This Week’s Obsession: One Shining Moe-Ment

This Week’s Obsession: One Shining Moe-Ment Comment Count

Seth June 15th, 2018 at 2:08 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. Nick is also a Podcaster—if you haven’t listened to it before, his podcast Finding True Wealth, with recent episodes covering the mortgage industry, social security disability, and what number is enough for retirement.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

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The Question:

When you close your eyes and think of Moe Wagner what moments come to mind? Can have multiple answers.

Ace: Trying to narrow it to one…

But if we had to, it would start here:

Seth: Other than Gary...

Ace: But that moment also shows why this starts to get really hard. That was the final blow in a two-year-long battle with Nick Ward that was an absolute joy to watch. Wagner had a few of those. The Painter-Beilein Wars spring to mind.

slackbot: image

Ace: One of the first things that comes to mind for me when I think of Moe Wagner is a Matt Painter postgame press conference.

I still have the quotes saved from when he asks the assembled media if they really want to hear this (I’m nodding furiously) and then goes full scheme-geek on how Wagner absolutely blows up everything you want to do on defense.

Seth: The one for me—other than "ankle breaker"—is late in the Final Four, drenched in more sweat than the guy whose job he usurped, dribbles into the lane then right back out to the corner like he just suddenly had an idea to shoot from out there instead, and swoosh.

Brian: Wagner was so sweaty against Loyola

BiSB: Carrying a team for 30 minutes is sweaty work.

Brian: The sweat a culmination of all the work he put in to become an outstanding defensive rebounder. The brow of the working man. The common 6'11" three point shooting man. The man who could no longer be called soft.

Ace: Seriously, though, those NBA Combine numbers!

Brian: He played 30 MPG at center for a top 5 defense.

Ace: Fair point. I was still surprised.

[After THE JUMP: see what we remembered before you comment what we forgot]

Seth: Geoff Schwartz, an NFL lineman who tweets about drawing weakside ISOs on his daughter's magnetic doodle board, was in awe of Wagner's effort that day. Schwartz has never complimented anybody within 50 pounds of Moe.

Ace: Here’s a glorious sweat putback:

Brian: The moment towards the tail end of the first half against Loyola where he looked like Ricky Doyle in a sauna was a moment for these reasons.

But even though I wrote a whole dang column about Nick Ward's ankles…

slackbot: image

…I think my absolute favorite Moe moment was the year before:

Brian: Michigan entered that game a seven seed against two-seed Louisville and their criminal sex vampire coach; Louisville had four different seven-footers and Wagner ate all of their lunches. That upfake that gets a center to commit outside the three point line and guard-like drive to the hoop is Wagner's career in five seconds to me.

Ace: Wagner’s crowd theater stands out to me as much as almost any specific in-game moment. I have so many gifs of him that could be captioned “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

Brian: Yes, the laughing on the bench gif

He was a walking meme.

Ace: Every foul call.

Brian: I LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME TBH

Ace:

He was often justified!

Seth: So there's another one that wasn't his great basketball but it's embedded in my head under its gfycat name: Enchanted Lame Antelope Ground Squirrel. After Poole makes his shot he starts running and then realizes he's being chased by a 7-foot mad German and you can see the moment when his brain clicks off "I WON THE GAME" and goes to full fight or flight.

Ace: Yes, thank you. I couldn’t have been happier that the player nearest to Poole ended up being Moe.

Brian: It feels off brand for the blog to mention that Wagner stopped and consoled one of Houston's many Davii immediately after that GIF.

Like Peter King should say it instead of us.

But that was nice!

Seth: Sportsmanship!

Brian: We here at MGoBlog treasure sportsmanship.

Seth: Firm handshakes for everybody.

Brian: That means we're kicking them off the team.

(After they graduated!)

Seth: This is what comes of making light of #sportsmanship for a decade, sir.

Ace: And at the same time I absolutely understand why players (and opposing fans) hated him.

Brian: Oh god yes! The tongue alone.

Ace: Just imagine spending 30 minutes being dragged by a German dude who hits threes, doesn’t play defense, and calls you “bitch” every other possession.

…Nick Ward doesn’t need to imagine except for the 30 minutes bit.

slackbot: image

Ace: STILL GOT IT.

Seth: It's one thing to get trash talked all recess. It's another when it's the foreign exchange student. Also you guys: lips.

Ace: While we’re tied up in Wagner’s emotions, the interplay between him and Beilein also made for amazing theatre.

Brian: I wonder if Moe actually hooked Beilein up with his German hip-hop

Ace: This picture is unfairly taken out of context but it absolutely kills me every time:

image

[Marc-Grégor Campredon]

Also did NOT have to scroll far for one of these:

image

[Marc-Grégor Campredon]

But in the end:

image

[Bryan Fuller]

That’s another one for me: John Beilein talking about Moe Wagner while trying to keep a straight face.

Brian: They would have been perfect in a buddy cop movie. Also I have many ideas about good buddy cop movies involving Michigan persons, 98% of which star Don Brown as the curmudgeon about to retire.

Seth: "Pitch a Don Brown Buddy Cop Movie" is a future TWO.

So my first memory of Moe is his first game (not counting the scrimmage I didn’t go to) against Elon. It sticks because Marc-Gregor was so excited he got the shot and because Demorest and I are two of the fuzzy things behind it:

image

[Marc-Grégor Campredon]

Ace: Moe really grew an insane amount in two years. Seeing Baby Moe bleed is kinda jarring.

Brian: That's a wing.

Ace: Two years later, he dropped 24-15 in a national semifinal.

Brian: Another excellent on-court thing was that one specific game vs Purdue at Crisler where Matt Painter kicked off his desperation switching defense. As Ace mentioned, Wagner and Purdue made for really fun basketball games.

Ace: Also: learned English.

Seth:

image

Just in time.

Ace: I’ll show my NBA habit and make a comparison for Moe that’ll seem odd initially: Steph Curry. There’s been a lot of talk this week based on this bit of brutal and 100% correct insight:

Nobody since Stauskas had Crisler under their spell like Moe when he had it rolling and man that Purdue game was one of those times.

Ace: This post would’ve been incomplete without the German three signal.

Seth: Oh what about that Wisconsin game last year (Feb 2017).

image

Find the spot where Moe goes off.

Ace: A lot of it runs together for me. There are absolutely peaks that stand out but it’s more faces and threes and murder offense and foul trouble and touching Player’s Tribune articles.

Which is another thing: it was genuinely remarkable to watch a kid from Berlin grow to love and understand Michigan in ways that he expressed quite beautifully by the end of his career.

Seth: Also: mad dunks.

image

[Marc-Grégor Campredon]

Ace: Yes, MAAR’s face. Also: the future of Wisconsin basketball.

Seth: MAAR vs the camera lens is undefeated.

BiSB: It's hard to believe he was only 20 when he played his last game. The guy was mature and contemplative beyond his years. But only after he played the game like a 16-year-old hopped up on Pixy Stix and Surge.

Ace: Really personable, too. He found a way to connect with people. This will sound a little fanboy-ish but whatever. I’m not one who asks a lot of questions in pressers. After a game this year I was the last person lingering behind the player scrum for Wagner, who I really doubt knows me from Adam (so to speak, hi Adam), and I slipped in an off-kilter question that I don’t completely remember but am 97% sure was about Jordan Poole. A lot of guys would quite understandably fire off something quick and run back to the locker room. He paused for a moment, said something legitimately funny and insightful, and winked before heading for the exit.

Seth: Also: ran over Tom Crean.

Brian: You're going to be asking a lot of questions about mulch next year

Ace: I’ve already taken notes on pitchforks vs. shovels.

BiSB: Jars three. Runs over Tom Crean. Appears to feel bad about running over Tom Crean. The Moe Wagner Story.

Brian: God if that was Izzo instead of Crean he'd have a statue already

Ace: We can give him partial credit for this:

Brian: I think this is where i say YAAAAAAS QUEEEN?

Ace: Good couple years for angry opposing coach gifs, and again, Wagner is largely responsible. Also some very short opposing coach postgame press conferences, hello Tom Crean.

Brian: Pretty much the direct cause of Twenty Minutes Of Izzo Eating His Liver At Breslin

BiSB: Unlike Izzo, at least Wagner put Nick Ward on the floor once in a while.

slackbot: image

Ace: I feel like I’m taking the lid off my still-only-outlined Moe retrospective post early but, yeah, that man’s legacy is being pure uncaged emotion and sucking everything around him into that vortex. I’ll, uh, work on the metaphor.

Brian:

Ace: Are we missing anything glaringly obvious?

Brian: Probably

But that's what commenters are for.

Ace: One last shoutout to his signature, awkward, devastating behind-the-back move, which in addition to murderating Nick Ward’s ankles also produced the most hilariously evil basket in the Texas A&M game, which was 40 minutes of hilariously evil baskets:

slackbot: image

Comments

Exit: Moe Wagner

Exit: Moe Wagner Comment Count

Ace April 14th, 2018 at 11:29 AM


An all-timer. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Moe Wagner has made his decision. In an article he penned for The Players' Tribune, Wagner announced he'll enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent, foregoing his senior season at Michigan. Wagner's lengthy, heartfelt farewell (titled "Thank You, Michigan") makes it clear this wasn't an easy choice, but he has some familiar footsteps to follow:

Alle träume klingen verrückt. Bis sie wahr werden.

This is what it says on the poster that I have on my wall. I’m looking at it now, in my apartment in Ann Arbor, as I’m telling you this story. It’s German, which you probably guessed, and it means: All dreams are crazy. Until they come true. (Good saying, right?) And then beside these words is a picture of Dirk Nowitzki — who is basically my idol.

Wagner is projected as a late first- or early second-round pick, an improvement over his stock last year, when his rebounding and defensive limitations had him projected closer to the bottom of the draft. Wagner improved both this year, especially rebounding, and while his defense is still a big question mark, his offensive skill set at his size will get him a contract and a roster spot.

This is the end of Wagner's remarkable collegiate journey. He came to Ann Arbor from Germany as a lanky wing, outgrew the position almost immediately, spent his freshman year struggling to earn playing time behind Ricky Doyle and Mark Donnal, and then became the key piece of John Beilein's five-out offense as a sophomore and junior. That doesn't mean we won't be seeing him around town, however.

Ann Arbor will always be the first American city that I ever really knew. In my opinion, it’s the perfect place to live — not too big, not too small. You get all four seasons, great sports, and some of the nicest and most genuine people I have met. I’ll miss Ann Arbor a ton and come back as much as I can.

Wagner's exit has significant ramifications for next year's team, of course, and we'll dig into those in greater detail this week. Jon Teske is now your surefire starting center next year, which will make Michigan a more defensive-focused team (with a greater defensive ceiling) but he'll be an offensive downgrade barring a breakout on that end—while he improved greatly at the pick-and-roll, he doesn't provide the same pick-and-pop, spead-the-defense threat. Austin Davis is most likely to settle into the backup role while talented freshman Colin Castleton—a Wagner-like player with plus rim protection—gets used to the system and adds some needed bulk.

Danke, Moe.

Comments

MGoPodcast 9.25: Sweating to the Drip Boys

MGoPodcast 9.25: Sweating to the Drip Boys Comment Count

Seth April 2nd, 2018 at 7:00 AM

55 minutes

image

We are at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, and perspiring, but fortunately there’s an indoor pool just down the hall.

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there would be VERY long hiatuses between podcasts.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, Lantana Hummus and Ecotelligent Homes

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1. Cheer Up Sister Jean

starts at 1:00

A Pittsburgh left is a social custom to allow a left-turner to get out of everyone’s way. Really as soon as Duncan Robinson gets his sixth point it’s all good. Some weird lineups for the bulk of this game, though not crunch time—none of them were two bigs. Wagner’s amazing game was as defensive as offensive. Z…uh…came in late. C.J. Baird is the greatest player who ever lived!

2. Villanova Preview: They’re Really Good.

starts at 24:25

Why were they so wide open vs. Kansas? It’s like they thought Villanova was going to be five Tum-Tums. Watching different games to get a feel for Nova because we presume Michigan is going to defend them in a way that makes any kind of sense. Brunson may not be a huge NBA prospect but as a college player he is unguardable—a point guard who can post. Everyone shoots well from three. Their Bridges is better than MSU’s Bridges. Theory of geometric progression says Michigan due for another A&M game. Defensively they rank about where Loyola does—make your three pointers and you can make it a game.

3. Gimmicky Top Five: Great Postseason Performances

starts at 42:10

Top postseason performances by players that we remember—sorry Craig but guys named Gustav in nineteen dickety-two don’t rate. The GOAT in the Orange Bowl versus a bunch of murderous defensive linemen and a terrible secondary. The nuts game. The Shot. The little guy. The big man. The Champ (Ace was two so we kind of broke the rules). Stick around for honorable mentions!

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No segment four but we’ll probably have an extra podcast this week to discuss whatever happens tomorrow night.

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MUSIC

  • “Mo Fire”—Lil Wayne
  • “Praise You”—Fatboy Slim
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS

Or you know, just, you know score six points Duncan. Just score six points. By the way. You know we may be testing it a little bit. If that happens and Michigan wins the national championship, that is going in the stupid stat hall of fame. And I will love and appreciate that stupid stat—I will cherish that stupid stat. It will be my favorite stupid stat.

Comments

This Week’s Obsession: Beilein-Shakalaka

This Week’s Obsession: Beilein-Shakalaka Comment Count

Seth March 14th, 2018 at 12:46 PM

image

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. We’re going to act like kids in this article but first some seriousness: I had a big health scare recently and I’m talking to Nick now because we were not ready for things to go pear-shaped, and also I have two kids and if everything goes just fine I really wasn’t preparing correctly for their futures.

Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

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The Question:

An exercise shameless stolen from someone who shamelessly stole it from someone else:

You get to pick three Beilein-era players for your NBA Jam team (two starters, one sub). As a bonus, you get to pick an unlockable player from the pre-Beilein era. For those unfamiliar with NBA Jam, this video should give you an idea of what we’re looking for here—there’s a strong emphasis on athleticism, dunking, outside shooting, blocking, and shoving other players to steal the ball.

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Seth: My favorite part about this topic is that there is a non-zero chance one of our readers can actually reprogram an NBA Jam rom for us.

Alex: There are eight stat categories: speed, 3pt, dunk, pass, power, steal, block, clutch.

image

Ace: I’m taking Caris/Stauskas/McGary/Rice, fwiw.

slackbot: Canada on Apple iOS 11.2Fire on Apple iOS 11.2

[ED: We’ve been programming secret auto-replies into our group IM system. If we trip a keyword, slackbot will interject itself. –seth]

David: Wait...is this a thing? I was at lunch.

BiSB: /WAITING FOR PLAYER DAVE. HIT 'A' TO START.

David: Let me plug in my Game Genie first.

Brian: This should be a draft.

Seth: Our readers do love it when we draft fantasy teams.

Ace: …he said, after I got halfway through my writeup.

Brian: Ok never mind.

Alex: I think a draft would be sensible as well.

Sorry, sorry I'm tryi--

Brian: Ace can go first because he's upset.

David: How many ppl are involved?

Ace: I’m always the bad guy.

/giphy diva

ty giphy

David: OH MAN

Seth: I'm sure that has nothing to do with how you sit in your lair and giggle all the time.

Ace: I actually am working in the basement right now.

Alex: I don't really know where I would put this in the post, but would like to mention it: Stella's in Grand Rapids—a whiskey bar with probably the best burgers in the city—has an arcade section with the OG NBA Jam game. It's as great as it sounds. Shout-out to Stella's.

@adam Catch me at Stella's sometime to get that work from the Stockton-Malone Jazz.

Seth: Our house rule was you couldn't take the Jazz.

Alex: That was just the first team that came to mind - I was going to be courteous and let him use the Pistons. I guess I'll go with the Hardaway-Mullin Warriors. I DON'T PLAY WITH THE STACKED TEAMS IN 2K I SWEAR!

Seth: Draft order:

image

Seth: I really didn't want to go first damn my eyes.

RULES: It's a snake draft, 3 rounds of Beilein players only, and a fourth round for a secret unlockable character.

BiSB: Then the 4 unlockable players are all in the 4th round Deal?

Seth: YES

Ace: cool

David: fair

BiSB: Seth, Venric Mark is waiting...

[After THE JUMP: HE’S ON FIIIIIIRRRE!]

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Comments

One Frame At A Time: Big Ten Tournament

One Frame At A Time: Big Ten Tournament Comment Count

Ace March 8th, 2018 at 10:59 AM

There are a ridiculous number of GIFs from the Big Ten title run. Instead of attempting to rank all of them or cram everything into one post, I've changed the format up a bit, breaking up the GIFs by game or, in coach- or Poole-related cases, theme. You can find all of them and many, many more at the MGoBlog Gfycat page.

On with the show.

IOWA

Full album.

5. Poole Pocket Pass

4. Split and Assist

3. Corner Dagger

2. Wagner Spin, Dunk, Mug

FRAMES OF THE GAME: TEARDROP FROM HEAVEN

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the tournament in GIFs.]

Comments

Michigan 75, Purdue 66, Big Ten Tournament Champs

Michigan 75, Purdue 66, Big Ten Tournament Champs Comment Count

Ace March 4th, 2018 at 7:44 PM

BIG NASTY. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Four wins. Four days. A trophy.

Old hat.

For the second straight year, Michigan pulled off the improbable and ran through the best the Big Ten had to offer for a conference tournament championship. They sealed it this evening by running away from Purdue, which never held a lead after the game's opening three minutes. The big, bad Boilermakers could only stay at arm's length, then the Wolverines laid the hammer down in an incredible second half only marred by some late free-throw trouble that never put the outcome in serious doubt.

Just about everything John Beilein touched turned to gold; he outdueled Purdue's Matt Painter in what's been the Big Ten's most intricately fascinating coaching matchup the last two years. Painter chose to hedge hard against the ballhandler on high screens in the first half; while Michigan went 3-for-11 on mostly wide-open threes, they drew Purdue's towering big men far from the hoop—the Wolverines went 13-for-19 inside the arc and didn't have a shot blocked or commit a turnover.

Much of that was due to the stellar play of Jon Teske, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first-half minutes after Beilein gave Wagner the usual break following his first foul. Teske was a force on both ends and Beilein let him ride for 12 first-half minutes. Teske rewarded his coach's faith with dunks off the pick-and-roll, increasingly lengthy midrange shots off the pick-and-pop, a thunderous block, and a stellar late defensive posseession on an otherwise dominant Isaac Haas, who picked up a cheap frustration foul in response.

"I really have no words to explain," said Teske.


Big lights. Little dude. Huge buckets. [Campredon]

Zavier Simpson was masterful on both ends as well. His chemistry with Teske created multiple open baskets. He got the hoop with regularity and finished. When Purdue overplayed him on screens, he generated wide open looks for Michigan's shooters. He played lockdown defense on Purdue's best perimeter player, Carsen Edwards, who went only 3-for-9 in the first half.

"He's a pit bull," said Beilein. "We have a picture of a big, mean pit bull in our locker room for every game. And he is that guy. He's one that loves to play defense."

"Muhammad and I just wanted to come out and set the tone," said Simpson. "We wanted to play great defense from the start so our energy could be contagious. And as you've seen, others followed."

While the Wovlerines went into the break up 38-33, however, it felt like they'd missed a golden opportunity to blow the game open. The announcers, and most everyone else, felt a tight finish coming.

That did not happen. Painter chose not to continue playing with fire on screens, switching them to prevent open looks instead of sticking with the aggressive hedging approach. After a few forced shots over Haas, Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman ruthlessly attacked the basket, combining for 15 second-half points and five assists.

"It takes a long time to sort of build up the substance to your team that can persevere and just won't give in," said Beilein. "They won't give in to fatigue. They won't give in to momentum changes. They just stick in there."

"You always learn something when you play them," said Painter. "And you fix something. As a coach you think you've got them figured out, you don't have them figured out."


Wagner was all smiles in the second half. [Campredon]

Moe Wagner, with his mother watching from the stands, removed any doubt of the outcome. His 4-for-5 second-half performance featured a Dirk-like turnaround fallaway three as the shot clock expired, a blow-by layup, and another triple right in the grill of Matt Haarms. He did more than just score; he led the break after a steal then hit a trailing MAAR for a big three, and he battled hard on the boards, helping M limit Purdue to three offensive rebounds after they'd pulled down seven in the first half.

"Those guards are good but not everybody has a guy like Wagner that can stick 3s, drive the ball, and play with passion," said Painter.

Then Duncan Robinson got a thunderblock on Carsen Edwards and Zavier Simpson slipped a beautiful pass to Teske for a posterizing dunk on Haas, and the party was on. Michigan stretched the lead as far as 18 before a too-little, too-late Purdue run got them as close as seven while the Wolverines scuffled at the charity stripe. That's a concern for later.

For now, Michigan is once again on a tear heading into the NCAA Tournament, and today's championship may well have locked up a three-seed. John Beilein is a wizard.


Back-to-back champs. [Campredon]

[Hit THE JUMP for more photos and the box score.]

Comments

North Carolina 86, Michigan 71

North Carolina 86, Michigan 71 Comment Count

Ace November 29th, 2017 at 9:47 PM

[game begins]

Oh man, this is awesome. Like that one half of the UCLA game.

Oh, now I remember the other half of that UCLA game.

Dick Vitale is going to talk about the Fab Five?

[hits mute button]

[awaits final score]

[Hit THE JUMP for actual notes and the box score.]

Comments

LSU 77, Michigan 75

LSU 77, Michigan 75 Comment Count

Ace November 21st, 2017 at 2:35 AM


via Alejandro Zuniga

I'm starting this a little before 2 am, so this won't be a standard recap. Some scattered thoughts following a loss that may have a big impact on this season in several directions.

The schedule impact is rough. Michigan's tourney fortunes may end up tied closely to the fate of this LSU team if the Wolverines end up on the bubble. While LSU has looked good early on, they were terrible last year—this could wind up being a bad loss on the resume, though I suspect Tremont Waters is going to get the Tigers respectable soon. The bigger deal is having an opportunity to play Notre Dame replaced by a date with D-II Chaminade, a no-win game for Michigan. Instead of getting three quality opponents out of this week, they only get two.

The point guard situation is the team's biggest problem. Let's get the bad out of the way. While there were some flashes of talent from Eli Brooks, who canned a pull-up three and had a nifty drop-off assist to Moe Wagner, the point guard position is still in major flux. John Beilein put his trust in Brooks down the stretch; Brooks missed a couple crucial shots, got pickpocketed by Waters, and had a difficult time staying in front of Waters down the stretch.

Those are growing pains you expect from a freshman point guard. The problem is that Brooks is being relied upon in the first place. Zavier Simpson almost wasn't playable because of his passivity on offense—he didn't attempt a shot in ten minutes—and he had his troubles with Waters as well, picking up four fouls. Jaaron Simmons went 0/1 with an assist and a turnover in 15 minutes. Even if this team is going to run through the wings, which it sure looks like will be the case, they need way more production from this spot.

Duncan Robinson's defense is one, too. LSU mimicked Oregon's game plan from last year's tournament, isolating Robinson when they got the opportunity and attacking him off the dribble. To little surprise, this worked.

Far more concerning was Robinson's offense, which was all but nonexistent. He was unable to shake lanky 6'5" wing Brandon Sampson, scoring his only points on a transition three and getting nothing in the halfcourt. Michigan will be in trouble against bigger, more athletic teams if they're unable to find ways to free up Robinson for shots.

Charles Matthews looks like a star. There was still plenty of good in this game, none better than the performance of Matthews: a game-high 28 points (9/15 2-pt, 1/2 3-pt, 7/10 FT) with six offensive rebounds and two assists while playing his usual strong defense.

Michigan's offense was at its best when it ran through Matthews, especially when he paired with Moe Wagner (24 points, 6/7 2-pt, 3/7 3-pt) as a screener. The most effective play was the side pick-and-pop, which opened driving lanes for Matthews to sky for short jumpers and easy midrange opportunities for Wagner. It took the team most of the first half to find this offense, however, and they strayed from it at times in the second; I'm excited about the future of a team that makes this their identity.

Other quick notes:

  • While Jon Teske didn't make a huge splash tonight, he still looked good out there. He batted another offensive rebound back out for a reset, engulfed a shot off a drive, and dished out a pretty assist. His post passing looks like it could be special—it's already quite good.
  • This was a rough game for Ibi Watson, who chucked four shots, making only one, in eight minutes and giving up some easy blow-bys on defense. He's going to lose his minutes to Brooks and perhaps Jordan Poole, who got in for a minute tonight, if things don't get better fast. He may be a good player in practice but it's not translating to games.
  • Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had an uneven performance. He couldn't find the mark from the outside, missing all five of his threes. He was great at getting to the basket, however, and made 4-of-8 twos, including some tough baskets to keep it close down the stretch. MAAR was often the only Wolverine willing to assert himself, especially when Wagner and/or Matthews weren't on the floor.
  • Isaiah Livers had a putback and a steal in 12 minutes. I noticed some trouble on defense and on the boards, though, and that type of stuff is going to hold him back from getting more minutes unless Robinson goes into an extended slump.
  • Tomorrow's game against Chaminade tips off at 8 pm EST on ESPN 2.

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]

Comments

Basketbullets: The Shot Fake, DJ The Lion, Secondary Scorers

Basketbullets: The Shot Fake, DJ The Lion, Secondary Scorers Comment Count

Ace March 21st, 2017 at 3:31 PM

Player Development At Ludicrous Speed, Part One


Moe Wagner considers how to shred his defender to bits. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

John Beilein's acumen at player development is, by now, unimpeachable. He has turned Michigan into one of the top producers of NBA talent in the country without the steady stream of high school All-Americans who end up at the likes of Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky. After last weekend, Moe Wagner and DJ Wilson—a late import to the 2015 class and an oft-injured three-star wing*—are firmly on the NBA radar after two and three years on campus, respectively. Following the Louisville game, Beilein reminded us just how far those two have come in only a year's time:

Moritz, he averaged two points a game last year. He’s 19 years old. You got to watch this guy. D.J. averaged the same. There’s a process that people go through to develop their teams, and [the Big Ten] had a lot of good seniors last year who graduated and a lot of guys waiting in the wings. It may have not showed in November, December. It’s showing in March.

The year-to-year progression is remarkable; so is the seemingly game-to-game progression. Here's Beilein after the Purdue victory at Crisler less than a month ago:

[Wagner] is learning that fine line between shooting a three and driving it. I can’t wait to work with him more on selling his shot fake before he does, sometimes he just rips and goes. He’s almost like a forward or a guard in how he plays. But he had a really good post move inside. He and DJ have to bottle this thing up, that they can shoot from the outside, but to help teams win, they’re going to play professionally if they have a post-up game. They’re not going to just be these 6’10” shooters. They’re going to need to grow in that physical part of it. He’s got a good mix of that. If we can put that third part in, that he can shoot, he can drive, and he can effectively post up and hold position, he could become very special.

We saw a whole lot more than a pair of 6'10" shooters last weekend. That shot fake Beilein wanted to see Wagner utilize? He busted it out on arguably the biggest possession of the year:

Wagner also obliterated Louisville from the high post. His career-high 26-point output against the Cardinals couldn't have looked more different from his previous best, the 24-point performance in that aforementioned Purdue game. The latter featured Wagner raining in threes off pick-and-pops with a couple post buckets standing out as notable exceptions. The former saw him working with his back to the basket against smaller defenders and using that three-point threat to take bigs off the dribble; he only attempted (and made) one three-pointer.

*[HT to Maize.Blue Wagner for posting a thread of the current team's commitment posts.]

[Hit THE JUMP for DJ's development and the late-season surge from MAAR and Irvin.]

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MGoPodcast 8.19: Your Poison Gets 2 Points Per Possession

MGoPodcast 8.19: Your Poison Gets 2 Points Per Possession

1 hour 29 minutes

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

This podcast is presented by the Bo Store, UGP & Moe's. Rishi and Ryan have been here since the beginning—shopping with them supports us and supports good dudes who are deeply involved in the Ann Arbor community. It was recorded at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown—you should probably book your next stay in Ann Arbor there to offset all the free stuff we took.

Speaking of offsetting costs, here’re the people who bought us the set we use to record way more of these than we used to: Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Peak Wealth Management.

You don’t have to visit them now, but remember to come back to our podcast to get a link when you need them!

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1. Tales from Indy Part I: Okie State

starts against 1:00

The best 7-10 game in college basketball history? We’re saying that. Michigan’s three-point shooting was matched by the legit #1 offense in basketball. New developments include DJ Wilson: impact shot-blocker.

2. Tales from Indy Part II: L’llv’lle.

starts at 23:05

AKA the OTHER 40-minute heart attack. The Cardinal survey available poisons and choose the tall bottle with an import sticker—that too is the wrong poison. Was it that or a Pitino long con, because that pump fake drive was there all year. M’s six-man rotation is Don Brown-like in its multiplefromthesamepersonnelness yes that’s a word you want me to prove it fine now it’s a tag on mgoblog.

3. Ace and Brian’s Excellent Gimmicky Top 5 Adventure

starts at 46:22

Now a gimmicky top 5 so grand (whoa), so magnificent, and so vast, it spans 7,000 years (no way!) Brace yourself for a most triumphant Top 5 premise, as two bloggers jump in a time machine that can go back to mid-January, encounter their other, pre-Maverick selves, and unveil the future. Starring: Zak Irvin, Mo Bamba, Beilein players with lip curls, Red, and an odd casting choice for Jules Winfield in the Pulp Fiction remake.

4. The Tournament So Far, plus Oregon Preview and Beyond

starts at 1:06:56

When a 5-seed isn’t chalk in the first round, you’ve seeded badly. Appalling calls, especially those that took the air out of the end of some great games. However the insane seeding did lead to some radical 2nd round games. Bathroom Bill sinks Duke deliciously.

Oregon is without their DJ Wilson—that might mean a lot. As for Kansas, they’re super athletic, and coached only just enough not to step on each other, i.e. not the guys you want to face after a quick turnaround.

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MUSIC:

  • “Opening Theme”—Pulp Fiction
  • “Flight of the Valkyries”—Wilhelm Richard “Moe Buckets” Wagner
  • “Inside OUt”—SPOON
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS