That was nice to see.
things go poorly
The "Game ... Blouses" dunk came early today. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
After a rather aimless first ten minutes, Michigan poured it on against a hapless Northwestern squad, led by Nik Stauskas and an apparently healthy Glenn Robinson III.
The Wildcats were able to hang with the Wolverines early—as a late-arriving, weather-be-damned crowd slowly filtered into Crisler—thanks to the efforts of forward Drew Crawford, who had 13 first-half points, eight of which came in the first 11 minutes; his two-pointer at that juncture made it a 13-12 U-M lead after Nik Stauskas threw down his signature two-handed slam off a beautiful feed from Spike Albrecht. Michigan immediately went on a 6-0 run, and after a Crawford three-pointer ended that streak, the Wildcats could get no closer than six points down the rest of the way.
|GRIII's ankle looks just fine. [Fuller/MGoBlog]|
Much of that was due to Michigan's defense against Crawford, who didn't score in the second half until there were just over five minutes remaining. No other Wildcat could consistently generate offense, and the second half featured the Wolverines stretching a comfortable lead into a full-on blowout.
Stauskas led the way offensively with 18 points scored in a variety of ways—3/5 two-pointers, 2/5 three-pointers, and 6/8 free throws—while also chipping in four rebounds and four assists. Robinson, who looked to be 100% after injuring his ankle in Thursday's win over Minnesota, scored eight of his 12 points in the second half as the team was able to get out in transition; he played a big part in that, playing active defense up top and helping shut down Crawford on that end.
In the early going, it was actually Jordan Morgan who stood out offensively, scoring eight points while hitting all three of his attempts—including a slick baseline baby hook. Morgan had a quiet second half, but Jon Horford stepped up and continued to produce at the five, getting six of his seven points in the latter stanza. Each big man pulled down eight rebounds and kept Northwestern seven-footer Alex Olah very quiet until the game was out of hand.
Derrick Walton also had a solid showing, taking advantage of Dave Sobolewski's, um, attempts to play defense by repeatedly blowing by him en route to 11 points on 3/4 FGs and and 5/6 FTs. Spike Albrecht only attempted one shot—a made three when Northwestern left him all alone at the top of the key—while making his presence felt as a passer, dishing out four assists to tie Stauskas for the team lead.
After the first ten minutes, the Wildcats simply had no answer for Michigan's combination of size and talent; the Wolverines dominated the boards (29.2 OReb% to NW's 13.3%), won the turnover battle, and shot 65.5% from inside the arc. Michigan did what they were supposed to do against a bad Northwestern squad; perhaps more importantly, it appears Robinson—who threw down two impressive dunks this afternoon—is back to full strength.
That was nice to see.
2-0 in B1G play. I'll gladly take it.
Two wins away from being exactly where we need to be heading into the Wisconsin game.
Got the win without any injuries and lots of minutes for the bench. Exactly what we needed today.
GRIII, Stauskas, and Lavert each had over 30 minutes. I wouldn't have minded going to the bench earlier than we did, at least putting in Irvin (or even Bielfeldt) in instead of Robinson.
In addition to the injury, I'm worried this team will wear down as we come to the end of the season as we really only have 8 guys we trust to use outside of garbage time (and big-man foul trouble in the case of Bielfeldt.) We should probably go to Dakich et al as soon as possible on the few occassions when B10 play will allow.
An 8-man rotation is pretty normal, I think. The guys I'd worry the most about wearing down would be the freshmen, but they don't log huge minutes. I think we're OK in this regard.
Correct and Beilein traditionally uses a shorter bench than other coaches and it has not seemed to impact his former teams.
Beilein's track record of teams playing better as the season rolls on continues.
We may not have the awesome talent of last year, but still see us winning at least one in the NCAA and continuing to assemble talented, smart-coached teams.
Morgan+Horford is not the same as a healthy Mitch, but they are doing better than what we had here 3-4 years ago.
We might win more than that simply by virtue of our team being made for a style of play that is definitely not-B1G. We don't have the big trees, physical guards, and rebound ability that the B1G conference now requires. It seems like every game is filled with lots of body contact, poor shooting, hands allowed all over guys, and slow / prodding play. The NCAA tournament allows our advantages in shooting, non-fouling, and getting out to run to overtake teams. This was evident in our victories over Syracuse and VCU. The only team that really gave us trouble, besides the experienced Louisville squad in the final game, was Kansas - a team featuring height and build who fouls a lot and hopes to hit free throws when fouled.
...and I want to cut it off because the color analyst is AWFUL! Who is this guy?
The play-by-play is fine, but the color guy is the WORST. He makes me hate the English language.
Walton should get the bulk of the minutes...but these slow starts are going to kill us.
Let Spike start and just bring Walton in at the under 16 minute media timeout.
Also the hustle from Horford and Morgan can not be understated.
True, I know that Walton has more long-term potential there, but the offense just runs smoother when Spike is in the game right now, and those slow starts will kill us aganst better teams.
15 points and 16 rebounds is great to see from Morgan and Horford. Solid 5 play will be huge.
Key to winning the B1G this year for us is to win all of our home games and beat inferior opponents at their courts. So far, so good.
Thought we were fairly fortunate northwestern is terrible at shooting. It probably didn't matter too much in the end, but i thought we looked one step behind on defense far too often, giving up nice looks with regularity. A good team will sink a lot more of those. I thought GR3 looked as aggressive as i've seen from him and stauskas continues to impress as not just a shooter.
On a personal note, this was my first game at the new Crisler and the place looks fantastic. The whole athletic campus looked storybook in the fresh snow.
on its roster losses and current lineup. Still they are learning to play and execute as a team The learning lesson today was to not let NU's best player impact the outcome. And he didn't. Horford is being given plenty of opportunity to contribute offensively. He needs to recognize that and the staff needs to make him more of a threat. Morgan, when he catches the ball, is a threat down low. There is enough creativity and playmakers on this team that once the inside attack is established, the exterior attack will go.
Michigan doesn't have to be pigenholed offensively. They need to establish whatever the defense gives and play accordingly. What I love about Belein is that he is all about teaching and execution.
That's a stretch. Top five? Yes. Best? I doubt it. Besides it all went out the window when McGary was injured this summer.
I think he's talking about what we'd look like if Trey/THJ hadn't gone pro and Mitch had been healthy. If all that had somehow happened, we'd have been the preseason #1 for sure and would probably be undefeated right now.
But you could probably make a similar case for Kansas, Kentucky and possibly other programs. Would be fun to see who would have the strongest roster if no one had declared early.
There is just something about Beilein that gives me confidence he makes proper adjustments and gets his players to execute the game plan. Wish it would wear off on our football coaches.
An absolute domination by our Wolverines.
NAY, feels great to be able to say that again on a regular basis.
...but with every win it seems like suddenly the sky has opened, angels are singing, and Charles Woodson is handing out hot cocoa and cronuts. I can't imagine how I'll feel if our hoops team beats someone legitimate.
Beating Minnesota on the road is plenty legitimate.
Indeed. We were underdogs according to KenPom.
Spike steals, takes it on the break, and behind the back's it to Stauskas for the 2 hand flush. Sweet!
Also, color guy (Shon Morris, one time NW forward, right?) went to "NJAS" in the first minute. :)
Here's to hoping we can pull an MSU 2013 football-style improvement this year with the basketball team. Guard play improves (like MSU QB); big men improve (like MSU rush offense); and finally, the known quantity (Stauskas, LeVert, GRIII) continue to be great (MSU defense).
The next two games should be wins, so it will be nice to start 4-0 in conference play, but after that it will be tough. At Wisconsin, versus Iowa, and at MSU.
No such thing as a guaranteed win in the B1G.
comparing Northwestern athletics to UM, saying they are on par with Michigan. Obviously they are subpar for sure.