M Hoops - First Take

Submitted by ijohnb on November 14th, 2012 at 7:47 AM

I follow Michigan basketball intently, however life's demands rarely allow me the time to seach for some obscure media outled-feed-stream type thingy to watch the early season exhibitionish slate, so last night was my first look at the madness taking place inside Crisler.  I have followed Michigan basketball intently, suffering along with Courtney Sims and Lester Abram in an empathatic fashion as opposed to at their expense in those years, and was anxious to take a look at this team.

For those that follow this blog primarily for football with a little basketball and hockey thrown in their during slow times, it is time to pay attention to Michigan basketball.  I understand "Cleveland State, consider the opponent, don't get ahead of yourselves etc." and agree with all of that, but what Beilien trotted out there last night has the making of an elite basketball team, not next year, or once "these guys mature," also known in college basketball as the team that struggles for 4 seed and goes out in the second round, but in the Kentucky, Final Four, did you see that dunk kind of way.  And the chemistry that is already evidenced with so many new faces is the kind of thing that creates special teams.  I am excited about taking this show to Madison Square Garden, and I think Michigan maybe the show as opposed to part of it.  These guys are good and this team may have been worth the long, long wait that hoops fans have endured to see Crisler really rocking again.


His Dudeness

November 14th, 2012 at 8:02 AM ^

Try not to get ahead of yourself here, but I agree they can grow into an elite team if they keep up the intensity they showed last night. When the best players on the team are diving for loose balls (TWSS) and taking charges when the team is up 30 in the second half that is quite a thing.

The guys also seem to play together very smoothly. I assume that is from playing together on the AAU squad  for some of them. This team is young though and with youth comes incredible potential and incredible risk for... well... you already know.  


November 14th, 2012 at 8:02 AM ^

I don't post often but follow this blog daily!  What I saw last night looked like a team that has been playing together for years.  It's going to be a fun ride for sure!


Go Blue!


November 14th, 2012 at 8:26 AM ^

Although this should be its own topic, if any MgoBloggers frequent UMHoops.com, I strongly suggest that you give a little to their own donation drive. They do a great job there, and with an up-and-coming team like we have now, an invaluable resource...PLEASE DONATE like we know that MgoBlog can


November 14th, 2012 at 8:57 AM ^

I didn't think Michigan played well. At all. Played pretty good defense for the most part, but we had a TON of mistakes. And yes, Cleveland State, but we absolutely dominated. Despite wasting a ton of possessions. As this team improves and starts clicking, we're going to be awful scary. Hopefully we put it all together in March.

Blue boy johnson

November 14th, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

This is not necessarily directed at you but.....

Basketball is a game of mistakes, missed shots, poor decisions in real time, bad execution... In short there are a multitude of things that can and will go wrong over the course of a bball game. When you have a team with one senior playing significant minutes; Shit gonna happen. If you want to enjoy this tremendous product know as M basketball, then roll with the "TON of mistakes", because that's basketball. You ever play against a bunch of very athletic, aggressive, inspired kids like Cleveland State rolled out last night? Can be a frustrating proposition, and M was up 42-14 at the half. All I could do was smile at what I was witnessing.


November 14th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

I'm happy to see the team Beilein has put together and the results so far this year have been great. That said, there will be some moments this year when you ask what happened. Check out the second half scoring last night (I think it was 35 - 33). And that was not all junk baskets at the end. Cleveland St played even in the second half.  You can point out 42 - 14 all you want, I gaurantee Beilein had a  long talk with the team last night about closing out. That's the difference between a true Final Four contender and just a tournament team.

Brown Bear

November 14th, 2012 at 9:05 AM ^

I read on espn that the last time we won three games in a row by 30 points or more was 1988. Impressive to say the least.....oh yea I believe we won something that year as well.


November 14th, 2012 at 10:05 AM ^

about Vogrich starting.  Although I'm a big fan of Matt, watching him the past five games is a little painful.  Last night we were all rooting for him to make a three-pointer.  He finally got on the board with a bunny under the basket, but went 0-fer from three land.  

It looks like the coaches are giving Matt every opportunity to keep his starting position.  IMO, Nik looks better after five games in the lineup then Matt.  Nice problem to have trying to figure out if a Senior or a Freshman gets more minutes.


November 14th, 2012 at 10:33 AM ^

I like Stauskas coming off the bench.  He can keep the scoring going while some of the starters are getting some rest.  If you start Stauskas, all the bench guys are just so-so offensive players.  McGary can score a little bit, but I don't know if he can create for himself; he needs someone to get him the ball on the fast break, or he needs to score second-chance points.


November 14th, 2012 at 11:48 AM ^

of having a good offensive players coming off the bench to give a offensive boost especially against 2nd team.  Look at Manu Ginobilli, James Harden(before OKC/Houston trade).  They are very talented player but comes off the bench.  They obviously logged heavy minutes and play in crunch time.


Time have changed with regards to players coming off the bench because as long as they play a big role especially at the end, they would be okay with it.

Mich Mash

November 14th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

...but I do think Stauskas starting would be better.  Vogrich could also provide an immediate spark off the bench and might encourage him to fine-tune his shooting over everything else.  Overall, I think Stauskas is the best man for the job, especially as the season wears on and his defense improves.


November 14th, 2012 at 10:15 AM ^

I thought Bielfeldt looked pretty good in limited minutes.  He's a solid defender and rebounder and may be as good or better than McLimans especially if we need D and rebounding over offense.

Having depth and options is phenomenal.  I think what Coach B. has done with no depth over the last few years is a testament to how good a coach he is.  Same coaching with talent and depth could be scary for other teams out there.

True Blue Grit

November 14th, 2012 at 12:00 PM ^

player than McLimans.  In addition to rebounding, it looks like Bielfeldt has more of an inside scoring game than McLimans.  The latter seems more content to bomb them in from outside than bang around on the inside.  With all our other outside options, I'd rather have Bielfeldt in there near the basket. 


November 14th, 2012 at 12:07 PM ^

McLimans shouldn't see the floor unless we're up by 40 with :12 left to go.  Other than that, he should be firmly behind McGary, Morgan, Horford and Bielfeldt.  So, if those guys all foul out...then, maybe McLimans should see the floor.  It says something when the 5th string center takes more shots/minute than anyone on the team other than Akunne.  That said, we're in a great place when there's so much depth on the floor.

Mich Mash

November 14th, 2012 at 12:54 PM ^

....but I think McLimans has a bit more in his toolbag right now than Bielfeldt.  He has better shooting range (inexplicably) and he seems to be a bit more mobile (also inexplicably).  This is a great problem to have though..finally with more capable big men than there are minutes to play.

Mmmm Hmmm

November 14th, 2012 at 9:26 AM ^

On the theme of "it's only Cleveland State"* from the OP: In football, killing a creampuff often tells you little about the team, especially if you have a dynamic offense and a passable defense.  Some good teams have trouble with creampuffs, but you get plenty of BCS teams that kill creampuffs but then struggle with middle-of-the-road conference teams.  I attribute at least some of that for scheme and matchups being more important than talent alone, and that good teams often do not scheme heavily for filler teams.

Maybe there is not a simple answer, but can you learn more from beating creampuffs in basketball?  I get the sense that upsets happen more often in basketball, but does that lead to learning more about the good teams?  Is it that you can learn a bunch by watching a good team against a bad team, looking at things that may not show up in a box score?

Thanks in advance.

* Note: I have no idea whether Cleveland State is actually creampuff or not this year.


November 14th, 2012 at 9:39 AM ^

Going with Dylan from umhoops Cleveland State is projected to finish around 100 by the end of the year (out of 325 or something like that). Also they were picked around 5th in the Horizon League which traditionally is one of the better mid major conferences.

That said both Cleveland State and the Horizon League look to be a little down right now. Cleveland State lost four starters from last year's squad so they have a bit of growing up to do.

Summary: this isn't beating Duke, Kansas, or Kentucky but is also not beating Arkansas Pjne-Bluff or Bryant either. Pretty solid victory and we should learn a fair amount over the next few games the last one being number 6 NCSU which is projected to win the ACC.


November 14th, 2012 at 9:47 AM ^

basketball.  Basketball is susceptible to more random variables such as the heavier involvement of officials on a play to play basis, shooters being either "hot" or "cold" whereas for the most part in football players are what they are and do what they do at a pretty constant level throughout, and the relative shortness of a basketball game as compared to football where the clearly better team has a longer period of time to disstance themselves from an inferior team.

In basketball, when you watch a really good team play, ask yourself the question "would a more quality opponent have made any difference in terms of their ability to stop that play."  What you are seeing from Michigan is a level of talent where some of the things they do they do irrespective of opponent.  Trey Burke can give a jab step and step back and hit a Bill Raftery "onions" type three regardless of whether they are playing Cleveland State or Michigan State, the only difference being that MSU has players that can do it back to Michigan on the otherside.

The type of team that Michigan has this year can trot out on the floor and scrimmage Cleveland State to a 30 point win without so much as paying attention based simply on the quality of talent on the floor.  As identified abovem, Michigan did not even have to play "good" for that game to look like that, they did not have to shoot well, they were not susceptible to the variables identified above due to the overwhelming talent on the floor.  Compare that with a Novak and Douglas type team that has to win games cerebrally even against supposed inferior opponents.  


November 14th, 2012 at 10:15 AM ^

Biefeldt looks as big, strong and athletic as McGary does! ..In the little bit of time he saw. I dont think Beilein can afford to redshirt him despite the ridiculous frontcourt depth. I mean it is in fact ridiculous esp considering recent years. Stauskas can actually dribble a little bit too. I do not see a weakness on this team. Beilein said he couldn't see his team being up on Navy by 30 in the second half before SVSU game and has won all 3 subsequent games by 30. He has to be amazed himself at what he has brought to Michigan. This is exciting.