Days Later: State of Michigan Basketball...Thoughts?

Submitted by Mr. Yost on February 14th, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Now that the storm is over and some people have had a couple days to come down from meltdown status...I wanted to see how fellow MGoUser's felt about the basketball team, the season thus far and the remainder of the season.

Are we still as confident? What would you change? What are your thoughts?

We've got a few more days until the next game, so...discuss.



February 14th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Yes I'm confident but JB needs to use these next few games to get the defense in order and pick the freshman up a bit.  Getting Morgan back healthy will be a big boost.  I think the team just needs to get a little confidence back.


February 14th, 2013 at 1:23 PM ^

They got their butts kicked in one game.  Get over it already. It happens.  We have a young team with growing pains.  Before the season started, I would have been happy with where we are now. Better to learn some pain now and be better equipped for March.

Mr. Yost

February 14th, 2013 at 1:25 PM ^

I'll admit, I've been put off by everything "sports related" since that MSU debacle. I haven't even watched SportsCenter. Wasn't mad, wasn't upset, just put off.

With that, it's time to move on from what was the toughest gauntlet in schedule history.

Before we main thought after these last few games. Win or lose. "Fuck you B1G schedule makers...f-u-c-k YOU." That was completely unnecessary, likely unfair, and unrealistic to think any team could've gone through a stretch we went through and come out alive. We can win an National Championship and it'll be easier than what we just did. Not just the opponents, but playing on the road, the 9pm games, the lack of time between games to prepare. We were just dead by the time we got to East Lansing...I guarantee we haven't been practicing or practicing heavy since, we're tired.

Now, moving forward...THANK YOU B1G schedule makers!! I'm not going to go as far as to say we need to start McLimas, Max B, Vogrich, LeVert and Albrecht...but those guys should see increased minutes vs. PSU in 2 of the upcoming 3 games.

In the end, IF we can get our legs back. I think we're going to be even better down the stretch. IF this happens. I don't see us losing another regular season game. It's going to be difficult, but somehow we have to recharge and reset. Do that, and we're fine. This is still a GREAT, not good team. Win out and they're elite.

Lastly, maybe some of the Jordan Morgan haters can shut up now. He's always been an anchor on this team and he's sorely missed. His leadership, defensive ability and rebounding is exactly what we've needed over this stretch.

5 Things I'd like to see...

  1. Play the bench extensive minutes vs. PSU (both times) - also, try and get up on Illinois and get the bench some minutes there so we can rest the main rotation.
  2. Play 2 "bigs" more often...our rebounding has been horrible as of late.
  3. Don't be so quick to pull players when they foul.
  4. Switch to zone more often. Even if it's just for a couple possessions.
  5. A formal letter to Jim Delany with a copy of Coach B's middle finger scanned over our schedule.


February 14th, 2013 at 4:32 PM ^

This post is exactly how I feel. I agree that the guys are tired and have hit a wall (save Trey). How could you not with the gauntlet we just went through?

That said, I'd be in favor of reducing minutes a little bit but I'm not sure that's really necessary. We have until Sunday (5 days rest) until Penn State at home, then an entire until our next game vs Illinois followed by the away game vs Penn State the following Wednesday.

Regardless of how many minutes each guy plays in those games there is plenty of time to get their legs back. We only see the games so we forget about the fact that these guys practice nearly every day. I trust that Beilein will have them as close to 100% for the MSU game.


February 14th, 2013 at 1:32 PM ^

I think now that my expectations are lowered for this team, for some reason or another I am more excited about them. Let's face it, people were hyping us up to high heaven and it's simply the case that we are not an elite team. The way I see it is: we have the tools to be a dark horse contender and make a deep run in the tourney. If it it doesn't happen, no biggie. I'm just excited to see how this enigma of a team develops and rounds out the season. In other words, life is too short to have expectations in sports.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:03 PM ^

We're a very good team. Elite? Dunno about that, man. We have too many weaknesses that extend beyond just mental toughness to be considered an elite team. Michigan has an extremely skilled bunch of players but they lack the size and athleticism of the usuals such as Florida, Duke , MSU, Kansas. We lack an inside game both defensively and offensively and our perimiter defending is just unpleasant (to say the least). Again, they are good enough to surpise fans and make a deep run in the tourney but we are also one of those teams that could easily be upset in the early rounds. It all comes down to momentum and matchups.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^

This team isn't physical, the defense is average at best, and the offense is usually pretty good but blows hot and cold. We look more like a typical 3-4 seed than a championship contender.

In all seriousness, all of this is fine considering that freshmen have played more than half the minutes. The program is in excellent shape. But we should not kid ourselves that this is an elite team.

Wolverine Devotee

February 14th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

5 years ago: 10-22; worst season in program history.

5 years later: Currently 21-4, ranked in the top-5 and haven't lost at home. Good shot at a 1 seed and a conference title STILL.


The Geek

February 14th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

We all knew this 4-game stretch was going to be hell... Expected to win at Wisconsin and didn't expect to get blown at Breslin...

We have a great opportunity to learn from these tough losses and put a nice run together. Beating Sparty and the Hoosiers at home will show me what this team  is made of. If we can finish strong,  I still have the expectation this team will make the Final Four. A huge accomplishment considering where we've come from.

There are a lot of very good basketball teams right now, including Miami, Indiana, Florida, Michigan State and Gonzaga. Michigan is still included in that group even with the tough road trip behind us.


February 14th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

We have a basketball team?? jk were gonna be fine Beilein knows what hes doing n i think he'll have the team rested and ready to go against Penn St. I think Michigan sweeps the last 6 games and gets a share of the Big ten title with MSU and Indiana

Benoit Balls

February 14th, 2013 at 2:04 PM ^

so as a result, am now not so low.  They were playing out of their minds, and while it was awesome (and somewhat cathartic) to watch, regression to the mean was inevitable.  Still a sweet sixteen team, with a shot to make it to the Final Four. No other team is 10 feet tall and bulletproof, so in the words of Alfred E. Newman, "What, me worry?"


February 14th, 2013 at 1:51 PM ^

at the start of the season.  Its clear that have a lot of offensive talent, but they are very young and lacking defensive toughness.  They pretty much have to win out to have a shot at a split B1G championship which will be very tough to do.  That Wiscy game was a real dagger to those hopes.

The good news is that there is still a lot of basketball left to make incrimental improvements in their deficiencies.  That coupled with the fact that the NCAA tourney is played at nuetral sites with more stringent officiating keeps me optomistic this team has a good shot to reach the Elite Eight. 


February 14th, 2013 at 2:02 PM ^

If they can't bounce back I don't think this team is much better than last year's team. Way higher ceiling than 2011-2012 obviously but lacking in the way of leadership and experience. On a side note though, I don't see why so many people believe that the team didn't suffer somewhat from a lack of effort Tuesday night. Remember how much talent we've been saying this team has - do you really think that whenever THJ has a bad shooting day and we play in a hostile environment we should lose by 30? The team threw in the towel against an arch-rival, which I just don't think bodes very well down the stretch. Now, the lack of effort may be tied to to inexperience and I can understand why they would have been compelled to mail it in, but I just have a hard time believing that this team could ever lose by 30 giving 100% effort, no matter where the game is played...


February 14th, 2013 at 4:51 PM ^

GR3 is the key. When he is playing at a high level it opens up so much for this team. Takes the opposing teams 4 man away from the interior which opens up driving/cutting lanes.

While the MSU game was beyond horrible there is still hope for a deep run if we can get GR3 and Stauskas going. I think people are forgetting how ridiculously good this team has been for 95% of the season.

I may be a crazy homer but if we can get back to playing as well as we were merely 2-3 weeks ago then we can make a deep run in the tourney. Hell, anyone in the Top 15 or so could make a deep run this year.


February 14th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

Not sure Novak would have helped much. Just seemed like one of those games tbh. Extremely young team on the road with short rest after a crushing loss.


MSU played out of their minds, shot the lights out, threw in some garbage shots while we couldn't hit anything. We turned it over a ton, they didn't (We need to stop having our bigs catch the ball at the top of the three point arc trying to make thread the needle cross court passes. Seemed like we had about 10 turnovers doing that) We clearly didn't match their intensity. There was a play early on where Hardaway had a chance to foul I think Valentine on breakaway and he just moved out of the way to let them get a uncontested layup. Right after that they clobber Morgan when he had an open look at the rim. I pretty much knew it was gonna be a rough game then.


But we are out of the brutal schedual stretch now and have a good chance to finish strong.
Getting hot and going on a run late is most important.

Rather be on BA

February 14th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

Still pretty bummed to be honest.  That performance has really shaken my confidence in this team; they showed no heart or competitive streak.  Hopefully they can pull it together, because we all know the talent is there to make a serious run, but talent is only half the battle.

Go Blue.


February 14th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^


I feel pretty good about them basically being at home for over 2 weeks. I'd be pretty shocked and disappointed if they laid another egg in the regular season.

The B10 and NCAA tournaments are going to be a free for all, I'm not going to act like I know what the hell is going to happen with any team let alone U-M.

Not making it to the Semi's in the B10 and the Sweet 16 would be very depressing. Anything after that is a sucess IMO.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:04 PM ^

From the standpoint of overall record, I'll take 21-4 with six games remaining and for of those being at home. It still believe it is entirely feasible to finish strong here with a relatively relaxing stretch against Penn State and Ilinois coming up. Included in that as well are some stretches of down time where they reall can study film and work to shore up the defensive play as well as build the team up again after a grueling part of the schedule.

We did go 1-3 in those four games, but against teams with efficient defenses that were able to take us out of our offense, and as others have said, this is a young team being asked to play in difficult environments for the first time really - with experience and continued work, these things will definitely moderate. The next few games will hopefully give this team some time to take what they've learned and apply it in preparation for things to come. There's definitely room and time to improve. 

I am still optimistic about this team and its potential going forward and I am still pretty confident that we could potentially make a nice run once the middle of March comes around. Further, at least statistically at this point, at least a share of the conference title is not at all out of the question. Much can happen to any team as everyone plays out the last three weeks or so of the season.



February 14th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

still had us in his top four this morning on Mike & Mike:  Indiana, Michigan, Miami and Florida, as I recall.  We'll be fine.  That one game was a disaster and against the one team none of want to have thump us, but it was one game.  What is it that they say?  Something like don't let one game give you more than one loss?

PB-J Time

February 14th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

1 loss...counts as 1 loss...hurts a lot more but at the end of the season it will count in the standings the same as outplaying Wisky but dying by halfcourt & will be regarded similarly to Duke vs. Miami and TCU/Kansas.

This next game won't tell us much as PSU stinks. Hopefully though GRIII can snap out of it and get into a groove becuase for U-M to accomplish anything at this point they need some production out of the 4 spot.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:15 PM ^

Lake effect after the blizzard: I think Michigan is still a top ten team. They're in a slump right now but have a chance to pull it together once Morgan comes back. As long as they can make it to the tourney as a 2 seed, I will still be confident with a run at least to the elite 8. If they lose a to MSU and Indiana again in the regular season and bow out early in the Big Ten tourney, then they will be lucky to see the sweet 16. Getting wins against quality opponents to end the regular season is pivotal since I truly believe that winning the Big Ten tourney could be more challenging than a run to the final 4.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

on the away court influence.  Yes, it is harder for all teams to win on the road, but MSU would have beaten us on a neutral court or at Crisler the way they played us Tuesday.  And they will be hard to beat at our place if they play as well as they did at East Lansing.

I think we have 3 major issues:

1. Youth.  Speaks for itself.  We started 3 Freshmen against MSU and regularly play 4 in our top 7 rotation (and none of them are 5 star, one-and-done type players).  Only time and experience will solve the youth problem.

2. Physical teams playing a pressure defense.  MSU, OSU and to some degree, Wisconsin play a get in your face, put a body on you and push you out past the 3 point line.  UM has struggled passing the ball, let alone getting good shot opportunities when teams do this to us.  Illinois, Minnesota and IU will run with us and try to beat us that way, and that gives us a chance.  The rest of the Big Ten doesn't have the talent to hang  with us no matter how they play us, but teams like MSU will be a problem until we figure out how to run our offense against them.

3.  Defense.  We play okay, but not great defense.  We aren't going to beat teams with defense the way we have been playing it.  We are slow to rotate when the ball is reversed, which gives shooters wide open, take you time 3 point attempts.  Our post defense is not the greatest either.

We are having a great season, but are not in a good position to win the big ten.  I think we will finish 13-5 or 12-6 and that likely won't be good enough to win it.

I think we could still make a good tournament run depending on the type of teams we face.  GO BLUE.

Naked Bootlegger

February 14th, 2013 at 2:50 PM ^

I agree that MSU would've stomped us on a neutral court on Tuesday.   But there are distinct home court advantages in the B1G that can't be overlooked.   Just look at Wisconsin's record at the Kohl Center.   They have something like a .91 winning percentage at that place.   A lot of elite teams have crumbled in Madison since the Kohl Center opened.



February 14th, 2013 at 2:25 PM ^

I feel extremely fortunate that I get to watch this team while I am still in school.  They are young, and at times they have played like it, but this team has been so much better than I could have predicted when the year started. 

This team may not be the best team in the country, but I am still proud that I consider them to be my team.  I'm looking forward to a run in March. 


February 14th, 2013 at 2:38 PM ^

I'm not surprised they got killed by MSU. MSU was gonna be hyped and 2nd road trip in 4 days, 4 tough games in 11 days w/ 3 roadtrips, coming off a really tough loss etc. They looked tired even before MSU. My biggest gripe this season is that GR3 and Stauskas have been playing too many minutes. I know they are the best options but the minutes are too high IMO for freshman. Not enough off-ball movement and sloppy defense but I think those are caused by guys with tired legs. With only two games in two weeks and both at home between MSU and @PSU we should get some rest and energy back. Bad teams and rest will make this team look a whole lot better. 

Beilein needs to say something about the rough play before the MSU game. He probably won't as he is too classy but if ever there is a time to bring focus to that it is before we play them at home. 

The defense is a big concern. We are now last in the conference is 2Point % D and 10th in eFG%. Either that is indicative of missing Morgan more than we thought we would or we just are not that good defensively. Probably a bit of both. A lot of the interior problems are team defense mistakes but those are forced by the perimeter guys not being that good.

It still won't take much for us to tie for the conference title. We just need to win at home and have MSU beat IN and then OSU beat MSU.

Tournaments are weird things and while I think that Indiana is a little bit better than us (maybe Florida too?) we are more or less as good as anyone else in the country.  

Purdue may be a trap game since it is sandwiched in between MSU and Indiana. Still, we should win. And we are basically done with road games otherwise. No more home whistles and home crowds against good teams.

Need a bit more physicality. Not sure that that is gonna happen this year, probably not. 

I hope Walton and Irvin are good defenders. We won't be as good offensively next year but in the long term we can make up for Burke and possibly Hardaway leaving by replacing guys who are not as good at D with better defenders. I also hope those guys can create off the dribble because right now Burke is the only guy doing that and he'll be gone next year. 

Will be interesting to see what happens long term with the mix of post players and the 4 spot. Obviously depends on whether Hardaway goes pro. But if GR3 stays and Hardaway goes and you keep GR3 at the 4 then you have Irvin/Stauskas starting at 2/3 and LeVert has to sub in for both spots w/ Walton/Albrecht at point. Then GR3 at the 4 w/ one of the bigs as his backup. If you have a roster of 11 guys, assuming Burke and Hardaway gone, don't see how you can have 5 of the 11 sharing 1 post spot between Donnal, Morgan, Horford, McGary and Bielfeldt. I expect we'll have to consider playing 2 bigs more of the time w/ McGary or Donnal at the high post and possibly move GR3 to the 3. Or else bring in a last second recruit to play the wing but that is unlikely to be a high level player. Lots of variables but this roster looks like it is drifting to be more of a traditional one with a bigger 4 rather than what Beilein has been running. It's been fascinating to watch his system evolve as the talent gets better and I've been amazed at how adaptable he is.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:36 PM ^

Youth may be an issue but its not like every other top team is playing with SRs. Here are my observations.

We can't play in a set offense, our guys rely on motion to get spacing. When we can't pick and roll out bigs, we're screwed.

Nobody but Burke wants to take a shot when the games close. We often play timid on O resulting in shooting a force three.

Our D is mediocre. No effort, no rotation. Easy buckets.

Coach B has got to coach better in the late minutes of a game with the lead. There's no reason to take 3s possession after possession when up 5-7 pts with 2 mins left.

Ultimately I think we end up a 2 seed and make a run to the elite 8 or so, I just don't think we can play D well enough or get points in the paint to go all the way.


February 14th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

A few facts to consider:

Michigan has the easiest close to their schedule - 4 home games and 2 roads game (PSU & Purdue)

Michigan is undefeated this season thusfar at Crisler

We're all going to feel pretty silly in a few weeks when we've run the table on our last 6 games and earned a share of the conference title.


February 14th, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^



February 14th, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

I think they have had a great season so far. However, I'm still dissapointd because at one point I thought this was a final 4 caliber team. The last 4 games have changed me mind.

SirJack II

February 14th, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

I do not think this is an elite team. Indiana looked cleanly better than us, and so has Ohio State. The offense wilts whenever we face a good defense. MSU... well, given what we saw this weekend it seems to me that if we play them 100 times, we'll get clobbered 100 times. Here's hoping I'm wrong.


February 14th, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^

thrilled if Michigan was 2nd or 3rd in the B1G and a possible 2nd or 3rd seed in the NCAA before the season started. So it was a fun ride going undefeated but the reality of being a very young team is sinking in.  The program is still on the upswing and we will be competing for the B1G championship for years to come!


February 14th, 2013 at 3:46 PM ^

I recall one past UM team that started the season ranked #3 (comparable to this year's rank #5).  That team rose to as high as #2 (just as this year's rose to #1).  Then, that team, like this year's, ran into trouble in the mid to late season.  Their rank fell to #13.   The team finished the regular season ranked #10 (which may not be too much worse than where UM is ranked this coming Monday). 

Talk about disappointment: just as this year's team has thus far fallen from a projected #1 seed in the NCAA tourney, that year's team fell from a #1 seed--and #2 national ranking-- all the way to a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament..  What happened?  Critics pointed fingers everywhere--from the players to the coaches, especially the HC. Indeed, it was so bad that it would have made a coach wonder if he had the right job. Yet, the worst was yet to come.  The doom and gloom in Crisler Arena was so bad that it would, seemingly, have made Fritz Crisler turn over in his grave. 

Just before the NCAA tournament, the HC was found to have accepted a job elsewhere.  And he would not even coach the team through the tourney.  Shockingly,  before he could finish coaching the team through the NCAA's and then leave, he was abruptly "fired" by the AD. 

You'd think that the loss of their leader would have crushed the sprits of that team. With the situation far worse than it it now, the team certainly would fall apart;  the players give up, all hope vanish.

But by now, I am sure you have guessed what happened.…