Wolverine Hoops at 8-2 Comment Count

Tim December 15th, 2010 at 5:09 PM

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Photos from MGoBlue.com

The Michigan basketball team has continued to roll in games held anywhere other than Atlantic City. Darius Morris and Jordan Morgan are showing that they're a force to be reckoned with. Stu Douglass is sniping away from distance, as Tim Hardaway Jr. has cooled down a bit. Expectations for this Wolverine squad have been revised (slightly) upward - it's looking like a potential NIT team.

Utah

Michigan 75, Utah 64. Michigan 7-2.

The game against Utah was as thorough a beatdown as I can remember Michigan putting on any decent team in the past couple years. With the help of a couple early calls against the Utes, Jordan Morgan held a couple decent big men - even if Foster doesn't have much offensive production, he's still six freakin' inches taller than Morgan - in check. The game was never really as close as the 75-64 score makes it seem.

Darius Morris continued to show that he's improved by leaps and bounds since last year (partially due to the departures of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims giving him a higher usage rate). His only turnover was a failed alley-oop attempt to Jon Horford that Beilein attributes to Horford. He added 10 assists and 4 steals to go along with his 19 points on 57.7 eFG%.

Nobody else jumps off the page statistically, though Stu Douglass's 0/4 night from three is a letdown considering how hot he'd been shooting the ball. Matt Vogrich seems to have found his shooting stroke over the past few games, and he's been getting more minutes accordingly.

Individuals v. Utah
Players Minutes Delta
Darius Morris 37:39 14
Zack Novak 34:26 6
Tim Hardaway 29:52 0
Stu Douglass 21:21 4
Matt Vogrich 18:46 10
Jordan Morgan 16:56 4
Jon Horford 14:57 3
Evan Smotrycz 10:00 3
Blake McLimans 7:10 6
Eso Akunne 5:57 4
Colton Christian 2:56 1
Totals 200:00 55

Speaking of Vogrich, he had a massively impressive performances in plus/minus (see the full chart at right). Of course, Darius Morris is killin' it, as he was +14 in a game that the team won by 11, meaning the Wolverines were -3 in the 2:21 he wasn't on the court. Tim Hardaway's up-and-down night is evidenced by his 0.

Using only one game of data means there's plenty of noise. For example, Jon Horford would have been higher had he not been on the court in the stretch late in the game when Michigan was content to let Utah chip away at a massive lead. Despite not accomplishing much on the scoresheet, Horford had something of a breakout performance.

If you want to see the data, and individual lineup effectiveness, you can check out the spreadsheet. Before Michigan enters conference play, I'll put together a total non-conference (minus Kansas) table with the minutes played and plus/minus of individuals and lineups. The most effective lineup against the Utes was Morris-Douglass-Vogrich-Novak-McLimans, which was +9 in 3:18. The most used lineup was Morris-Douglass-Hardaway-Novak-Horford, which played 7:49 and finished -3. Most of that came late in the game, as mentioned above.

NC Central Recap

Michigan 64, NC Central 44. Michigan 8-2.

As Brian pointed out on Twitter last night, as ugly as the game was, it fell right in line with Ken Pomeroy's score prediction. Coming in, I had hoped the Wolverines would finally bludgeon an overmatched opponent, but they kept up their habit of playing down to the competition, especially in the first half. The Wolverines were bombing away from three, even when it wasn't the smartest play at the time, and they could have attacked the rim (especially on the break). In the second half, they made smarter plays, got hotter from outside, and took advantage of NC Central's curious move away from the zone that had stifled Michigan's offense in the first half.

Darius Morris and Jon Horford were the stars of the show for Michigan, as Darius had 12 points to lead Michigan, along with 3 assists and a steal to only one turnover, and Jon was just a missed free throw and a rebound away from his first career double-double. As the season goes on, you'll see more of Horford as he learns the game and develops physically. Thus far, he's made the most of his opportunities.

With Michigan's offense struggling early in the game, I was surprised to see McLimans come in as the first big off the bench rather than Horford, and also that Beilein didn't try to get Vogrich into the game sooner, as he'd been hot from the field (though that decision was apparently the correct one, as Matt was 0/3).

At the end of the day, Michigan played poorly against a bad opponent, and was still able to basically meet expectations. Take the win, and move on to the next one. Up next, the Wolverines face Oakland noon Saturday in Crisler Arena. The Golden Grizzlies are hot off a road upset of #7 Tennessee, so Michigan certainly can't play this poorly and come away with a good result. OU preview drops Friday.

Comments

Michigan4Life

December 15th, 2010 at 5:45 PM ^

temper their expectation of the team.  They're not a NCAA tourney team yet.  They may or may not be a NIT team.  As of now, they're more of a NIT team than a NCAA tourney team.

Have they exceeded expectations?  Yes.  The future is bright for the young Michigan team that has no senior on the roster.

We will see what they're really made of when they start playing Big 10 games.  Big 10 is going to be tough with a lot of NCAA tourney teams.  I'm still expecting a 6-7 wins in the conference play which would be enough for Michigan to get into the NIT IMO.  Anything more than 7 wins would be gravy.

panthera leo fututio

December 15th, 2010 at 11:43 PM ^

I definitley appreciate the work that Dylan puts in, but  it would be great to see someone who can actually break down the mechanics of a basketball game at a level of detail and understanding comparable to what Brian brings to UFRs.  Dylan's reporting is admirable, but I see little in the way of real analysis on his site.

panthera leo fututio

December 16th, 2010 at 3:23 PM ^

I enjoy reading the stuff that David posts, and I think lots of it is really good.  His article today on three-point shooting, for example, is definitely the sort of thing I'd love to see more of.  I just haven't gotten the impression that his analysis represents a sizeable proportion of the total material on the site.

It turns out that I have watched basketball and football games before, and I realize they differ in their discretization.  Which is why I used the phrase "comparable to".  I'd just like to see a similar discussion of the nuances of games (both in terms of team schematics and individual performances) and of how those nuances aggregate into final results.  Generally speaking, I don't think that the current site is very strong at this.

I don't mean to be a dick, and I'm being very sincere when I say that I appreciate the work that Dylan does, but I definitely think that there's still an open niche for Michigan basketball analysis.

Sparkle Motion

December 15th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

assuming we lose to KU and beat the other two out of conference, then going 6-12 in the big ten leaves us at 16-15 before the B10 tournament.   If we lose to Oak then we would need 7 wins.  

Good news is the two games we miss this year are against stronger teams (we only play purdue and Ill once each) and we have 2 games against all the weaker teams.  Of course they are all happy to have two games against us....

MGoShoe

December 15th, 2010 at 7:40 PM ^

...on Jordan Morgan here.

The Michigan Wolverines Basketball team has surprised some people during the early going this season. One of the reasons for their strong start has been the outstanding play of Jordan Morgan. “He’s a beast out there,” said Blake McLimans. A redshirt freshman, Morgan has seized control of the starting center position with his tremendous and well-rounded play. “I don’t think you can undervalue him,” said Zack Novak. “I don’t think people realize how strong he really is. He’s getting offensive rebounds, he’s creating havoc, he’s finishing down low. It’s a whole new dynamic. We never had a real banger. It’s a world of difference.”

Morgan has worked extremely hard and his efforts are paying off on the court. “It goes back to our training staff, John DoRosario, Jon Sanderson and his staff, strength and conditioning work together,” said Assistant Coach Bacari Alexander.  “When you look at his before and after photos, he’s done a tremendous job of changing his body. Now what I’ve done with Coach Beilein is help him develop a game. He’s getting his confidence because he’s in better shape than most of his opponents each night. It’s really a testament to his ability to be coachable.”

Through 10 games Morgan is averaging 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He also ranks 2nd in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (61.6) and offensive rebounding (3.44).

capnsam

December 15th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

As much as I want to look forward to an NCAA berth this year, right now I'm just content to enjoy these young guys improve and enjoy the game of basketball.

MeijerWolverine

December 15th, 2010 at 10:43 PM ^

I've caught most of the games thus far and I've been impressed by the array of scorers. It just takes one or two of those shooters to get hot and the team has a chance to upset a few teams.

goblubigguy

December 16th, 2010 at 9:54 AM ^

That Coach Beilein can put together a winning team with his kind of recruits?  It seems like an impressive beginning to a season that was not so promising due to the youth.

ijohnb

December 16th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

pre-conference record gives this team a reasonable shot at the NCAA tournament.  I disagree that the tourney is only the stuff of fairy tails at this point.  Actually watching this team play, I really think that they will be a bubble team for the NCAA tourney if they beat Oakland on Saturday.  While I would not have said that at the beginning of the season in any regard, they are not the team that I thought they were.  i think they are balanced, disciplined, and I think that Darius Morris is better than just better than we thought last year, he is a very good player, period.  All due respect to Manny and Deshawn, this team appears to have dropped some dead weight, and I think there is reason to be excited. 

jmblue

December 16th, 2010 at 1:34 PM ^

Bryant should be an easy win, so if we can beat Oakland, we'll probably finish 10-3 out of conference, with two losses to top 10 teams.  That would leave us in decent shape.  If we could manage to go .500 in league play, we would probably get a bid.  Is .500 doable?  I don't know, but I don't think people should rule it out completely.  If you knew nothing about how last season went, and just looked at the facts of this year - a young team with a very talented point guard that is 8-2 - would you really dismiss it out of hand?