I showed up on Michigan's campus in 1997 and did not go to basketball or hockey games for whatever reason. That year, hockey won a national title and basketball got bounced in the second round as a three-seed. I went with hockey, and that quickly proved to be a wise choice. Brian Ellerbe was resident at Crisler. Mike Comrie was at Yost.
A few years later I got a phone call the morning of the Michigan State game from my uncle, offering me a ticket. I muttered some excuse and went and did something else, what I don't remember. Michigan got annihilated like they always do. I felt like a bad fan, but short of being strapped to an immaculately-trained fetchin' donkey I was not going anywhere near Crisler that day. Michigan did not have the facilities to immaculately train fetchin' donkeys. Or basketball players.
At some point during the Amaker era I swung by a few games; I parked in the blue lot next to the stadium. Empty spaces abounded around me, and no one charged me. We wandered down from our upper-deck seats to the lower bowl without issue.
The first time I went to a lot of games at Crisler was six years ago, in Beilein's first year. I got a partial season ticket to watch Michigan lose to Boston College after they had already lost to Western Kentucky; the next game they lost to Harvard. By 11. Harvard had just hired Tommy Amaker. The Canadian on that team shot 19% from 3 and 48% from the line.
During this period of time, the basketball team had to practice at the IM building when schedules overlapped with the women.
Several lost Chilean miners were found on the Crisler concourse after weeks of searching.
A small boy who had wandered up to the top row to see what it was like in 1999 was found ten years later the next section over, having developed a taste for foam padding and a hatred of whatever it was that Amaker called offense. When asked by the pith-helmeted explorers if he would like to return to civilization, he asked if it involved 20 turnovers a game, was told it did not, and left.
Yesterday seemed like the same old Michigan basketball before the game. When they raised Michigan's first championship banner since 1986, the stands were barely half-full and the three completely empty sections in the endzone grated.
But when I looked up after Michigan had forced a timeout out of a top-20 team, everyone had come in from the cold. It was loud, and Mitch McGary was waving his arms like a maniac to make it louder, and I thought to myself that guy has no idea.
He does not remember about the feral child and how Amaker offered him a scholarship that one year. He doesn't know you could park on the concourse if you wanted or that the answer to the question "would you rather have Michigan State tickets or an STD?" was "is the STD treatable with antibiotics?"
If he knows anything it's that people from Chesterton end up at Michigan because they are needed to have Aneurysms of Leadership at critical moments, and that Crisler ArenaCenter is under construction. Was under construction. It's all shiny now, just in time for Michigan to return to alpha-dog status.
None of these guys know anything. Nik Stauskas has spent most of the last 16 years shooting in his backyard and probably needs to be informed about recent developments like the fall of communism. Glenn Robinson just showed up, too, and even the veteran-ish stars came in for tourney appearances and an already-underway player development center. They have no idea that Michigan basketball is a self-flagellating moribund dungeon of a program still kicking itself for transgressions over a decade past that people just will not shut up about, ever.
Let's not tell them.
I AM ON TO YOU NIK* STAUSKAS
Congratulations on 3.5 million youtube views.
*[I'd been calling him Nick because at some point I thought I read something that said he prefers it, but Michigan and Kenpom both go with Nik so I will as well.
Seriously though. 20 points on ten shots. 4/7 from three, which lowers his season average to 58%. And this:
NC State seems like a pretty awful defensive team but Pitt and Kansas State are not and he put up lethally efficient games against them as well. Probably the most remarkable stat in Stauskas's young career: he's leading the team in both free-throw rate and turnover rate (at a bogglingly low 7.7). Oh, and he's 20 of 21 from the line.
aint even phased that's less weird than someone shooting 58% from three
Shocking stat, of the somewhat not great variety. Hardaway was one of nine from three in the last outing, which shocked me when I looked it up because I didn't remember him taking anywhere near that many attempts from deep. None of them were bad shots, I guess—I have an elephant memory for those.
He's still at 37% on the year despite that and is shooting nearly 70% from two after going 6 of 9 inside the arc against NC State.
Robinson rebounding update. We mentioned this on the podcast: GRIII had an impressive two games in MSG, picking up 12 rebounds against Kansas State and battling Pitt's 6'9" Talib Zanna—a monster, monster rebounder who is 17% offensive/20% defensive—rebound for rebound. He's currently got an 11%/16% line, which puts him not too far off Branden Dawson's 13%/12% last year. He's converting twos at about the same clip Dawson did last year, and he's 5/13 from 3—Dawson was 0/3 for the entirety of last year.
Schedule strength caveats apply.
Depth? Hmmm: is there any? Michigan is again languishing in the 300s in bench minutes. Burke's minutes have dropped from 89% all the way to 85%, Hardaway's from 84% to 82%, and GRIII is clocking 80% as well. Michigan can throw out three posts, and does technically bring Stauskas off the bench, but yeah at everywhere other than the 5 Michigan's isn't getting much.
That depth at the five is very nice, though: against Kansas State both Morgan and McGary got in foul trouble and Michigan was just like "meh." Against NC State, Morgan played poorly and Michigan just went with McGary mostly.
McGary. Mitch McGary is a 6'10" puppy, one of those with the crazy googly eyes that runs around barking at everything because everything has always been so exciting it will kill him. This is obvious in the numbers: huge rebound rates! 19% offensive! 27% defensive! The worst turnover rate on the team! Averaging 7 fouls per 40! I wish they kept a stat for most times waving your hands up and down exhorting the crowd to be louder! Sometimes he nearly kicks the governor in the face!
That's great. His rebound rates are so high they're unsustainable; they are still extremely encouraging. With the three perimeter scorers Michigan doesn't really need a post who demands the ball, they need a guy who can generate possession advantage and play good defense. If McGary isn't the top-3 national player he was hyped up to be, he's still a huge asset for the team.
The skill is just a bonus. He had a pretty finger roll against Kansas State and took two dribbles to a layup in this one; he has also recovered from a poor start at the free throw line to hit five of his last six (which are the only ones Kenpom records since the rest were exhibitions or the Slippery Rock game).
Not a very close comparison since Burke shoots threes effectively. I'll take Darius Morris plus shooting.
Rotations. A small complaint: I don't like it when the two-post offense is out there with Burke or Hardaway on the bench. Not enough shot creation out there.
Defense. It looks like NC State can score in bunches. Despite that, there is reason for concern whenever your opponent hits 57% from the floor. NC State got a third of the rare misses, and it seemed like there were way too many easy opportunities at the rim. I'm not sure what the issue is here. Michigan goes without shotblockers for the most part and is not forcing turnovers, so there's that, but that was pretty much the case last year as well.
They are exceptionally young. Two of the three starters are freshman and the guy off the bench who plays the most is also a freshman. Hopefully they can work out some kinks before Big Ten play starts; they're through the tough stretch of the nonconference schedule.
This wasn't the best performance of a young season from his precocious, young team. But it was another impressive one from the Wolverines, now 6-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country — the program's highest perch since late in the 1993-94 season.
And that it came on the night they raised a Big Ten championship banner to the rafters, for the first time in more than a quarter-century, well, that meant something, too.
But leave it to the ones with the short attention spans to put things into proper perspective.
"Those guys put a lot of hard work into that banner," said freshman guard Nik Stauskas, who, lest you forget he's a kid, actually admitted to being a Justin Bieber fan after the game. "But it's on to the next one. We want another one."
Michigan’s defense wasn’t nearly as effective as it has been in early season play. As I wrote in the preview, NC State has more than its fair share of individual one-on-one talent and Michigan had no answer on the defensive side of the ball. The Wolfpack matched Michigan’s heroic shooting effort, connecting on 60% of their two point attempts and racking up a 59% effective field goal percentage. Michigan’s front court defense couldn’t slow CJ Leslie, TJ Warren and Richard Howell as they combined to make 22 of 34 shots inside the arc and would have done even more damage if not limited by foul trouble. Michigan’s defensive rebounding also hit a snag, allowing NC State to rebound a third of its missed shots including seven second half offensive boards. 54 of NC State’s 72 points came in the paint and 14 of those were off of offensive rebounds.
IMO Stauskas should be coming off the bench, because otherwise who's scoring? It seems Vogrich has lost his shooting; is he going to get it back suddenly if he's coming off the bench? Better Vogrich fills the scrappy hustle role with the starters.
a more versatile tyler hansbrough? really? you do realize that hansbrough was ncaa player of the year. it's a valid comparison but i would be thrilled if mcgary is good enough to make all big ten at some point in his career.
I get that Tyler Hansbrough was NCAA Player of The Year. I guess I just expect a lot out of McGary coming in so highly touted. I would like wise be thrilled if he made all B1G (a great accomplishment considering the talent of the league). I just see how good this team can be, and finally now that Michigan has a team that's a legit title contender, being the stupid fan that I am, will probably be expecting too much....
I don't always speak to OSU fans, but when I do, I use one syllable words.
To win all 3 of these games in a row this year is a feat no team but the sophmore version of the fab five would have accomplished in recent history (post-national championship) with the exception of possibly that '97 squad with bullock, taylor, traylor et. al.
Pitt, K-State and NC State are all upper-half Big Ten quality teams. Plus all the games were in pretty quick succession without a ton of time to scout or install a gameplan.
I'm not worried about minutes becuase we will be up by 20 or more in half of our big ten games (Nebraska, Penn State, Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa...Illinois and Wisonsin judgement Pending) and Coach B will be able to give Trey, Trey, Timmayyyyyy, and Nik a lot of bench time.
I think the defensive lapses were a product of youth and as mentioned above, not stopping the ball. I would rank my concern meter on that as mild, especially since we won't see another team with NC State's firepower until probably OSU in January so we'll have some time to work on the defensive end.
"At worst we failed at trying to do the right thing rather than succeed at doing the wrong thing.."
Our guard rotation is probably a little thin but we seem to be in pretty good shape and I'm not sure any team in the country has both deep gaurds and post and with the way our centers try to take charges and such i'd prefer to have a deeper post rotation. Also one angry note about the empty sections, a lot of it was student seats and the student entrance was the dumbest set up of all time. When I showed up at 6:30 there was a half hour long line for students to get in and there was only person scanning, it was terrible and as far as I could tell the line was just as long when I got in the door at 7:00, that means students that got there at 7 would miss tip off which is just absurd for a weekday game when students have meetings and work and class to deal with.
But the reason there were empty sections as the banner was being raised, was because they could only scan so many tickets at a time. I got in line a full hour before tip off, and got upper level seats. The student section line went out of Crisler, down the steps of the Big House, and into the parking lot. The constant stream of students entering the stands didn't stop until 10 minutes into the game. It wasn't apathy for why it was still half full. It was that too many people were trying to get in at once.
Yeah, I was stuck in that line until 4 minutes after tipoff. You'd think they'd add another entrance for the students during big games, or at least another scanner. Here's hoping they figure something out by conference season.
perhaps more than Tacopants. I hope he doesn't disappear forever. Perhaps he'll be coaxed out from time to time by improbable game-deciding 30 foot unintended bank-shots or mistakenly called for timeouts, to see what the clamoring is all about...
The reason for the world, is to make us long for HOME.
"If McGary isn't the top-3 national player he was hyped up to be, he's still a huge asset for the team."
We're 6 games in. The kid is coming off an injury,and is still playing himself into shape. Maybe the light coming from Stauskas and GR3 is putting a shadow on McGary, but he could still turn out to be what they expected.
I will fight 'til I am dead, a winged helmet on my head.
Someone's got to ask Stauskas if he's got a favorite Lithuanian player. He's got to know his heritage, being so friggin' good at the one thing that country has been good at since trading amber to the Romans. He's just got to! Then again, he doesn't know who Alanis Morissette is... which is fine.
Is it any wonder that Michigan is finally returning to glory after dumping millions into Crisler? Top recruits want to play in the best facilities and have the nicest things around them. Just another way to "pay" them. Yeah, Beilein's a great coach, but there are a lot of great coaches out there. They are just in the wrong place to win a championship; can't get the right guys.