Michigan took sixth-ranked Wisconsin to overtime on Saturday night couldn’t pull off the upset. Now, with just two days rest, the battered and bruised Wolverines host Nebraska, which is just coming off a win over Michigan State. Let’s take a look at the Huskers.
Terran Petteway (G)
Shavon Shields (F)
Walter Pitchford (F)
Benny Parker (G)
David Rivers (F)
Tai Webster (G)
Tarin Smith (G)
Leslie Smith (F)
Moses Abraham (C)
Nick Fuller (F)
at Rhode Island
L 62-66 OT
at Florida State^
W 56-55 2OT
W 50-42 OT
at #7 Wisconsin
at Penn State
at #16 Maryland
at Ohio State
*Diamond Head Classic, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Like Michigan, Nebraska has an embarrassing loss this season. The ‘Huskers lost to Incarnate Word, 74-73, on Dec. 10. But they entered Big Ten play with back-to-back wins in the Diamond Head Classic and carry a winning conference record into the Crisler Center.
Michigan holds a 10-2 lead in the all-time series with Nebraska and has won the last six meetings. Michigan has won all four meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten and has won the last five meetings in Ann Arbor. Last season, Michigan pulled off a 71-70 victory in Lincoln — the only Big Ten team to do so — and then won 79-50 in the return trip.
• Nebraska ranks 11th in the Big Ten in scoring (65.3 points per game) and second in scoring defense (61.4).
• Nebraska ranks 10th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (43.4) and 13th in three-poitn percentage (30.5). However, the ‘Huskers rank first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (38.0) and three-point shooting defense (30.0)
• Nebraska ranks last in the Big Ten in rebounding margin (minus-2.1), assists per game (10.1), and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8)
• Terran Petteway is the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, averaging 19.6 points per game
• Shavon Shields is the Big Ten’s fifth-leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points per game
Background: The similarities and differences between the recruiting roller coasters of eventual Michigan commits Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III are absolutely fascinating to recap, having intertwined at times and been polar opposites at other times. As we saw a couple days back, Mitch McGary started out as a virtual unknown big man in a small northern Indiana town that found its place on the map thanks in large part to Zack Novak. He quickly evolved and expanded his game to become one of the most coveted players in the country, garnering interest and offers from the who’s who of college basketball programs around the country. His commitment to Michigan was cause for great fanfare in Ann Arbor and for Michigan fans around the country. McGary’s last season of basketball on the high school level, however, saw him slip in the rankings from the consensus second-rated recruit to an average rank around 30th in his class – still exciting indeed, but perhaps not reason to throw a block party.
GRIII is already the best athlete on the team
Glenn “Tre” Robinson’s path was quite similar early on. He was regarded as a good high school player that would probably end up as an average contributor on a Missouri Valley Conference team. John Beilein saw something that no one else did, though, and offered Tre a scholarship at some point before his junior season began at Lake Forest. He committed shortly thereafter, probably for a combination of reasons that included him wanting to make a name for himself apart from his dad’s, a sense of belonging in Ann Arbor, and a chance to play on the Big Ten stage. Quite frankly, Michigan was by far Robinson’s most prestigious offer and he saw no reason to wait on pulling the trigger. At the time of his commitment, many questioned what Beilein was thinking, and I must even admit that I was on the wrong side of a debate with my roommate about whether or not offering Robinson was a smart move at the time.
Robinson’s sophomore season saw him average 16 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, good numbers undoubtedly, but certainly not the kind of numbers that blow you away when considering the competition level. He found himself generally regarded as a high 3-star, but he continued to grow and work on his game. As junior year rolled around and Robinson showed off his improved athleticism on his way to scoring 22 points and grabbing six rebounds per game, his stock started to climb. He grew a couple inches and measured in as one of the best athletes in his class at an offseason Under Armor event, showing off a 36-inch vertical.
Senior year arrived and Robinson continued to shoot up the boards, making it pretty easy to imagine what coaches at other big-time programs were thinking. “How did I miss this kid?” was certainly asked aloud many times while Beilein sat back watching his diamond in the rough flourish, leading his Lake Central team to its first-ever Indiana sectional title by noticeably improving all of his stats but scoring, which dropped less than half a point per game.
So while Mitch McGary turned heads on the AAU circuit playing alongside Tre under coach Wayne Brumm for SYF Players, it was Robinson who shone brightly in the last organized basketball of their high school careers, often throwing down highlight-reel dunks on unassuming opponents.
And even though Tre has now made a name for himself in high school, he still has gigantic shoes to fill in college. Many have already penciled him into the first round of next year’s NBA Draft, but Little Dog is certainly focused on setting himself apart in the Big Ten. Big Dog, Tre’s dad, was a phenomenal player at Purdue, where he averaged 30.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, leading the Big Ten in both categories, in his second and final season (as a junior) before being selected first overall in the 1994 Draft, the year Tre was born. He was awarded the Naismith and Wooden Awards and became the first Big Ten player to score 1,000 points in a season that year. The point is, Glenn Robinson was out of this world. And the truth is, Little Glenn is a completely different player.
In the end, Glenn Robinson III arrives at Michigan as the most heralded player since perhaps Lavell Blanchard moved across the street from Pioneer High School in 1999. He’s not his dad, but he’s out to prove that that doesn’t matter. Beilein saw something two years before anyone else did. This year, we all get the chance to see what he must have foreseen. The fanfare may have been delayed, but no more. Glenn Robinson III is a Michigan Wolverine.
What He Will Provide:
1. Athleticism: Tim Hardaway Jr., also the son of a former NBA All Star, is a good-to-very good athlete, but Glenn Robinson III will be the best athlete on this team without a doubt. The way he throws down power dunks with ease on his highlight videos is impressive to say the least, but I think his athleticism will cause the most excitement for John Beilein in the rebounding game. Robinson has been a good rebounder throughout his high school career and will be expected to be a Manny Harris-like wing who can grab a rebound above the rim and then lead the fast break. For the average fan though, Tre’s monster slams will be plenty enough.
2. Scoring: Sense a trend with this freshmen class and the scoring they can bring to the table? Tre will probably be the best of the high-powered bunch in the scoring column with his ability to drive, shoot, dunk, and get put-backs. You can also see in a couple highlights above a nice knack that Glenn has for playing the screen and reading the defender. When the defender goes over the screen and chases from behind, Robinson can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim to throw down, but when the defender goes under, he is also more than comfortable shooting the mid-range jumper off the dribble.
Like McGary, GRIII already looks natural in the Maize and Blue
3. Versatility: This is another asset that this freshmen class should be able to provide Beilein with. Whenever a team adds five brand new players, those players should bring a variety of talents that lend their coach the ability to play in a couple different ways. This class meets the criteria, as Beilein could conceivably throw out all five at once and ably fill each position. Most of the freshmen, including Robinson, also have the ability to play a couple different positions. When Michigan wants to go smaller, Tre can play the four and stretch the defense, providing mismatches with his athleticism against bigger and slower players, but he should also be able to keep up on the defensive end with his cut 6’6”, 210-pound frame. When Beilein chooses to go big, Robinson can slide to the three and Hardaway to the two to create a lineup with four guys 6’6” or taller. Those are two vastly different looks that will both be used to exploit opponents in a multitude of ways.
What He Will Have to Work On:
1. Learning the Offense: I’m probably picking at straws here, because Robinson really does have an impressively complete game for being 18 years old, but he will have some learning to do. Everyone knows that Beilein’s offense is very complex, and even though Robinson will not be asked to handle the ball often and make the decisions that Trey Burke is tasked with, he will be asked to learn his position so that he can use his athleticism for the benefit of the team. If he struggles to learn the offense and finds himself in the wrong places, his scoring ability and athleticism will be largely wasted because Beilein’s offense relies so much on team work to succeed.
2. Handles: As I just pointed out, Tre (not to be confused with Trey I should add at some point) will not be the primary ball-handler on this team, but he will need to get his handles down so as not to get his pocket picked at the college level. We have seen Hardaway struggle at times in putting the ball on the floor, which sometimes forces him to become a one-dimensional shooter. Robinson would be wise to practice his ball-handling as often as possible so as to make himself as dynamic as possible on the offensive end of the floor.
3. Gelling with the Vets: This is another aspect that each of the five freshmen, and to an extent all the players, will have to work on, but I think it might be most important for Robinson. Because he will be asked to probably be the third scorer on this team, he will have to mesh with Trey Burke and three other teammates on the offensive end of the court so he is getting the ball in the right places on the floor. On defense, Michigan will play mostly man, but Robinson will still need to communicate switches and helps. Right now he is the only freshman that is almost guaranteed to start from Day 1, so his chemistry with the rest of the team will be crucial to the team’s success.
Burning Question: How good is Glenn Robinson III’s shot and where will the majority of his points come from?
There is no question that Tre Robinson is a very highly-skilled player with a diverse skill set on offense. He’s going to score plenty of points, but how will those points come? He’s certainly a capable shooter, but no one is quite sure how good. We also know he can fill it up from mid-range and will be deadly around the rim, but I’ll be interested to see how his overall offensive game develops and where the majority of his shots come from.
Stat Predictions: 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals in 28 minutes per game.
Yes, it’s a co-championship, shared with the two rivals, but it’s a championship. It means a banner in the rafters of the Crisler Center. It means a place in the Michigan and Big Ten record books. It means Novak, Douglass, Hardaway, Burke, and Morgan accomplished something Rose, Webber, Howard, King, and Jackson never did.
Not a player on this team was alive the last time Michigan won a Big Ten basketball title and John Beilein was at the helm of Division II LeMoyne College. Yet this gritty group of misfits and underdogs earned a piece of the regular season championship in the toughest conference in college basketball this season.
The Big Ten Tournament is on deck and the Big Dance will follow, but now is the time to celebrate. Congratulations to the 2011-12 Michigan basketball team. The Big Ten champions.
Congratulations to umichfan1 for winning Week 1 of the Michigan Man 5-Spot Challenge! For his efforts, he will receive a commemorative Under the Light Game pint glass. See below for the full results. For future weeks, the leaderboard will not appear on the front page. We will announce the winner on the front page, but the weekly results will live here and overall leaderboard will live here throughout the season (over on the right sidebar).
Michigan Man 5-Spot Week 1 Results
# 1 MICHIGAN
Umichfan1 was one of only three contestants to be within 100 of the correct result for each of the five questions. His largest deviation was 35 (total Michigan rushing yards – he guessed 225 and the actual result was 190).
Every single entrant overestimated Junior Hemingway’s output. Once again, umichfan1 was the closest at 21 away (he guessed 58 and the result was 37 yards). Everybody also overestimated Denard’s passing yards, but umichfan1 was only 28 away (guessed 126 and the result was 98 yards).
Users myrick55 and collins1188 were each just one away on the total number of points scored (they both guessed 45 and the result was 44).
Of course, the game was only two-and-a-half quarters long, which nobody could have predicted, so the actual results are lower than they would have been had it been a full game.
Check back on Monday for the Week 2 questions and another chance to win a great prize and build towards the grand prize at season’s end! Make sure to use the same username and email so your points will be counted together.
One week in mid-November makes us obsess a little bit more than all the others: Ohio State week, or Buckeye week, or Hate week. Whatever you want to call it, we spend more time during the week longing for Saturday to come, more time ragging on our family, friends, and coworkers who have the unfortunate quality of being Ohio State fans, and more time telling “a Michigan fan and Ohio State fan walked into a bar…” jokes.
So I’ll spend a little more time this week writing about all things Michigan and Ohio State related. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving making this a two-day work week! I’ll publish an article every day this week, the schedule as follows:
Wednesday: Why Michigan has a chance on Saturday
(Note: I apologize for not getting this up today. Our drive from New York to Tennessee for Thanskgiving took a lot longer than expected and I haven’t yet mastered typing while driving. I’ll try to get it up either today or Friday, but the rest is still on schedule)
National Signing Day came and went with Michigan making a huge late-minute splash, adding four-star safety Demar Dorsey from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. The 6’1″, 175lb. star originally committed to Florida before backing out and eventually choosing the Wolverines, giving Michigan a very solid safety class.
Who are the rest of the high school seniors that round out the class? Here’s a breakdown by position of the defensive side of the ball. Due to the size of the defensive class, this will be broken into four posts: the defensive line, the linebackers, the cornerbacks, and the safeties.
Safety/Cornerback Demar Dorsey
DEMAR DORSEY Height: 6-1 Weight: 175 Hometown: Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. (Boyd Anderson) Rivals Rank: #13 S (4-star) Scout Rank: #19 S (4-star) ESPN Rank: #2 S (5-star) Chose Michigan Over: Florida State, USC, Tennessee, Florida, Miami, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin. How He Fits In: Dorsey was perhaps Michigan’s biggest commitment of the class, going blue on Signing Day. The cousin of current Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had originally committed to Florida, but whether they backed off of him, or he dropped them is up for debate. Regardless, he was well sought after and is a huge coup for Rodriguez. Dorsey will probably see immediate playing time, either at safety or corner. His size, athleticism, and upside give Michigan an impact defensive player to build around. If he can stay out of trouble (some have questioned his recruitment given his background) he should be a star for the next few years.
Safety Marvin Robinson
MARVIN ROBINSON Height: 6-1 Weight: 190 Hometown: Eagle Lake, Fla. (Lake Region) Rivals Rank: #20 OLB (4-star) Scout Rank: #18 S (4-star) ESPN Rank: #21 OLB (4-star) Chose Michigan Over: Florida, Ohio State, South Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, USC, Tennessee, Boston College, UCLA. How He Fits In: Robinson is a huge addition to Michigan’s secondary, and like Dorsey, should see time immediately. He has great size and good speed for a safety, but needs to develop better cover skills. There is a slight chance he could move to linebacker, but Rodriguez likes his prospects at safety, especially given the lack of talent at the position currently. Inserting him immediately would be an upgrade from walk-on Jordan Kovacs.
Safety Carvin Johnson
CARVIN JOHNSON Height: 6-0 Weight: 185 Hometown: Metairie, La. (Rummel) Rivals Rank: #33 S (3-star) Scout Rank: #79 S (3-star) ESPN Rank: #73 S (3-star) Chose Michigan Over: Minnesota, Colorado, Tulane, Utah, Tulsa. How He Fits In: Johnson is a talented safety against both the pass and the run. At this piont, he could stand to gain some strength on his tall and lean frame, and would do well to redshirt in 2010 to improve his footwork and technique. He has good upside and will most likely contribute on special teams for the next couple of years while he develops.
RAY VINOPAL Height: 5-10 Weight: 178 Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney) Rivals Rank: NR (2-star) Scout Rank: #103 S (3-star) ESPN Rank: #270 Athlete (2-star) Chose Michigan Over: Bowling Green, Kent State, Air Force. How He Fits In: Vinopal is the lowest-rated player in the class and is a definite project, but at this point, any body at the safety position is a welcome one. He has the work ethic and the drive to prove the doubters wrong and is a smart and instinctual player who puts himself in position to make plays. He will definitely redshirt in 2010 and spend a couple of years on special teams.