Michigan 83, Northern Michigan 47 Comment Count

Ace November 1st, 2012 at 10:10 PM

File photo, obviously. You'll be happy to know those shoes/socks did not make an appearance.

Spike Albrecht spotted up in the corner and launched a three. Swish.

Albrecht split a double-team, then kicked it out to Glenn Robinson III at the top of the key. Swish.

Albrecht split two defenders again, banked in a layup, and got the foul. His free throw, naturally, swished.

After two more threes—from Tim Hardaway Jr. and Robinson—and a Matt Vogrich layup, Michigan held a 17-0 lead less than four minutes into the 2012-13 season. Though the shooters would cool off a bit, the team never looked back, cruising to an 83-47 exhibition victory over an overmatched Northern Michigan squad.

With a suspended Trey Burke watching in street clothes, it was the freshman point guard, Spike Albrecht, stepping to the forefront to lead the way to victory. The diminutive Indiana native finished with 16 points on 4-7 shooting (3-6 3-pt) with six assists to just two turnovers, knocking down open jumpers, moving the ball with confidence, and showing that unlike last year, Michigan has a backup point guard.

If tonight's game was any indication—and in an exhibition against Northern Michigan, grains of salt are of course recommended—this Wolverine team will spread the ball around with a variety of players putting the ball in the basket. Freshman Nik Stauskas led all scorers with 17 points (5-8 FG, 4-6 3-pt), coming off the bench and netting his first career points on a corner three off an inbounds pass mere seconds after entering for the first time. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III each chipped in 13, with Robinson providing some high-flying acrobatics and Hardaway stuffing the box score with eight boards—all defensive—and five assists.

To the delight of the crowd, John Beilein inserted all five true freshmen—Albrecht, Stauskas, Robinson, Mitch McGary, and Caris LeVert—into the game in the first half; he'd admit post-game that was unintentional, and actually the first time he'd played all five together (though they did team up in a well-publicized offseason scrimmage). In a hopeful sign of things to come, Albrecht was the heady floor general, Stauskas the dead-eye shooter, Robinson the all-around offensive force, and McGary the energetic madman (5 points, 6 off. rebounds, 2 blocks, multiple floor burns). Only LeVert failed to hit full stride in his debut, hitting just one of five shots in ten minutes, though he still managed to connect on a three-pointer as the freshmen combined for 54 of the team's 83 points.

The story of the game will undoubtedly center around Albrecht admirably filling in for Burke; it could just as easily be about a total team effort—the Wolverines had 17 assists on 27 made baskets, swinging the ball around the perimeter in dizzying fashion until a shooter found an opening. Even when Burke returns on Monday, it's clear this team will be far more balanced than they were last season, less reliant on Burke and Hardaway to lead the way night in and night out.


  • It's obvious that Hardaway worked hard in the offseason to turn himself into a more well-rounded player. Even though he only shot 3-of-9 from the field, he distributed the ball well—Beilein said he actually had to tell him to play more selfishly—and attacked the basket (7 free throw attempts, of which he hit 5) in addition to playing solid defense and really cleaning up the glass.
  • The defensive effort all around, even given the opponent, was encouraging given the team's youth. Robinson executed a switch on a pick-and-roll on the first NMU possession, then stuck with his man before Jordan Morgan came away with a block. NMU shot just 19-for-59 from the field, rebounded just 10 of their 40 missed shots (a few of those coming late with the main rotation players pulled), and only got to the free-throw line for four attempts.
  • Morgan and McGary didn't see the floor together, but if they do Michigan could be very difficult to keep off the offensive glass—in addition to McGary's six offensive boards, Morgan hauled in five (of his 12 total) on that end. Beilein noted after the game that Morgan has slimmed down since last season, and he appears to have a little more explosiveness off the floor.
  • One area McGary will need to work on: free-throw shooting, as he went just 1-for-5 from the charity stripe. While it's nice that he was able to grab offensive rebounds after two of those misses, he can't be a liability in that regard or opponents will know the formula for stopping him, and Beilein will be limited with his late-game lineups in close contests. Beilein mentioned that he's still working into shape, as well, after an offseason foot injury hampered his conditioning; it wasn't a surprise, then, that Matt Vogrich earned the starting nod tonight with Robinson playing the four.
  • Given the distribution of minutes tonight, as well as individual performances, expect a lineup of Burke-Hardaway-Vogrich-Robinson-Morgan on Monday, with Stauskas and McGary getting big minutes off the bench. Albrecht should see a fair amount of time spelling Burke, and Beilein mentioned the potential for playing both in the same lineup, but LeVert could have a tough time finding minutes when the season comes around—he's got skill, but he's clearly pretty raw and had some trouble with defense and rebounding due to his very thin frame.
  • Overall, with opponent caveats acknowledged, this went about as well as one could hope for the team's first exhibition game. There's clearly more talent on this squad than Beilein has had at Michigan, and quite possibly at any point in his coaching career, and for a freshman-heavy team they really played well together—I'm sure it helps that McGary, Robinson, and Albrecht played AAU ball with each other. If Stauskas can continue to knock down just about every open jumper, this team also has a lights-out shooter that they haven't quite had yet under Beilein, which could really make this offense lethal. It's early yet, of course, but the potential is apparent.



November 1st, 2012 at 10:20 PM ^

Great preformance by everyone. Spike is excellent with the ball and nobody taught Stauskas how to miss. I loved the energy from Timmy, Morgan, and McGary...definitely something to look forward to. And FYI McGary and Morgan DID see the floor together for a little while and I pee'd a bit, that's a powerhouse down low. Also for the record Trey was not in street clothes, he was in very snazzy business attire. Fact.


November 1st, 2012 at 10:40 PM ^

I'm so excited for UM basketball, and I just can't hide it.

I really hope THJ can find his mid-range jumper.  He reminds me of Rip Hamilton so much.  Long, rangy defender.  Quick and athletic coming off of screens.  Dunk on you every now and then...  He needs to start draining that off-a-screen mid-range shot and this team is so frightening.  Shit it's frightening anyway.  Can't wait to sweep MSU this year.  Nothing is out of the question as far as expectations for this team.

And I think I like it.  


November 1st, 2012 at 10:55 PM ^

I actually think that they look good. That's only if they continue to wear the white or black shoes they usually wear. If they really decide to let them wear the neon Baylor-esque shoes with any of the jerseys, they are going to look kind of ridiculous. The highlighter yellow/neon green shoes just don't match the jerseys. Who cares, though? I'm happy to just see these skilled kids on the same team.


November 2nd, 2012 at 2:35 AM ^

I guess I'm just not a fan of that weird digi-fade or whatever that is on the shorts.  Just go with the block M on the side ala Fab Five...  I'm just not a fan of Adidas' designs in general.  And let's make maize maize again.  Maize>Yellow.  AND I want the black Air Maxs with the black socks back.  

Anyway, yes this team is awesome.  End of rant.


November 1st, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

Might be first time since the Fab 5 era that I've genuinely felt damned good about the well roundedness and possibilities of our basketball program. YAY!


November 1st, 2012 at 10:54 PM ^

The offense seemed to flow really well for a early game with so many freshmen playing. If we can continue to play like this, we won't miss all that grit.


November 1st, 2012 at 10:55 PM ^

I think we have a legit 9-10 man rotation.

PG: Burke, Spike
SG: Vogrich, Stauskas
PF: GRIII, Horford
C: Morgan, McGary

Also, players like THJ and GRIII have some position flexibility.

Levert will potentially be getting some minutes too.

Pretty great result today, especially taking into account we were without our first team all american!!


THJ with the standard +53 split for the game today, not bad.



November 2nd, 2012 at 1:22 AM ^

While I only listened to the game on the radio it was not hard to miss how easily the shots were falling. Getting shots to drop consistently from one or several players has been the missing ingredient the past few seasons. Beilein finally has the tools to make his style work with a depth of rotation that will carry this team deep into the post season.


November 2nd, 2012 at 12:14 AM ^

I have been going to the games for a long time now, and I can honestly say that this is the first michigan bball team I have truly been excited about in a long time(Don't get me wrong, I was very excited about last year, but this is another level). Even without our best player at a critical PG position, we never looked out of stride.

My far too early predictions are that I would like to see this as the starting 5 within a few games

PG: Burke
SG: Hardaway(rotate in at 2 and 3)
SF: GR3(Rotate in at 3 and 4)
PF: Mcgary
C: Morgan


Rotate Stauskas into the 2 and 3. Rotate Spike in primarily at the the 1 and a little 2. (He definitely looks like he can play the 2).

Rotate Horford in at the 5.

And have vogrich play more limited minutes at the 2 and 3.  Vogrich is a scrappy player, but doesn't seem to possess the talent level that some of the others do. He's supposed to be a knockdown  3 point shooter, but he really hasn't performed that way (30% last year).


This would allow for a good  8-9 man rotation. I came away extremely impressed by this game, but as Ace said, we really should just be taking this with a grain of salt.

Magnum P.I.

November 2nd, 2012 at 12:37 AM ^

That is a seriously beastly lineup. I know we've only seen them play against Northern, but if the potential the freshman flashed is even close to reality, we're gonna be really really good. That is a huge lineup for the college game:

  • PG - 6-0, 190
  • SG - 6-6, 205
  • SF - 6-6, 210
  • PF - 6-10, 250
  • C - 6-8, 250

With size coming off the bench, too (except for PG). Talented guys, too, not just bodies. If the freshmen even scratch the surface, I don't know how this roster isn't much much better than OSU and MSU and almost any other college squad. I mean, we're like good.


November 1st, 2012 at 11:20 PM ^

From beyond the arc and only miss once. Spike is going to be a solid back up to Trey. He can play. Nik can not only shoot, but can also handle the ball and find the open man. My favorite play was the bounce pass he made to Morgan cutting to the hoop. Mitch, as advertised, plays with fire and passion. LaVert put a move on his man and blew past him. Whoa!
This should be a fun season.


November 2nd, 2012 at 12:22 AM ^

I have a separate question, as I'm looking at going to some games in the future:


I was wondering if the rows in the upper sections start at Row 1 or if they just continue the count from the lower section?


If it is a continuation, what is the number of the first row in the upper section?


November 2nd, 2012 at 12:38 AM ^

I was just thiking, Spike, Stauskas and LaVert might wind up being the most valuable players in this freshman class.  GR3 and McGary will likely leave early, maybe even next year.  We might get to watch the other three for all four years...although if Stauskas truly doesn't miss, maybe he'll jump before his Sr. season, also.


November 2nd, 2012 at 2:02 AM ^

The starting lineup for tonight (correct me if I'm wrong) was:

-Spike Albrecht (will be replaced by Trey going forward obviously)
-Matt Vogrich
-Glenn Robinson III
-Tim Hardaway Jr.
-Jordan Morgan

The most exciting thing for me was the bench production (and I'm talking about Spike like he's bench production even though he started). Trey and THJ played a lot of minutes last year. If they were a part of a team with more depth, they wouldn't have had to play as much. I'm not saying that they should get less time on the court, but if either of them need a break, we now have players we can send in for them and not lose confidence in the ability of the squad. 

I'm seriously so excited for this team. Stauskas was phenomenal from the bench, the dude rarely misses (you know this). GRIII showed how good he is tonight. Spike is a good sub for Trey, who will also surely be awesome. THJ is now, more than ever, a complete ball player (I was especially impressed with his rebounds and good decision making tonight). McGary had some nice plays in there, especially in offensive rebounds and blocks. Rebounding in general from this squad going forward will be better than it has been in recent memory. What happened to the undersized Michigan teams we've grown to love?

In conclusion, I'm really excited. Having depth this year is going to be awesome. You know how Tigers fans are always asked who their Tiger is? If I was asked who my favorite MBB player was tonight, I would have a hard time answering (in a good way).

PS: I think I'm in the minority, but I don't want McGary to start just yet. He obviously helped the team, and I have no facts to support my opinion, but he just didn't feel like a starter based on tonight's game. I know it's too early, and hopefully he proves me wrong soon.


November 2nd, 2012 at 7:26 AM ^

I sort of agree on him.  Not that I think he isnt good enough to start, he certainly is.  I believe he will almost be a co-starter with Morgan throughout the year.  If he can stay out of foul trouble and knock down his free throws, I could see him in the starting line-up by midseason.  He just plays with so much energy.

Mr. Yost

November 2nd, 2012 at 7:47 AM ^

Unless you start Horford (when healthy) with Morgan.

We have to start 2 of the 3. It's just too much size and rebounding that we give up if we don't.

It also allows Robinson to play SF, which he is.

Then we bring in the shooters at the wing positions off the bench...PG is solved.

His Dudeness

November 2nd, 2012 at 8:14 AM ^

I wish I could have seen this game but it wasn't on tv so I went to the Louisville exhibition last night. Off Topic I know, but they came away with about the same score against a similar walk over opponent. Should be a fun season down here in Kentucky. I hope I can see the Michigan guys on tv as much as possible. Luckily Louisville is in the B1G footprint so we get B1G Network. Anybody but Cal and UK. Please.


November 2nd, 2012 at 9:59 AM ^

It is hard to read too much into a scrimmage against a DII opponent, but UM was very impressive in this game, especially when you consider they did not have their best player.  IU also had their first exhibition game last night, against Indiana Wesleyan.  Putting my Michigan fandom aside, UM was the much more impessive team.  IU trailed for the majority of the first half and still looks below average defensively.  Again, not jumping to conclusions based on one scrimmage game, but if you showed me tape from both the IU and UM games last night, I would have guessed UM was the #1 team in the country, not IU.


November 2nd, 2012 at 9:29 AM ^

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I think McGary will have more trouble with talented bigs than people are realizing at this point. He's got great energy, but he'll need to channel that and play smart. He feel for a number of head-fakes and jab-steps this game, and if he does that against a legit B1G player, he's gonna get burned or get in foul trouble really quickly. I think there will be a definite learning curve for him and I think it'll be more than apparent come B1G conference time. For the same reason, I don't think he'll leave early. I think he'll definitely be back for another year (as will Robinson III).


November 2nd, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

I was especially impressed with Spike and Nick.  Spike will be a legitimate backup and will challenge Walton for the starting PG position next season.  He does not play like a freshman and seems comfortable running the offense. We've all seen the hyped Stauskas youtube videos but seeing him in person gets me even more excited. He will be our best pure shooter since Glen Rice.  I was a little disapointed with McGary.  Given all the hype, I thought he'd dominate.  I love his enthusiasm but he looked awkward on the floor and is certainly not a "one and done" type of talent.  I thought he was the 4th best freshman last night.  Overall, a great win and I can't wait to see them play against better competition.


November 2nd, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

Beilein mentioned following the game that Mitch is a little heavy right now due to some issues with his feet. Hopefully he'll slim down a bit as the season wears on and gain some explosiveness back.

Remember, This is a guy that all the big boys (Duke, Kansas, etc) were after. He'll be just fine. Plus, the great thing is we don't need him to carry the team. Just play D and Rebound. God this team has the potential to be so effing good it's crazy.

Stauskas is a straight baller. Wouldnt be surprised to see him crack the starting lineup by B1G play. Burke, Stauskas, THJ, GR3 and Morgan. That's a crazy athletic and talented lineup.


November 2nd, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

I really don't think we'll see much Morgan/McGary together. Beilein, by all accounts, barely used that lineup last night. Morgan, we know to be foul-prone, and it wouldn't shock me if McGary, a freshman with a high motor, is a bit as well. Beilein has ALWAYS liked 3 guards, and he's always liked a guy at the "4" that can shoot threes.

It's how it goes.

Blue boy johnson

November 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

It will be interesting to see this play out. Currently with McGary and Horford hobbled, definitely going to see more small line-ups, however, against more physical teams, MSU specifically, it makes sense to match McGary and Morgan up with Payne and Nix. Beilein has flexibility and we will see how he deploys it.

If McGary is healthy, he is going to get his minutes, the kid does too many things well others on the team aren't capable of, then throw in his all out hustle, and you have a guy who isn't going to while away on the bench.