On the offense:
Is there a shot on the court that Beilein doesnt want his team taking? They spend 25 seconds working the ball around the perimeter, making absolutely no progress. Then they jack up an off-balanced shot. What exactly is Beilein coaching these kids to do on offense? They dont get players open, they don't get penetration, they don't set screens to the basket, they don't run pick and rolls. If theyre satisfied with just taking contested threes while falling to the side, why do they even bother running an offense? Not to mention, it seems like the players arent even trying to rebound. Granted weve been beat with quick transitions far too often, but do we really have to have 4 players sprint back on defense while our shot is still in the air?
The bottom line is that the three point system that beilein runs is built for second-tier talent. And Im not saying that were too good to be considered second-tier because were clearly not. But how can a team be consistent when they rely on the three? No team that takes 30+ threes a game will win a national championship, because the chances of winning 6 games in a row without having an off shooting day are pretty slim. In order to be consistent and compete effectively on a daily basis, you need an established post game, the ability to penetrate, good rebounding, and strong defense.
On the defense:
I don't think I've ever seen a team that gave up so many easy baskets. For those who haven't heard, we are dead last in opponents two point percentage (something like 52%).
In my opinion, the 1-3-1 is a terribly ineffective system, especially against good teams that arent going to panic when facing double teams. We don't defense the three, we dont defend the post, we dont stop penetration, we don't rebound, we dont force turnovers? So what exactly is the point of this system, if not to have the opponents big men stuff it in novaks face. I don't understand why a coach would be so attached to a non-traditional system that has never proven itself to be effective. Even at west virginia, belien's defenses were average.
To be fair though, based on today's play, it doesnt seem that this team can effectively run any defense, be it man or the 2-3.
On the 4 guard system:
It just flat out doesnt work.
Sims is not a center. Hes not a great rebounder and he isnt good at help D, which is important in a 1-3-1. He also cant defend bigger opponents.
Zach Novak is not a PF. Hes 6-5, 220. He can jump, but hes way too undersized to defend 6-9 260 PFs, and hes constantly being exploited on these grounds.
Stu Douglas is not a PG, he is a catch and release shooter. Id really love to see the statistic of what his shooting percentage is when he takes a single dribble vs when he shoots off a pass. Hes also entirely incapable of defending the opponents point guards.
perform above expectation:
van bergen - my reasoning here is somewhat limited. for some reason i just like his potential, and i think he will be overlooked as a large portion of attention will be on graham and martin
stevie brown - (unless ur expecting first team all big ten at db) a lot of people have predicted this and i tend to agree. coaches have always been very high on this kid, and his skill level is superb. i think the position switch will really pay off.
troy woolfolk - he performed relatively well in his time in at corner. i think he will perform very well for us at safety
junior hemingway - i think hell bounce back from injury very strongly
stonum - he still wont block worth shit, but i think he will have flashes of the brilliance that many expected when he was recruited. maybe its just wishful thinking but stonum could be the downfield threat that our offense desperately needs in order to spread the field for our speedsters (althou iv heard some rumblings about roundtree being that guy for us, i just dont think his upside is as high as stonum)
schilling and the O-line in general - i think schilling will finally live up to his initial 5* hype now that he is in a position that better fits his abilities. i think all across the board our oline will be vastly improved from last yr. my only concern is at LT but i have faith
donovan warren - i think he will revert to his freshman form after a seriously disappointing season
performs below expectation:
mike martin - simply put i think the bar has just been put way too high for this kid and expectations will ultimately come back down to earth now that he wont be lining up next to will johnson and terrence taylor
brandon graham - i dont think he will have a bad season by normal standards, but i do think there will be a significant drop off from last yr as he will almost certainly be facing constant double team
will campbell - if he even plays, i think he will be less than stellar. but i still think his upside is incredible.
obie ezeh - i hope to god im wrong, because this will have a serious impact on the overall effectiveness of our defense, but his season last yr was simply unimpressive. i think he will prove to be no better than the 3rd best lb on the team, behind stevie brown (if considered a lb) and mouton
booboo - i really love the kids game and he sticks like a wet tshirt in coverage (it killed me to watch morgan trent and his 15 yard cushions.) but i fear that due to his vertical limitations he might be abused by bigger recievers.
tate - i really think that his deadly accuracy and his ability to scramble make him nearly ideal for this type of offense. he can throw on the run, spread the ball to our electrons, hit recievers on the slant routes, thrown the long ball...my only concern is that he had the reputation of being a bit of a gun slinger, and his decision making might be an issue. if he can minimize the turnovers i think he will solidify his starting role and really shock people with his ability to manage this offense
odoms - he, or whoever is in at slot, will be vital to the flow of our offense. odoms, afterall, was our leading reciever last yr (in terms of receptions.) he played pretty solidly last yr, but i still have concerns about his hands.
i think we have all been a bit spoiled over the past three years with zoltan as our punter. it seems very easy to overlook how important the position is to a teams success, and how invaluable zoltan has been for us. but to say that our current backups, who could potentially step in for mesko during the 2010 season, would be a downgrade is a rediculous understatement.
as of now i havent heard much in the way of punter recruitment. just today i saw an article on scout mentioning a MI kid named Mike Sadler, who they identified as one of the top punters in the nation. although he is entirely unrated, he does have offers from LSU and Alabama, which is enough to tell me that hes a hell of a kicker. my concern comes from the fact that he attended michigans kornblue camp yesterday, was said to have performed well, but still walked away without an offer. this is obviously a serious area of need for michigan. shouldnt we be all over this kid? hes expressed serious interest in michigan, declaring blue his "top choice right now." does anyone know if were looking at any other prospects? are we just looking to settle with a walk on? (in my opinion that would be a mistake.)
One of the most glaring statistics to me is the fact that Clemson is ranked 256th out of 330 D1 schools in terms of opponents 3pt%, giving up approx 35.8% of 3pt attempts.
Michigan ranks 31st in terms of opponents 3pt%, 31.4% against.
This is a very important stat, b/c both teams take a lot of 3pters. Michigan is 15th in terms of 3pters made per game, with 8.6. Clemson is 28th, making 8.1 3pters per game.
Unfortunately Clemson also takes significantly less, as they shoot at 37.9%, which is 37th. Michigan only shoots 33.3%, which is 195th.
Both teams have a pretty solid turnover ratios: Clemson is ranked 35th with an avg margin of about +2.9. Michigan is 45th with a margin of +2.5.
Obviously rebounding has been pretty poor for UM throughout the yr. We rank 276th with an avg margin of -3.0. Clemson has been only mediocre with a rank of 126th and a margin of +1.6. Michigan St., who is ranked #1 in reboundding, killed us in this department.
The overall fg% against is pretty close for the two teams. Clemson is 164th, with a 43.2fg% against. Michigan is 193rd, with a 43.7 fg& against.
Clemson runs a lot of full court press which has given our guards some trouble throughout the yr. I personally hope to see grady getting significant playing time, both to breakdown the press, and to give us another 3pt shooter.
For the most part this team has lived and died by the three (althou not in all instances). If we can put up big numbers from beyond the arc, and hopefully get significant contributions from douglass and novak, we should be in decent shape. This was a big problem with Illinois, who ranks 4th overall in terms of opponents 3pt%.
When i look at the big picture, things look pretty close. Turnovers are pretty much a push. They get the advantage in rebounding, but we will probably hit a few more 3pters (althou attempt significantly more).
Ultimately this is going to come down to which versions of Sims and Harris show up. Are we gonna get the Sims that works off of his low post scoring and midrange scoring, or are we gonna get the Sims that takes off balance 15footers and jacks up 3s? Are we gonna get the Manny that slashes to the basket and scores at will, or are we gonna get the frustrated, turnover prone, shoot 3pt fadeaways with a hand in my face Manny Harris?