Here's not looking at you, kid.
Getting more out of Livers. It's a project that is underway:
“It’s something we’ve been talking with him a lot," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "He leaves a lot on the table. He shoots 3s well, but there’s another element to his game that he’s still developing. We’ve got to encourage it."
Livers has been an excellent complementary player during his first two seasons at Michigan. He won a starting job as a freshman last season as the Wolverines made it to the national title game. This season, though, he has come off the bench. Teammates have referred to him as a "glue guy."
He's already bumped his usage from 12.9 to 15.4; if he's able to do that again next year he'll be at ~18, and at that point he's enough of a contributor that you're not worried that his presence is pushing someone up to usage levels they're not efficient at.
Rebounding is variable. I know this John Gasaway assertion is true after several years in which Michigan took a top-50 DREB rate into conference play only to finish 10th in that department:
Defensive rebound rates can translate a bit better from whole-season to conference (cf. Maryland, Colorado, and Michigan), but even here you can’t just assume you’re hitting statistical bedrock every time. Take Kansas State, No. 17 nationally in defensive rebound percentage, more than 100 spots higher than its nearest in-conference competitor (Oklahoma, No. 132). Actual Big 12 play, however, has swiftly devolved into a vicious egalitarian struggle where every team’s virtually identical on the defensive glass and the Wildcats nominally rank No. 4 in the league in that category.
These numbers are in motion, of course, but this isn’t primarily a sample-size thing. It’s more of a basketball thing, or, better still, one more peculiarity of a mass-audience sport wherein the teams themselves select a sizable portion of their own opponents. There are few bread-and-butter box score numbers that vary as much as rebound percentages due merely to non-conference scheduling philosophies and/or to how certain coaches choose to change their look for conference play.
Those were usually Zack-Novak-at-power-forward teams that suffered when larger people entered the equation. Michigan's maintained much better the last two years. They finished last year 2nd in B10 DREBs and are fourth this year.
Also in that post, a bizarre thing going on at MSU:
Inverse-Michigan Factor (IMF)
Standard deviations above/below conference means
Conference games onlyOR% DR% IMF Michigan State 2019 1.75 -1.20 2.95 Rutgers 2017 1.62 -0.90 2.52 West Virginia 2019 1.11 -1.35 2.46 Providence 2019 1.07 -1.33 2.40
These are the largest IMF numbers we’ve seen in the past five years in major-conference play. Purdue 2019 is not far behind.
MSU is the best offensive rebounding team in the conference… and 13th on the other end. MSU's block rate probably has something to do with this. They're #1 in conference play, and that's without anyone particularly large-huge and leapy. Surmise: MSU's trying to block everything and giving up OREBs when those attempts go awry.
[After THE JUMP: Mike Leggin' it]