Basketbullets: Central Michigan Comment Count

Brian December 30th, 2012 at 2:27 PM

12/29/2012 – Michigan 88, CMU 73 – 13-0

Sometimes games just happen, and then we just write the bullets because it's hard to wax lyrical about rote blowouts against minor teams.



Photos. Via Bryan Fuller.

Hello Caris. With Hardaway nursing an injury Trey Burke called a "bone bruise" after the game, Caris LeVert inherited the large majority of minutes at the two. End result: 9 points on meh shooting (3/7 inside arc, 1/4 outside), a couple rebounds, and a 5-1 A:TO ratio.

A couple of LeVert's successful shots were tough two-pointers on which he dribbled to approximately  the elbow and rose in the face of a defender, which is a mixed blessing. It's nice that he has that capability, but those are bad shots even if they go down; you'd like to see more of LeVert's game get to the rim, especially against a team that doesn't have any shotblocking.

That said, it's clear why Michigan took the redshirt off of him. he's got far more ballhandling/assist/shot creation skills than Vogrich, and if that's worth a couple points in an NCAA tournament game that's well worth it this year. You can see the potential there: tighten up the handle a bit, understand the offense, and LeVert can be a quality second or third banana on a good team—especially if his defense is as good as the coaches have talked it up to be.

Obligatory good gravy Trey Burke comment. Good gravy, Trey Burke: 5/5 from 2, 4/7 from three, 11 assistss, 1 turnover. Central was a terrible terrible defensive team, as they amply demonstrated by leaving Trey Burke wide open for three pointers multiple times in the first five minutes. Even so, boggleboggleboggleboggle.

Burke's one-game ORtg was 185. He's shooting 62% from two. He is a high-usage PG who never turns the ball over. He's kind of good.



Obligatory NMMFFS comment. UMHoops on the twitter:

It should be a shock to watch a guy hit five straight threes. Not even that surprised as Stauskas does it tonight.

Ah yup. Eight more attempts go in the sample size bucket, five of them are makes, and I'm getting curious about all time records. I have found them. Stauskas is 39/69 in 13 games for a 56.5% hit rate. Conservatively assuming Michigan plays the same number of games this year that they did last year, he's on pace to launch 180 on the season and hit 102. The NCAA rulebook has the following items he can go for:

  • SEASON (50 made): A kid from Holy Cross was at 63.4%. This is probably out of reach. I imagine that guy must have gotten injured, because who takes only 82 attempts when they are hitting nearly two-thirds of them?
  • SEASON (100 made): Steve Kerr (yes that Steve Kerr) hit 57.3% in 1988. It would only take a slight uptick to hit that number, albeit against tougher competition than Stauskas has seen so far. Stauskas is also operating behind a longer line.
  • CAREER(200 made): Tony Bennett (yes that Tony Bennett, no not that one) hit 49.7% during his career at UW-Green Bay.
  • CAREER(300 made): Stephen Sir, who transferred from SDSU to Northern Arizona, hit 46.9%.

School records are well within reach. Glen Rice hit 48% for his career, 51.6% in 88-89. I'm not going to track this or anything after jinxing Devin Funchess, but those are the numbers to reach for.

In other record news, Trey Burke is on pace to break Michigan's all-time season record in assists per game. At 7.4 he's ahead of Gary Grant by 0.5—Darius Morris is actually #3.

GRIII: a part of the assist machine. Every one of Robinson's nine makes was assisted, and seven of those were from Trey Burke. On the one hand, that means he's not generating a whole lot of shots himself—on the other, eight of ten from the field.

The subjective thing that jumps out is that GRIII's missed bunny rate is a lot lower than Jordan Morgan's. Generally I think Morgan gets excessive criticism for not hitting shots. He's hitting 63% this year, hit 62% last year, hit 63% as a freshman. There are plenty of big men with worse usage rates looking up at him. Morgan is an excellent fifth scorer.

But… yeah, some of those misses are frustrating. Robinson avoids many of them because he can just jump up and dunk from directly underneath the basket. He's pushed himself into the 2PT% lead after the Central game despite taking significantly more jumpers than McGary or Morgan. His TO rate is also significantly lower than either of the bigs despite taking on more ballhandling responsibilities. He's Michigan's most effective guy-to-throw-the-ball-to-in-search-of-assist-guy.

Outrebounded, finally. Stauskas was actually Michigan's leading rebounder on the night with seven defensive boards; on night Michigan actually lost the board war, rebounding a quarter of their misses while allowing the Chips to grab 36% of theirs. I'm pretty sure that's the first time all year Michigan has been outrebounded.

I file that under "fluke" since Michigan has held its own or better against burlymen like Pitt and KState; Michigan clearly got a little lazy and sloppy in this one after running out to a 20 point lead. They turned off about when GRIII took those two Manny Harris-ish rise-and-fire threes late in the first half. Until it happens in a Big Ten game I won't fret about it.

I do think that's a spot where Michigan missed Hardaway quite a bit. Hardaway's DREB rate is second only to McGary; LeVert is lower than Trey Burke (in an admittedly small sample size) and had only one defensive rebound in 32 minutes. That's an area for improvement for him.

The defense is a bit of a concern. While CMU is basically an inverted EMU—300 club defense, middling offense—Central nearly hit 1.1 points per possession and not all of that can be attributed to the rebounding. Michigan struggled with Central's quick transitions and allowed too many guys to get into the lane. Correctable?  Some of it. Other bits are just going to linger. Michigan doesn't have shotblocking sans Horford and doesn't have an elite perimeter defender. They are a bit like last year's Indiana team: an all-world offense opposite a meh-at-best defense.

To date Michigan has been better than the Hoosiers, and they were better than IU in conference last year by a significant margin, so they should expect to fare better than that team, which went 11-7 in the league and got a four seed.


 Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE020512_SPT_BBall_MSU_Mich_CAhi-res-6731142_crop_650x440[1]deshaun thomas ohio state gonzaga[1]


Well. Here we are. Preliminaries down, the Big Ten enters conference play in four tiers:

MAKE IT STOP: Purdue, Nebraska, Penn State, and Northwestern have essentially no shot at the NCAA tournament and are going to get roughed up by the rest of the league. This tier went from a couple teams to four once Tim Frazier and Drew Crawford went out for the year; instead of a gradation from Iowa/Wisconsin to Northwestern and friends there is now a cliff. Yeah, Northwestern hung in against Stanford post Crawford. Yeah, they remain the most dangerous team down here. No, they aren't going to brush against the bubble.

For teams at the top, a loss to anyone in this crew will be a fatal blow towards title aspirations. For teams attempting to scratch out a seventh or eighth bid for the league, games against these folk are must-wins to get to that 9-9 mark that will guarantee entry. For teams in this category, 2013 will be an opportunity to build character, war-movie-POW style.

I AM PEOPLE TOO: Iowa and Wisconsin aren't dreaming of conference championships after nonconference schedules of some difficulty; both are aiming for tourney bids. In Wisconsin's case, they'd like to extend their streak in an off year. In Iowa's, they're looking to break a growing drought. Each is dangerous to any team in the league at home; neither can reasonably expect to pop its head much above .500.

Also thrown in this pot despite a stellar record to date is Illinois. The Illini bomb threes and run up and down the court and can beat Gonzaga on the road and Butler in Hawaii but also

  • go to OT with Hawaii
  • beat Gardner-Webb by 1
  • struggle with Western Carolina, Norfolk State, and EKU
  • beat Auburn by 2

They've done enough already to make it in with an 8-10 conference record—maybe even 7-11—and they will be thankful for that margin with a month to go in the season. They could determine the conference championship indirectly by bombing one of the contenders and going cold against another. They will blow too hot and cold to mount a serious title challenge.

IN WITH A CHANCE: Michigan State and Ohio State seem a half-step behind the elite in the conference. With OSU it's hard to tell because their schedule is bereft of Kenpom top 100 teams save Kansas and Duke, who are 4 and 5. With no middle ground to prove themselves on we just know they tend to fold up their offense against great teams and beat up on bad ones.

State has had the opportunity to establish what they are a bit more, and that's a team that will turn the ball over against anybody and play defense against anybody. Results include beating Kansas and struggling with Louisiana Lafayette and Bowling Green. They're going to be a tough out for anyone; they're probably going to end up 2-3 games back of the conference champ.

COME AND GET US: Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota are favorites for the title. Yes, I'm including the Gophers, who are still rounding Trevor Mbakwe into form after a tumultuous offseason. If they can get him up to starters minutes, look out: his rebounding is as crushing as it used to be and his block rate is excellent. He is an impact guy still forcing his way into the lineup and then you've got the Hollinses and Rodney Williams. The Gophers are legit.

You know about Michigan. Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are a deadly set of complimentary offensive players that has weaned Michigan away from an over-dependence on the three-point lottery—and that lottery doesn't seem as much like a lottery with Stauskas around, anyway. They have defensive weaknesses, but their offense may be able to outdistance anyone who comes at them.


Indiana is like Indiana last year except excellent defensively. Which… well, that doesn't sound very good for opponents. Victor Oladipo has taken The Leap and now threatens Burke and Zeller for the title of best player in the conference: elite defense, 75% from two, tons of offensive rebounds, etc. Indiana remains deadly from three as well, hitting 42%. Oladipo and Jordan Hulls are 1-2 in eFG%. Despite the defeat to Butler, they have to be considered the favorite in the league, as they have a couple things Michigan doesn't quite.


*[unless you're Penn State]



December 30th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

...but it's complementary (although I've often heard Burke, Stauskas, GRIII and THJR say nice things about each other).

The B1G regular season should be fun to watch week after week. 


December 30th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

going forward for this team is actually the ability to keep players for multiple years. It seems we have so many talented players, that the urge to leave early is strong. Obviously, Trey Burke is odds-on to leave after this year, and we have a replacement coming in, but I hope we get at least one more year out of GRIII, Stauskas, etc., as Kentucky this year shows us the perils of replacing everyone every year.


December 30th, 2012 at 7:50 PM ^

would say the odds are against it. Stauskas is one of the best shooters on the planet, and once he goes thru a couple cycles of college S&C, he is headed to the NBA.

You ever see Stauskas play defense? Oh wait, you haven't. Nobody has.

Just kidding, but not really. He has a long way to go on the defensive end - which is OK! He's just a freshman!

"Best shooter on the planet"... even if you're exaggerating, no. Every NBA perimeter player can shoot as well as Stauskas. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

snarling wolverine

December 30th, 2012 at 9:41 PM ^

I think the truth lies in between both of your posts.  He's not the best shooter on the planet but no, not every perimeter guy in the NBA (probably not even half of them) can shoot as well as Stauskas.  I mean look, Darius Morris is one of them.  Is he as good a shooter as Stauskaus?  He sure wasn't two years ago.


South Bend Wolverine

December 30th, 2012 at 5:17 PM ^

Can't feel too bad about Kentucky.  Championships are forever (unless they get vacated :p), so I doubt there's too much worry about a slight down year.

I do worry a bit about sustaining a high level of success without 4 year players, but maybe that's just because in my bones I still don't believe we'll continue to pull down elite recruiting classes year in and year out.  It seems, though, that 1 and 2 year players are the way to go for teams challenging at the highest levels these days, like it or not.

Blue boy johnson

December 30th, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

Levert's shots from the elbow were excellent shots and Beilein will take those all day long. Some shots from the elbow may be bad shots, but Levert's shouldn't be included in that group. I would much rather Levert shoot a virtual uncontested 15 footer (doesn't matter if someone is guarding him if they have no shot at blocking his shot), than a drive down the lane into traffic. Your bizarre notion that 2 point jump shots are all bad shots is off base. Levert probably hits the shots he made yesterday 70% of the time. Very easy shot for Caris.

The issue with Morgan isn't just the easy shots he misses underneath, but the shots he never gets off because he mishandles the ball, or hesitates and has to pass the ball out, or he turns the wrong way and makes an easy shot more difficult. Some players are described as "scorers" because they have a knack for creating shots and putting the ball in the basket. Morgan will never be described as a scorer.


December 30th, 2012 at 4:37 PM ^

The two teams Brian has us ranked with, IU and Minnesota, have arguably the strongest home court advantages in the league. I hope our fans can step up to the challenge and make Crisler a difficult place to play.


December 30th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

Our depth is such a great luxury after years of cobwebs off the bench.  That said, Eso...why?  Why must you shoot so much? 4 misses in 7 minutes of action (3 of those from deep)?  Seems like anyone would be a better option than Eso in situations like yesterday (w/o THJ).  To see him get minutes that should've gone to Vogrich; I don't get it, and he'll hurt us if he takes minutes in conference play.

Blue boy johnson

December 30th, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

I am not one to quibble with player rotations, but.... Why isn't Bielfeldt playing more. He didn't enter the game until 3 minutes were left. I have yet to see Max play in a game an not have a positive effect. Appears to me that he has great rebounding instincts and great hands to go with them. With the way CMU was killing M on the boards in the 2nd half Max might have been a nice antidote.


December 30th, 2012 at 6:27 PM ^

Good point.  I know that Morgan saw some pine after soft (and failed) put-back/box outs, but McGary got those minutes.  Maybe there's just too much big man talent?  Good problem to have.  As long as McLimans (Eso's "chuck everything" partner) isn't taking anyone else's minutes, I'm sure it'll out turn out well as the seasons (yup, plural...that much depth) progress.


December 30th, 2012 at 9:47 PM ^

or does every team we play have their best 3pt % shooting of the year against us?

On the other side of things.... It's really nice having the depth we do. Beilein can bring them off the bench and not lose the tempo or productivity.