talk to caris yo
Michigan (1-0) vs.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||8:00 pm Eastern, Monday|
|LINE||Michigan -15 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Seth Davis
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold.
Stats are obviously from last year, as Bucknell has played just one game this season, a 75-72 home victory over KenPom's #225-ranked Marist. Three starters return from last season's 16-win squad; they're denoted with an asterisk. For those who've forgotten the "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology, we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open.
|G||32||Ryan Frazier||Jr.||6'0, 190||46||15||Sort of|
|Low-usage role player last year takes care of ball, but not a playmaker.|
|G||3||Steven Kaspar*||Sr.||6'3, 196||61||24||Yes|
|High volume, low efficiency; tons of assists, lots of TOs, gets to line, poor shooter.|
|G||14||Chris Hass*||Jr.||6'5, 184||63||21||No|
|40% 3-point shooter; solid midrange game, too, but not good finishing at the rim.|
|F||50||Dom Hoffman*||Jr..||6'7, 222||41||21||N/A|
|Decent rebounder, okay finisher at rim, half of shots were 2-pt jumpers he hit at 31%.|
|C||20||Nana Foulland||Fr.||6'9, 227||--||--||--|
|2 points on 1/6 shooting, 5 boards (1 off.), and... zero fouls in his debut. WTF, man.|
|G||5||John Azzinaro||So.||5'11, 180||30||18||Sort of|
|Backup point takes care of ball but iffy shooter who doesn't initiate a lot of offense.|
|F||0||DJ MacLeay||So.||6'7, 213||11||18||Yes|
|Lots of rebounds, tons of turnovers in very limited time last season.|
|G||12||JC Show||Fr.||6'2, 204||--||--||No|
|Last year's Pennsylvania Mr. Basketball scored 12 points in 18 mins in debut.|
NANA FOULLAND. THAT IS ALL.
Though they posted an uncharacteristic 16-14 record in 2013-14, failing to make postseason play for the first time since 2010, Bucknell is no pushover; they've been the class of the Patriot League for much of coach Dave Paulsen's six-year tenure, running that swing offense that gave Michigan plenty of trouble off the ball against Hillsdale.
That said, this is still a game Michigan should win comfortably. The Bison lost their leading scorer from a season ago, high-volume sharpshooter Cameron Ayers, as well as their leading rebounder and a couple key role players.
The backcourt is one Michigan's talented group should be able to handle. Steven Kaspar is a combo guard who commands the ball a fair amount for someone who doesn't take a lot of shots; he posted the nation's sixth-highest assist rate last year, but combined it with a very inflated turnover rate (25.7%) and poor shooting (42.0 eFG%). Ryan Frazier had a very low usage for a de facto point guard; he's asked to do more on defense than offense, where he's a low-volume, low-efficiency shooter with a knack for getting to the line.
Michigan must keep a close eye on the third starting guard, Chris Hass, who hit 40% of his 117 three-point attempts last season. He takes nearly half his field goals from beyond the arc and he's less effective the closer he gets to the rim; he's a good midrange shooter (44% on two-point jumpers, per hoop-math) and a sub-par finisher at the basket (46%).
Power forward Dom Hoffman worked his way into the starting lineup towards the end of 2013-14, and that coincided with a regular-season-ending six-game winning streak for the Bison. He's a solid rebounder who does almost all of his work on offense near the hoop. Center Nana Foulland is a true freshman who disappointingly didn't record a foul in Bucknell's opener; he struggled from the field and—at 6'9", 227, with minimal experience—could be exploited inside.
They key backup to watch is 2014 Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year JC Show, a lightly regarded recruit who was obviously quite productive at the high school level. Show poured in 12 points in just 18 minutes in the opener against Marist, hitting both his two-pointers while going 2/5 from three.
KenPom gives Michigan a 93% chance to win this one. While Bucknell's off-ball movement could give the Wolverines some trouble, they have to replace quite a bit of production from a team that disappointed last year—the Bison were fifth in this year's preseason Patriot League poll and currently sit at #178 on KenPom. Michigan will continue to have growing pains, but this is a game where they should be able to work through them and come out comfortably on top.
Still too early for this. Last year Bucknell was heavily reliant on three-point shooting to score points, so it'll be interesting to see how they adjust while rolling out a starting lineup with just one proven outside shooter. On defense, they rarely forced turnovers but did a remarkable job—second-best nationally, in fact—of keeping opponents off the offensive glass. Both those trends continued in their season opener.
Stay between the man and the basket. A simple request, sure, but Michigan's young bigs—especially Kameron Chatman—had a lot of trouble sticking with their assignment off the ball against Hillsdale's motion- and pick-heavy swing offense. Bucknell will give Michigan a similar look with better, experienced players. Better communication during off-ball screens would solve a lot of Michigan's woes in this department; on Saturday, defenders looked far too unsure of when (and when not) to switch.
Keep firing. This looks like a great matchup for Michigan's three stars. Derrick Walton is going against a low-usage point guard; he should be able to give plenty of help defensively while looking to hit the boards and initiate the break, which he's great at doing. Both Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin are going to have size advantages over their respective matchups; in LeVert's case, he'll also have the chance to get Michigan going in transition by guarding the turnover-prone Kaspar. Irvin will shoot, because that's what he does, and that's perfectly fine. Should be another game in which these three dominate the ball and carry much of the load.
Help off most. Bucknell doesn't have much in the way of shooters out there; Hass is the only reliable outside threat in the starting five, while JC Show seems to be the only dangerous bench scorer. If Kaspar is going to the rim time and again—he's not a great finisher but he does draw quite a few fouls—Michigan can collapse inside, helping off just about anyone aside from Hass. Giving up a few open outside jumpers won't be the worst thing in the world.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 15.
It's a basketball/football crossover week so I didn't have time to put together a full OFAAT post, but here are several GIFs from Saturday's game and a couple from the exhibition against Wayne State. Click the links to open each GIF in a lightbox.
LeVert steal/slam. Alternate view of the dunk.
Irvin breakaway one-handed dunk.
Chatman goes coast-to-coast.
Zak Irvin, alone in front of the pack, fades to the corner and drills a three. I love this.
Spike steals, does not dunk.
LeVert to Doyle for the and-one.
LeVert lob to Doyle.
Might want to guard that guy.
Slick save by Mark Donnal.
Holy hell, Aubrey Dawkins.
In a universe where Bill Murray actually gets the gopher (source).
1. R. Pitino def. R. Pitino
The best game of college basketball’s opening weekend – one of those now-customary military appreciation contests in a weird venue (a hangar in Puerto Rico this time) – featured Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals and his son, Richard’s Minnesota Golden Gophers. It was a predictably sloppy game, partially because of the heat that required several stoppages in play to wipe perspiration off of the court, partially because it was the season-opener for both teams.
In any case, it was an ugly game. There were a combined 60 fouls in the game, the two teams combined for more made free throws (49) than made field goals (45), and half-court offense for both teams looked like far more difficult than it should have. All of these early-season gimmick locales effectively dilute the quality of play because of the unusual environments and this game fell victim to that also. It wasn’t competitive either: Minnesota held an early 14-10 lead, but Louisville ripped off a 19-2 run. The Gophers didn’t get the deficit to two possessions for the rest of the game.
In the end, Louisville won because Rick was playing with a stacked deck: future lottery pick Montrezl Harrell was outstanding – efficient, with 30 points on 17 shot equivalents – and showcased not only his aggressive and physical interior play, but a good-looking jump shot as well. Minnesota’s backcourt of Deandre Mathieu and Andre Hollins is great in its own right, but they were simply outclassed by Chris Jones and Terry Rozier. Few teams have a guard tandem that can defend like those two and even fewer have a big man who’s comparable to Montrezl Harrell.
2. #lukewarm #gopher #takes
Not a whole lot can be drawn from a game like this – Louisville might be the best team Minnesota faces all year and the game was in a structure built to store helicopters in the Caribbean.
Still, a few observations:
- Mo Walker > Elliott Eliason. Minnesota’s senior center tandem split the minutes evenly, but Walker got the start and outplayed Eliason against the Cardinals. Louisville didn’t bother to double Walker on post-ups, and he took advantage – he also ran the floor well in transition and had a nice drive-and-dish from the perimeter.
- The four spot was a disaster. Understandable, when guarding Harrell, but the Gopher four men struggled on offense (against a zone) as well. Joey King should hold down the position but he didn’t play well and Bakary Konate, Charles Buggs, and Josh Martin didn’t impress in relief.
- Nate Mason should contribute this year. Minnesota’s freshman guard had an unenviable opponent in his first college game, but he held up decently well: 10 points (but four missed free throws), 5 rebounds, 2 assists (and 2 turnovers). Pitino should just rotate Mathieu, Hollins, and Mason at the two guard spots.
- Auto-benching Mathieu was stupid. When Deandre Mathieu picked up his second foul at 9:21 remaining in the first half, Louisville led by just three points – when he got back after halftime, the lead was thirteen. Mathieu didn’t play particularly well but he had just 3 fouls per 40 minutes last season and didn’t foul out anyways. Don’t automatically bench guys.
- Other than that: Andre Hollins looked good and Carlos Morris didn’t; The hyper-aggressive Louisville trapping zones and half-court 2-3 zone gave Minnesota a ton of problems (and it’s easy to foresee the younger Pitino molding the Gophers into a defense like that in time); Minnesota’s jerseys were awful.
[After THE JUMP: In the Navy, where something something weird guys.]
11/15/2014 – Michigan 92, Hillsdale 68, 1-0
AHHHHHHHHHHHH basketball exists [Dustin Johnston/UMHoops]
No drama just bullets:
Big three. Big three. Big three. Chances a basketball podcast uses "The Big Three Killed My Baby"—the White Stripes' screechy intro to the world off their self-titled debut—are 99.9%. Outside of the uber-recruit laden one-and-done factories There are few in the country who can match Michigan 1 to 3. The backcourt troika all went over 20 points efficiently, and there is more where that came from.
Yes, just a D-II team, but even so Walton/Irvin/LeVert all cracked 20 points on 13-ish shot equivalents. None of these guys got their points via volume. As a result, they picked up where they left off last year at 1.33 points per possession. Single-game ORTGs for the big three: 170, 166, and 144. That's nuts.
Usage was also in the same range it was last year: the six guys who cracked ten minutes all had their usage fall between 16 (Chatman) and 25 (Albrecht!) percent. Last year's Michigan team was efficient in part because no individual player had a particularly heavy load. Even without Stauskas they look ready to repeat that feat.
- LeVert looks ready to take over the late-shot-clock mantle capably handled by Burke and Stauskas the last couple years. He's a long 6'7" with an excellent ability to get to his spot and get off a clean jumper, and that's a fine option when you have to get a shot off, any shot. Also he had nine assists. And eight rebounds.
- Walton, meanwhile, is also verging on being able to get what he wants when he wants it. He got the the line ten times, had four assist and just one TO. I don't want to talk about a Trey leap yet… but hey man Beilein point guards have gotten really really good in year two. Hell, you could even throw Stauskas in there if you want.
- Irvin didn't fill up the box score like he did against Wayne State; he did show off a couple of drives off of closeouts that were absent from his game last year. He was actually 5/6 from inside the line… which is about a month's worth of games from last year.
In re: Irvin twos: About half of those were THJ-style pull-up jumpers just inside the line. You know me and my hatred of long twos, but even I have to admit those looked like they might go down often enough to be a decent option.
[After THE JUMP: the five spot, defensive issues, calmer than you are.]
Following the release of very disturbing details of Frank Clark's arrest on charges of domestic violence early Sunday morning, Michigan announced today that Clark is no longer a part of the football program. The full statement from Brady Hoke:
“Frank Clark has been dismissed for violating team rules from the Michigan football program. This is a tragic situation. Our student-athletes will be held accountable when their actions fail to meet the standard we have at Michigan. There is a legal process that will occur and we respect that process.”
This was the only acceptable course of action given the situation. Thoughts go out to the alleged victim and her family.
No details yet as this apparently just happened but the Erie County jail's website has a log of all arrests and Frank Clark is on there:
If you are for some reason dubious that this guy who looks just like Frank Clark is Frank Clark, his DOB matches that on Frank Clark's MGoBlue bio.
When it rains it pours.
They stuck to the script.
Michigan raises banners on opening day now. They did so again today, hoisting the 2014 Big Ten title banner to the rafters and handing out rings in a pregame ceremony. Continuing tradition, the biggest names from that championship squad weren't able to attend due to professional obligations; Glenn Robinson III was absent, and the parents of Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas, and Jordan Morgan stood in for their sons who've taken the next step.
After all the hubbub before tipoff, a familiar scene for the returners but not for the squad's six freshmen, the Wolverines came out flat, allowing Hillsdale to ride hot outside shooting to a 15-6 lead. Then Michigan roared back by doing what they do best: shooting the rock. Three consecutive triples tied the score before M took the lead for good with a Kameron Chatman basket with 8:59 to go in the half.
Michigan leaned heavily on their veterans for production, and they came through in a big way. Caris LeVert flirted with a triple-double, posting a 20-8-9 line while hitting 4/6 three-point attempts. Derrick Walton may have been even better, leading the team with 22 points (5/8 FG, 9/10 FT), dishing out four assists, and masterfully running the Michigan fast break. Zak Irvin diversified his shooting a bit, adding several midrange buckets and even a few strong drives to the hoop on his way to 21 points on 8/12 field goals. The three stars lived up to the billing.
The rest, as expected, is a work-in-progress. Hillsdale knocked down 10/23 three-pointers in large part because the new faces in the lineup struggled on defense, especially working through the myriad off-ball screens set by the Chargers.
The freshmen showed their talent and their youth. Mark Donnal earned the start at center, had a couple nifty layups, worked hard on the offensive glass, hit a nice-looking mid-range jumper in the second half, and defended quite well for the most part, but also allowed a couple of easy buckets. Kam Chatman went 1/7 for 4 points in 30 minutes and allowed too many open shots; he also passed the ball well and had a stellar crossover in transition that led to an and-one opportunity.
Aubrey Dawkins sunk a three and seemingly reached into the upper bowl to rip down an offensive board in his limited time on the court. Ricky Doyle scored seven points in eight minutes but didn't look as quick to rotate on defense as Donnal. DJ Wilson played the entirety of his nine minutes at the five and pulled down four boards but didn't make a major impact otherwise. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman missed his pair of shots in four minutes of play, though he did display the ability to blow by defenders.
While the victory was hardly in doubt for most of the game, Michigan wasn't able to truly put it away until around nine minutes remained, and the Wolverines extended a 12-point lead all the way out to 30 over the course of the next several minutes.
In the end, it felt like an early-season cupcake game should for such a young team. The team won comfortably while getting enough of a test to have several areas of improvement to emphasize before Monday night's game against Bucknell, this squad's first against D-I competition. In the meantime, Michigan fans can rest comfortably knowing that this team can still shoot (11/19 from three) and the stars look ready to shine.