Michigan 79, NC State 72

Submitted by Ace on November 27th, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Nik Stauskas says he never followed hockey. When asked about Alanis Morissette, he looks downright befuddled.

"I don't even know who that is."

Yes, Stauskas isn't your typical Canadian. That's because he spent his youth in the backyard—not on a frozen pond, but an asphalt court—hoisting three-pointer after three-pointer.

"I've probably taken a million shots in my life. That's pretty much all I'd do when I was a kid, just go outside and shoot. It's something I'm very confident doing," he said, after leading Michigan with 20 points on 6-10 shooting (4-7 3PT) in a 79-72 victory over NC State.

Thanks in large part to the shooting of Stauskas, Michigan was able to cruise for much of the game against a talented Wolfpack squad, weathering a late 10-0 run by the visitors to give the Big Ten its first win in this year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

It's a testament to the balance and depth of this year's squad that Trey Burke went scoreless in the first half; taking what the defense gave him, Burke doled out nine first-half assists as the Wolverines built a 43-36 lead. Burke went into attack mode in the second half, notching his first-career double-double with 18 points and 11 assists—he also had zero turnovers, as the team tallied just six total.

The four factors tell much of the story:

Factor Michigan N.C. State
eFG% 58.3 58.9
Turnover % 9.8 20.4
O. Reb % 24.1 33.3
FTA/FGA 37.0 16.1

Michigan had a lights-out offensive performance with stellar shooting, great ball control, and frequent trips to the free-throw line. Glenn Robinson III had a quiet 11 points on 3-5 shooting to go with seven rebounds, while Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary combined for 14 points while going 6-9 from the field, largely coming on open looks set up by Burke.

The Wolverines struggled to put away an athletic Wolfpack squad, however, as they couldn't protect the defensive glass in the second half—NC State scored ten points off of seven offensive boards in the final stanza. The frontcourt of C.J. Leslie, T.J. Warren, and Richard Howell poured in 46 combined points, taking advantage of the inexperience of Robinson and McGary to create several open looks.

Though the end got a little hairy, this was a game that Michigan largely dominated. Early foul trouble for Howell—who would eventually foul out—and Leslie forced NC State to go to a zone defense, which the Wolverines picked apart with ease. While Tim Hardaway Jr. had an off night from beyond the arc (1-9 3PT), he and Burke both took advantage by getting to the paint for pull-up jumpers—Hardaway finished with 16 points, shooting 6-9 from two-point range.

When Michigan most needed a bucket, leading by just five with 1:38 to play, it was Hardaway who put the game away, finding a lane and banking a shot home from just outside the paint. On a night when Burke went scoreless for nearly 23 minutes and Hardaway shot 7-18—against a top-25 ACC opponent, no less—the Wolverines had a comfortable lead for most of the game and survived a late scare.

For that, they can thank Stauskas—for growing up obsessed with his jump shot, not his wrist shot, even in Ontario.



November 28th, 2012 at 9:11 AM ^

Did he really go 1-9 from 3PT? Did not seem that bad while watching the game.

His ability to drive into the lane stood out to me, at least early on, when the team was struggling to find offense elsewhere.


November 28th, 2012 at 10:12 AM ^

Again, three of those misses were in the second half where they passed it around for 25+ seconds and then threw it to THJ with a second or two on the shot clock.

He literally had to catch and shoot off balanced from a few feet behind the three point line.  He's lucky they all hit the rim.

But I agree about his notion to take it to the hoop early this year.  The fact that he exploded right out of the gates really helped open up Stauskas and GRIII and got the offense rolling early.


November 28th, 2012 at 9:23 AM ^

Dear Coach B-  The team is looking good, except when you put the chuck-n-miss-it machine on the floor.  Don't you notice that Eso takes more shots per minute than anyone else on the team (though it's close with McLimans, who thankfully didn't see the floor last night).  The tv crew even noticed (though you did prime them with an Eso appearance during the preseason NIT).  We were closing in on a 20 point lead until you put Eso in the game (who took and missed the two worst shots of the game) and the lead dropped to single digits.  I just don't get it. 


November 28th, 2012 at 9:42 AM ^

I'll have to check that out.  Dylan is normally pretty accurate, but as soon as Eso saw the floor in the first half, NCst when on a 7 (or 9) point run.

[edit] I just checked; here's what Dylan said of Eso:

Eso Akunne: Akunne has no shortage of confidence. He checked into the game midway through the first half and fired up a pair of shots on back-to-back possessions. Unfortunately they were early misses that weren’t great looks and were pivotal in allowing NC State to make a run.

Blue boy johnson

November 28th, 2012 at 9:39 AM ^

I get the thought process of Coach B. Don't necessarily agree with it, but I get it. Eso can really shoot the ball. I would bet it is the same way in practice. Eso is a very good shooter.

Last season Eso was 7/8 from 3 point range; a blistering .875 shooting percentage

This season  Eso is 3/4 from 3 point range; a torrid .750 shooting percentage




November 28th, 2012 at 10:33 AM ^

Most of those shots came in garbage time (I would guess)...and when he comes in at other times he seems to play with that mentality of... "oh hey i'm in now...might as well pull the trigger (garbage time mentality)". The coaches saw that too and made sure to get him off the court and either thj or stauskas back on the court immediately after those crap possessions. The 3 he took was potentially ok...but there is no reason for him to be trying to go iso on the nc state defender when there is trey burke on the floor. Frankly, burke can do that all day if he wants and get a better quality shot. I don't mean to sound harsh but if he is on the floor he needs to be a ball mover not a black hole. His role should mirror someone like vogrich, who rarely forces anything.


November 28th, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

I hope the defensive rebounding thing doesn't become a Thing.  K-State got a whole bunch of points off second chances as well.  Interestingly, according to KenPom, we're fourth in the country at allowing opponents' offensive rebounds, but in the two games that I've seen they sure don't pass the eye test.

On the other hand, it is incredible watching this team just toy with top-25 opponents like this.  And without being addicted to the three-ball, too.


November 28th, 2012 at 10:22 AM ^

To me, it's seemed less like the inability to dominate on the defensive boards and more complacency after taking the lead.  Neither are desirable, obviously.

I might be remembering incorrectly but a lot of those second chance points came in the second half when they went on their run and into the end of the game.  We just have to do a better job of keeping our foot on the pedal and finishing down low defensively when we take control of the game. 

Really, everything down low has to improve.  McGary and Horford getting into the rotation has done wonders so far this year in terms of easing the pressure on Morgan foul-wise.  But in terms of getting them involved on the offense, cutting down on turnovers, and defending the paint, it's still a work in progress.


November 28th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

I think you're right about the second half as regards the NC State game.  I definitely remember the K-State first half being loaded with K-State offensive rebounds.

Of course, one of the NC State offensive rebounds is probably the one where Morgan tipped it into his own basket and was rewarded by having the ball land on his head.  So there's that.


November 28th, 2012 at 10:20 AM ^

I think we learned that if we play another team with 3 guys over 6'8" who can create their own shot from the post, only this time that team has a sentient coach, we may be in trouble.

How many teams have 3 guys over 6'8" who can create their own shot from the post? I can't think of another.

A guy like Thomas from OSU will have his way with us - but do they have enough other guys to keep up? Bergren can score on us too, but I'm not sure what else Wisconsin has. MSU's big guys aren't scorers.


November 28th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

I agree. In terms of there pro prospects...

CBS:               CJ 19, DT 35
DraftExpress: CJ 17 DT 47
SI:                   CJ 16 DT wasn't listed in top 20
nbadraftnet:    CJ 31 DT 66

Thomas may be currently more polished but I think CJ may present the more athletically demanding matchup armed with a lot more quick twich basketball moves.


November 28th, 2012 at 11:45 AM ^

I'm not discussing who is a better pro prospect.



Thomas actually plays on the interior quite a bit outside of this 3 attempts from outside the arc per game. He definitely plays outside more than Leslie, I will give you that.

Thomas was, according to KenPom, one of the most effective offensive rebounders in the nation last year (better, in terms of rate than Leslie). He also shot better than Leslie, according to eFG%. Leslie was better on the defensive glass, but Thomas also played next to one of the 20 best defensive rebounders in the game - it's hard to have a great rate at that point.

Blue boy johnson

November 28th, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

I think M will be ok with playing teams with good post scorers. McGary is getting better by the minute, Horford can handle more mins than he is getting, and Beilein talks all the time about Bielfeldt deserving minutes, but they just aren't available. M has 20 fouls to give in the post, 25 if you count GRIII and 30 if you throw in McLimans.

I really like what I've seen in the limited minutes of Bielfeldt; He definitely can contribute


November 28th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

Beilein's boys are going places this year but I'm trying not to think too far ahead. Just enjoying watching a really talented team that can score in so many ways. I enjoyed the gritty grittiness of the Novak-Douglass years and what those teams accomplished, but it's nice to know we have not just the coaching and the guts but also the sheer talent to play and beat anybody now.  

It'll be fascinating to see how this team handles some true adversity once they get into Big Ten play, e.g., how they respond to a challenge like playing IU at Assembly Hall. Looking forward to watching the season unfold with these guys.


November 28th, 2012 at 10:30 AM ^

This is quite nit picky but I noticed that our help defense on the interior was a little slow. Maybe it was just the fact that NC State's big guys were really athletic but I felt McGary and Horford in particular were a little late on their rotations.

Overall, this team just has waves of talent to throw at opponents. I can't remember a time when we could just out-talent teams like we are doing this year. Scary thing is I don't feel we've even put a complete game together yet.