...about time Ace...the game ended hours ago.
It's beginning to feel like last year.
Not necessarily the potential Final Four part, not just yet, even though an eight-point win over Iowa following a triumph at the Kohl Center is a major statement. The realization that we're witnessing something special, though? Something to treasure while it lasts? Oh, it's here.
From the jump, Nik Stauskas was on. He tied a career high with 26 points, shooting 4/5 from two, 4/9 from three, and 6/7 from the line; he also chipped in five rebounds, five assists, a block, a steal, and even shut down Iowa's Aaron White—an apparent mismatch on paper—in the first half. He's playing at a level that more than justifies the NBA talk, and he knows it.
"Offensively, I just think there are very few people that can stay in front of me right now, so I just tried to attack [White]," Stauskas said after the game. "My confidence has been on another level since the beginning of the season. Just with the games I've been playing and the success we've been having, it just keeps growing and growing."
His coach knows it, too.
"I watch him every day and he just has an ability right now that's very rare to get his own shot, to get to the rim, to make foul shots, to draw fouls," said John Beilein. "I don't know if I ever get surprised too much. I love his growth. You know what I am surprised [about] a little bit? For a shooter and a scorer, he's really embraced defense. He did a great job on Aaron White in the first half."
So does the opposition.
"The amazing thing about him has been his consistency all year," said Fran McCaffery. "He's obviously somebody that everybody marks when they're getting ready to play Michigan, yet he's still able to get shots out of the offense, get shots on his own. He's really doing a lot off the dribble, his length helps him there, and he's got great range, obviously."
The shot-making—and shot-creation—of Stauskas didn't just put points on the board for Michigan; it took away Iowa's hope for a high-tempo game. The Hawkeyes entered the game as the fastest-paced major-conference team in the country, averaging 73 possessions per game. Michigan, which averages 64, imposed their pace on Iowa, keeping them out of transition enough to make this a 66-possession game. The reason was simple, according to McCaffery.
"They were making shots. It's harder to run on makes than misses."
While Stauskas led the way, it takes a total team effort to defeat such a quality opponent, of course. With Derrick Walton limited to just three minutes, all in the first half, due to flu-like symptoms, Spike Albrecht had to play 35 minutes in his first career start. He thrived, scoring seven points, dishing out seven assists to zero turnovers, and making perhaps the play of the game. With under four minutes to go, Iowa had cut the Michigan lead to just four points when Roy Devyn Marble corralled a loose ball at halfcourt. Albrecht was the only Wolverine back on defense, facing a two-on-one, when he jumped Marble's crosscourt pass and immediately got the ball upcourt to Glenn Robinson III, who found Zak Irvin in the corner for a game-altering three.
"To be honest, because they had a two-on-one going, I was like, 'I'm too little, we're kinda screwed either way,' so I just went for a steal and luckily I was able to jump it and Zak knocked down a huge shot for us," Albrecht said.
Iowa would get the lead down to three with 2:32 left when Spike struck again, beating the Hawkeye zone with a lob that Robinson just barely managed to stuff into the basket; from there, Michigan pulled away. Albrecht also pulled off the same trick he did to Florida in last year's tournament, sneakily pilfering an Iowa inbounds pass and hitting a quick jumper just a split-second after a GRIII dunk to give the Wolverines a big four-point swing early in the second half.
To seal the win, Jordan Morgan capped off a stellar performance—12 points, 5/6 FG, 7 rebounds in 32 minutes—by using every inch of his vertical to block Melsahn Basabe's layup attempt with 46 seconds left and the Wolverines clinging to a six-point lead.
Zak Irvin (11 points, 3/7 3-pt) also chipped in a couple critical plays; before capping off Spike's steal with a triple, he followed up a three-pointer with a fast break layup in addition to keeping a possession alive with an offensive rebound in the corner. Glenn Robinson III added 14 points despite struggling with his outside shot (6/10 2-pt, 0/5 3-pt); he did his best work defensively in the second half, limiting Basabe to two points after he'd poured in 15 in the first stanza. The only player who had a really rough game was Caris LeVert (5 points, 2/9 FG, three turnovers), who almost single-handedly brought Iowa back into the game with an inbounds turnover that led to a White layup followed on the next possession by an awful crosscourt pass that Iowa easily picked off and turned into another layup to make the deficit just six.
After White and Stauskas traded baskets, Irvin sank a dagger to put Michigan up seven, then the lob to GRIII put the game away. Michigan had successfully forced Iowa to play their game; in fact, they did even more than that, outscoring the Hawkeyes 12-4 in transition, beating them at their specialty while playing at a more comfortable pace.
"I thought we had a good pace," said John Beilein. "We ran when we wanted to run. We had a lot of trust in this team that they would really understand what the plan is ... I liked our pace today."
Now it's on to East Lansing for a titanic matchup with the Big Ten lead at stake. Michigan is playing with house money after consecutive wins over top-ten teams. They're also playing with Nik Stauskas, which may be the biggest advantage of them all.
...about time Ace...the game ended hours ago.
Didn't realize you were a paying subscriber.
He could be like most people and wait until the next day, but you complain because he was a little "late" for something that he does comletely for our entertainment? I'd much rather have an interesting, funny recap as Ace commonly has than a half hearted "get it over with" one. Not to mention Umhoops hasn't posted theirs either, are you going to go over there and cry about it too?
I'm thinking that was sarcasm...
wolverheel is also being sarcastic?
Do you know what sarcasm is?
Sarcasm or not, it's unacceptable to be associated with that sort of behavior, and should be punished accordingly.
the comment was harmless. I don't think Ace is too broken up about it and you shouldn't be either. Pretty sure the majority of people here can recognize sarcasm
that second comment was sarcasm, which I now realize it could be, in which case I have made a terrible mistake
You can bet there will be plenty of them if we beat msu.
I'm not sure beating Iowa in basketball at home is Muppets-worthy. It's a good-to-great win but not OMG like winning a UTL game or winning in th Kohl center.
Great game, but I don't think a win at home when you're favored is Muppet-worthy even with Walton's illness creating bad feels right before the tip.
Great win, way to hold serve at home.
At this point I think Michigan could be a second weekend team and from there anything can happen. Arizona shouldn't expect a Final Four since almost no team should expect it. This team has potential. As others said we will not win all our games but the trick is to get better and peak in March and hopefully beyond. Could be a special season. Actually already is because of that win in Madison. Keep plugging and we'll just have to see as the season progresses.
This is a great team. I thought we were sunk when I heard Walton was out, and though they started off a bit choppy, they found their rhythm and never looked back. Amazing game. 2/2 so far, heading into MSU on Saturday? I don't think anyone would've predicted that at this time last week.
Great game boys
Gotta say, I'm rather excited about this team!!!!!!!
Really enjoyed this post Ace. One would imagine this team is fun to write about with the fun and gun style of play and likable players.
I didn't realize Walton was suffering from flew like symptoms until now. I was at the bar watching the game and the guy to the left of me kept wondering why Spike was playing so much. Great game from Jordan, Nik, Spike, and Zak tonight. Caris is really starting to scare me. He needs to stop over dribbling. I would love a win at Michigan State on Saturday but as others have said, we're playing with house money. We will still be within one game even with a loss. Let's get that W though!!
Thought Morgan improved his defense throught the game tonight. In the first half he was getting torn apart on the interior. Credit to the guys for making the necessary adjustments.
First back-to-back wins over top ten teams since 1992.
And even better, this year's wins probably won't get vacated!!
Twitter was saying 1997-98...
Nice recap, as usual, Ace. Thank you. :-) (I can't wait to get to 100 points so I can start downvoting people who deserve it. ;-)
I'm so proud of this team for the way that they have battled in the face of adversity all season. A lot of teams would have folded when McGary got hurt. I think Michigan teams of the past might have done that. But this is a special team. Whether they make a deep run in the tournament or not, they exhibit all of the qualities that we like to associate with Michigan -- intelligence, class, confidence, fearlessness, determination, and maybe a bit of good-natured, down-to-earth fun. (How can you not love a guy who says "Screw it, I'm too small" and then goes out and makes a game-changing basketball play? If Kate Upton's not tweeting him back, she's missing out. :-)
At this point, the Big Ten title seems a realistic goal. 2014 Über Alles!
You're probably right about Stauskas but I really hope recruits are taking notice that we had two early entry, first round NBA draft entrants last year (one of which is a candidate for Rookie of the Year) and we are probably going to have two possibly three early entrants in this year's draft.
The good news is that next year even if all three guys leave there will still be talent on this team and there will be at least three upper classmen with Irvin and Walton possibly making Sophomore leaps. Also Donnal will be coming off a redshirt. At the end of the day Beilein is the key and I hope he stays for at least five years. We also have great assistant coaches and could hopefully attract some more when eventually they move on to head coaching jobs.
This program has risen from the ashes and is at or close to the pinnacle of college basketball and you're right at the end of the day we can only enjoy the ride.
Beilein. We were talking about it on the ride home from the game. Normally your coach has some strengths and some weaknesses, but Beilein has the whole package. X's and O's - got that. Player development - definitely got that. Manage the game - got it. Recruit - got it. Represents the team and university in public/media - got it. And on top of all this he recruits good kids that represent the U well and don't get in trouble. I am sure he will retire here; we won't let him get away, but I dread the day he calls it quits. Awesome coach.
Yes to everything you said. Beilein is a great man, and great coach. It's no fluke that the minute he got a premier allotment of talent (Fresh five + 2nd year Burke + 3rd year Hardaway) he almost wins the NC. You can actually see the team development and player development as the season progresses. His gameplans are typically spot on, his schemes adaptable from decades of experience gameplanning around assortments of lesser talent, and his teams don't foul or turn the ball over. The schrewd eye for talent, the paternal, friendly, caring manner; the spotlessly clean programs. What more do you want?
On a more macro level, it felt like in last night's game, Michigan made a very good Iowa team look pretty ordinary. It didn't look like a battle of two titans, and certainly didn't look like Iowa was a top-ten outfit. It's incredible how totally Michigan dominated the pace and flow of the game. All Hain Beilein. That's a heck of a coaching job.
Also notable: Michigan wasn't really on from three, and yet that didn't mean the offense couldn't put up points (a nice change from, say, 5 years ago when a cold-from-3 night against a good team equalled a loss). This team can score in so many ways, and has so many scorers, that they can weather the loss of Walton and an off night from LeVert and still beat a top-10 team. (Yeah, I realize Iowa may not end up ranked in the top 10 at the end of the year, but still.) Depth: we haz it.
She did every selfie pose except the sideways peace sign....
They say there's a new way to take selfies that makes for way better pictures. You have to hold the camera lower than usual. Like put it on the table. Then you walk away and STOP TAKING F***ING SELFIES. Also the memo about how ridiculous duck face looks apparently hasn't made it to Minnesota yet. Also also, yes, I totally would. I think I know why Wisconsin lost now.
Looks like I need to book a flight to Minnesota!
Best white player ever. Stauskas>Bird>Dirk>Nash. At this rate of development one day he will be Prime Minister.
I'm really glad that Craft is around so that Stauskas isn't also the most hated white player.
Stauskas is great but two of those guys are NBA finals MVP
NO NO NO
Everyone keeps forgetting about DAN MAJERLE
can't forget about Thunder Dan
Will never understand how that's supposed to be pronounced 'marley'
You obviously don't remember Tom Chambers. He was unstoppable in Lakers vs. Celtics on the Sega Genesis. He could easily dunk from the 3 point line over multiple defenders.
I loved that team. Tom Chambers with his ridiculous dunks, Kevin Johnson with tomahawks, Thunder Dan, Danny Ainge dropping 3s. Even without Barkley they were awesome.
about Rudy T!!! He was a MIchigan legend, great NBA player and won a couple NBA rings as head coach. Would have had an even better NBA career if he hadn't been taken out by a Kermit Washington blindside haymaker.
would still take Darko over Stauskus.
GUYS, I CHECKED