Grantland: Michigan touted in CBB Weekend Preview

Submitted by ChiCityWolverine on December 7th, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Grantland writer Shane Ryan gave Michigan high praise in his rundown of the weekend's games to watch:

5. Arkansas at no. 3 Michigan — Saturday, noon, CBS
Between the emergence of exciting freshman Nik Stauskas and the brilliant guard play of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan has quietly become appointment viewing. I like to gripe about their slow pace sometimes, but watching John Beilein's offense presents a rare case in which even a pacist like me can appreciate the execution. I'm still not sure it's the best option for a team of great athletes (the Wolverines are 327th in the nation in tempo), but it's hard to argue with the efficiency. And to be totally fair, they're one of the few slowdown teams that are actually enjoyable to watch. I might live to regret this, but  if I had to pick a title team at this exact moment , Michigan would be my tentative choice. 

I think he makes a good point in that such a talented, athletic team should probably not play so few possessions, but nevertheless the efficiency is nothing to scoff at. It's great to have a team that writers are now considering appointment viewing and a legitmate national title contender!



December 7th, 2012 at 5:24 PM ^

I wonder how much of the "pace" is dictated by the fact that Michigan has so few turnovers and also creates few turnovers.  Most of the possessions on either end of the court end up the product of an actual play and not a broken one. 

I wonder how many more plays per game you'd need to move from the #324 rank into something more mediocre.....


December 7th, 2012 at 6:41 PM ^

I want to say Brian said we were 4.5 possesions or so away from the national average. Another factor I feel is that we aren't great at forcing TOs. Not terrible or anything, but most teams either turn the ball over more than we do or force more TOs than we do. Still, I can't help thinking that we run about as much as we probably should. We could increase pace, but the extra possesions would probably be Hardaway or Burke forcing shots on one end and us trying to rush back on defense on the other. I don't think that'd actually be to our benefit.


December 7th, 2012 at 5:36 PM ^

I thought (in response to moving up in the "tempo rankings") that Brian stated earlier in the week that it wouldn't really take that much to move from the very low ranking we are at into a middle/average tier; what that figure would be I forget, maybe something along the lines of 4 to 5 possessions more per game (?).

I think people across America are really starting to jump on this Michigan bandwagon, if you will.  I think they'r realizing that this team has all the pieces necessary, save for an elite shot-blocker or dominant big man down low (Plumlee or Zeller types), to make a run through March and compete with the usual cream-of-the-crop.  Jordan Morgan is a fine player and the above in now way is a poor reflection on him; he is not elite but is a very good big man especially for this overall athletic Michigan team.


December 7th, 2012 at 5:35 PM ^

I was intrigued with his statement about the pace actually. I hadn't thought about it really. 

Pace will be important tomorrow certainly, but as frenetic as Arkansas plays by all accounts, execution may still win the day against a team like the Razorbacks  that is one of the worst in overall FG%, defensive rebounding and allowed free throws. A "slowdown" team that plays a technically sound game still stands a great chance of beating Arkansas, I would think. As for our own pace at least when it comes to scoring, as of the moment, we're actually averaging ten points more per game than last year, but it seems like we're also shooting far more accurately overall and seem to be much better at rebounding.  

Benoit Balls

December 7th, 2012 at 5:41 PM ^

showed them some love in his Grantland column this week, more specifically being a fan of watching coach Beilein's teams play over the years. He says: much as I've enjoyed watching him coach at West Virginia and Michigan over the years, his current Wolverine team is by far my favorite Beilein squad ever. Even though they have a ton of young stars who have been coddled their entire lives, they already seem to have put their egos aside and developed better chemistry than some teams loaded with upperclassmen. What's most impressive is that hardly any of Michigan's players are one-dimensional, which is becoming a rarity in college basketball.


I hate to admit it, but he is a pretty entertaining read. IIRC, he come out on the record after the whole tattoo kerfluffle saysing that he saw the players drving around in their Chargers and it seemed fishy even to him. Not bad for a Buckeye

/drinks ipecac


December 7th, 2012 at 6:00 PM ^

This paradox of great athletes with slow tempo or fewer trips with high production is very similar to the powerful Indiana teams inthe 70s and 80s.

Hopefully Beilein gets ample credit and UM can recruit more top talent with the offer of "unsexy winning" basketball.

Mr. Yost

December 7th, 2012 at 6:05 PM ^

Michigan has controlled the tempo and been relatively smart in shot decision. I don't look into those tempo ratings, so many things factor into that.


December 7th, 2012 at 8:43 PM ^

Here's one thing I know, having played college basketball... Coaches do not use Kenpom, or Egraphs or any other thing when implementing their philosophy. 

You run what you practice.

Who gives a F what our "Tempo" rating is.