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Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Michigan hoops preview: Saginaw Valley State

Monday, November 5th, 2012

#5 Michigan v. Saginaw Valley State (exhibition)
Monday, Nov. 5
7pm ET
0-0 2011-12 Record 10-16 (6-13)
83 Points Per Game 69.6
47 Scoring Defense 72.7
27-for-63 (42.9%) Field Goal % 41.7%
19-for-59 (32.2%) Def. Field Goal % 45.6%
13-for-31 (41.9%) 3-point % 29.3%
6-for-20 (30.0%) Def. 3-point % 34.3%
16-for-26 (61.5%) Free Throw % 74.9%
16 Free Throws Made/Game 16.7
50 Rebounds Per Game 33.7
32 Opp. Reb. Per Game 37.0
17 Assists Per Game 11.5
8 Turnovers Per Game 11.4
4 Steals Per Game 6.0
2 Blocks Per Game 2.7
G – Nik Stauskas (17.0)
G – Spike Albrecht (16.0)
Leading Ret. Scorer G – Chris Webb (14.2)
G – Michael Fugate (8.1)
F – Jordan Morgan (12.0)
F – Mitch McGary (9.0)
Leading Ret. Rebounder F – Jay Thames (4.4)
F – Rob Clark (4.1)
*Michigan’s stats are from the first exhibition game this season

Michigan opened the renovated Crisler Center in style last Thursday with a 83-47 exhibition win over Northern Michigan. Tonight, the Wolverines are back in action in the final tune-up before the regular season starts. This time, it’s another GLIAC foe, Saginaw Valley State.

The Cardinals finished just one game better than Northern michigan in the GLIAC last season, with a 6-13 conference record and 10-16 overall. And while the leading scorer is back, the second and third leading scorers are both gone.

Chris Webb led the SVSU with 14.2 points per game last season and was picked as a Preseason All-GLIAC North First Team member heading into 2012-13. The senior guard had a season high of 28 against Northwood a year ago.

Fellow guard Michael Fugate averaged 8.1 points per game last season and made 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts. He has started 38 games over the past two years.

Head coach Randy Baruth is in his first season at SVSU after serving as Director of Player Development at Utah last season and Director of Basketball Operations at Colorado State before that. So while he doesn’t have head coaching experience, he has been around some decent programs.

Last Friday, John Beilein mixed and matched his lineups, even going with all five freshmen on the court at the same time at one point. While that didn’t last long, the freshman were impressive, as Nik Stauskas, Spike Albrecht, and Glenn Robinson III were the top three scorers in the game. Trey Burke missed the game due to a suspension, so expect him to see a lot of minutes tonight to get up to speed before the season officially kicks off on Friday.

2012-13 Michigan basketball player preview: Tim Hardaway Jr

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

To continue our returning player previews, today we take a look at starting wing Tim Hardaway, Jr. You can view previous player previews here.

Tim Hardaway Jr.
JorNumber: 10
Class: Junior
Major General Studies

6’6″, 205 pounds

Hometown: Miami, Fla.
High School: Palmetto Senior High School
Position(s): Shooting Guard, Small Forward
Career Stats:

2010-11: 13.9 3.8 1.7 1.0 1.3 30.7 42.0 36.7 76.5
2011-12: 14.6 3.8 2.1 0.5 1.9 34.2 41.8 28.3 71.5
Career Avg: 14.2 3.8 1.9 0.7 1.6 32.4 41.8 32.7 73.7

Career Highs: Points – 30, Rebounds – 11, Assists – 5 (3 times), Steals – 3 (twice) Blocks – 3, Minutes – 45

Career to Date: Much like his freshman teammate Glenn Robinson III, Tim Hardaway, Jr. was known more for being the son of a former NBA All-Star than he was for his own game when he arrived in Ann Arbor three years ago.

Hardaway wasn’t very highly recruited and was generally regarded as a high three-star out of high school, but those numbers proved useless. Before his first game in a Michigan uniform, Hardaway turned heads as the media started to realize that he was underrated – the question was, just how much?

THJ has the athleticism to dominate the Big Ten (photo by Duane Burleson, AP)

Timmy started every game that freshman year and was a consensus pick for the All-Big Ten honorable mention and All-Big Ten Freshman teams after lighting the nets on fire frequently and leading the team to a 21-14 record and a narrow loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament. And while his 36.7 percent three-point shooting wasn’t necessarily unexpected, he seemed to take over games at will when he got hot. Once a couple shots started falling, the other team would do just as well to leave him open, because Angry Tim was unstoppable, guarded or not.

The standout freshman year led to whispers of the NBA, but Hardaway never seriously considered that route, choosing to return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore year. Many fans and pundits predicted that Hardaway was as good as gone after the end of last season, but a sophomore slump put the NBA on hold yet again. Tim still had the ability to take over games, and when he got hot, he couldn’t be stopped; the only problem is he didn’t get hot nearly as often as the previous season. After failing to make a trey in only five games his freshman year, and only once in back-to-back games, Hardaway put a donut in that stat line in nine of 34 games last year, including three times in back-to-back games.

There is no doubt that the incoming freshmen will be integral to the 2012-13 Wolverines squad, and the ever-so-smooth Trey Burke will be widely regarded as the centerpiece of the team, but make no mistake about it – this team will go as Tim Hardaway goes. If Hardaway continues to fall into three-point funks and lose his confidence, it will be a disappointing season for the team that is pegged in the top five in the country in most preseason polls. If he returns to freshman form and adds a little diversity to his game, Michigan will be unstoppable.

What He Will Provide:

  1. 1. Scoring: Over the past two years, Darius Morris and Trey Burke have been Michigan’s leading scorers, respectively. Right behind them? Tim Hardaway, Jr. While this team will be expected to have more than two guys average double digits in the scoring column this year, Hardaway will still be called upon to put the ball in the hoop every night. He won’t be the leading or second-leading scorer on some nights, but he needs to once again be at least the second- or third-leading scorer on this team throughout the season. Hardaway has the ability to do just that with his long- and mid-range scoring and his ability to drive as well, but he needs to do so consistently and efficiently.
  2. 2. Length and Athleticism: Tre Robinson will be the best athlete on this team, but Hardaway has shown us time and time again that he has some built-in spring as well, most notably on an alley-oop against Michigan State two seasons ago in which he appeared to grab the ball from behind his head and throw it down with authority. Hardaway needs to use this length and athleticism to help him out whenever he can. It should come in handy in scoring, rebounding, and playing defense against quick and athletic opponents. And while it sometimes turns into a weakness, Hardaway’s long arms and high jump basically make it impossible for any defender to distract his jump shot.
  3. 3. Leadership: Hardaway has been learning for two seasons under the departed Zack Novak and Stu Douglass; now could be the season for him to make the team his own. Timmy hasn’t been extremely vocal on the court and is always careful to use the right words in interviews, but he will have to show a little fire to get his team pumped up when they are struggling or dismayed.

What He Will Have to Improve:

Hardaway struggled with his shot last season. Can he regain it this year?

  1. 1. Long-range shooting: Hardaway developed a deadly mid-range game last season from about 15 feet, but his three-point shot struggled mightily. He started to heat up from mid-February on, but it wasn’t anything like the ending stretch of his freshman season, when he made at least two threes in the last six regular season games. I believe confidence is a big part of Hardaway’s struggles, so if he can forget about his misses, he should see his long-range percentage take a big leap. There is very little wrong technically with his shot, and he has shown that he is certainly not afraid to let it fly in any situation (having never attempted fewer than two threes in a game in his college career); the next step is just seeing the ball go in and repeating. When Tim’s first shot goes in, he’s been great; it’s when those first couple don’t fall that a problem arises.
  2. 2. Ball-handling: Hardaway’s handles have often been pointed to as his biggest weakness, a surprise for those who remember Tim Sr.’s famed UTEP two-step crossover. In my opinion, Hardaway’s ball-handling issues are blown out of proportion; he certainly doesn’t have Trey Burke’s skills, but I don’t think he is much below average either. That being said, an upgrade in his ball-handling would make every part of his game more effective. Hardaway has flashed the ability to drive quickly past a defender, but he usually only uses the move when he is feeling confident. A normal possession for him consists of a few low, standing dribbles and a pull-up three in the face of a defender. If Junior can expand his arsenal of moves, his offensive game will be very difficult for coaches to scheme against.
  3. 3. Defense: Too often Hardaway lets his offensive play on any given night dictate his effort on defense, and Beilein has used a short string before when Hardaway’s offensive confidence has led to a lack of effort on the defensive end of the court. When he’s not shooting well, Hardaway needs to learn that a good defensive game can be just as useful as filling up the stat sheet. Hardaway will likely play a number of his minutes at the two-guard spot, where Douglass was a lock-down defender of sorts on the perimeter; someone needs to pick up the slack, and there is no better candidate than Hardaway, whose length, strength, and athleticism make him a prototypical quality defender.  

Burning Question: Which Tim Hardaway will show up this season?

There’s no doubt that Tim Hardaway is one of the best players on this team and an intriguing NBA prospect with a nice combination of size, athleticism, and shooting, but he will need to show some consistency on both ends of the court if he is to realize his dream and follow in his dad’s footsteps to the League. Two years ago we saw a fearless freshman knocking down shots left and right from behind the arc while last year we saw a sophomore appear tentative and lacking in confidence. If Hardaway can shoot 40 percent or better from downtown, this team has a very good chance of making the Final Four.

Favorite Big Ten Opponent: Minnesota – averages 17.3 points (21-of-53 FG, 10-of-27 3-PT%, 17-of-22 FT), 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 turnovers, 37.3 minutes per game

Going Forward: Hardaway, Jr. is a sure bet to start every game barring an injury, and given his versatility and stated comfort level at both the two and three, Beilein can tinker around with his lineup while leaving Hardaway in whenever he feels necessary. An infusion of talent this season will mean multiple battles for playing time, but don’t expect Hardaway’s minutes to go down at all. His scoring average may decrease slightly due to a deeper squad, but he will often be on the floor, poised for a rebound or breakout season.

Stat Predictions: 15.0 points (46.0 FG%, 40.1 3-PT%, 77.8 FT%), 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals in 33 minutes per game.

2012-13 Michigan basketball player preview: Jordan Morgan

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Continuing on with our returning player previews, today we take a look at starting center Jordan Morgan. You can view previous player previews here.

Jordan Morgan
JorNumber: 52
Class: RS Junior
Major Engineering

6’8″, 250 pounds

Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
High School: Univ. of Detroit Jesuit High School (2005-09)
Position(s): Center
Career Stats:

2010-11: 9.2 5.4 0.5 0.6 1.5 0.5 24.0 62.7 56.2
2011-12: 7.3 5.6 0.3 0.6 1.6 0.3 24.4 61.9 50.8
Career Avg: 8.3 5.5 0.4 0.6 1.5 0.4 24.2 62.3 53.7

Career Highs: Points – 27, Rebounds – 12, Assists – 3, Steals – 3, Blocks – 3 (twice), Minutes – 35 (twice)

Career to Date: Jordan Morgan’s road to Ann Arbor is one that most didn’t see coming. John Beilein is widely known as a coach that often recruits and takes lower-rated players and turns them into integral parts of his team, finding potential in them that no one else saw. Morgan was one of the first to do this for him at Michigan. Though he played at UD Jesuit High, a private school in Detroit that is certainly known on the recruiting trail, Morgan was undersized and labeled as a sort of tweener – he was pretty tall at 6’8”, but he was thought to be too skinny to fight in the post in college and too unskilled to be a quality D1 talent.

Morgan is reliable down low but will need to diversify his offense (photo by Chris Asadian,

When Beilein came calling, Morgan’s dad was surprised. When Michigan offered, Morgan’s dad was stunned. Jordan Morgan committed almost instantly. His freshman year, a number of lower body injuries and the need to put on weight sidelined him for the majority of the year, so he took a redshirt.

Now in his fourth year in school and third year playing, Morgan is a completely different player. Sure, he is still fairly one-dimensional on offense, but his body is a chiseled 250 pounds, allowing him to bang with the big boys on a regular basis and usually win the battle.

With some of the most experience on the team, Jordan Morgan will be called upon to provide leadership on and off the court, something he has seemingly picked up easily in mentoring the younger players. During games, Morgan’s role will be much like Mitch McGary’s – rebound and play defense. Points will come, but they won’t need to come in droves from JMo for the team to succeed. One of three returning starters, Jordan Morgan’s spot in the lineup should be relatively safe, but with the added depth in the front court, don’t be surprised to see his minutes actually decrease slightly.

What He Will Provide:

  1. 1. A Physical Presence: Morgan isn’t the biggest player in college or the Big Ten, and will play games against guys that have two or three inches on him, but he is a battler down low. He rarely gives ground easily on either side of the court and will need to use his strength to get good position on offense and maintain good position on defense. The Big Ten has some excellent big men in Cody Zeller, Trevor Mbakwe, Derrick Nix, and others, and while McGary will help down low, Morgan is one of the leaders of this team and will be asked to hold his own on both ends of the floor.
  2. 2. Basketball IQ: If there ever was a true “student-athlete”, Jordan Morgan is it. He is an excellent student in the classroom in Michigan’s prestigious School of Engineering and excels on the court, in large part because of his intelligence. He has really learned to master the pick-and-roll despite playing with two vastly different point guards in his first two seasons, his hustle down the court in crucial situations is admirable, and he has shown the ability to take charges on occasion by being in the right spot.
  3. 3. Leadership: Leadership is constantly hammered as an ultimate intangible, and though it will never show up in the box score, it really is important. No one forgets the 2009-10 season when Michigan came into the season ranked 15th overall after losing “only” C.J. Lee and David Merritt and proceeded to flounder to a sub-.500 record. This year, Michigan not only has to replace the on-court production of Stu Douglass and Zack Novak, but it must also replace their invaluable leadership. Jordan Morgan is one of those guys that will be asked to be a leader, and he seems like a perfect candidate for it.

What He Will Have to Improve On:

  1. 1. Offensive Diversity: Morgan hasn’t necessarily struggled to score the ball in his two seasons, but he hasn’t shown that he is capable from scoring outside of five feet either. To get defenses to respect his mid-range game and force a man to defend him outside of the paint, Morgan would be wise to put in work on his shot. The three-ball isn’t a necessary addition for the big man, but if Morgan can develop a 10-12 foot jumper from the elbow, he would be frightening to face and he would also spread the floor while giving himself the option to drive past a man on the pump-fake. It should be noted that if Morgan can step out and knock down the jumper, his shooting percentage will likely go down, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Obviously a 12-footer is a lower percentage shot than a dunk, but by keeping the defense honest, Morgan will create opportunities for others and easier opportunities for himself down low.

    Morgan provides a physical presence on the inside (photo by Carlos Osorio, AP)

  2. 2. Touch: Jordan Morgan has easily led Michigan in field goal percentage in his two seasons and has been near the top of the Big Ten in that time as well, but he could improve that number even more if he improved his touch near the rim. His tremendous shooting numbers have mostly been a product of a majority of his shots being layups and dunks, but Morgan occasionally rocks balls off the backboard when he has a tougher look at the hoop. Additionally, his touch at the free throw line will need to improve to keep the defense honest and not play Hack-a-Shaq style defense against him.
  3. 3. Defense: This admittedly contradicts a few points I have already made, but Jordan Morgan could stand to improve his defensive decision-making. His averages of 3.2 and 2.4 fouls per game in his two seasons indicate that Morgan could stand to be a bit less aggressive on defense. Morgan has been called for four or five fouls 22 times in 69 games, meaning he has been at the very least in danger of fouling out in nearly one-third of Michigan’s games. Obviously the depth in the front-court should make these problems fairly miniscule, but there will be games that the Wolverines need Morgan on the floor to close out a game. On another note, we’ve seen Morgan effectively shut down Jared Sullinger on his best defensive days and give up 29 points and five rebounds to Rocko Holmes of Concordia on his worst nights. If Morgan can play solid defense on every night, Michigan will be tough to beat.

Burning Question: Will Morgan’s offensive game evolve?

We’ve seen Jordan Morgan be an effective inside player at times, throwing down dunks and running the court, and be neutralized at other times by stronger opponents. If Morgan can develop any sort of mid-range game, he will be a nightmare for opposing big men that will have to account for both him and Mitch McGary or Jon Horford on the court at the same time. If he can’t, defenders will sag on him and pack the paint when Michigan deploys a two-big lineup, making it very difficult to score inside. The key to Beilein’s offense is spreading out the defense and finding the open shooter. Morgan has the potential to do his part by forcing the defense to respect his game outside the paint.

Favorite Big Ten Opponent: Iowa – averages 13.0 points (15-of-17 FG, 9-of-14 FT), 6.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0 blocks, 2.3 turnovers, 27.7 minutes per game.

Going Forward: Morgan should be in line to start every game this season except in the event of injury or Beilein opting to play a small lineup and McGary overtaking him at the five. If he can rebound effectively and play good defense against opposing big men, his job will be done. The screen-and-roll will certainly be around plenty and JMo will be seen running the court for easy dunks on occasion as well. A strong season down low is crucial to a strong season overall for Michigan.

Stat Predictions: 8.5 points (55 FG%, 60.1 FT%), 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 steals in 22 minutes per game.