It would be awesome if Horford could bulk up some more, seems like there'd be some great potential there for him to really add more to the team.
Looking Ahead the Brighter Side
He would be perfect if he was the same size as Morgan.
They weigh the same now. Horford has already gained 30 lbs since he came to college.
I think he's going to come back next year like a bull.
Did you see Horford today? He's already bulked up a ton.
Definitely agree on the center position needing development.
Other than that, I'm just hoping that THJ and Morris hit the gym like they don't tie their shoelaces. They could both be scary good after gaining experience this year, and practicing all offseason.
Some weight on Horford for another bigger body down there is key. I think next season will be pretty, pretty good.
...we need Horford to bulk up and become a player inside. Then we can have Novak and Smotrycz working the three.
i don't see morgan and horford (or insert any other big man) on the court together much. it would complete stifle the offense.
My keys to (greater) success:
1. smotrycz. if he becomes a consistent scorer, the team will be much improved. i like the confidence he showed the past few games. i would like to see him start, play more minutes, and put stu as the 6th man.
2. the new guys. hopefully one of these new frosh guards can play a solid point, so we can still push the ball up the court when morris is out.
3. horford adding a little more bulk and becoming a solid back up center, since morgan is in constant foul trouble.
4) THJ gains 20 lbs. and improves his ball handling.
Keep the attitude they played with this year. Don't let the higher expectations change their approach to the game as underdogs.
is exactly correct and probably the biggest aspect...keep fighting, stay hungry, and every game, it's gotta be us against the world...thankfully, I see that in this team and this result could fuel that fire, but having the drive to come out every night and take it to your opponent is so huge...
We need to somehow snag a highly rated big man for next year. I know it's late but maybe this game has opened some players eyes to the potential this team has next year. IMO, Michigan is just 1 6'10"ish big man away from being a serious National contender.
You bring up a good point, one that I've wondered while thinking about next year. What is the starting five? If Smotrycz progresses the way that we all think that he can, he should be in the starting five. Does Beilein keep Douglass & Novak as in the starting line-up simply out of loyalty? I say Smotrycz takes over at the four, Novak to the three, then Hardaway to the two.
Douglass is your first player off the bench. He can sub for the point, or for the two. Vogrich can sub for the two or the three, in a pinch. Horford and McLimans can spell Morgan at the 5.
I like this lineup, and given the size and length of these guys, I would expect to see a lot of the match up zone. Would have that length you need to create a lot of turnovers on deflected passes.
I think Novak should definitely be in the starting lineup. The leadership and hustle he brings to the team are invaluable.
I'm thinking Douglass will be coming off the bench.
This was our starting lineup for the first half of the year, when we weren't playing nearly as well. Then Beilein switched Smotrycz out for Stu and we started winning games. I agree that the lineup from the beginning of the year seems better, but seeming better doesn't win games.
I just hope we can develop Horford the way we developed J-Mo. Having a legitimate backup center would be huge, and I'm not sure if I believe McLimans is gonna get to that level.
We used that lineup for 24 games. The turnaround began with that group starting - the MSU game in East Lansing was Game #21. Smotrycz finally lost his job when he hit the freshman wall and wasn't contributing at all for awhile. Given that he's now picked it up, I'd expect him to return to the starting lineup next year.
Thoughts on the game:
Good game. I thought this would be a close one and that M would beat the spread, but they unfortunately didn't have what it took to beat Duke in the third round. We were definitely helped by Duke missing quite a few FTs in the first half, but we were clearly the lesser of the two teams--against a squad returning two starters from last year's Tournament Champion team.
Bottom line, we have limitless potential and I think we represented extremely well against No. 1 and No. 2 teams this year. I'm amazed we managed to get so many top-2 match-ups this year, but that's what happens when you play in the B1G, schedule an OOC vs. Kansas, and play #1 Duke in the third round. Returning 100% of the starters from this year's team, as well as having some seniors, will help next year. We're definitely looking at a solid NCAA Tourney team in 2011-2012.
Thank god, I can't get enough of this comment.
Duke missed some of those FT's out of fatigue. The refs had them at the line every other possession.
Nevermind, i misread ya
i don't get why he can't make free throws, that is, on the rare occasion when he gets to the line.
I certainly hope you are right, yet as we all know NOTHING is guaranteed in college basketball (perfect example is this year's team). Beilein has to do a good job of keeping them focused and hungry or it will be the 2009-2010 season all over again... This team now has to learn to play under big expectations which can be hard for a young group of guys. Here's to hoping they keep working hard and give us the pleasure of watching another tourney appearance...
If past performance is any indication, the Horford family blooms a year or two "late." They start out undersized, gain weight, and take a year to adjust to having a bigger body. Horford could end up being the big guy Michigan needs.
But I agree that Michigan needs to sign one big recruit. MSU was down this year, and should be for the next one or two. This is the perfect time for Michigan to regain its normal status (all but the Magic years and the post-Martin hangover) as the better of the two instate majors.
When one big, elite recruit says "yes" to Michigan, the floodgates will open. And Michigan will occasionally have more McDonald's All Americans than the team on the other side of the court.
I'm not sure if we need another big guy recruit. We need Morgan to learn to defend without fouling and hopefully feeling comfortable enough defensive with Hardaway/Morris to have Stu come off the bench and Smotrycz start. Then you've got two pretty big dudes and Novak who plays bigger than he is for rebounding (which we weren't THAT bad at except in exceptional circumstances like today). I like the Morgan/Smotrycz/Novak/Hardaway/Morris lineup with Stu first off the bench. Hopefully Horford gives us good minutes as Morgan's backup. Then Vogrich is backup Novak, and we work in Burke and Brundidge. That's a pretty good 10 man rotation, if the recruiting services are to be believed.
You guys need to stop with the "BIG MAN" posts. Our offense is based on spacing and it only works if you can knock down the open shot. You can only really afford to have 1 non shooter on the floor. We are more likely to try and force other teams to go small to guard us than go big. Smotrcyz is your 4 of the future with Horford and Morgan manning the 5. If the big guys really improve here we may go big, but it will be rare when the match up is really tough, but we're going to punish lumbering bigs with Smotryz jacking 3's and taking him off the dribble. We will force teams to go small.
I'm already on record that Mich will win the Big Ten in football next year. For the sweep we need the following. All players need to work on everything but here is the 1 thing we need to win the Big Ten from each player.
Morris-He's incredible with all these awkward shots and he'll never be a 3pt specialist but he needs to be able to knock down the wide open spin the laces type ones. 500 3pt shots a day.
THJ- Some will say weights, but he needs to work with this dad on ball handling. He needs to be able to punish guys off the dribble.
Morgan-Squats and hand grippers. All he needs to do is convert dunks and clean the glass. We're not dumping it to him in the post. We need him to convert bunnies and play tough d.
Smotrycz- He needs a Mike Barwis plan. He's got everything except some explosion. He needs to build up that strength for d and drives to the hoop. Does this guy have a pulse? Great swagger.
Vogrich- I know everyone wants strength, but he needs to work on his release. He's a great shooter and his role will be the shooter. He just needs to keep gaining confidence and getting his release quicker.
Novak- Beat the shit out of anyone above not doing what they are supposed to.
Stu- Ball handling. He needs to gain more confidence in his handle....and some free throws, you have to be a good free throw shooter Stu.
Nice post Ziff, I'm sick of the big man crap. Beleins system is run on athletic players on the floor, not big, slow, non shooting prima donnas.
I mean, in 2009-10 he shot it at 77.8% on only 27 attempts and this year he had, wth??, only 12 attempts! I know he only made 3 of them but I don't think a 12 shot sampling is enough to say he sucks at FT's given the previous year mark with over twice as many attempts.
I agree with everything else though - I do think we could really hurt teams like Duke if we played Smotrycz (assuming he adds 10-15 lbs, don't want to get too big and lose that quickness) at the 5 w/ 4 3 point shooters on the floor with Darius (#1 NCAA assist guy next year) dishing it out. Of course that depends on the team we're playing. Against, say, tOSU it's definitely Morgan and Smotrycz but against a team like Duke we could probably rock the 5 shooters line-up.
Thanks for compiling the stats. I never said he sucked. He doesn't shoot a lot of them but he handles the ball and down the stretch he needs to be nails. This is to win the Big Ten. We're going to hopefully be leading a lot of games. For someone that has that good of a shot he needs to be money that is all. I never said he sucked.
I use "suck" and don't really mean it with that much negative connotation just more of a "doesn't shoot very well from the FT" and I just suck because it's shorter but I think when I personally say someone sucks at something it's not as bad as what is probably the general definition but I agree with you - if he's going to be our #2 PG and is going to continue develop that move to the basket he needs to be automatic and with such a pretty stroke I don't know what why he couldn't leave the B1G in FT %.
I am confused about the "big man" issue. Can someone more knowledgable help me understand this?
I've heard all year that our team is smallish, and when I look at the two guys we have committed for next year they are both 6'1" guards. Should we be concerned about this? At some point doesn't this hurt our ability to defend the post against teams with greater size?
Maybe this is refuted by the simple fact that with a very inexperienced team we were able to play right with teams that were in fact much bigger than us, including Duke. However, if we did have an inside presence that could play with his back to the basket, wouldn't this just open up the 3-pt shooting even more? Or is there room for a player like that under Coach B's system?
I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere.
Mclimans, Horford, Morgan and Smoitrcyz are all 6' 8" or bigger. They are not strong as they are freshmen that is why we get killed inside. They'll be better next year and stronger.
It would be great to have a big man that requires a double and it would lead to wide open threes like Ohio St does. Only problem is the amount of 6' 10" big men who can force a double team are usually playing in the pros. I'm sure if Beilein had a player like that we would feed the post more, but his general philosophy is to spread the floor and either drive or shoot depending on the defense. He believes if you have big men down low that they clog the lane for drives. Ever notice how Morris is allowed to keep dribbling and working down low for his shots? That's because the post defenders are outside of the key covering theri man. His system is not better or worse than guys that like to feed the post it's just a matter of best utilizing your personnel. I was very curious if we had gotten Amir Williams what we would have looked like and how we would have adapted.
I guess, as it always seems to be, it's about trade-offs. Under this system we won't be as effective cleaning the glass or defending the post, but we will hit a lot more triples and run the other team ragged trying to defend us. We are also always capable of igniting a run with hot shooting.
Another benefit is that b/c there are not a ton of other teams out there running this system, it's very difficult to defend. This could be especially so in the NCAA tournament, where an opponent can be eliminated before they are able to adjust to it effectively.
Whatever. It's been said that any system that is properly staffed, coached, and executed can work. Our team sure does look well-coached right now, on so many levels.
In the first half, there were a few rebounds that we lost on the count of our lack of size. Then adjustments were made, opposing sequoia got tired, spread out, and then it was not a factor. Basically this is not a factor so I agree. The system works with smaller quicker players (unlike some other guy that is no longer relevant to football).
Well, if they're 6'-10" or bigger, are athletic, and CAN SHOOT, then YES, PLEASE. Otherwise, you can keep 'em. We don't want to play 4 on 5 in the offensive end.
Beilein wouldn't keep trying to recruit them.
Taking the ball inside, and if they're not giving it up, kick it outside. But if they're guarding the perimeter, pound it inside till they open up. You mention a big man who can score, rebound, and play defense is a rarity that few teams we come across have, but that's who we need one against. We can already beat the mid-range teams. To get over the hump against the elite teams, we're going to need a big man with more upside. We're not talking what it takes to win another game in the Tourney, but what it takes to get to the Final Four. Morgan is surprisingly solid, and Horford will develop, but you need a guy who can demand a double team, or at least not let it be a tip drill for the other team. Then you can go "spread" with Smot at PF. Morgan and Evan down low is just a recipe to get beat up underneath. You either have to upgrade the 5, or balance out the 4-5.
Next year we need:
1. Smotz to step up. Limit the stupid fouls, he gets way too many of those. He needs to be a threat to drive the ball and shoot the outside jumper. He driving just came on the last two games. He needs to do that more.
2. Morgan: Do what you do, but stop the silly fouls.
3. Morris: develop a 3 point shot. Defenses sag off him, with a 3 point shot he'd be deadly.
That's really about it. Those things certainly would have won us the game today and won a few others during the season. The leap Hardaway makes next year is going to be astounding.
I too am ridiculously proud of and excited for the future of this team, however, I advise some caution.
Player progression is not a guarantee, it is all up to the players to put in the work in the offseason to get better. A perfect example is MSU this year. After their Final 4 run, everyone pegged them as a lock to be back there, but they lacked team chemistry and ended up choking on applesauce.
I am, however, confident that behind the senior leadership of Novak and Douglass, the young guys on this team will work very hard on the weak points in their game.
It's all about Novak - I don't think there's any way in the world that Novak is going to let these guys slack off in even the slightest. I really hope someone comes in next year that is Novak II to fill that roll because MSU can tell you how much not having a guy like on your team can hurt you.
I've never really felt much better about a team after a loss. I'm not going to call today a "moral victory," I hate that whole mentality, but at the very least this group showed today why they have as bright of a future as Michigan basketball has seen in a while.
I think most would agree that our most valuable players this year have been Morris, THJ, Morgan, and Novak (not necessarily in that order). After those four, we really need someone to step up, with Smotrycz being the most beneficial thanks to his size and fit with our system. Douglass needs to start hitting his shots at a higher percentage, this year he was one of our more inefficient offensive players (which is a pretty big issue when you're a role player who shouldn't be doing much more than taking open shots).
This team is already really good, and has so much room for improvement, it's hard to not be excited about them.
I see a 2012 Senior Day, where we're debating if MICH could still be a 2-seed, and rousing minute-long standing ovations for Stu and Zack throughout the night
From being mocked when they got here, they have a chance to be key cogs on three NCAA Tournament teams and the team that puts the program back into national relevance.
In the mid- to long-term, will THJ stay for 2, 3, or 4 years before he goes pro? It would be nice if he stays another three years, but two would be awesome as well.
"Bless you boys". What a unexpected surprise this season turned out to be. Looking forward to the next few years. What impressed me so much was that these kids put in a tremendous effort to comeback from 15 down against one of the best teams in the country.
Anyone scared about 2012? Obviously its early and I'm excited for next year, but...Zack and Stu gone, and out of Morris, Hardaway and Morgan I'd be surprised if more than one of them stays, possible all three leave. Even with the guys we're bringing in, unless we recruit great next year I'm a little worried
Let's worry about next year first. At this point, I trust Coach Beilein.
If Morris and Hardaway leave next year, then I think that means we will have had a pretty kick ass season. Lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Is Morgan going?!?!
Practices are going to be awesome next season, with the current starters going against a deep experienced young talented bench.
Morris vs Burke
Stu vs Brundidge
Hardaway vs Vogrich
Novak vs Smotrycz
Morgan vs Horford/Mclimans
X factor will be Christian's improvement and lord knows Belien's players do improve
be a much improved team over the next few years..........the back half of this season they really started to gel and play well as a team.