The Lights Are On

Submitted by Tim on November 6th, 2009 at 10:10 PM

Michigan (0-0) 73, Wayne State 54.

It was an exhibition game against a D-2 team. It's meaningless in the grand scheme of things, and counts toward nothing. Yet it still felt good to be back in Crisler Arena, and perhaps even better to emerge with a win, be it over Duke, Michigan State... or Wayne State.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is more important than junior Manny Harris's hamstring injury. Though it has been hampering him throughout fall practices, there was no noticeable effect on the floor. "I think it got a lot better," Manny said following the game. He led all scorers with 25 points,tied senior DeShawn Sims for the team lead in rebounds (5), and even came away with three steals to lead all players. Manny said he wasn't sure how much he was going to play, but coach JOhn Beilein Beilein explained, "I wanted to make sure he got enough touches and just felt good before the real thing starts."

The fast break was a good source of offense for Michigan, as well. "This year, we're trying to be faster, and just really anticipating that. We've got more people athletic on the wing, so there's no reason why we shouldn't be running," said freshman Darius Morris. The three ball wasn't quite as consistent, except from sophomore Zack Novak, who went 5/8 from behind the arc.

I was somewhat surprised that Michigan's athleticism wasn't able to simply overpower the Warriors for the entire game. Basketball is a more skill-oriented sport than football in some respects, so the difference between the divisions may be there and in size, rather than raw athletic ability. Wayne did have a couple guys who could really shoot the ball, but Michigan's defense made it difficult to get a lot of open looks.

The Crisler atmosphere was pretty good, with 9,657 fans in the house. "It's blessing, with all those Maize Rage fans are out there, calling your name. It was just a great atmosphere," said Darius Morris. "It was great," Novak said, "The Maize Rage was awesome, and we had a really good turnout, I thought." A good turnout indeed: That's within a thousand of last year's season average. It's not guaranteed to continue though, according to Beilein: "We certainly have to win to keep them coming back, but it's really neat to have that type of student support."


  • Your starters were Darius Morris, Laval Lucas-Perry, Manny Harris, Zack Novak, and DeShawn Sims.
  • Coach Beilein mentioned that he would like to get DeShawn Sims on the court with another bigman more often. He couldn't tonight because of Sims's foul trouble, but look for that in the future.
  • I was surprised at how little Matt Vogrich played. You'd think a good outside shooter like him would get more run in Beilein's system. He was unable to get into a rhythm in his 11 minutes and was 0/2 from the floor.
  • Michigan was able to empty the bench at the end of the game. You can see that those guys aren't as talented as those who will get more regular playing time, but there are a couple guys who could be contributors in the future.
  • Zack Gibson is still good for at least one play per game that makes you think "he can do that?".
  • It's touched on above, but I was shocked at the fan turnout for a weekend exhibition game. Good work, Michigan fans (or is this a sign we're just waiting to transition from football to basketball?).
  • Area for improvement: Free throw shooting. The sample size is small (and Michigan was an excellent free throw shooting team last year), so hopefully the 60% number is just an anomaly.



November 6th, 2009 at 11:19 PM ^

The poor free throw shooting was obviously caused by the woman yelling "miss ittttttt!" while our guys were at the line. That has to be it. I hope Crisler gets full / mostly full for the non-exhibition games. It looks like it will be a pretty fun year to be a Michigan Basketball fan!


November 6th, 2009 at 11:29 PM ^

I wouldn't expect to see many minutes go Vogrich's way anytime soon. He looked pretty flat footed on defense getting burned off the dribble at least two times, plus he looks like your average freshman stoner living in East Quad.

Blue boy johnson

November 7th, 2009 at 8:18 AM ^

this is the oddest double post I have done, not quite sure what happened. so i will respond to Tom below who is tempering Cronin expectations. I am with you but hoping Cronin's hip improves as the season moves along, he length is difficult to deal with and nobody else on the team comes close to providing size. Here is to hoping he gets healthy.


November 7th, 2009 at 8:36 AM ^

Absolutely, here's hoping he gets healthy. I just don't want people to end up talking about him not living up to expectations too early. Just because he's 7'0" tall doesn't mean he's guarenteed to be a dominant big man. I'm still considering him a project that will probably become a contributer at least a year from now.

Blue boy johnson

November 7th, 2009 at 8:13 AM ^

Didn't see the game so I am talking out of my ass, but similar things were said about Stu Douglas last year, I am not basing too much on initial performances. Also Vogrich is in a tougher situation competition wise, so it will be harder for him to get minutes, he will truly have to earn them.


November 7th, 2009 at 8:50 AM ^

Well yeah, I am saying he's gonna have a hard time cracking the line up over Stu, Morris, and LLP. I'm certainly not saying he doesn't have a future just saying he's got some learning to do. His situation is also very different than Stu's last year due to the added depth (regardless if they both came in as the same level of player).


November 7th, 2009 at 12:31 AM ^

I've been trying to temper people's excitement about Cronin, and if tonight was any indication, it appears that I, as well as many others, may be right. Cronin played only 1 minute in the first half. Even with my low expectations I was disappointed with this. And he didn't impress when he was out there. I'm expecting very, very little out of him this year. Here's to Zack Gibson busting out of his "only once in a while" role.

Also, a bit of a surprise to see how many minutes Ant received. I'm a big Ant fan, he's a great guy and team player, so I'm rooting for him. It looks like JB will give him the chance, it's up to him to take advantage.

Vogrich did look slightly overmatched. If he can't stay with Wayne State players.....

Finally, DUDE IS NOVAK AWESOME!!!!111! Seriously, he's going to be a Third-team All Big Ten player and if he's not a captain of this years squad he will be the next two years. Talk about finding a diamond in the rough. I'm going to enjoy watching that kid play for three more years.


November 7th, 2009 at 2:30 AM ^

I'm surprised that Tim could put up a post with a discussion of the game's atmosphere without talking about the unforgettable halftime taekwondo demo. The red-haired kid was the most entertaining spectacle since the hairless duo of last year's Duke game.


November 7th, 2009 at 8:29 AM ^

Let's not forget the incredible unicycle riding bowl flipping from foot to head women. She is quite simply the Queen of halftime shows.

Though I did think that red haired kid was going to either have a heart attack or turn into the incredible hulk at any moment.


November 7th, 2009 at 3:26 AM ^

The best-case developmental comparison for Vogrich would be Stu Douglass. Last year Stu earned more minutes throughout the season by improving his defensive awareness.

From watching Vogrich in high school, he will be at a severe physical and athletic disadvantage, particularly once Big Ten play begins.

Hopefully, like Stu, his shooting and vision in the half-court will justify minutes until the defensive IQ improves. Thankfully, unlinke Stu, we don't Vogrich to play 20 minutes/game as a freshman.


November 7th, 2009 at 9:58 AM ^

He started and looks like he is ready to play at the collegiate level. He is definitely gonna be an upgrade over our trio of departed PGs. Not a 3 point threat at this point though so don't expect a lot of contribution in terms of points.


November 7th, 2009 at 10:11 AM ^


Darius has some obvious talent. He looked a little lost at times on offense and passed on atleast one shot that ended up stalling a possession. Defensively he's got a ton to live up to (CJ Lee), but he has crazy awesome length for a PG.

He may be ready to play against the Wayne St's of the world, but he's still got a ton of room to grow. I'm hoping that Beilein can get him plenty of PT these first 10 games and give him a chance to win the job by Big Ten season.

Once we get into conference play, you have to go with the experienced guards over the freshman until he proves otherwise (which I hope he will!).


November 7th, 2009 at 11:17 AM ^

Checking out the game last night, 2 things were very clear to me regarding Manny...

1) If that was a performance at "limited" capacity because of his hamstring, this should be a heckuva year for him and Michigan basketball....

2) To point out what's already been said here time and time again, I don't see anyway Manny sticks around after this year and his game last night confirmed that....