This is my first time posting on this site, so I'm not sure about protocol and such. Anyway, I'll just jump right in.
Watching the end of the Michigan St. and Illinois game, it really struck how much better these teams are than Michigan. I know I am not really going out a limb here with this statement, so let me explain.
These teams have at least two or three players that are able to continually penetrate and get to the basket, or closers, for the purpose of this post. When these teams desperately need points, they have a few different players that are able to create their own shot and get to the rim. Contrast that with Wolverines, who typically have only one player on the floor who is capable of doing so (Manny Harris). You could maybe throw DeShawn Sims in, but lets be honest. He doesn't consistently take the ball to the hoop and he often settles for a low percentage jump shots. (The game against Purdue is the notable recent exception. He attacked the basket consistently)
So let me get to the point. Whenever the game is winding down and points are at a premium against a good defensive team, UM can never manage to even get a good look at the basket. Inevitably the shot clocks winds down and whoever has the ball throws up a contested 3 pointer. The win at Northwestern was one of the few games this year where I actually felt confident the team was going to win because Manny just put the team on his back and kept getting to the hoop. Every other close game, it's hard to watch because I know we need to hit high difficulty shots to have a chance.
And since Manny is really our only threat to create a shot, he often ends up forcing it into traffic and taking a bad shot. I won't even get into the lack of respect he gets when it comes to getting fouls called in this post.
A look at the rest of Michigan's team reveals only a bunch of poor to average three point shooters with little or no interest of venturing inside the three-point arc:
Zack Novak: He is pretty much worthless to this team on offense if he's not hitting his high difficulty 3 pointers. He is never a threat to do anything but shoot 3s from the baseline or corner. Plus as Michigan's "power forward", he seldom grabs offensive rebounds. He had a nice drive today against Wisconsin, but it was the first time I can remember him doing anything like that all season.
Stu Douglass: Stu has been trying a little recently to drive, but he usually stumbles or just gives up the ball without really accomplishing anything. He is probably our best 3-point shooter that actually sees PT and he pretty good court vision.
CJ Lee: He has improved his willingness to shoot recently and is actually connecting at a decent clip from 3-point range. But on most possessions all he does is pass to the wing and then cut down into the corner, rotate back to the top and repeat.
So of the five guys who see the most time during games, three of them are zero to no threat to attack the basket. The ability to penetrate and break down the defense is crucial to scoring consistently. Michigan scored only a one or two baskets in the first ten minutes of the second half in the loss at Wisconsin. At the end of the game, they just forced contested three pointers.
So now I pose this question to the MGoBlog community? Why on earth do Lee, Novak, and Douglass play so much? Is there really no one else on the bench that can just jack up 3s? Putting defense aside, can someone shine some light on this for me? I really just want to see a few closers out there on the court that can get to the basket or at least try to get to the basket rather than heaving desperation 3s.