Big win for the boys, Go Blue!!!!!
Let's pick up a big win today boys!
Beilein on LeVert: "I want to be clear about something with Caris. Nothing is clear."
Beilein says LeVert will get out there when he's ready, "I need everybody to back off, stop projecting. Thank you."
Seriously, what the hell is going on? He was cleared, now he's not? How do we just know absolutely nothing about this injury?
Beilein gets paid millions of dollars to coach this team, and he needs to be accountable to the media when our star player is out for weeks with a mysterious injury.
Todays feature on Austin Davis is very positive. His coach says he has great hands and great footwork.
Not sure if link will work.
Not a memorable game but a win is a win. Walton played great but we need more consistency from everyone. Most important we need LeVert badly. Its painful but Enjoy!
Last night I sat down to carefully watch the basketball game on my DVR - the safest way to protect yourself from a potential gut-punch loss in the making. As the lead grew to 19 I had been sucked back in and was watching the game with a smile on my face. Then that lead evaporated and the bubble bursting loss nearly happened. Fortunately the team pulled it out and we have continued our trend of being better than all the bad teams but far from a good team.
What continued to frustrate me, however, is why? Why isn't this team better? Why is our defense so bad? Why do we go through long droughts on offense?
There have been plenty of armchair analysis posts here and elsewhere this season that have pointed out some of the more obvious contributions:
- Our best player, senior, captain, and POY candidate has missed 11 games.
- Our center position has vastly under-performed even the simple task of "catch good pass, complete layup" while also struggling to defend and rebound.
- The PF position was finally supposed to have a true stretch four option this year and yet both Chatman and Wilson are now glued to the bench for performance reasons.
- We are still feeling the recruiting aftershocks of early-departures and being unable to close on some top prospects.
Ace did a good job today of illustrating one of the ways in which this team misses Caris so much - getting to the rim. Without question he would help in a variety of ways, especially on offense. But let's face it - that doesn't explain our defensive woes and it doesn't entirely explain Coach Beilein's inability to overcome those long stretches of bad play on the court.
What we've sort of forgotten about is the loss of Spike Albrecht to this team. It is easy to see why his skills as a shooter, ball screen player, and ball handler are missed, there are some other ways that I think may be hiding under the surface.
Right now there are only two ball handlers on this team - Walton & Rahk. As a result, they have to play a ton of minutes. Irvin has come along as a ball handler and they can use him sparingly at the 2, but let's not pretend that's a great idea right now. More often you see Dakich come in for a few minutes.....which is not ideal.
Rahk has already played more minutes this season than all of last year. He's averaging over 32mpg since Caris got hurt. Meanwhile, Walton is averaging a stunning 35.6mpg in that time frame. For reference, that's more minutes per game than Burke in 2013 or Stauskas in 2014.
Perhaps Walton and Rahk are struggling on D somewhat because they're both tired and also very afraid of getting fouls since they have no back-up. Even though Spike is a poor defender aside from opportunistic steals, he would allow those guys more rest and the willingness to be physical knowing they can sit for a few minutes with foul trouble. I think our foul aversion, especially by the guards, is a major reason we can't keep people out of the lane. Yet can you blame Walton and Rahk for not being more grabby or physical when they know a foul likely replaces them with Dakich?
Before this season the talk was focused on how this was the deepest team Beilein had ever fielded. There wouldn't be minutes for everyone. We should redshirt Rahk and Wagner to give them some extra eligibility. Now where are we?
Last night Beilein played essentially a 7 man roster with only Doyle and Dawkins playing meaningful minutes off the bench. Even in the run to the final four we were playing more bench guys than that despite a far superior starting lineup.
You're seeing Coach Beilein look more frustrated and animated on the sideline. The reason? What options does he have! When Walton has the careless turnover that sparked the Gopher team or the offense stalls for a long stretch....who can he turn to? When a team starts pressing full court, where are his extra ball handlers? Spike would have helped solve a lot of those problems (as would Levert obviously).
Who is the leader of this team? When you picture the player who is going to take charge in the huddle, want the ball in his hand, get in an opponent's face, or dive for a loose ball.....who do you picture? I picture Spike. Last year it was his team and it would have been this year too I think. He'll probably be a coach in the near future. Yet he sits in a shirt and tie on the bench instead of annoying the opposing players and fans with his inexplicable and gritty talent.
I've heard a lot of people suggest that Beilein has hit his ceiling and is unable to recruit 5-star players for us to catch the elite teams. Perhaps that's true. But I never had that expectation of him. I'm old enough to have sat in the front row during the end of the Fisher era and followed the program through a decade of embarrasment. I don't want to try and keep up with Kentucky and all that comes with those elite recruits. My expectations for Beilein were to turn us into a program like Wisconsin. We would be in the tournament every year, we'd run a good offense, we would develop talent as well as anyone, and every couple of years we'd unearth or develop an NBA draft pick that would allow us to contend for a conference title or Final Four.
What is the biggest ingredient in Wisconsin's success over the years? Experience. They always have a bunch of juniors and seniors on the floor. Right now ours are sitting on the bench in street clothes while the few experienced guys we have left are playing 35 minutes per game.
We miss Spike.......(and of course we could use Caris back at any time too)
A slight changeup from the daily "Vote Beilein" update; the team will be honoring the Chad Tough Foundation at a SOLD OUT Crisler Center on Saturday. This is a really great move; pediatric cancer sucks and this movement needs all the publicity it can get. Vote for Coach Beilein and Chad Tough here!
Link to the Athletic Dept. Release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Thursday, Feb. 11), that he, along with his staff, players and members of the Maize Rage, will honor the Chad Tough Foundation by wearing specialty #ChadTough T-shirts for Saturday's (Feb. 13) game against Purdue.
"All of us were moved by the fight young Chad Carr demonstrated against DIPG -- a terrible disease that has left zero survivors," said Beilein. "Kathleen and I are driven to win the $100,000 prize from the ESPN Infiniti Coaches Challenge for DIPG research.
"Wearing these T-shirts is just one small way we can help bring awareness to the cause of the Chad Tough Foundation. We need to win this battle for every child who has fought or is fighting pediatric brain tumors."
The #ChadTough T-shirts are a continued tie-in with Beilein's campaign to raise money for the foundation as part of the ESPN Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge. Wolverine fans are encouraged to vote every day and will be able to purchase #ChadTough T-shirts themselves at the Crisler M-Den locations as well as through the Chad Tough Foundation.
The Chad Tough Foundation is committed to raising funds and awareness for pediatric brain tumors with an emphasis on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). The foundation is named after Chad Carr, the five-year-old son of Jason and Tammi and grandson of former University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr, who fought DIPG for 14 months before passing away on Nov. 23, 2015. Learn more about The Chad Tough Foundation at chadtough.org.
Tipoff against the Boilermakers is scheduled for 2 p.m., with the game broadcast on ESPN2.