mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
Michigan 77, Cleveland State 47
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Michigan has now played five games this year. The closest margin of victory: 28 points.
Yes, two of those were exhibition games against Division II teams, and the regular-season competition hasn't been stellar either. Tonight's opponent, Cleveland State, had to replace four starters, and at 94th in KenPom they're by far the toughest test the Wolverines have faced this year.
Michigan wiped the floor with them, though, starting the game on an 8-0 run, finishing the first half on a 23-2 tear, and cruising to a 77-47 victory. A Wolverine team hasn't made basketball look this easy in a long, long time. I remember the LaVell Blanchard-led 2002-03 squad losing the season opener to St. Bonaventure. In Tommy Amaker's last season, Michigan had to climb out of an early hole to beat something called a "Maryland-Baltimore County" by 12. Even last season, the Wolverines won against Saginaw Valley State—a team they beat by 28 last week—by just nine points. I'm pretty sure one of Brian Ellerbe's outfits found a way to lose the intrasquad scrimmage.
Through five games, Michigan is playing basketball on a different level than their opponents—and any Wolverine team in recent memory. Daniel Horton has nothing on Trey Burke, whose first-half hesitation crossover in transition broke ankles in the upper bowl—he finished with 12 points and seven assists without appearing to break a sweat. Manny Harris never rounded into the complete, efficient wing that Tim Hardaway Jr.—once again stuffing the box score with 17 points (7-12 FG, 3-6 3P), six rebounds, and four assists—has become. Nik Stauskas (15 points, 3-4 3P), well, let's just say he wouldn't be out-shot by Gavin Groninger. I can't even think of a suitable player comparison for Glenn Robinson III, who had an off-night (2-7 FG) and still managed to contribute nine points, seven rebounds, and solid defense, including spiking a layup attempt off the glass.
After covering four games in five days, three of them laughable basketball blowouts, I hope you'll forgive the fact that my mind began to wander in the second half. While half-watching Burke effortlessly run the pick-and-roll, or Hardaway skying for a defensive rebound, or perhaps it was Stauskas drilling a three like it was Pop-A-Shot, I thought about Avery Queen.
And I laughed.
And not a single mention of Mike Godfredson??? He made Avery Queen look like Chris Paul. That being said, I will take any of Michigan's late 90s/early 2000s white walk-ons who should have been playing DII ball over Tim "Call a Time Out While Saving an Out of Bounds Ball Highlight Reel" Bograkos any day.
to malign former players (Avery Queen). I don't really get that. Or think it's cool at all.
first chance I've had to see this team & WOW. I've seen IU twice and they don't compare to this team right now! Tremendous ! But WTF with the lack of fans in the stands ... Crisler had to be at about 40% of capacity ????
ESPN pointed this out in their recap of the game article online:
The last time a Michigan team beat 3 straight opponents by 30 or more was also the last time we won a national championship.
Talk about a good omen for the start of the year!
Mitch McGary's got nothing on Josh Asselin
I'm not sure I get the whole degrading players thing. Horton doesn't have anything on Trey Burke. Burke is a floor general, speedy, good outside shooter. Manny Harris wasn't as good an overall player at THJ. Junior is a better defender and passer than Harris ever was.
And I don't think he's laughing at Avery Queen just at the fact that rolling someone like Queen out every night makes you realize how absurdly bad some of those teams were.
Have you ever noticed that the anouncers for espn basketball seems infinatly better than espn football anouncers
Now off to NY for the first test with an underrated Pittsburgh squad. If the Maize and Blue can continue their current play against a big name opponents, it could be a very, very special year.