. Then you throw in Walton, Irvin and Donnal and I am fairly confident that Coach B will work up something so this team doesn't fall off too much.
Our offense stagnates a bit when Burke isn't playing well because the other players are currently conditioned toward certain roles.
Once Burke leaves, others will have to do more and they'll adjust accordingly. Next season, you'll see that the others (such as Stauskas or Levert) can run the offense.
Stauskas was not effective today but he's a combo guard. His combination of shooting/scoring, attacking (off the dribble), and passing will make him a leader next year.
Also, Caris Levert's growth has impressed me. He's another combo guard in the body of a SF. But unlike Stauskas, he can defend at a much higher level.
* * * N E O . R E T R O * * *
I agree with the general sentiment, but this team is actually pretty good at defensive rebounding. Despite a slow start, Michigan actually won the rebounding battle today (28-24). I think at times they can be up and down in their play and shooting, but this is probably true of most teams out there, even the MSUs of the world. And looking back, with a few minutes to go, the only game this season that Michigan hasn't been in was the one on the road against MSU.
I don't want to start a Michigan vs MSU argument here, but let's also not forget MSU is tied with Michigan in Big Ten play, has to come to Ann Arbor still, and already lost games to teams like UConn and Minnesota. MSU is a good team, but I'm not convinced that "physical" nature somehow makes them something special compared to Michigan. Either way, I agree, Michigan's big men really need to rebound well if they want to compete.
UCONN L was in an airplane hanger in Germany at midnight and the @Minny L was before they imploded and both losses were before January.. MSU is nowhere close to the same team as they were 2 month ago, as like most teams, teams improve as the season wears on
And I think you saw in the last UM/MSU game, why being physical makes them special vs. a team that's softer, esp. inside
And lost the last 2 so MSU is not the team you think they are either. You really need to get over the UM/MSU game. You know that game isn't indicative on how Michigan has played all year. It was by far Michigan's worst game of the year.
It's not that I have little faith in Beilein, I think he's one of the best talent evaluators in the country and an offensive genius. Replacing the POY is a tough task though, regardless of how good the incoming PG is. Agreed with the rest of what you said. I REALLY hope GR3 stays.
Which has nothing to do with the point I was making... The point I was making was that "physical" play alone doesn't signal being a good team. Indiana is a perfect example. They don't meet the definition of "physical" in many books, but they're doing just fine. Michigan doesn't necessarily have to be MSU to have success was my point.
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