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Posts Tagged ‘Exhibition’

Balance: Michigan 79 – Wayne State 60

Monday, November 4th, 2013

(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

When a college basketball team makes a run to the national championship game with large contributions from the Naismith Player of the Year and another first round NBA pick, the first question after those players’ departures is naturally going to regard their replacements. Around the country, writers and fans alike have been hesitant to deem Michigan an elite team again this season because they don’t know who will fully replace Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr.

Following tonight’s routine, 79-60 exhibition win over Wayne State, however, Michigan gave the world a little bit of an answer to that lingering question. No one will replace Burke and Hardaway alone. It’s going to be a team effort.

After a 2:48 drought to start the game, the Wolverines got going with a nifty finish by Nik Stauskas followed by a silky smooth three-pointer from a fresh-off-the-bench Caris LeVert and capped off a quick 7-0 spurt with two free throws from Jordan Morgan.

By the time the first half had ended, six Wolverines had tallied double-digit minutes, eight had scored, and Michigan had built a 16-point lead that, despite a back-and-forth second half, was always going to be enough to coast to the win.

After scoring 33 in the opener, Glenn Robinson III tallied 15 against Wayne State (

In Michigan’s first go-round of the exhibition games, Glenn Robinson III was turning heads with 33 points and LeVert wowed with 10 dimes. Tonight, Zak Irvin and LeVert notched nine points a piece before halftime to go along with 15 combined from Stauskas and Derrick Walton, Jr. while Morgan and Jon Horford each grabbed five rebounds.

In his post-game comments, John Beilein quipped that it wasn’t long ago that if Burke got into early foul trouble, it could spell doom for Michigan on any given night. Now, if one player goes down, there are seven or eight guys that can pick up the slack.

Irvin, who calmly knocked down three straight first-half threes and ended the night with 13 points on 5-8 shooting, said after the game that, “I just think we’re a very dangerous team, (we) have a lot of balance.”

For Beilein, balance is certainly welcome. Of course most coaches would dream of having two first round draft picks, but Beilein’s offense in particular creates more problems when four or five guys can consistently lead the team offensively rather than two or three.

After leading four Wolverines in double figures with 17 total points and being one of six Michigan players to knock down a three tonight, Nik Stauskas alluded to the fact that when the shots are falling for everyone, the opposing team has “got to respect that.”

Now with two exhibitions in the rearview mirror, Michigan opens up the regular season schedule on Friday night against UMass-Lowell, a first-year Division 1 squad.

Beilein, who usually likes to find a comfortable starting lineup and determine a rotation early on, has perhaps changed his philosophy a bit given the balance this team presents.

“We could go in and change starting lineups all the time.”

For now, it’s a good bet that after a little bit of experimenting, Beilein probably has a good idea of what his lineup will look like heading into the season, but there’s no guarantee on that remaining the same for games at a time. He will go with the players that give him the best chance to win on any given night.

Walton, who got his first start tonight, looks like a good bet to start the season after a second strong showing, and Jon Horford seems to give Michigan the best rebounder and shot-blocker down low, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be called upon when Friday rolls around.

In the past, such uncertainty would have been worrisome, but with the versatility of this 2013-14 edition of the Michigan Wolverines, there appears to be strength in numbers.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 5-10 1-3 4-5 2 1 3 1 15 3 3 0 1 32
15 Jon Horford* 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 7 9 4 2 1 2 2 0 25
52 Jordan Morgan* 0-0 0-0 3-4 1 5 6 1 3 1 0 0 1 14
10 Derrick Walton Jr.* 1-4 1-3 4-5 0 3 3 0 7 4 2 0 1 27
11 Nik Stauskas* 5-8 2-4 5-5 0 6 6 2 17 4 2 1 1 31
02 Spike Albrecht 2-3 1-2 1-2 0 0 0 2 6 0 0 0 0 13
21 Zak Irvin 5-8 3-5 0-0 0 0 0 1 13 0 0 0 0 19
23 Caris LeVert 5-10 1-3 5-7 0 1 1 1 16 3 1 0 0 28
34 Mark Donnal 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
Totals 24-46 9-21 22-28 6 25 31 14 79 16 10 3 4 200
Wayne State 23-63 7-19 7-10 15 21 36 22 60 10 11 2 4 200

Michigan hoops preview: Wayne State

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Michigan opened the exhibition portion of its schedule last week with a dominating 117-44 win over Concordia. Tonight, the Wolverines return to action for their final tune-up before the regular season starts. This time, Wayne State comes to town for their first exhibition of the season. Here’s how their numbers compared to Michigan’s last season:

Michigan vs Wayne State (exhibition) – Crisler Center – 7pm EST
75.2 Points/gm 72.2
(1,093-2,260) 48.4 Field Goal % 45.9 (683-1,488)
(296-769) 38.5 3-pt FG % 36.6 (138-377)
(450-642) 70.1 Free Throw % 71.2 (446-626)
11.5 FT Made/gm 16.5
35.0 Reb/gm 32.7
14.5 Assists/gm 12.1
9.4 Turnovers/gm 11.1
63.3 Points/gm 66.3
(941-2,221) 42.4 Field Goal % 43.6 (610-1,398)
(242-745) 32.5 3-pt FG % 34.1 (157-460)
32.1 Opp. Reb/gm 33.4
6.1 Steals/gm 6.9
2.8 Blocks/gm 3.3
Returning Leaders
Nik Stauskas (11.0), Glenn Robinson III (11.0) Points/gm Mike Hollingsworth (14.6), Chene Phillips (11.5)
Mitch McGary (6.3), Glenn Robinson III (5.4) Reb/gm Gerald Williams-Taylor (4.9)
*All stats from 2012-13 season

Wayne State finished the 2012-13 season with a 17-10 record overall and shared the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season title with a 16-6 record. The Warriors lost in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament but made the NCAA Division II Tournament, falling in the first round 79-70 to Southern Indiana.

Head Coach David Greer is in his 13th season at Wayne State and has the luxury of three returning starters this season, including last year’s leading scorer Mike Hollingsworth. The 6’2″ redshirt senior shooting guard averaged 14.6 points per game a year ago and was voted to the All-GLIAC first team. Fellow senior guard Chene Phillips – a transfer from Liberty University – averaged 11.5 points a game last season while starting every game. He led the team in steals and finished second in assists and was voted to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team.

Senior forward Gerald Williams-Taylor also returns to the starting lineup. He was the team’s leader in field goal percentage (56.3), free throw percentage (80.6), and offensive rebounds (62). Fellow senior forwards Bryan Coleman (8.1 points, 3.5 rebounds) and Jamar Ragaland (4.2 points, 4.4 rebounds) also return.

With so many key returning players, the Warriors figure to compete for the GLIAC title once again. They will surely be a tougher test for Michigan than Concordia was, but Michigan shouldn’t have any trouble dispensing of them. Look for John Beilein to once again mix and match his lineups to try out different combinations in different situations. Mitch McGary is still out, but it won’t matter and Michigan will roll.

Tickets are still available for as little as $5, but if you’re not able to attend you can watch on the Big Ten Network.

Bullying: Michigan 117 – Concordia 44

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013


Three years ago Michigan hosted Concordia and needed a 14-3 run midway through the second half to turn a four point game into a 86-65 win. On Tuesday night, in the first exhibition of the season, Michigan dominated Concordia from the onset, winning 117-44. It doesn’t count towards the record or the stats, but it was an impressive showing nonetheless and it’s a testament to how far this team has come over the past few seasons.

Even in last season’s two exhibitions, the Wolverines won convincingly, but didn’t look as impressive in doing so. Michigan won just 83-47 and 76-48 against Northern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State, respectively. In this one, Michigan didn’t even have arguably its best player, Mitch McGary, who was out with a back injury, and still won by 73.

Michigan led 60-19 at halftime and 101-29 with nine minutes remaining. At that point, John Beilein took out most of the starters and played mostly freshmen for the final few minutes – and not freshmen that will be playing this season. Andrew Dakich, Sean Lonergan, Cole McConnell were all on the court at the same time as Mark Donnal who is likely headed for a redshirt.

Glenn Robinson III led the way with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting. He hit 4-of-6 three-point attempts and dished out four assists. Midway through the second half, Robinson himself led Concordia 33-29. Nik Stauskas scored 23 points, making 7-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from downtown. Caris LeVert looked impressive with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He also added 10 assists and just one turnover. Jon Horford led the way with 12 rebounds.

The freshmen played well. Derrick Walton Jr showed good command at point guard with 11 points and a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Zak Irvin flashed a nice shooting stroke, scoring 10 on 4-of-7 shooting.

As a team Michigan shot 65.1 percent overall and 73.1 percent from two. The Wolverines had 26 assists and just six turnovers, outrebounded Concordia 43 to 26, and committed just eight fouls. Michigan looked strong defensively, holding the Cardinals to just 29.3 percent shooting and forcing 23 turnovers. Michigan’s length and athleticism was apparent, especially when running with the lineup of all 6-6 or taller players.

It doesn’t count, it technically means nothing, and it’s the worst opponent Michigan will face all season, but it was certainly an impressive showing. Walton looks fully capable of filling Trey Burke’s shoes – not from a scoring standpoint yet, but in terms of running the offense and dishing the ball to open shooters. Robinson has improved and is in line for a monster season. LeVert may be tough to keep off the court. And Stauskas is still Stauskas but bigger and more capable of handing the physical aspect of the Big Ten season. Once McGary comes back this team will be tough to stop offensively and will likely be better on the defensive end than it was a year ago.

Ultimately, Michigan did exactly what it was supposed to do rather than play down to its opponent and it leaves a lot to be excited about for the upcoming season.

The Wolverines return to action next Monday for the final exhibition against Wayne State at 7pm in the Crisler Center.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 12-15 4-6 5-5 1 2 3 0 33 4 1 0 2 25
15 Jon Horford* 1-4 0-0 2-2 2 10 12 1 4 1 0 2 1 22
52 Jordan Morgan* 3-5 0-0 4-4 4 3 7 1 10 0 0 1 0 14
02 Spike Albrecht* 1-2 1-1 1-2 1 1 2 2 5 4 1 0 0 21
11 Nik Stauskas* 7-8 2-3 7-7 0 3 3 0 23 3 0 1 1 26
05 Andrew Dakich 0-1 0-0 0-2 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
10 Derrick Walton Jr. 4-7 2-4 1-2 0 4 4 0 11 4 1 0 2 24
12 Cole McConnell 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4
21 Zak Irvin 4-7 1-2 1-3 1 0 1 1 10 0 0 0 0 19
23 Caris LeVert 7-8 1-2 1-3 1 3 4 1 16 10 1 0 3 21
34 Mark Donnal 1-2 0-1 1-2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 5
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-2 0-1 0-1 0 3 3 2 2 0 1 0 1 11
Totals 41-63 11-22 24-33 11 32 43 8 117 26 6 6 10 200
Concordia 17-58 8-29 2-4 10 16 26 27 44 9 23 1 2 200

Michigan vs Saginaw Valley State quick thoughts

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Michigan’s second and final exhibition matchup comes tonight at the Crisler Center against the Cardinals of Saginaw Valley State. Here are three things to watch for as the season nears:

Trey Burke will see his first game action of the season tonight

  1. Rotation: Trey Burke will be back in the lineup tonight after serving a one-game suspension last Thursday for a violation of team rules and will certainly be starting over Spike Albrecht, whose play in the first exhibition game exceeded many observers’ expectations. Because this game doesn’t count in the record books, Beilein will probably try to get Albrecht some quality minutes again to prepare him for the regular season, but I wouldn’t expect more than 15-20. Burke needs to get minutes against a different opponent with his teammates both new and old to develop the chemistry that all great teams have. Watch for Beilein to play Burke, Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary together on the court for long periods of time. Also pay close attention to the rotation at the two-guard spot. I expect Matt Vogrich to start again, but Nik Stauskas’s play has certainly spoken volumes, and a bigger lineup would likely see Tim Hardaway, Jr. slide down to the shooting guard spot.
  1. Shooting: The Wolverines, and notably the freshmen, got off to a hot start against Northern Michigan with their three-point shooting in particular, as Spike Albrecht, Nik Stauskas, and Glenn Robinson III combined to go 9-for-15 from behind the arc. Was this just a case of getting hot at the right time or will these freshmen continue to light it up from deep? Only time will tell, but with each passing game it will become more evident. Pay special attention to Vogrich, who struggled shooting the deep ball Thursday, going 0-for-4 from three-point land. If Stauskas continues to outshoot him, Beilein may shuffle up the lineup sooner than I thought.
  1. Defense: With the potential to play a bigger lineup this year, Michigan has some options on both ends of the court, and many expect to see significantly more zone defense being deployed by Beilein when a bigger squad is on the floor. Against Northern Michigan the Wolverines went to the 2-3 zone for a short stretch in the second half, but there wasn’t a whole lot more than that. Watch tonight to see if Beilein mixes up the calls a little bit more on the defensive end, and if so, which zones he plays. The 2-3 will likely be the most utilized zone defense we see this season, but Beilein always has the 1-3-1 in his back pocket as well, and with more length and athleticism, Michigan could be deadly in spurts by switching to the 1-3-1 at times. It certainly won’t be used often, but I think we will see it more than we have over the past couple of years.

Michigan 83 – Northern Michigan 47: Freshmen shine in rout

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#5 Michigan 38 45 83
Northern Michigan 21 26 47

Spike Albrecht scored 16 in his Michigan debut (photo by

With every new season comes new question marks, and Michigan is no different despite being ranked in the top five in the country entering the year. Tonight, some of those questions were answered in a big way.

If someone gave me 20 chances to pick the exacta (for all you horse racing fans out there) for Michigan’s leading scorers, there is simply no way I would have ever chosen Nik Stauskas and Spike Albrecht to win the bet for me. If there were odds on that stat, I imagine Vegas would have given out 200-1 or so on those two freshmen finishing 1-2, but I digress.

John Beilein’s squad came out guns ablazing, sprinting to a 17-0 lead behind six points apiece from Albrecht and Glenn Robinson III; the team as a whole didn’t miss a shot until the clock read 15:21, at which point the outcome of the exhibition tilt was unquestioned.

When Beilein announced Trey Burke’s one-game suspension yesterday, naming Albrecht as the starter for his first-ever Michigan game, many wondered how much the freshman would play and how he would look. Spike answered the bell, shooting an impressive 4-of-7 from the field (3-of-6 on threes) and dishing out six assists to just two turnovers in 30 minutes of action in the All-American’s absence.

Perhaps equally impressive was fellow freshman Nik Stauskas, who scorched the nets to the tune of 17 points (5-of-8 FG, 4-of-6 3-Pt) in just 19 minutes; his shooting was everything it has been advertised to be, as he seemed to be on line with every shot, and his pump fake, dribble, and step-to-the-left-and-pop-the-three bomb was easily the sweetest shot of the game. By the time he had drained his fourth trey of the game, I basically gave up on my $5 bet on who will be the best three-point shooter on the team at the end of the year (I have the field and my friend has Stauskas).

What encouraged me most about Stauskas’s game, however, was his ability to put the ball on the floor. When the shot wasn’t there, he wasn’t afraid to fake the defender and look for the drive and dish or for his own lay-up, and while he made a couple mistakes by doing so, he clearly presents loads of potential on the offensive end.

Albrecht, while not big, fast, or super athletic, was very crafty but controlled at the same time. He did a wonderful job picking his spots and playing within himself, and was really good in finding the open man on the perimeter.

Glenn Robinson III had perhaps the quietest 13 points (5-of-8 FG, 2-of-3 3-Pt) in his 23 minutes on the floor that I’ve ever seen, but also showed flashes of the five-star talent he is, throwing down a breakaway slam with ease and beautifully finishing an alley-oop in the half-court set from Tim Hardaway, Jr. on a ball that he seemed to bring from his waist to the hoop. It almost seemed as if he played too much within the offense, rarely looking for his own shot or putting the ball on the floor. Look for him to be more active on both sides of the ball as the season progresses and he continues to learn his role on this team.

Mitch McGary recorded two blocks to go along with 5 points and 9 boards (photo by John T. Greilick, Detroit News)

McGary showed the intensity and energy that he will bring to the floor night in and night out on a couple occasions and was relentless on the boards (nine rebounds) despite struggling with his touch around the hoop and from the line (five points on 2-of-4 FG, 1-of-5 FT). He seemed to play better immediately after making some big plays and had an eye-opening, one-handed put-back dunk that didn’t count because a foul had been called; McGary will learn to play hard on every possession, regardless of how he is doing on either end of the court.

Caris LeVert was not to be left out of the scoring frenzy either, making a three-pointer of his own and playing a mix of the one, two, and three in 10 minutes. For a very short stint in the first half Beilein put out the whole “Fresh Five”, but the offense failed to flow much and the lineup was quickly broken up. LeVert has great potential and has been very hyped this offseason, but I would still be surprised if he didn’t redshirt this season; he is simply too skinny and the team has too many weapons for him to make a big enough difference to warrant playing him.

Of the returning players, Tim Hardaway, Jr. looked like he has added a couple inches to his vertical, grabbing eight rebounds and pouring in 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting (2-of-5 3-Pt) and Jordan Morgan neared a double-double with nine points (4-of-8 FG, 1-of-2 FT) and 12 boards, showcasing an unquenchable thirst in cleaning up the glass. If these two can rebound consistently this Michigan team should be well above-average team in that category when all is said and done.

Because it was an exhibition, I will not get into deep statistical analysis. It was clear that Beilein was experimenting with many different looks and players, and the lack of Trey Burke basically means that the team we saw tonight will still be completely different from what we will see in a week’s time. Beilein will continue to tinker with different looks and groups on the floor until probably about Big Ten season, when a pretty clear rotation should emerge.

In the end, Michigan easily handled a team they were expected to handle easily while nearly every freshman impressed. Beilein has warned that the freshmen will make lots of mistakes, and especially early on, and every freshman did make his fair share of mistakes tonight. At the same time, however, no one looked out of place against a college opponent, notably on the defensive end. None of the Fresh Five had the look of a lock-down defender, but none was clearly inept on that end either, a welcoming sign for this team.

After tonight, it’s hard to imagine a game in which there isn’t at least one player that is on; with the number of offensive weapons at Beilein’s disposal, it certainly appears that the Wolverines will score the ball on anyone. If the defense continues to improve as the schedule strengthens and the regular season nears, Michigan will be good. Scary good.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 5-8 2-3 1-1 1 0 1 0 13 1 0 0 1 23
52 Jordan Morgan* 4-8 0-0 1-2 5 7 12 0 9 0 0 1 1 21
02 Spike Albrecht* 4-7 3-6 5-5 0 3 3 0 16 6 2 0 0 30
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 3-9 2-5 5-7 0 8 8 1 13 5 0 0 1 29
13 Matt Vogrich* 2-7 0-4 0-0 2 2 4 1 4 1 0 0 1 18
04 Mitch McGary 2-4 0-0 1-5 6 3 9 1 5 1 2 2 0 17
05 Eso Akunne 1-2 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 8
11 Nik Stauskas 5-8 4-6 3-4 0 2 2 2 17 2 2 0 0 19
20 Josh Bartelstein 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
22 Blake McLimans 0-3 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
23 Caris LeVert 1-5 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 10
32 Corey Person 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 11
Totals 27-63 13-31 16-26 19 31 50 5 83 17 8 4 4 200
Northern Michigan 19-59 6-20 3-4 10 22 33 18 47 8 11 2 6 200

Michigan 47 – Wayne State 39

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Final 1st 2nd Total
Michigan 25 22 47
Wayne State 14 25 39

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win, whether it counts or not. Michigan shook off the rust of the offseason, scoring just 47 points (19.5 points below last year’s average), but gave up just 39, beating NCAA Div. II Wayne State in Crisler Arena on Friday night.

It was the much anticipated debut of point guard Trey Burke and he didn’t disappoint. The freshman from Columbus, Ohio split time at point with Stu Douglass and looked comfortable. He made his entrance about five minutes into the game and was the only freshman to play more than just a few minutes.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led all scorers with 20 points and also added nine rebounds. Zack Novak scored 14 points and Burke added seven points and four assits. Jon Horford was the only other Wolverine to score with six points and six rebounds.

Defensively, Michigan showed good intensity, holding the Warriors 37 points below last season’s average. Wayne State shot just 33 percent (13 percent from three-point range) and attempted just four free throws.

The main point of improvement needed is the post defense. Wayne State center Ike Udanoh recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“Our bigs have a lot of work to do,” Head Coach John Beilein said after the game. “We’ve got to work with them to realize where they are on the court.”

Michigan now has a week off before the season opener against Ferris State next Friday. Many times, a team wouldn’t want a week off between games, but Beilein insists it’s a good thing in this situation.

“We need to practice right now,” Beilein said. “We weren’t sharp with some things. Give Wayne State credit. They’re a veteran team. But we’ve got some rhythm-type issues that we have to take care of.”

Five-of-24 from downtown, 4-of-12 from the free throw line, and 14 turnovers are not good stats for the Wolverines, but that’s why they play exhibition games.

Final Game Stats
15 Jon Horford* 3-3 0-0 0-5 1 5 6 1 6 1 1 2 0 17
23 Evan Smotrycz* 0-5 0-2 0-0 1 3 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 23
00 Zack Novak* 6-12 2-8 0-1 1 2 3 1 14 1 2 0 3 36
01 Stu Douglass* 0-4 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 1 31
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 7-17 2-7 4-6 2 7 9 1 20 1 5 1 0 35
02 Carlton Brundidge 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2
03 Trey Burke 3-7 1-3 0-0 0 2 2 1 7 4 2 0 2 28
13 Matt Vogrich 0-2 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 10
52 Jordan Morgan 0-1 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 2 0 0 2 0 2 18
Totals 19-51 5-24 4-12 9 22 31 9 47 11 14 3 10 200