school named "DePaul". They used to be relevant, you know.
2/5/2014 – Michigan 79, Nebraska 50 – 17-5, 9-1 Big Ten
A demolition that was into Kenpom time as fast as any game I've ever seen, so straight to various things about various things. Highlights:
So that's what it's like when the other team is like "take my threes, please." Generally, basketball teams playing Michigan make it a huge priority to limit open three point attempts. This is because Michigan shoots a lot of them (almost 40% of their FGAs) and is quite good at knocking them down—25th nationally. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't, but everyone really tries to limit Michigan from long range.
For whatever reason, Increasingly Dangerous (At Least At Home) Nebraska™ decided against that. Michigan launched a whopping 31 threes—60% of their shots—and until things got sloppy late just about every one was a great look. Some of this was transition hurting Nebraska's ability to contest, and some of it was what looked like an ill-advised reaction to Michigan's pick and roll game where Nebraska bigs would hedge super-aggressively, forcing wing defenders to dip their toes into the paint to compensate. The ensuing passes beat Nebraska's rotation on almost every possession, and the threes rained in. Serendipitously, Luke Winn's latest power rankings address the adjustment Nebraska made to neutralize Stauskas at the expense of a billion wide open threes:
Thus assists. Michigan assisted on 21 of their 26 makes.
And thus Irvin. This was an Irvin game what with all the open looks, and Irvin took advantage with three consecutive threes in the first half, including a heat check that got a friendly roll off the front iron. He even took a couple dribbles(!) and made a couple of twos.
He is very much Just A Shooter right now, as he didn't add anything other than buckets to his stat line until after halftime and even then the only things tacked on were three rebounds and a foul. He is an endpoint for possessions only. His statistical profile is instantly familiar to anyone who's previewed a bunch of basketball teams using Kenpom as a crutch: miniscule assist, TO, and FT rates of 5.6, and 9.8 and 6.2, respectively, bunch of threes, few twos: corner gunner, corner gunner, corner gunner.
And he might stay this way. By this time last year we'd applied "Game, blouses" to Stauskas. He was getting to the bucket with some regularity. Just look at the FTAs: Stauskas had 87 last year; Irvin currently has 8. Even if his role is to be that gunner, previous editions of guys in that role have shown more diversity than Irvin is right now.
This is completely fine. If Irvin just turns into Bruce Bowen, that's a nice thing to have on your team, and Walton and LeVert can drive play even in the worst case NBA pillage scenario.
Michigan is considerably more diverse from three than other teams with noted bombers. Via Luke Winn.
Not just a shoot—wait is he even shooting? Nine points on just three shots for Stauskas looks like a bit of a crisis even if that's really six shot equivalents with Stauskas going 6/6 from the line, but in this one Stauskas effectively found shots for other guys (eight assists) much like Trey Burke did in the first half of the Kansas game last March.
Four TOs is a bit steep, especially since he had another four in Michigan's previous home game against Purdue. Seems like teams are more cognizant of Stauskas's playmaking ability and are trying to jam passing lanes when he drives.They're trying to play him like Wisconsin plays everyone: two point jumpers for you.
LeVert had a similar issue or two on drives where the shot looked like the right move but his assumption was that someone was coming over; he got away with a couple deflections on passes that should have been shots.
With the way they're calling charges now, once either guy turns the corner they should be more aggressive, especially since picking up an offensive foul hardly sentences either to foul trouble 99% of the time.
Almost there. Michigan needs Caris LeVert to hit like 2/3 in Michigan's next game and have their other five guys hold serve, and then they will have six(!) guys hitting 40% from three. Robinson, at 29%, is the only guy on the roster who takes threes that are not obviously a great idea.
Walton has been crazy efficient in Big Ten play. [Fuller]
Quantifying Walton's improvement. At Michigan's 6-4 trough I noted that Michigan wasn't getting much out of either freshman and that turning that around was a major season key. Remember the brief period where people were wondering if Spike should be starting? It was around then.
Since, Irvin has established himself a shooter you have to reckon with; meanwhile, Derrick Walton has become a consistent double-digit scorer. He's doing this with much better efficiency. He went from bad 99 ORTG to 108 in the course of 12 games. While he is still the lowest-rated guy on the team in that stat, that's because Michigan's offense is bonkers. On a lot of teams—good teams, even—that's your #2 or #3 guy.
In Big Ten play, Walton's 18/31 from two and 12/23 from 3, a 66% eFG% that would place him third(!) nationally if that was his whole season. As it is he's now around 200th in both that stat and True Shooting %, which folds in free throws. Only Stauskas and the posts flushing excellent passes are above him in that department. The main thing holding him back is a TO rate that's a bit high for what you'd want, but a high TO rate for in a young guard is generally regarded a good sign as long as the rest of his game is solid.
Walton made a midseason leap; while he's still a complementary piece he's doing things that bode well for the immediate and long-term future.
Petteway could not get to the bucket like he did in the first game [Fuller]
Hey: defense. Michigan finally had a legit good all-around defensive game, holding Nebraska to 0.79 points a possession and 0.63 in the competitive section of the game. Terran Petteway entered the game the leading scorer in the Big Ten, scoring at least 15 in every conference outing and barely removed from a 35-point demolition of Minnesota. He ended up 2/10 from the floor and acquired five points, with four turnovers and one assist. That is locking a guy up.
Oddly, Nebraska did not do much of the pick and roll action that Petteway thrived on in the first matchup. Michigan was highly unlikely to provide the soft hedge they did in that game, but even so you'd think they'd poke around with the same thing that gave Michigan fits a month ago. Nope.
Our walk-ons need to get it together. In a game with some rich trillion possibilities, no one came through. Sean Lonergan and Andrew Dakich both turned the ball over; Brad Anlauf had a third TO and a couple of fouls. Cumong, men.
FWIW, Michigan's 13 TOs seems high for them but three of them came from the walk-on crew in the final four minutes, so ten over 36 isn't bad.
How did Walter Pitchford escape? The Nebraska big man seems like a great fit for Michigan what with his three point shooting (37%) and all-around offensive skill. He is also from Grand Rapids. He was a DePaul commit who opened it up when the coach there got fired and ended up signing with Florida after committing in April. Meanwhile, Michigan was in the process of adding a late signee in 6'6" PF/C Max Bielfeldt, who seemed like a bit of a weird fit then and is getting scant minutes now. A rare recruiting goof from this staff.
Spike Albrecht turnover watch. Albrecht's lone Big Ten turnover remains the held ball against Michigan State where he tried to call timeout for about ten seconds without actually getting one. In conference play his assist to turnover ratio is… 22.
Is it bad that I like watching Irvin make freshmen-like mistakes as much as I like to watch him succeed, on the basis that he has tons of talent but maybe he'll stay four years?
Irvin's shot if you can sometime. Please? You know that cool frame by frame thing? It's a very interesting release. The kid has potential, but I think he needs to play tougher!
I hate bar graphs where the Y axis doesn't start at zero. The point of the graph is to be able to visualize the proportion and screwing with the axis defeats that.
One of the many reasons I love this blog. I can't imagine another fanbase that would be bothered by this. You sir are "not just a rooter"!
It's too soon to think Zak Irvin will end up as "just a shooter." He can and will do more and Stauskas was a starter last year, not getting sporadic bench minutes dependent on how hot he was. That isn't to say Stauskas wasn't better as a freshman, but Zak Irvin has a high ceiling and he isn't even half way there yet. I think he will continue to get better this year and if he puts in the work you will see a much improved player next year. I think comparing the stats doesn't give you a complete picture because Irvin's role this year is way different than Stauskas' role was last year. Just my two cents.
or how hot Musburger thinks his girlfriend is.
Caris could be a better comparison as an off the bench freshman. Zak is certainly ahead of freshman Caris and look how much better Caris is this year. Bottom line--don't let Zak go home over summer!
We wouldn't know if Irvin has the skillset to be more than a shooter because there are three really good ball-handlers ahead of him (Stauskas, Walton, LeVert - plus GR3 soaking up some possessions). It's not what the team needs from him. Comparing him to Nik is unfair, since a)Nik played a lot more and b) he was only contending with Trey and Tim (who wasn't great off the dribble anyway) for ball-handling duties. I wouldn't categorize him as just-a-shooter just yet, no matter how thirsty for evidence to upend the race/role-narrative one might be.
But yeah...the 8 FTA is very Stu Douglass. Tim Hardaway's freshman year he had .11 FTA/minute. Zak is at .02.
Footnote: While Bruce Bowen ended up beign the quintessential 3&D guy in the NBA, he had a surprisingly high FT rate in college. 5 FTA/game on average and 7.4 FTA/game his senior year. I found that surprising.
but he got benched and later "coached" as a result of some less than desirable turnovers last night. I just love how JB handles these players. Never makes an example out of them - but they all seem to get better and better ....
Dakich's red shirt might come back to bite us....says Dan Dakich
Must not feel very challenged by his schooling. He was a walk-on WR in 2012 and 2013, and according to mgoblue.com he left the football team this fall (understandable) to walk on to the basketball team. Maybe he'll try his hand at baseball next.
Other than Kelvin Grady and Tai Streets, who has contributed to both the football and basketball teams in the past few decades?
in another thread within the last 24 hours:
Michigan Football stats, by season:
and a bit about his Michigan MBB career, the 1983-84 Team Wikipedia page:
I had thought he was on the Michigan Basketball Team for 2 seasons, but apparently it was just one. Good thing I looked it up, but I was surprised there seems to be so little info out on the web regarding his college hoops career.
He averaged only 2.1 ppg in 13 games that season, typically sketchy stats for a someone who played in less than half the team's games that season.
Here's where his name came up earlier today on MGoBlog, scrolling forward to posts #64 & 65:
OLSM product was first with football and later joined bball in the Ellerbe era.
He could be a late bloomer. He is already a 22 year old sophomore and older than Mitch McGary by a couple months. Although he is only classified as a sophomore, he attended one year of postgraduate school after getting out of his DePaul LOI before starting college and redshirted last year after transferring from Florida. Not to mention attended 2 different high schools before his postgrad year so he may have been tough to scout. It sounds like he blew up in his postgrad year:
Brian, are you gonna do any post signing day stuff? I'd be really interested to hear your view on the class
Spike's new A:TO ratio is infinitely worse than it would be with worthwhile officials
On the Bielfeldt/Pitchford note, IIRC the last scholarship came down to Bielfeldt and Larry Nance Jr. Nance is doing really well for Wyoming- top 50 defensive rebounding %age, good offensive rating and true shooting percentage, and he's a high usage player. For a staff that has had success with undervalued offspring of NBA players, always seemed like an odd choice to go with Bielfeldt over him.
Bielfeldt has pretty good outside range. He's also tougher than he looks. If he wasn't buried behind McGary, Morgan and Horford, he would definitely get around 15 minutes a game.
As an aside, he's also the grandson of the billionaire bond king of Illinois. I mean the main athletic building at UofI is named after him... and perhaps there will be a building at UofM named after him too one day. [I'm just trying to channel my inner Dave Brandon!]
Bielfeldt looked solid in the Bradley game last year when he got a lot of minutes but has looked far worse ever since then.