Basketbullets: Matthews-Wagner Ballet, Point Guard Roulette, Two Bigs?

Basketbullets: Matthews-Wagner Ballet, Point Guard Roulette, Two Bigs?

Submitted by Ace on November 29th, 2017 at 3:33 PM

If you're looking for the UNC preview, click here or scroll down.

Charles Matthews, Point Guard


No point guard? Just run the offense through the wing. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Charles Matthews was nothing short of spectacular in the Maui Invitational. The only thing that could slow him down was cramps, which hit in the third game in three days after Matthews had posted back-to-back 20+ point, 8+ rebound, 3+ assist games.

If anything, those numbers undersell Matthews's impact. This offense now runs through him, much like the 2014 team's went through Nik Stauskas while the team broke in a freshman point guard. In the loss to LSU, Matthews took on 40% of the team's possessions with remarkable efficiency: 28 points on 22 shot equivalents, six offensive rebounds, three assists, and only two turnovers. While the final result may not have been desirable, Michigan established their offensive identity in this game. Once again, the two-man game with Moe Wagner will be the centerpiece of the offense, this time with Matthews running the show.

Early on, Michigan used a side screen to get Matthews going left-to-right into the paint, where he could either pull up for a short jumper or dump it off to Wagner for a jumper:

Like the Walton-Wagner duo, the two showed an innate ability to read the defense and make the right play off the screen, whether originating at the top of the key or off to the side. Matthews found Wagner with a nifty lob on the roll to set up an and-one; Wagner flipped a high screen to get a wide open jumper; when the roll wasn't open, Wagner cleared out so Matthews could isolate his defender and draw a shooting foul off the drive; when Wagner popped out for a three-point attempt, Matthews crashed the boards and cashed in with a putback.

What's been most impressive, and pleasantly surprising, is Matthews's court vision and passing out of the pick-and-roll. According to Synergy, Michigan ranks in the 88th percentile in pick-and-roll derived offense when Matthews is the ballhander, and he's currently providing more value as a passer (87th percentile) than a finisher (69th). This play jumped out to me the most from last week. Wagner slips the initial screen as VCU aggressively doubles Matthews. When the defender in the corner slides down to prevent a Wagner layup opportunity, Matthews throws a really difficult pass to Duncan Robinson over the double:

If that pass is late or even a bit off-target, VCU can recover to contest Robinson's shot. Instead, it's an easy three points because Matthews puts it right on him.

[Hit THE JUMP for the Matthews-Wagner off-ball two-man game and more.]

Michigan 87, UC Riverside 42

Michigan 87, UC Riverside 42

Submitted by Ace on November 26th, 2017 at 6:18 PM


Moe Wagner reacts to Jordan Poole's block/three sequence. [James Coller/MGoBlog]

Things you need to know from this game:

Wilton Speight announced he'll grad-transfer during the second half.

Four Wolverines scored in double figures, led by Moe Wagner with 21.

Eli Brooks finally got some production out of the point guard position, scoring eight on 3-for-6 shooting (2-for-4 3P) and handing out a couple assists in 18 minutes.

Charles Matthews dished out 12 assists. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, meanwhile, had his sixth straight game with at least four assists (five) and recorded only his second turnover of the season.

There was a 7:30 stretch in the first half during which UC Riverside went 0-for-9 from the field with seven turnovers.

Jordan Poole did this:

That's worth another look:

Oh, twist my arm, here's another reaction shot:


[Coller]

Further takeaways from this game will come in a more comprehensive Basketbullets on Tuesday.

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]