The Pick and Pop with Ignas Brazdeikis

The Pick and Pop with Ignas Brazdeikis Comment Count

Alex Cook February 8th, 2019 at 10:33 AM

In Michigan's win over Rutgers the other night, Ignas Brazdeikis had one of his best games as a Wolverine. Even though he had to defend the physical (and much bigger) Eugene Omoruyi all game, Iggy scored efficiently, putting up 23 points against Omorouyi, Rutgers's top defender. He knocked down five threes, a season-high. Rutgers clearly wanted to isolate Iggy in the post and did so frequently. Over a quarter of Rutgers's possessions ended with an Omoruyi shot, free throw, or turnover, and many of those were post-ups on Iggy.

Michigan was a little more creative in trying to attack the matchup at the four. Iggy, more of a miscast wing, and Omoruyi, a traditional power forward, each had strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. Iggy got a variety of looks: spotting up and either shooting or driving against the closeout, a couple of ball screens with him as the ball-handler, and the 1-4 pick-and-pop. Michigan likes to have Isaiah Livers set a screen and then pop to the wing when he's playing the 4 or the 5, and they got Iggy some similar looks in this game against Omoruyi.

On this play, Michigan looks like they're going to run a Zavier Simpson - Jon Teske pick-and-roll.

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Iggy comes to set another screen — a good one — after Teske settles towards the baseline.

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Omoruyi has to contain Simpson and try to recover, but Iggy is open for three.

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...and he airballs it.

[After THE JUMP: Iggy gets wide open threes, makes them.]

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Maximizing Charles Matthews

Maximizing Charles Matthews Comment Count

Matt Way September 5th, 2018 at 1:17 PM

[Photo: Bryan Fuller]

[Ed-Seth: I know you all want more articles about Michigan's offensive tackles but basketball season is coming and we've brought Matt Way on board to talk about it. Previously: Maximizing Zavier Simpson, Maximizing Teske on Offense, Maximizing Teske on Defense]

The loss of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman leaves a massive void in the Michigan basketball program. For the Wolverines to repeat last season’s success, Charles Matthews needs to fill that hole.

Abdur-Rahkman blossomed into an accomplished scorer and all-around great player and leader during his time in Ann Arbor. He also served an important role in his final two seasons, one similar to what Caris LeVert did when he was on the floor.

For years, John Beilein’s offenses were vulnerable against aggressive perimeter defenses. It was one of the few criticisms that were valid and not aesthetically-based. 

Michigan was often too entrenched in its typical motion offense. When opponents disrupted Beilein’s ball handlers, the entire timing of the offense was thrown off and the Wolverines often had no great counter.

At the highest levels of basketball, the best offenses are those which find ways to keep defenses off-balance. Sure, the top offenses nearly always have a defined system and a bread-and-butter scheme that they go to frequently. But when things break down, the elite of the elite find ways to counter and exploit defenses based on what they are trying to take away.

Beilein has always been known for countering aggressive defenses with back-door cuts in the hope that, if those cuts are effective, defenses will lay off opponents to prevent layups. It’s usually effective, but it only truly works if ball handlers are able to operate in some amount of space to see and make the necessary passes.

It then becomes critical to have a primary option that is able to create offense when everything is going wrong.

And that is when the LeVert and MAAR types became most useful.

[After THE JUMP: CM's role]

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