MBB: Lineup changes going forward?

Submitted by State Street on March 1st, 2013 at 10:07 AM

It's possible that a lineup/rotation change or two could help this team get back on track.  Perhaps the most logical thing to do would be to get Matt Vogrich more minutes.  He's an upperclassman, is a fairly good shooter, and plays significantly better defense than Stauskas.  After the latters' exposure vs. Penn State combined with his poor shooting of late, it might not be a bad idea to see what Vogrich can add to the team.

Any other suggestions?  What say you?



March 1st, 2013 at 10:14 AM ^

I dunno man.  To me Vogrich = Stauskas and Stauskas = Vogrich.  Both get lost on defense (remember the game where Vogrich was on the court for about 3 seconds, lost his man and got screamed at by Hardaway?)  Stauskas has a much better handle than Vogrich (although not as good as HE thinks it is) and has pretty good ups....at least when we're on offense.  Haven't seen him use his elevation skills much on the defensive side of the ball.

Wanna make a change and shake things up?  Start playing more zone.  I wish we'd try that a bit more frequently and would stay with it longer than two possessions.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:23 AM ^

I absolutely agree with both of you.  I didn't understand getting beaten off dribble while hedging out so much last game.  I know zone opens up more 3 point shots, but teams can't continue to make so many. Right??


March 1st, 2013 at 1:56 PM ^

Yeah, Vogrich may be negligibly better on D, but is shorter, slower and worse in almost every category on O.  Have you ever seen Vogrich drive to the hole and throw it down?  And Vogrich is prone to TOs too. Even what he does best (the 3) isn't as good as Stauskas.  

If anything, I'd like to see more minutes from LeVert.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:28 AM ^

Agreed. We don't have the personnel and/or experience to guard man to man as a unit. Playing zone would hide that deficiency better, I would think.

Too often you see a defender helping out, only to have his man eventually drive for an easy layup. We don't seem to guard with our feet well, either. It's all about angles and cutting off the ball handler to eliminate lanes. Last game I saw several times a player drive baseline and instead of cutting them off, or impeding the angle, Stauskas gave them an easy bucket.

There's a reason we are at the bottom of the conference in fouling...because we don't force the issue.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:19 AM ^

Just kidding... I agree though, I'd like to switch up defenses. It's becoming more clear each and every game that we just don't play solid man to man defense.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

Maybe start LeVert and bring Stauskas off the bench.  This team seems to play best when it's defense leads to transition offense and LeVert has seemed to be the better defender.  While he may not provide the same shooting threat on offense, this move would allow Burke and Hardaway to get into transition more often.  It might prevent some of those early 10 point deficits we often seem to find ourselves in.  Being able to bring McGary and Stausaks off of the bench would also allow consistent scoring threats.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:07 AM ^

I knew I could find someone else asking for more Levert for D purposes. There's no better way to send a message than sit someone down. Defense is (mostly) about effort and desire. Play the kids who bring it. The others will get the message or move on.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

play 2 bigs more often.  GRIII's outside shot is gone anyway, so you lose that advantage of spreading the floor.  you may as well go with two bigs so you can crash the boards better on both ends.


March 1st, 2013 at 5:06 PM ^

it should be LaVert.  He brings defense, energy and can score.  He seems to have a better feel for the game now.  I would like to see him defend the other team's point guard or best wing.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:34 AM ^

I think the OP is wrong in saying Vogrich plays "significantly better defense" than Stauskas. I think he player WORSE defense.

As far as possible lineup changes I see two options:

1. Play two bigs (big)

2. Play Spike and Burke together (small)

Both of those options have had their ups and downs this year. It depends on their matchups. In general I like the small lineup because Albrecht seems to be a calming presence and he can bring the ball up the court to help keep Trey a little more fresh at the end of the game.


March 1st, 2013 at 3:25 PM ^

Burke can still be the primary handler after they cross half court. Teams are pressing/trapping and making Trey waste energy just bringing it up the court. I feel confident in Spikes ability to handle that pressure.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

We have nothing but tough games coming up and I just don't think Spike and LeVert are capable of giving you more than 10 min against the caliber of teams we will be facing over the next month.  They aren't enough of an upgrade (if at all) over stauskas, defensively, to justify taking Nik's offensive production off the floor.  Stauskas had more points in the preseason NIT than LeVert and Spike have in their careers.  You can't take him off the floor for extended minutes for a minimal upgrade( at best) on the defensive end of the floor.

I think our only other rotational option, as the poster above states, is to go big. I would like to see Mitch and Jordan get more minutes together.  I think we could get 25 min from each of them.  In this scenerio, you'd probably see Stauskas and Robinson play 30 min instead of 35 which may be a positive as well on the defensive end.




March 1st, 2013 at 11:07 AM ^

I've been wanting the bball team to play two bigs for a while. Our offense works best when our team gets rebounds or turnovers and go on fast break opportunities.  

It seems like every time somebody drives past our weak perimeter defense, our big goes up to defend the layup and then nobody is there to rebound the ball. 


March 1st, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

If anyone I was thinking starting Lavert over Stauskas.  To at least see what happens.  My other thought was and this would only be for Sunday is to Start Morgan and Horford to help deal with payne and nix.

EQ RC Blue

March 1st, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

I have no inside info, but I have confidence that we're not going to undo what had us as the #4 team in the country. 

Nik has shot 36% in B1G play (including 2 of 4 @PSU), while garnering a ton of attention out there.

JB has also addressed the zone issue a whole bunch of times.

So here's what I say: we have to play better, with more focus, on defense.  If we do, we'll be just fine.  But no lineup change will solve whatever problems we've been having without creating new ones.  Perhaps Caris will get some more minutes, perhaps we'll throw out some zones -- but mostly we just have to play a bit better on one end. 


March 1st, 2013 at 10:47 AM ^

While what this team needs is obviously some better leadership, Vogrich is not Zach Novak. There's only so much leading you can do when you've been on the bench the whole season. There's a reason the guy is barely playing anymore. And as far as the small lineup with Burke and Spike, I really don't like it. They're both pure point guards. Burke is one of the biggest threats in the country with the ball in his hands, and Spike is purely a distributor. You might as well play with 4 guys. I have not liked that lineup one bit.


March 1st, 2013 at 10:47 AM ^

I had hoped that Vogrich would add value this year since he had small contributions in the past, but he's been awful in his limited minutes this year, not even hitting 3s consistently.  He's not the answer. 

I also think the coaches need to be careful to avoid desperation moves like totally shaking up the starting lineup and risking losing the focus of one of these freshmen even more than they already have. 

The things you might see are as follows:

  • More zone defense for limited possessions just to shake things up.  But zone relies on mental strength and that's harder to do with freshmen.
  • Quicker hook for players who are struggling (looking at you Stauskas/GR3). 
  • More 2-post situations against appropriate teams (like MSU).  This might also lead to more play from Bielfeldt if he's healthy.  He plays hard all the time and is a good rebounder. 

If you think about it, 6 of our 10 rotation players are freshmen.  So even with changes to the rotation you're still dealing with kids who are probably fatigued both physically and mentally.  They are also more easily rattled when things go poorly. 

Willis Ward

March 1st, 2013 at 10:52 AM ^

I want a jim harbaugh/mike hart moment from one of the team's leaders.  This team's biggest problem is confidence right now...I'm really worried that the freshmen in particular are going to come out so tentative and afraid on Sunday.  I'd like someone to guarantee a win.  Rally the troops.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

Did you watch all/most of those games?  Each game Matt's play deteriorated while Nik's improved.  Watching from the stands, you got the sense the Matt was feeling the pressure of having to do more on the floor to keep his starting position.  All of us in my row wanted Matt to succeed but by the seventh game it was obvious that he was struggling and possibly looking over his shoulder to be yanked in lieu of Nik.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:37 AM ^

I did watch every single second of those games with the exception of Slippery Rock.  IIRC Matt got pulled for the NC State game.  My comment was slightly sarcastic but I think at this point there isn't anything that Stauskas is doing that Vogrich can't.  DecemberStauskas and FebruaryStauskas are two completely different players.  I think that earlier in the year Stauskas was playing with a chip on his shoulder - he was trying to prove himseld.  Maybe mentally starting the game on the bench, even if he still gets 25-30 mins, will get him back engaged mentally.  Just a thought.  Being a high school coach, ive seen that sometimes this will energize a player.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

I am tired of the excuse that these guys are freshman. They are basketball players that can't play big 10 defense. The coach is from west Virginia and doesn't know how to recruit and coach big 10 players. Send him to Arizona. Let's face it we will be lucky if we don't lose out the rest of the season. This team should challenge other teams in a "horse" competition from 3 point range.


March 1st, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

I agree that neither Spike, Max, or Caris can play extended minutes.  We're not going to win by giving them a ton of GR3 or Stauskas minutes.  But what about these thoughts:

  • Have a quicker hook with GR3 and Stauskas when they look flustered or get beat on D.  You only have to sit them for a couple of possessions, but send the message and give them a chance to talk to the coaches.  Keep the back-up minutes limited but use them more strategically.
  • When Caris comes on the floor, have him defend the other team's point guard.  Give Burke a break from that responsibility and maybe let Burke guard someone with a worse handle and maybe pick his pocket.  Caris isn't a great defender yet, but just giving the PG a different look and Burke a rest seems to have some value.

As for the commenter Bluefantn who blamed Beilein for not recruiting B10 players......really?  REALLY?  Wow.  I guess top-ten recruiting classes with NBA players isn't the right strategy.  We should recruit slow, unathletic bruisers I guess.  I'm not sure what a B10 player is, but I'd rather have exciting players that are fun to watch and will grow under good coaching. 

With that being said, I would concede that for some reason our team seems to get pushed around a lot and gets no help from the refs.  Part of that is youth and style of play.  But I do wonder if we need to knock someone on their butt now and then or if Beilein needs to take a T or get harder on the refs.  I feel like Izzo, Ryan, Creen, and Matta go absolutely nuts on the refs and get a lot more calls.  Maybe that's correlation and not causation.....


March 1st, 2013 at 11:53 AM ^

I'd like to see a lot more of:

Lineup A - Starting lineup:

1 - Spike

2- Trey

3- Hardaway

4- Robinson

5- Morgan

Lineup B:

1- Spike

2- Trey

3- Hardaway

4- Morgan

5- Horford


March 1st, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

...He would not play on most MAC teams due to the fact he is turnover prone and cannot shoot nearly as well as he was suppose to be able to coming out of high school. We need to play our bigs more, otherwise the same ole story will continue to happen and we will lose another 1st round game in the big dance


March 1st, 2013 at 5:07 PM ^

He started the first 4 or 5 games of the season and the Stauskas took over as the starter. His confidence is probably shot and he may need another start to get it back. But he is far from terrible. He is a roster player on a top ten team in the Big Ten. Give him a break.