[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan 84, North Carolina 67 Comment Count

Alex Cook November 29th, 2018 at 1:15 AM

Early on, this looked like North Carolina’s type of game. The Tar Heels scored on their first three possessions, set the pace at their preferred tempo, and veteran big man Luke Maye had a couple of buckets. Michigan had to sub out Ignas Brazdeikis after an early foul, and following a few careless turnovers and a few more scores by UNC, the Wolverines trailed 21-11 eight minutes into the contest. At that point, North Carolina was 9-13 shooting from the field and controlled the game.

From there, Michigan went on to outscore the Tar Heels by 27 and blew out their seventh opponent in seven games. UM quickly erased the deficit: it started with an awkward sequence that ended with a Zavier Simpson steal and layup, Iggy scored three the old-fashioned way and hit a spot-up three on consecutive possessions, and Eli Brooks made another three to take the lead. The game began to get more frenetic late in the first half, but it was to Michigan’s advantage as they went on an extended 17-2 run.

North Carolina inadvertently slowed the game down with some fouls and regained the lead; the Wolverines got just one point out of three one-and-one situations (it was a bad night at the line for Michigan, who shot just 11-23). Matthews and Jordan Poole each hit threes on the last possessions of the half though, and UM took a 39-35 lead into the break. Michigan had adjusted to North Carolina’s style, and the defense locked in for the rest of the game - but it was the Wolverine offense that keyed the rout in the second half.



Maye hit the first basket out of halftime on a post hook over Iggy, but Iggy quickly returned the favor by burning him on a backdoor cut from the wing. Jordan Poole hit a tough step-back three late in the shot clock; he set up Iggy for another three; and Simpson lobbed an alley-oop to Jon Teske to prompt a timeout from Roy Williams less than three minutes into the half. At the under-16 timeout, Williams subbed in his entire bench and by the time the starters returned, the deficit was at 18 and the game was basically over.

After UNC reserve guard Leaky Black hit a three to briefly stem the bleeding, he and Matthews started jawing and prompted an intervention from the refs; on the next two possessions, Matthews skied for a put-back dunk and was fouled for a three-point play, and then he blocked a shot from Black into the student section. That sequence was basically the half in microcosm, as the Wolverines dominated at both ends for much of the second stanza.

North Carolina tried to mount a late rally. Cameron Johnson, who entered the game as their leading scorer, was held scoreless (mostly due to the efforts of Matthews) until he made a layup over Iggy and was fouled, missed the free throw and wound up hitting a three on that same possession; Kenny Williams knocked down consecutive threes; a 22-point lead was trimmed in half. After the two teams traded empty possessions, Matthews knocked down a big three to slam the door. On Michigan’s last possession of the game, Poole hit a deep step-back three to beat the shot clock - a fitting conclusion to an extremely impressive performance.



Iggy and Matthews were major catalysts for Michigan, combining for 45 points on just 32 shooting possessions, and they were consistently excellent on both ends throughout the game. Poole scored 15 of his 18 points (and hit four threes) after halftime to provide a huge boost. Jon Teske had just 6 points and 5 rebounds in his season-high 34 minutes, but stepped up with Livers limited by foul trouble. He blocked five shots, was a deterrent around the rim, and made several impressive plays, including corralling freshman phenom Nassir Little (who had a rough night) on a switch and forcing a bad miss.

The Wolverines shot 63% on twos, hit 11 threes, and still finished with a healthy 1.20 points per possession despite the bad free throw shooting. On the other end of the floor, they held the potent Tar Heel offense to under a point per possession, were solid on the defensive glass for most of the game, allowed relatively few transition baskets, and - as usual - contested almost every shot well. Maye and point guard Coby White were inefficient; Johnson and Little had some of the worst games they’ll have all season.

Much like they did in the Villanova game, Michigan staked a compelling claim as one of the best teams in the country with this emphatic win in a marquee game. The Wolverine defense passed a tough test against one of the best offenses they’ll face - and they’ll get another quality offense on Saturday as Carsen Edwards and Purdue come to town on Saturday. Michigan seems poised for a special season, and if the offense clicks like it did tonight, this team has an unbelievably high ceiling. It’s gonna be a fun year.



[Box score after the JUMP]

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Goggles Paisano

November 29th, 2018 at 6:17 AM ^

A "terrible" coach?  This belongs in one of the hawt take football threads.  We were the better coached team yesterday by a long margin, however, this is one of the few or only Beilein teams that look like they have it all together at this early stage of the season.  Williams will have this team playing at a high level when it matters as that is what great coaches do.   

True Blue Grit

November 29th, 2018 at 8:44 AM ^

I really LOVE how Coach B keep exposing these top coaches in the game who frequently have a lot more talent we do.  And yet these talking heads like Vitale keep talking up over the hill coaches like Izzo, Williams, and Boeheim.  Maybe they WERE really good earlier in their careers, but Beilein has passed all of them by and gets very little recognition for it.  So be it.  

L'Carpetron Do…

November 29th, 2018 at 11:39 AM ^

I'm glad Beilein has now added Jay Wright and Roy Williams as notches in his belt. I know a lot of coaches out there have won against these guys at some point (and might even have better records against them) but look at the number of legendary coaches Beilein has now beaten:

Izzo, Billy Donovan, Pitino, Coach K, Jim Boeheim, Painter, Bill Self, Bo Ryan, Jim Calhoun and  a lot more. Pretty impressive. And this might be his best team. Keep it up, Coach. GO BLUE!!!

Michigan has now beaten the last three national champions.


November 29th, 2018 at 9:05 AM ^

I'd like to add that Michigan recruits really well.  There is a ton of NBA talent on UM as well.  Guys like Williams and Calipari rely so much on just getting blue Chip guys and overwhelming you with talent that if they just have pretty good talent, or run into a team with similar levels of talent, it's really hard for them to out game plan the other side.  


November 29th, 2018 at 10:28 AM ^

Putting Roy Williams in with guys like Cal and K is really odd. He's made a living off of four year guys and the UNC fan base has been complaining for years about not getting one and dones despite being a blue blood. Nassir Little only came because Arizona got caught trying to pay him. Their starting lineup has two generic three stars (Johnson, Maye), a fringe top 100 guy (Williams), a guy not in the top 125 (Brooks), and Coby White, who was in the 50's when he committed before shooting up. Their bench has three scholarship guys who were 200's-300's recruits (Platek, Manley, Huffman. edit: Huffman was 300's before the scout merger but appears to be in the 190's now). I'd argue we had just as much talent as UNC with Little being the only player we couldn't match in the rankings.


November 29th, 2018 at 10:29 AM ^

They don't get the same level players as Duke and Kentucky. I wouldn't be surprised if they players we have are around the same rankings as the ones he has (assuming Iggy is a 5 star). I used to coach Maye in AAU and coached against White while he grew up. UNC fans think that he tries to Izzo his freshmen so that they will stay longer. Which is why they haven't had as much success on the high level 1 and done recruits as he used to although it has translated to national championships. North Carolina just has so much talent in the state that the local guys growing up want to play for UNC.


November 29th, 2018 at 1:32 PM ^

Assuming that MBB beats Purdue, we will be top 5.

As for FB, we will go to a NY 6 bowl and end up playing a team ranked between 6-15.  Assuming that we win that, and a few of the teams ranked above us lose, we would likely slip into the top 5 there, as well.

Having top 5 teams in BB and FB would be pretty awesome. Said differently, It's Great To Be A Michigan Wolverine.


November 29th, 2018 at 7:02 AM ^

Wow, what an amazing team.

Over the years, Beilein-ball has evolved through several phases:

- Perimeter passing and threes or back door cuts . . . "Outside-In",

- Drive to the rim and score or kickout for threes . . . "Inside-Out",

- The introduction of true Centers that can play back-to-the-basket ball on offense and defense,

- All-in defensive pressure at all positions.

This is the first team that has all of those personalities, and all at once.

They can do it all:  Beilein threes, Princeton back door cuts, Kentucky athletic drives to the rim, Wisconsin trees at Center, Havoc defense . . . all in the same game.

And they can switch in and out of these modes at will, whenever they need to.

I've never seen anything like it.

Now if they can just mix in some good old fashioned Catholic school free throws, they can be dominant in any environment.



November 29th, 2018 at 7:13 AM ^

I was just going to say the same thing. This team seems capable of playing any style of basketball. Shots not falling? Win a 54-51 slugfest? Uptempo shootout? Sure. We can score with you too. 3s not falling? Matthews mid-range, Teske inside, and Iggy drives can still get buckets.

And they play HARD.

(The FT thing is very weird. Z is understandable. But everyone else on the team can shoot a little bit. Just bizarre.)

It's also a reminder that sometimes patience is a virtue. Not even two years ago, a large section of Michigan fans were openly wondering if John Beilein should be fired. That is not the case anymore.



November 29th, 2018 at 7:47 AM ^

There were some rough periods in the early John Beilein tenure.  But he never stood still.  He innovated and adapted. 

He seemed at first to be just a "system" guy, but clearly that's not true. 

He will do what it takes to win, and if what it takes changes, then he will adapt and do that too.

I'd like to see Harbaugh and company learn a lesson from that . . . 


November 29th, 2018 at 11:13 AM ^

RichRod springs immediately to mind as a system guy.  A good coach adapts to the strengths of his players.  A "system" coach chooses his players to match what he already knows how to do.

There were a number of people who criticized the Beilein hire because they didn't believe he'd know how to coach the kind of athletes he could recruit to Michigan.  I think they've been proven wrong, decisively.


November 29th, 2018 at 9:27 AM ^

I never called for Beilein to be fired but have always took him to task. The post is absolutely true JB has adapted and it’s a great summary and post.  He’s a much better coach today. The offense he used to run with Morris where the ball didn’t touch the paint for 4-5 possessions in a row was mind blowing.  

The defense, I don’t know if it’s the coaching or the talent or both but this is the best defensive team since I’ve been watching in the mid 80’s.  

Last night the only thing that I didn’t understand about the coaching was the decision to leave the key open on FT’s. Then we did put people on the lane, they retreated as soon as the shot went up. If you’re going to stink at free throw shooting, why not try to stay home and make something happen with the rebound?  Probably has something to do with fear of loose ball fouls but rebounds off ft’s happen all the time and they’re back breaking for an opponent. 


November 29th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

This, exactly.  

Beilein took over a crap program that had good history from two decades prior and it took him until his 6th year to get past the 2nd round of the tournament.  The first 5 years were a somewhat steady build.  We stuck with him during those early years, and once the program finally had some long-term stability - i.e. not changing coaches every few years - the wins, deep runs into the tournament, Big Ten Championships and title game appearances came.  But, it didn't happen over night and the road wasn't perfectly smooth.

Now look at Michigan football.  While many of us want to think of Michigan as a top FB program, when Harbaugh took over, we were not that.  We were a shit show that had changed coaches three times in 8 years, was losing to MAC schools (and worse, Rutgers), and was fourth or fifth in our division.  Harbaugh did not inherit the Michigan football program of Bo, Mo and Carr (even late Carr).  What he inherited was pretty close to what Beilein inherited - a team with a long-ago good history, but that had lost its way and was generally a disaster.  

While Beilein did get some pretty good results by his second season in terms of getting us on a better path, it took him several years to have any real success.  Compare that to Harbaugh who came in and had 3 ten-win seasons in his first four (and the fourth was with JOK at QB).  A win in our NY6 bowl and we likely finish ranked around 5-6 for the reason.  In his fourth year.  

For those who want Harbaugh out because he has the nerve to be 0-4 against a team that is currently playing at a historic level, take a look at what Beilein accomplished in his first few seasons and where the BB program is now.