Stauskas also had 2 blocks negated by the refs, one on what was clearly a terrible call made by an official who couldn't possibly have seen the push he claimed to have seen, and the other on a really weak hand check with his off hand.
Michigan 93, South Carolina State 59
South Carolina State tried trapping Michigan at halfcourt, packing the paint, and daring Michigan to knock down outside shots.
Challenge accepted. Caris LeVert hit his first five three-point attempts and finished with a career-high 24 points to lead the way for Michigan, while Nik Stauskas, often left all alone in his favorite corner, finished with 23 points and shot 5/6 from beyond the arc. Michigan's 15 made threes (on 28 attempts) came up one short of the school record as the Wolverines cruised from start to finish—they tallied assists on 19 of their 31 made shots, and just four of those came from the team's two point guards.
LeVert's stellar outing wasn't limited to his shooting; he added four rebounds, three assists, a steal, and two blocks while playing totally in control—he didn't record a turnover. Even when accounting for the opponent, he looked like a star in the making, building on his strong play in the two exhibitions and opener against UMass Lowell. While the photo above is representative of SCSU's perimeter, um, defense, LeVert created his shots in a variety of ways, including knocking down a couple threes off the dribble.
While Glenn Robinson III struggled from the field (4/12), he nearly brought down the house on two different dunk attempts that ended in fouls, and a 4/5 night from the charity stripe gave him 13 points to go along with nine rebounds and three steals; even when his shot wasn't falling, he was active on both ends. That said, he looks like the #3 option on this team, and that's without the presence of Mitch McGary; this isn't a bad thing as long as Stauskas and LeVert keep up their current level of play, but if either fall off the questions remain about GRIII's ability to create his own offense.
Jon Horford, meanwhile, has locked down the starting center spot in McGary's absence. In 24 minutes, he finished with nine points (4/8 FG) and 15 rebounds (5 offensive), and his lone block belied his ability to affect shots at the rim—SCSU shot just 15/45 from inside the arc and Horford played a big part in that. Jordan Morgan had four points, six rebounds (one off.), and two blocks of his own in 15 minutes of action; the team functioned much better on both sides of the court with Horford, however, and there's no question which player brings more from an athletic standpoint.
The freshmen had their ups and downs in this game. Derrick Walton had 12 points (5/10 FG) and an assist while creating a couple putback opportunities with aggressive takes to the hoop; he also got caught leaving his feet a couple times on defense and turned the ball over three times. Zak Irvin played solid positional defense but couldn't get his shot to fall, missing a couple open threes from the corner early and finishing with five points on 2/7 shooting. Spike Albrecht added three assists in 14 minutes and didn't record a stat otherwise; Max Bielfeldt contributed a late banked-in three.
Most importantly, the rotation sans-McGary has begun to take shape. Once again, the starters were Walton-LeVert-Stauskas-Robinson-Horford; Irvin was the first man off the bench when Robinson picked up an early foul. Albrecht and Morgan were the next two off the bench, coming in after the first media timeout. Nobody else saw the floor until Bielfeldt came in with just over four minutes remaining, quickly followed by the four walk-ons—if Bielfeldt is holding on to a spot in the rotation, it's by a thread.
It's early and Michigan hasn't played a team capable of posing a real threat; so far, however, it looks like the team's two hyped-up lottery picks may be the #3 and #4 offensive options, and that's quite a remarkable development.
Yay! We covered the Kenpom spread!
LeVert may have made the biggest leap of anyone in the offseason...20 points a game?!
That LeVert would knock down 5/6 three point attempts, it would have been hard to believe. His shot looked really raw last year. Great to see that improvement, even against South Carolina State.
I would read and hear a lot of good things about Caris. I think in practice they called him a mini Durant because of his ability to score. Nice to see it coming out in games now.
LaVert's progress makes me wish John Beilein coached our offensive line
Basketball on grass?
This team will get better and better. It could be another special season. There is bound to be growing pains but Beilein develops his players and gets improvement throughout the season.
The biggest thing in my mind is that the defense may be better. Of course opponent caveats apply but even the freshmen pride themselves on defense. Really looking forward to Sunday's game at Iowa State. Should be a test for our young team. Just keep going one practice, one game at a time and we'll be good.
our leader in per 40 minutes effieciency is Jon Horford with an efficiency of 31.304. Nik is a close 2nd with an efficiency of 30.943. Levert is 29.091 partly because he plays 33 mpg while the other two are at 26.5 and 23 mpg.
LeVert's stellar outing wasn't limited to his shooting
Are you telling me... he's not just a shooter?
CBSSports.com shows Horford the night's leader in rebounds and LeVert the 3-pt leader.
He has yet to play his NBA position at Michigan because of the system so you have to scout him a little different. And some players games are suited better for the NBA than college
Levert making the leap raises the ceiling of this team in so many ways. It lets Spike do what he really does best, takes pressure off of Walton, and allows an utterly ludicrous lineup of length if they want with Caris, Stauskas, Irvin GR3 and Mitch. Holy crap, is this looking like yet another "Beilein is a genius talent scout" point. At this point rather than worrying that they missed some top targets for 2014 instead I can't wait to see what they do with Chatman and DJ.
the levert leap makes me very happy. it takes a ton of pressure off of the point guard position. a healthy mcgary also makes us as good as anyone. mitch, please be healthy come february at least for the tourny run. with MM we are as good as anyone in the country.
I like the starters and the rotation that they are using in terms of playing time. My question is how things change with Mitch back. Who does Mitch start over? They sounded in the off season like Mitch would be a 4 and GRIII a 3. And Horford is playing great. But you can't bench LeVert or Stauskus...I'm sure the coaches will figure out how to use the talent on this team and I can't wait to watch. I think we're gonna be good.
I've wondered about this as well. I honestly think they might slide Caris to the 1 and go with a lineup of LeVert, Stauskas, Robinson, McGary, and Horford to start games. Having McGary play the 4 will depend entirely on his ability to hit outside shots. We have seen his ability to handle the ball and he is much more comfortable in that role than Jordan Morgan. Reports over the summer made it sound like Mitch had developed a consistent outside shot.
Also, having seen Zak Irvin play several times over the last few years, he appears to be playing with little confidence right now. He has never been one to pass up open shots but after missing his first few attempts last night he became very hesitant. Once he adjusts to the college game Michigan will become that much better.
Watching the MSU/UK and KU/Duke games last night, I do not see much that separates Michigan from those teams. There are so many options on this Michigan team and as long as everyone can stay healthy (and Mitch can get healthy), I do not see any team that is clearly superior to Michigan. Should be another great basketball season.
But I kind of agree. Even though all four of those teams are super-talented, they can be very sloppy with the ball at times. Also, MSU's interior presence after Payne and Dawson is questionable (I'm very unimpressed by Costello).
Jabari Parker is going to be a huge problem. It seems that putting a quicker guy on him is more advisable than a bigger guy (Wiggins was much more effective on him than the big guys they tried in the first half). The closest thing we have to Wiggins is GRIII, but I still think Parker will get his. Sulaimon will be a very good test for LeVert/Walton. I don't see us winning that game (and certainly not without McGary), but it will be fun. Namely, I really want to see how the coaches try to match Parker's prodigious skill with Michigan's length and athleticism.
Parker and Randle are studs, Wiggins didn't impress at all, he's the #3 player in this class at best, he's just another McLemore/GRIII(last year version at least)--super athlete who just hangs around and gets some dunks created by others.
teams right now. Maybe later in the season, but not right now.
MSU was lucky to get UK right now and not a month or two from now.