I think we match up well with Arizona. Mitch vs Aaron Gordon will be fun to watch.
Duke's gameplan was obvious: don't let Nik Stauskas touch the ball, let alone shoot it, and force the rest of the Wolverines to find a way to score. Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones spent most of the game face-guarding Stauskas, limiting Michigan's leading scorer to four points—all on free throws*—on 0/2 shooting while the rest of the team faltered, save for a late push from Caris LeVert.
The 79-69 final score is rather deceptive; Duke led by double-digits for most of the game and pushed the margin as high as 18 points in the late stages, with Michigan unable to get closer than six points behind in the second half. The Wolverines scored 19 fruitless points in the final two minutes to carve eight points out of the deficit; by that time, Duke was content to keep Michigan at arm's reach with their free-throw shooting.
Simply put, this game was a major indictment of Michigan's supporting cast—at this point, it's clear that Stauskas is the offensive star, the rest playing supporting roles. Glenn Robinson III's woes on both ends of the court showed up at the worst time. He was nearly invisible offensively and ineffective when he attempted to get aggressive, scoring eight points on nine shots—with half those points coming after the game was well in hand—and failing to get to the free-throw line. He couldn't create a clean look for his jump shot or get around defenders to attack the basket. On the other end, he was pulled from the game at least once for repeated failures to box out his man, and when Michigan got lost on perimeter switches he was often involved.
Until Caris LeVert decided to put the team on his back in the second half, when he scored 20 of his team-leading 24 points, nobody else stepped up, either. Duke's aggressive hedging against the pick-and-roll made it difficult to get the ball to Mitch McGary in the post; even when he was open, the guards failed to get him the ball in good position—eight of his 15 points came in the final two minutes after Duke basically stopped boxing out. Derrick Walton had a couple very nice takes to the hoop in transition en route to seven points on 3/6 shooting; in the halfcourt, however, he couldn't facilitate the offense, tallying just one assist to three turnovers, one of which was a what-was-that pass deep into the Cameron Crazies. Zak Irvin was limited to 14 minutes and managed five points on five shots.
LeVert was certainly a bright spot in the second half, slicing his way into the lane with regularity, finishing well, and getting to the line; after going 2/5 in the first half with no free throw attempts, he shot 6/13 from the field in the latter stanza and knocked down all seven of his shots from the charity stripe. If there's one positive to take away from this game, it's his apparent willingness to be the go-to guy when Stauskas is rendered ineffective; after waiting on Robinson and McGary to be the guy, he had to step up and did so. Yes, he's occasionally overmatched by bigger players on defense; he's also very effective at the top of the 1-3-1 and is clearly the team's second-best offensive player this year.
His emergence in this game was too little, too late, unfortunately; Michigan needs more than one of their perimeter players to score consistently if they want to beat good teams, and they didn't have an answer when Duke took away Stauskas. I don't think this is a coaching issue; when an opponent is flat-out turning their back to the play and solely focusing on denying one player the ball, the rest of the offense should be able to create open looks while playing four-on-four. Aside from LeVert, nobody could manage this as Duke funneled everything inside—Michigan was 3/13 from beyond the arc—and forced the perimeter players to beat them off the dribble.
A loss to Duke at Cameron is nothing to be ashamed of, but the way this game played out should be very worrisome for Michigan. Stauskas has been identified as the main threat, and now there's a blueprint for stopping the offense cold unless someone else—not just LeVert—raises their level of play. This is still a young team that can improve dramatically over the course of the year; it's clear they're going to have to if they want to compete for a Big Ten title.
*To further emphasize how much Duke took Stauskas out of the equation, three of his four free-throw makes came after Blue Devil technical fouls, not anything he did offensively.
Beileins system always had a big that could shoot it and we don't have a guy in the rotation who can at this point. There is no motion to our offense. The ball doesn't move from side to side or inside out. Trey and Tim covered that up because they got their shots whenever they wanted. if you play Robinson at he high post instead of McGary it opens for the floor for everyone. McGary does his business down low, Robinson can attack basket from either the right or left elbow with one or two dribbles or shoot jump shot. Nik can curl off the high screen from Robinson or come off the down screen from McGary. This allows for more movement and puts players in better position for their skill set to succeed.
McGary looks to be trying out for that role. He took several loooong two's and only made one. That's a look we can get anytime but not a winning strategy.
I know and it's not smart on the coaches part.
Having Robinson shoot a jumper is a scary thought right now.
he was successful because he looked to drive and challenge Duke's defense. He worked hard, including cutting hard.
That may need to be the near future. If teams are going to play four on four by face guarding Stauskas - and why wouldn't you after last night? - Michigan has to have someone who can do more than finish. LeVert has been inconsistent this year, but he can at least get past his man...Another thought: I, for one, underestimated what the loss of Burke and Hardaway would mean. I feel like a dumb dummy.
kudos to Levert, and Stauskas' injury may have added to the fact that Duke went all out to stop him. The most dissapointing part of this game is how soft Michigan played the whole game, especially Horford and GRIII and it has become a trend for these 2. Even McGary plays soft at times, but has shown more ability to take over with aggressive play.
You had to assume Duke being the team they are would do what they could to limit Staukas and McGary, but you would think that would open things up a bit for Horford and GRIII, but they are just bodies on the floor most of the game. Our defense was atrocious too. Duke missed a lot of wide open 3's that lead to some easy reounds for us, and every other team seems to make shots when they attack the basket aginst us, however we don't do the same with any consistency. We miss a lot shots inside 10 feet because we are not aggressive. McGary has been in spurts, as have Stauskas, Levert, and Walton, everyone else on the team is playing soft consistently. Only wide open layups being made. Iowa State, FSU and Charlotte's big dude really exposed our total lack of agressiveness. It is our achilles heel. We could be 7-1 if we were more agressive, especially GRIII, Horford, and Morgan. No one on Duke looked like a role player, our whole team looked like role players last night.
Our problem is not just losing Burke and Hardaway (that was inevitable). Our problem is something that can be fixed and that is the tenacity and agressiveness of our guys that play around the rim a lot. We will lose 10 games in the B1G if we play as soft as we have been.
This team will easily lose 12-14 games if it doesn't get its act together.
offense is struggling - fire Borges
I continue to have no idea what the NBA hype around GRIII is. He doesn't really do anything well outside of dunk. He's like a plus version of Brent Petway. He's just super athletic and that gets you nowhere in the NBA without a high motor. And he definitely doesn't have that.
You mention his motor, and I'd like to see him focus on crashing the offensive glass. That seems like a relatively easy way to make a mark on offense.
GRIII doesn't even deserve to be starting.
He might be the kind of guy that's better in shorter and more focused bursts. And you might even see him bring more energy in that role. Maybe. But I don't think there's a good alternative to swap him out for in the starting lineup.
or Lavert. They can't continue to waste valuable minutes on the Invisible Man.
I'd rather see what Irvin can do than go with a known factor that isn't getting it done. Maybe being a 6th man would be good for GRIII because being a starter doesn't seem to fit his skills/personality.
He just seems to float around out there most of the time. I chalked it up to freshman jitters or whatever last season, but this is year two man. If you're floating around at the college level and don't have at least one trademark talent (shooting, passing, defense, rebounding, hustle, etc.) then there's no way you're going to cut it in the NBA.
And you're right. Rebounding would be an easy one for him to focus on. Take that athleticism and be the best rebounder you can be.
but the officiating was horrendous early in the game. When it was 12-5 Duke, the officials had handed the Dukies 7 points by missing calls (travelling, ball hitting Duke out of bounds, etc.).
Having to listen to Vitale say "Jabari Parker, Jabari Parker, Jabari Parker, Jabari Parker, Jabari Parker, Jabari Parker, Jabari Parker" every time the kid farted was too much. He is a very talented freshman, but cumong man...
Can't forget that egregious shot clock violation that wasn't called.
Parker is the best player in the nation, completely dominated us, and thank god he didn't go to MSU.
He needs to take control of this team, he needs to be a threat. He still tends to disapear during big games. With his ability he should be the go to man for Michigan.
This team is in some relative trouble. Not a woe is me season, but a don't think about getting back to the Final Four season. It might be that GRIII just is what he is, but if McGary doesn't shape back into at least our 2nd best player this team is in real trouble anytime it comes up against some really talented team like Duke. Caris could score because he didn't scare Duke at all; they knew he wasn't going to beat them.
(And is Morgan hurt too? Because I'm not seeing what Horford is bringing that earns him more minutes).
Probably doesn't mean much for the big picture. McGary was getting into shape this time last year, and didn't become an impact till the Tournament. Nik's ankle will heal. Our freshmen will get more experience. It's December, not March. But this team right now is a lot better than the basketball we've seen up until recently, but not a really good team, yet.
Oh, and Duke still sucks.
He hasn't practiced much, of course, so I think we can be reasonably optimistic that he'll improve.
if you watch how Duke used Parker , he was always attacking from different positions. I'm not saying that GR3 is the same player because hes not but when a defender doesnt know where you will be on the floor it's harder to guard you. GR3 is normally in two places: the corner or the wing. The defense knows this and thus can slow him down. this is part system and part player. He has to move more but the system is what it is.
oh I agree and don't blame GR3 for that because it's evident that is the offensive philosophy.
running his so-called system for 3 years...at best it's been significantly modified.
Are you kidding? He uses way, way more ball-screen action at Michigan than he ever did there.
Sadly, Michigan with all its resources must rely on two mediocre coaches in its major sports. If coach K was coaching Michigan yesterday, the game would have been close. While watching the game, I NEVER felt we would win. It was almost like they were teasing us.
JB system works if the shooters shoot well. If they don't, the games are close or we lose. Good coaches win against good teams when player do not shoot well. The adage good defenses always play well while offenses have good and bad nights needs to be embraced by JB.
And now Beilein is mediocre.
Just locking this in for the next time someone questions whether fans are fickle.
If you're really a fan and not just a concern troll.
I called it . . . when the season began, I predicted someone would be taking shots at Beilein before long.
Hoke was right - fans are fickle.
There is no leader on this team. Trey was the vocal leader and no one else has stepped up.
it's clear that Stauskas is the offensive star
Offensive stars aren't prevented from touching the ball. That he couldn't shake his defender is as much an indictment on Stauskas as it is everyone else. Nobody on this team has a handle except McGary and LeVert and Duke exposed it to great success.
Yes, I have. In fact, I would say the majority of the time I play basketball it is with some degree of a turned ankle.
Stauskas was fine and he'd say as much if anyone asked (perfect? probably not. obviously it wasn't that bad if he was playing 34 minutes). And if he wasn't then he sure as hell shouldn't have been on the court considering he did nothing of value.
A bigger issue is that we have a point guard who is being guarded tight 40-ft out. Not a good sign.
The good thing is that this is a very, very, ridiculously young team and there will certainly be improvement as we go on.
You're pretty much the only person who watched that game and thought Stauskas was "fine." The consensus everywhere else is that he gutted it out but clearly had limited mobility.
Staskus is the clear star on O. Thats why dukes primary focus was to deny him the ball and let others do the scoring. Thats evidence enough.
Duke's "primary focus" was to heat every player up and play very aggressive man defense. Stauskas was one of every player that had a Duke player glued to him all night, including our PG 40' from the rack.
One bad game on an injured ankle and Nik isn't a top player on the team anymore.
That's not what I said. I said he isn't an "offensive star." The closest thing this team has to an offensive star is McGary.
Nik's an excellent shooter, very good finisher, good slasher. I've yet to see him create much off the dribble against real competition. Compare that to LeVert who has shown that ability many times.
Again, if his ankle was as "injured" as people here claim, he wouldn't have played 34 minutes. He was shut down and it is a concern. Pretending like it isn't is living in a fantasy land where your expectations have no chance of being met.
I'm not bashing him - but it wasn't a good game from him and I think there's a legit concern about who is going to be able to create offense when we play against real defenses. If Duke can shut us down with tight man pressure, how the hell do we break 50 against MSU?
You sure seem to know a lot about Nik Stauskas' health. Oh, you must be his doctor!
I actually think it's hard to come back from the ankle as fast as he did. And a team with Nik playing how he was before can be great. But if Nik is the best player on your team, you're not a great team. The idea was him playing like that, and McGary playing healthy like he did in the NCAA Tournament, and GRIII finally living up to the hype, with a developing PG and some young talent making up for losing 2 1st rounders and being close to what we were last year. I don't think anyone said "when Nik is the go to guy, watch out!"
ALL that can still happen. But the fact that Nik is playing better than anyone else is why we have 3 losses already.
it's much easier to get to the ball when you have two functioning legs rather than one.
Seriously, sprained ankles don't heal in a week, they dont even heal in less than a month. People need to cut Nik some slack. Must say I didn't enjoy this game when the ref's made it obvious Duke was getting spotted a bunch of points and Nik couldn't do anything. At least Caris entertained for a while.
Stauskas' ankle injury was horribly timed. He seemed to be taking control of the team, and has since disappeared. Stausakas and LeVert have both shown extended flashes, we just need game to game consistency.
On the other hand, I didn't expect GR3 to be suddenly creating shots for himself and others but I expected more than this.
Coach Beilein is a great coach and his players and teams improve throughout a season. By the end of the B1G season the team will have its leader and going into the NCAA tourney, the team will be a force to be feared.
In order to free up Stauskas from a defender sticking to him like glue, wouldn't we have to run multiple off-ball screens till his defender can't keep up, and Stauskas is freed up to catch and shoot? But that's not what we do, is it?
work hard to get free. Much of his game against better competition relies on being forgotten as the third or fourth option. Hardaway was smothered last season and still worked his ass off to get touches and help open other shots.
Did you watch Stauskas against FSU? He took it to the rack early and often.
Imo, he is the key. He's a fearless shooter. If he improves his D, he could be the answer to teams focusing on Stauskus. I think this kid will make us forget about THJ come march. Fingers crossed.
Irvin has the best-looking shot on the team.
Eh . . . his form looks solid but his release is a little slow.
Stauskus? Outside of him tho. I think he has a quick release. GRIII has a slooooow shot. I will bet that irvin will be solid.
Too fearless at times, though, IMO. Some of the 3s he's jacked up have been flat horrible. But, he's a freshman.
On another note, Irvin really needs to improve his defense. I recall a sequence last night where he airballed a terrible 3-pointer (didn't set his feet even a little), then jogged down the court where his man got an easy basket as he looked on from about 20 feet away.
Anyway, when he sets his feet Irvin has a great stroke. He'll improve.