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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Basketball’

New in Blue: 2016 PG Xavier Simpson

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


Xavier Simpson – PG | 5’11, 165 | Lima, Ohio – Lima Senior
ESPN: 4-star, #12PG, #66ov Rivals: 4-star, #87ov 247: 4-star, #16PG, #86ov Scout: 4-star, #12PG, #55ov
Other top offers: Illinois, Wisconsin, Miami, Iowa State

John Beilein pulled off a stunning upset Wednesday afternoon when Top 100 point guard Xavier Simpson committed to the Wolverines over Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa State, and Miami. The four-star recruit left Michigan off his final list in the morning, but committed to Beilein’s team at a press conference at his school.

Simpson reportedly took a last-minute visit to Ann Arbor over the weekend after visiting Illinois and Wisconsin in the past two weeks.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound guard is known for his vision and excellent defensive prowess. Though it’s not his calling card, Simpson is an adequate scorer and can shoot from the outside. But his value to Michigan will be in his on-court intelligence and toughness. In high school, he’s developed a reputation for embracing the big moments and coming through in the clutch. Beilein likely sees Simpson as a future leader in the locker room. lists Simpson as the top point guard out of Ohio, No. 12 point guard in the country, and No. 55 overall recruit in the 2016 class.

Simpson is the fourth commit in the 2016 class. He joins forwards Jon Teske and Austin Davis and guard Ibi Watson in what is now a top 20 class for the Wolverines. He will arrive next season when Derrick Walton Jr is a senior and Spike Albrecht departs.

New in Blue: 2016 SG Tyus Battle

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Battle(Gregory Payan, AP)

Tyus Battle – SG | 6‘6″, 205 | Edison, N.J. – Gill St. Bernard’s School
ESPN: 5-star, #4 SG, #14ov Rivals: 5-star, #16ov 247: 5-star, #4SG, #12ov Scout: 5-star, #4SF, #10ov
Other top offers: Duke, Connecticut, Louisville, Syracuse, Ohio State, Notre Dame

Just days after missing out on the No. 2 overall prospect for 2015, John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines picked up a huge commit for the following season.

Tyus Battle announced via Twitter Monday that he will attend Michigan over a host of other schools, including Ohio State, Duke and Syracuse, who were considered among the front runners.

Battle is the No. 12 overall recruit and the No. 4 shooting guard according to 247 Sports. Scout lists him 10th overall in the 2016 class, while Rivals currently has him the lowest at 16th. His official visit to Ann Arbor this past weekend seemed to be the trump card for Michigan, as he committed just two days later.

Battle gives Michigan an elite guard in 2016 with the coming departures of Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht to graduation. Battle is an elite shooter from all over the floor and can create his own shots with his quickness.

If the high school senior holds onto his top 14 ranking, he’ll move to Ann Arbor as the highest ranked recruit in Beilein’s tenure at Michigan. His previous highest recruit was Glenn Robinson III, who was ranked No. 16 overall.

As a sophomore in 2013-14, Battle averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game for Gill St. Bernard’s School in Edison, N.J. His numbers dipped to 16.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season as result of an injury-plagued year in which he played in just nine games. A big senior season in 2015-16 should help keep Battle ranked among the best in the nation before he heads to Ann Arbor.

The M&GB HAIL Awards: Basketball 2014-15

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

UM Bball HAIL Awards

Michigan’s basketball season has been over for more than a month and the Wolverines just held their annual awards celebration a couple weeks ago, but we’ve finally gotten around to handing out our M&GB HAIL Awards. Better late than never, I guess.

After reaching the national title game in 2013 and coming just short of the Final Four last season, the 2014-15 season was a major disappointment. Everybody knew Michigan was due for a letdown after sending five players from those two NCAA Tournament teams to the NBA, but no one expected it to be as bad as it became.

Early season wins over Oregon and Syracuse were fun, and nearly topping eventual No. 2-seed Villanova in the Legends Classing championship game gave Michigan hope for a successful season. But it all came unravelled with back-to-back home losses to NJIT and Eastern Michigan, followed by a 27-point loss at third-ranked Arizona and an 11-point loss to SMU. To make matters worse, Michigan lost its two best players, Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton for the season with injuries.

The Wolverines opened Big Ten play with an overtime win over Illinois on a celebratory night in which new football head coach Jim Harbaugh was honored for his triumphant return. But Michigan had trouble stringing together wins in conference play, beating the teams they were expected to beat — Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Rutgers — and falling to the teams in the top half of the league. Even so, Michigan had its share of near misses, taking Wisconsin and Michigan State — both Final Four teams — to overtime, but couldn’t pull out either of them. Michigan found some fire in the Big Ten Tournament, topping an Illinois squad that was on the NCAA Tournament bubble by 18 points, but Wisconsin ended Michigan’s season the next night.

It wasn’t the type of season John Beilein, the players, or the fans wanted or expected, but when all was said and done there was plenty to be excited about heading into next season. For one, Michigan shouldn’t lose anyone save senior Max Bielfeldt who likely won’t get a fifth year. Secondly, the emergence of freshmen Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman should give the Wolverines quality depth in 2015-16, something that likely wouldn’t have happened with a healthy LeVert and Walton.

Let’s take the time to honor the top players, plays, performances, and moments of the 2014-15 Michigan basketball season.

To revisit last year’s HAIL Awards: 2014-15 or our football HAIL Awards: 201420132012, 2011.

Player of the Year Zak Irvin

Irvin vs WisconsinWhen Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III departed for the NBA following last season, a void needed to be filled and most expected junior Caris LeVert and sophomore Zak Irvin to fill it. And for the most part they did just that. But when LeVert went down with a broken foot midway through the season Irvin had to step up and take on a larger role.

But Irvin hit a month-long slump in which he shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from three-point range while averaging just 10.8 points per game. Over the final month of the season, however, Irvin hit his stride, averaging 16.9 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from downtown.

“After both Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton went down with season-ending injuries, Michigan had to rely on everyone to step up,” said Sam. “It took a little bit longer for anyone to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity, but by the end of the year, Zak Irvin was undoubtedly the most dynamic player on the team and the one that kept the Wolverines in most games even though the postseason was always going to be a tough proposition.”

Votes: 2
Others Receiving Votes: Aubrey Dawkins (1)

Guard of the Year Zak Irvin

Irvin dunk

Irvin scored in double figures in all but five games this season and scored 20 or more points five times, including in three of the last nine games. He led the team in points 12 times and in rebounds nine times. He finished second in scoring (14.3 points) behind LeVert, second in rebounds (4.8) behind LeVert, and led the team with 33 steals.

His shooting percentage of 40.2 percent ranked seventh on the team, although he took 184 shots more than anyone else and 212 more shots than anyone other than LeVert. Likewise, his three-point percentage of 35.5 percent ranked sixth, but his 217 attempts were 121 more than the next closest, Spike Albrecht’s 96 attempts.

“Last season, Zak Irvin recorded three assists in a game just one, and tallied zero dimes more often than not,” said Sam. “This season, it looked like it might be the same Irvin with better hops early on, as the sophomore reached that magic number of three only once over the first three months of the season. Then, the light switch went on, and the Just a Shooter label came off. Over the last 12 games of the year, Irvin dished out at least three assists eight times (including the last six games of the season), while reaching double digit point totals in 10 of those games (with a low of seven points).”

Votes: 2
Others Receiving Votes: Aubrey Dawkins (1)

Big Man of the Year Max Bielfeldt

Max Bielfeldt

Losing Jordan Morgan to graduation and Mitch McGary to the NBA left a huge hole in the Michigan frontcourt entering this season. Most figured redshirt freshman Mark Donnal to be the logical replacement, but while he began the season as the starter it was obvious he still had a long way to go. True freshman Ricky Doyle succeeded him, and while he had his flashes, his youth and inexperienced was evident. By season’s end, it was senior Max Bielfeldt who proved to be the most reliable.

Despite starting just three games — the final three of the season — Bielfeldt took Donnal’s minutes and improved as the season went on. He finished seventh on the team in scoring, averaging 5.1 points per game, and fourth in rebounding with an average of 3.6. Despite playing 130 fewer minutes than Doyle, he grabbed 10 more boards to lead all big men. Over the final eight games, Bielfeldt averaged 7.8 points 4.9 rebounds and he went out in style with a 14-point, 11-rebound performance against Rutgers on senior night.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Bielfeldt was the most consisten center for Michigan down the stretch,” said Derick. “The same guy that couldn’t guard a stationary post early in the year became a confident player around the rim and an above average rebounder for Michigan. Though Bielfeldt was never a focus for Michigan on offense, he developed a small, but effective, arsenal of moves and improve dramatically on defense.”

Votes: 2
Others Receiving Votes: Ricky Doyle (1)

Defensive Player of the Year Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman

MAARPrior to the season, unheralded freshman Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman didn’t figure into many projections of significant contributors. But the Allentown, Pa. native who — along with Aubrey Dawkins — filled out Michigan’s 2014 class, was thrust into action when Derrick Walton Jr. went down for the season with a foot injury.

He made his first career start on Jan. 17 against Northwestern and finished with nine points, five rebounds, two assists, and made the game-winning three. Two games after Walton went down, Abdur-Rahkman broke out with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting at Michigan State. In Michigan’s first Big Ten Tournament game against Illinois, Abdur-Rahkman nearly missed a double-double with 15 points and eight boards.

But it was his defensive prowess that earned him playing time, and by season’s end he was called upon to clamp down on the opponent’s top guard.

“Defense looked to be the surprising strength of this disappointing season early on before the offense started to flow near the end of the season,” said Sam. “John Beilein has still yet to find one of those pesky defensive stoppers throughout his time in Ann Arbor, but it looks like Rahk might have a shot at being the first. The unheralded freshman out of Allentown, PA showed terrific poise in his head-to-head matchup with future lottery pick D’Angelo Russell and was easily the best player on the team at making a simple step-in to stop a potential fast break. I remember watching in awe a few times as Rahk stopped an opponent in his tracks multiple times when it looked like a layup was a sure thing.”

Votes: 2
Others Receiving Votes: Ricky Doyle (1)

Game of the Year 64-57 win over #24 Ohio State

Spike vs OSUThere were plenty of near-misses that could have been game of the year had they swung the other way. Early in the season, Michigan nearly topped 12th-ranked Villanova in the Legends Classic championship game. In Big Ten play, the Wolverines took both Michigan State and Wisconsin to overtime, but fell both times. And in the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan again took Wisconsin to the wire, but couldn’t pull it out.

But the one game that Michigan did impress in was a 64-57 win over Ohio State on Feb. 22. Michigan was struggling, losers of five straight, when the Buckeyes came to town, but that didn’t stop John Beilein’s squad from dominating their rivals. Michigan raced out to a 23-9 lead and led by as many as 20 at 31-11, cruising to a 39-23 halftime margin. Ohio State cut the lead to 10 a few minutes into the second half, and then pulled within three with 6:59 remaining, but a timely Zak Irvin three put a stop to the Buckeye run and Michigan held on for a big win.

Irvin and Spike Albrecht combined to score 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman held Ohio State star D’Angelo Russell to just 16 points on 15 shots.

“Despite the awful slide to finish the season, Michigan did give fans one great memory: a wire-to-wire dominating win over Ohio State,” said Derick. “Michigan jumped out to an early lead and never let go, while holding freshman phenom D’Angelo Russell to one of his least efficient games of the season.”

Votes: 3
Others Receiving Votes: None

Play of the Year Derrick Walton three to force OT against Wisconsin

Walton three vs WisconsinWhen sixth-ranked Wisconsin came to town in late January, Michigan’s season was on the verge of collapse. Losses to NJIT and Eastern Michigan in non-conference play made Michigan’s postseason hopes slim barring a great performance in conference play, and although the Wolverines won four of the first six Big Ten games, there wasn’t much room for error. To make matters worse, Caris LeVert went down for the season two games prior. A win over the Badgers sans LeVert would be a huge boost.

Michigan started slow, managing just three points through the first six minutes, but took their first lead at 17-16 with 8:53 left in the half. But Wisconsin pulled away to a 30-23 halftime lead. The beginning of the second half was a different story, however, as Michigan used a 15-8 run through the first nine minutes to tie the game at 38. Wisconsin kept threatening to pull away, but Michigan wouldn’t back down.

Trailing by three with under 20 seconds left, Derrick Walton Jr. took over. First, he made two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to pull within one, and then, after Wisconsin answers with a pair of free throws, Walton brought the ball up the court. He handed it off to Aubrey Dawkins who went up to shoot, but with a hand in his face, passed it back to Walton. Walton launched a three at the buzzer from the left wing and it found nothing but net to send the game to overtime. Unfortunately, Michigan couldn’t prevail, falling 69-64, but Walton’s shot was a lone bright spot in a dark season.

Votes: 2
Others Receiving Votes: Albrecht behind-the-back assist to Dawkins vs Illinois in Big Ten Tournament (1)

Performance of the Year Aubrey Dawkins’ breakout vs Illinois

Dawkins vs Rutgers

After dropping four of their last five non-conference games, Michigan needed a strong start to Big Ten play. On a festive occasion that saw the Wolverines welcome the return of Jim Harbaugh as head football coach, freshman Aubrey Dawkins led the way.

Dawkins scored 20 points on 6-of-7 three-point shooting and also grabbed five rebounds in a breakout performance. Prior to that game, Dawkins had scored a total of 15 points throughout non-conference play, but his breakout against Illinois set in motion a strong finish to the season for the freshman. From that point on, he averaged 9.7 points per game.

“This is perhaps the most telling category…three of the top “Performance of the Year” options came in losses,” said Sam. “I have to go with the one that resulted in a win, wherein Aubrey Dawkins put the team on his back much to the enjoyment of a packed house celebrating the homecoming of Jim Harbaugh and led the team to a huge victory in their Big Ten home opener. He couldn’t miss and we couldn’t stop oohhing and ahhing.”


Votes: 2
Others Receiving Votes: Dawkins’ 31 points in regular season finale vs Rutgers

Newcomer of the Year Aubrey Dawkins

Dawkins dunkLosing an all-everything point guard to the NBA is never an easy task for any coach, but John Beilein got a superb season out of Derrick Walton Jr. The freshman from Detroit started 36 of the 37 games, averaging 7.9 points, three rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Most importantly, he provided a steady presence at the point guard position with nearly twice as many assists as turnovers.

Walton wasn’t always counted on to score, but he could certainly do it when needed. His best performance came in the 80-75 win at Michigan State when he scored 19 points, pulled down six rebounds, and dished out four assists. His clutch free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the win. He also recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the Feb. 11 win at Ohio State and finished the season with a 41 percent three-point rate.

“Zak Irvin had an impactful freshmen season, playing his role to perfection as a scoring threat off the bench,” said Drew. “In most years, he would win this award. But it is difficult not to give it to a freshman starting at a position just vacated by the consensus national player of the year. Derrick Walton, Jr. averaged 7.9 points, made 41 percent of his threes, and had the second-highest defensive rebounding rate among Michigan’s guards and wings despite being only 6’1″. Most importantly, he did not shy away in big moments, making clutch plays in the final minutes of critical road wins against Nebraska, Michigan State, and Ohio State.”

Votes: 3
Others Receiving Votes: None

Those Who Stay Senior of the Year Max Bielfeldt

BielfeldtLike Jordan Morgan a year ago, Max Bielfeldt is the default winner of this award because he was the only senior on the roster. But as we mentioned in the Defensive Player of the Year category, Bielfeldt went from little-used big man to the best big man on the team as the season went along. By season’s end he was the most trusted man inside, able to come up with a key rebound and score when needed.

On his senior night against Rutgers, Bielfeldt put together the best performance of his career, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.

While Bielfeldt has a year of eligibility remaining, he was granted his release and will transfer elsewhere, and per Nick Baumgardner, he’s down to Iowa State, DePaul, Boston College, and Stanford. However, since John Beilein wasn’t able to secure a commitment from his top two targets — Jalen Brown and Kenny Williams — a scholarship remains open for next season and there’s a slight chance Bielfledt could choose to remain in Ann Arbor.

Votes: 3
Others Receiving Votes: None

Most Improved Player  Zak Irvin

Irvin vs NUWhen Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III all departed for the NBA following the 2013-14 season, Michigan needed someone to step up and grab the reigns of the team. Last year’s most improved player, Caris LeVert, was the prime candidate with many projecting him a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. But his season was cut short due to a foot injury. Enter Zak Irvin.

Irvin rose to the occasion after a slow start to the season to steadily improve as the season went along. By season’s end he had taken the team on his back and become the all-around player he was expected to be. He finished the season with double figures in eight of the last nine games, averaging 16.9 points per game during that span with three 20-plus games. He finished his sophomore campaign second on the team in points (14.3 points per game) and rebounds (4.8 per game), and shot 35.5 percent from three-point range.

“While I think Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman were the best suprises of the season, Zak Irvin, in my mind, made the greatest improvement,” said Derick. “The sophomore entered the season with expectations based solely on the one-year improvements fans saw with Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert, but struggled early on. He was a volume shooter with little else to offer, and his defense was among the worst liabilities on the team. But by the end of the season, Irvin’s field goal percentage improved, he started finding the big men down low for easy buckets and he even became more active on the defensive end. He became the team’s top rebounder and also picked up 13 steals in his  last nine games. If his improvement continues into next season, Michigan fans will see the Irvin they expected a year earlier.”

Votes: 3
Others Receiving Votes: None

Austin Hatch to transition into basketball student assistant role

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Hatch(Melanie Maxwell, The Ann Arbor News)

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein and guard Austin Hatch announced Monday that Hatch will end his college playing career and transition into an undergraduate student assistant for the team.

Hatch, who survived two plane crashes before enrolling at Michigan, will still be on scholarship at the school, but no longer counts against the team’s limit, pending NCAA approval.

“This is, and has been, a very difficult decision; one that we have been discussing with Austin over the last few months,” Beilein said in a release issued by the program. “Together, we made this decision at the end of the season and have been waiting for approval from the Big Ten for his status change. With the request for a medical exemption waiver approved, we are ready to move forward with the next steps in Austin’s career.”

Hatch committed to Beilein in 2011 before the first plane crash. Once a three-star recruit, Hatch had to complete extensive therapy to return to the basketball court after the second crash.

“Over the past year, we closely observed Austin’s academic and athletic progress,” Beilein said. “In the end, Austin and our staff agree that the waiver is the proper next step. This change allows Austin to devote the necessary time he needs to be successful in his studies and obtain a Michigan degree. We also wanted to be sure we continued our commitment to Austin keeping his full scholarship in place for the next three years. This waiver allows for both.”

Hatch will stay with the team as an assistant, similar to the role former center Ben Cronin played after injuring his knees.

“What makes this move equally important is, with NCAA rules, it allows Austin to continue to be a valuable asset to our team as a leader, mentor and assistant,” Beilein said. “As a student assistant coach, Austin will be allowed to continue to be engaged in our practice and training and to travel with us when it can fit into his academic schedule. The only real change will be that he will no longer be on our active roster or allowed to play in games. Austin remains an important part of our program and culture, even if we do not have that chance to see him compete again.”

Hatch scored one point in five minutes of playing time as a freshman last season, missing two three-point field goals but making one of three free throws.

“Basketball has always been a huge part of my life; however, it is what I play, not who I am,” Hatch said. “It was a goal of mine to return to the game that I love so much and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play for Michigan. After all that I have been through, it was a dream come true for me to put on a Michigan jersey and get into a game at Crisler Center.”

His point scored came in Michigan’s 72-56 win over Coppin State on Dec. 22. Hatch made the middle of three free throws after being fouled by Sterling Smith with 1:03 left.

“As I have progressed through this first season, I know that I am not where I want to be, both academically and athletically,” Hatch said. “My priority is academics and I feel that it is in my best interest to devote more time to my studies. This decision honors my father, and it is something that I know he would agree with and be proud of me for making. Coach Beilein, the staff and my teammates have been so understanding of my situation. They have supported me through everything I have been through and I now view them as part of my extended family. My words cannot, and would not, adequately express my gratitude for all they have done and continue to do for me.”

Hatch officially enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 2014 and joined Beilein’s roster as a backup guard. His career ends after the team finished 16-16 and missed the postseason.

“I am honored to be, and will be, a part of the Michigan Basketball program going forward in whatever capacity my studies allow me to be. I am a Michigan Wolverine for life.”

Michigan now has one open scholarship for the 2015-16 season, as German forward Moritz Wagner committed earlier in the spring. Five-star wing Jaylen Brown, the No. 2 overall recruit, is considering Michigan among his final seven schools. Kenny Williams, a four-star guard and lockdown three-point shooter, is also a Beilein target.

Caris LeVert to return for senior season

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015


Michigan guard Caris LeVert announced Tuesday that he will forego the NBA Draft and return for his senior season at Michigan. The announcement is a major win for coach John Beilein, who will now retain every major contributor from last season’s team, with a decision on potential fifth-year senior Max Bielfeldt pending.

LeVert missed the final 14 games of the season after injuring his foot in a last-second win against Northwestern on Jan. 17. LeVert was averaging 14.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists before he went down.

“Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my future,” LeVert said in a release issued by the school. “My family and I, along with the coaching staff gathered as much information as possible. After considering my options, I am excited to announce I will return for my senior year. Coming back allows me to keep working towards my Michigan degree and take the next steps in my development as a player, teammate and a leader of our program. Michigan is a very special place and the college experience only comes once. The future is bright and I am blessed to be part of it.”

LeVert joins point guard Spike Albrecht in the senior class of 2016.

“We love coaching Caris and are excited he has decided to come back for his final season,” said U-M Head Coach John Beilein. “His injury last season was unfortunate, but he never wavered in his commitment as a leader, a student or with his rehabilitation. Caris is a special person both on and off the court and we are proud of what he has accomplished. The best is yet to come for a young man like Caris LeVert.”

A Preseason All-Big Ten candidate, LeVert was one of just six players nationally to lead his team in all five categories this season and the only one from a Power 5 conference. Prior to the injury, LeVert was considered an early- to mid- first round pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, but the injury, coupled with other underclassmen entering the draft, caused him to slip to late first round or early second round in most projections.

LeVert’s return next season solidifies a lineup that should be one of the best in the Big Ten. LeVert has started 56 of 88 games in his career and is just 177 points shy of becoming the 49th player in program history to score 1,000 career points.

New in Blue: 2015 forward Moritz Wagner

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Moritz Wagner

Moritz Wagner – F | 6‘9″, 210 | Berlin, Germany – Alba Berlin
ESPN: N/A Rivals: 4-star 247: N/A Scout: N/A
Other top offers: N/A

On a weekend that Michigan football took center stage with Jim Harbaugh’s return to the Big House, John Beilein didn’t go quietly, securing a big-time commitment of his own. German forward Moritz Wagner announced on Sunday afternoon that he would attend Michigan rather than pursue a professional career in his home country.

Wagner is somewhat of an unknown since he’s from Germany and none of the recruiting services rank foreign players. The 6’9″, 210-pound forward played for Alba Berlin in the Euroleague and also played for Germany’s B team in the U18 European Championships last summer.

Beilein went to Germany to watch Wagner play and made a good enough impression to convince Wagner to move to the States to continue his basketball career. He had interest from a number of other schools, but Beilein’s track record of player development surely weighed in Michigan’s favor. Wagner appears to be just the type of player that fits Beilein’s system — a skills big man that can step outside and shoot.

As the only current member of Michigan’s 2015 class (as of now), Wagner will replace Max Bielfeldt, who is the only current player that won’t return next season. Beilein awaits Caris LeVert’s NBA Draft decision, which could free up another scholarship if LeVert decides to forego his senior season.

Michigan hoops preview: Big Ten Tournament vs #6 (1) Wisconsin

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Michigan (16-15, 8-10) vs #6 Wisconsin (28-3, 16-2)
Friday, Mar. 13 | Chicago, Ill. | 12:00 p.m. EST | ESPN
64.9 Points/gm 71.7
(707-1,672) 42.3 Field Goal % 48.0 (784-1,635)
(244-681) 35.8 3-pt FG % 35.1 (209-596)
(353-466) 75.8 Free Throw % 75.4 (445-590)
11.4 FT Made/gm 14.4
30.5 Reb/gm 34.0
11.9 Assists/gm 12.4
9.7 Turnovers/gm 7.6
63.7 Points/gm 55.7
(739-1,651) 44.8 Field Goal % 41.4 (669-1,615)
(201-587) 34.2 3-pt FG % 35.2 (151-429)
34.1 Opp. Reb/gm 27.9
5.5 Steals/gm 4.5
1.7 Blocks/gm 3.6
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (14.0) Points/gm Frank Kaminsky (18.4), Sam Dekker (13.1)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.7)^ Reb/gm Frank Kaminsky (8.1), Nigel Hayes (6.9)
*Out for season, ^Injured


Michigan dominated Illinois on Thursday to avoid a losing season and keep its postseason hopes alive. The Wolverines are still in play for an NIT bid, although it’s far from certain unless the Wolverines beat Wisconsin on Friday. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is in the position Michigan was in a year ago, playing for a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Frank Kaminsky (F) 32.6 18.4 55.9 41.0 75.2 8.1 2.6 1.6 1.6 0.7
Sam Dekker (F) 29.8 13.1 51.5 32.1 69.3 5.5 1.1 1.0 0.5 0.5
Nigel Hayes (F) 32.5 12.0 52.0 37.5 71.9 6.9 2.0 1.3 0.5 0.8
Bronson Koenig (G) 27.6 7.8 41.4 39.8 85.3 1.7 2.2 0.8 0.3 0.3
Josh Gasser (G) 32.1 7.0 42.8 37.7 85.7 3.5 1.6 0.5 0.2 0.7
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Traevon Jackson (G)* 27.4 9.4 45.6 28.6 85.4 1.7 2.9 1.6 0.2 1.1
Duje Dukan (F) 16.6 4.7 37.2 29.4 71.1 2.8 0.7 0.8 0.1 0.2
Vitto Brown (F) 6.8 2.1 45.6 00.0 58.8 1.4 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.2
Zak Showalter (G) 7.7 2.1 37.8 08.3 88.0 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3
Riley Dearring (G)* 2.8 0.8 40.0 42.9 00.0 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 14 Northern Kentucky W 62-31
Nov. 16 Chattanooga W 89-45
Nov. 19 Green Bay W 84-60
Nov. 22 Boise State W 78-54
Nov. 26 UAB* W 72-43
Nov. 27 Georgetown* W 68-65
Nov. 28 Oklahoma* W 69-56
Dec. 3 #4 Duke^ L 70-80
Dec. 6 at Marquette W 49-38
Dec. 10 at Milwaukee W 93-54
Dec. 13 Nicholls State W 83-43
Dec. 22 at California W 68-56
Dec. 28 Buffalo W 68-56
Dec. 31 Penn State W 89-72
Jan. 4 at Northwestern W 81-58
Jan. 7 Purdue W 62-55
Jan. 11 at Rutgers L 62-67
Jan. 15 Nebraska W 70-55
Jan. 20 #25 Iowa W 82-50
Jan. 24 at Michigan W 69-64 OT
Jan. 31 at #25 Iowa W 74-63
Feb. 3 #23 Indiana W 92-78
Feb. 7 Northwestern W 65-50
Feb. 10 at Nebraska W 65-55
Feb. 15 Illinois W 68-49
Feb. 18 at Penn State W 55-47
Feb. 21 Minnesota W 63-43
Feb. 24 at #13 Maryland L 53-59
Mar. 1 Michigan State W 68-61
Mar. 5 at Minnesota W 76-63
Mar. 8 at Ohio State W 72-48
Mar. 13 (9) Michigan#
*Battle 4 Atlantis, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge, #Big Ten Tournament


The Series

Michigan leads the all-time series 91-68. In this season’s only meeting between the two, Michigan took the Badgers to overtime in Ann Arbor but fell short, 69-64. Michigan was without Caris LeVert at that point, but did still have Derrick Walton, who led the team with 17 points. Michigan had no answer for Frank Kaminsky, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Moving on: Michigan 73 – Illinois 55

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Spike-Zak vs Illinois(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

After playing a thriller in last year’s Big Ten Tournament and splitting this season’s first two meetings in overtime it seemed natural to expect a closely contested battle when Michigan and Illinois met in the United Center on Thursday afternoon. Instead, Michigan kept its slim postseason hopes alive with a comfortable 73-55 win.

Four Factors
Michigan Illinois
55.1 eFG% 38.1
23.3 OReb% 32.4
14.1 TO% 15.6
13.6 FTR 22.0

Playing with nothing to lose, it didn’t take long for the Wolverines to get going, jumping out to a 14-2 lead through the first six minutes of the game. But a nearly six-minute scoring drought — something Michigan has become accustom to this season — allowed Illinois to come right back and take a 15-14 lead.

Michigan then went on a 15-4 run over the next five minutes to grab a 29-19 lead and cruised into halftime with a 40-23 lead. After the 15-14 Illinois lead, Michigan outscored the Illini 26-8 the remainder of the half.

While this season’s first two meetings featured comeback wins, Michigan wasn’t about to let that happen again. The lead widened to as many as 24 points and the Wolverines finished with an 18-point win.

Michigan shot 49.2 percent from the field and 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from three-point range for the game, while holding Illinois to 37.3 percent and 7.7 percent (1-of-13), respectively. Michigan had four starters in double figures, led by Aubrey Dawkins’ 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 15, Zak Irvin 14, and Max Bielfeldt 10. Abdur-Rahkman led the team with eight rebounds, while Irvin added six and six assists. Spike Albrecht contributed eight points and five assists.

Michigan faces top-seeded Wisconsin at 12pm EST on Friday with a trip to the Big Ten Tournament semifinal on the line.

Final Game Stats
44 Max Bielfeldt* 4-7 0-0 2-2 2 2 4 1 10 1 0 1 0 31
02 Spike Albrecht* 2-6 2-3 2-2 1 0 1 0 8 5 2 0 0 39
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman* 6-12 1-1 2-2 2 6 8 3 15 2 2 0 2 38
21 Zak Irvin* 6-15 2-5 0-0 0 6 6 0 14 6 1 0 1 38
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 8-12 2-5 0-0 0 3 3 3 18 0 0 1 2 34
03 Kameron Chatman 0-4 0-1 0-0 0 4 4 3 0 1 1 1 0 19
04 Andrew Dakich 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
34 Mark Donnal 1-1 0-0 2-2 1 1 2 0 4 0 0 0 0 4
32 Ricky Doyle 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 3 2 0 0 0 0 5
Totals 29-59 7-15 8-8 7 25 32 13 73 15 9 3 5 200
Illinois 22-59 1-13 10-13 13 23 36 14 55 5 10 5 4 200
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: Big Ten Tournament vs (8) Illinois

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Michigan (15-15, 8-10) vs Illinois (19-12, 9-9)
Thursday, Mar. 12 | Chicago, Ill. | 12:00 p.m. EST | Big Ten Network
64.6 Points/gm 69.9
(678-1,613) 42.0 Field Goal % 41.8 (743,1,779)
(237-666) 35.6 3-pt FG % 36.3 (230-634)
(345-458) 75.3 Free Throw % 79.4 (452-569)
11.5 FT Made/gm 14.6
30.5 Reb/gm 34.3
11.8 Assists/gm 12.1
9.7 Turnovers/gm 9.9
64.0 Points/gm 62.8
(717-1,592) 45.0 Field Goal % 41.4 (694-1,678)
(200-574) 34.8 3-pt FG % 32.0 (196-612)
34.0 Opp. Reb/gm 33.9
5.5 Steals/gm 6.4
1.7 Blocks/gm 3.2
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (14.0) Points/gm Rayvonte Rice (17.0), Malcolm Hill (14.2)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr^ (4.7) Reb/gm Rayvonte Rice^ (6.4), Nnanna Egwu (5.9)
*Out for season, ^Injured


Michigan beat Rutgers on Sunday to finish the regular season with a .500 record at 15-15 and earn a 9-seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Today, the Wolverines face 8-seed Illinois, an opponent that they have played evenly with the past three meetings dating back to last year’s Big Ten Tournament matchup. In that one, top-seeded Michigan avoided upset thanks to a Jordan Morgan game-winner with 7.9 seconds left. This season, Michigan won the conference opener against the Illini in Ann Arbor, 73-65 in overtime, but fell in Champaign, 64-52 in overtime.

This season’s rubber match takes place in the United Center at 11 a.m. local time. Michigan needs a win to avoid a losing season, while Illinois needs to make a run to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Rayvonte Rice (G) 29.8 17.0 48.4 46.2 81.8 6.4 2.0 1.3 0.3 1.8
Malcolm Hill (G) 30.6 14.2 44.6 39.0 77.3 4.8 1.2 1.5 0.2 0.9
Kendrick Nunn (G) 30.2 11.2 40.5 37.1 81.7 3.5 2.0 1.4 0.2 1.2
Ahmad Starks (G) 24.2 8.1 36.0 33.8 82.1 1.6 2.3 1.1 0.1 0.6
Nnanna Egwu (C) 29.5 6.5 43.5 30.3 77.5 5.9 1.0 1.1 1.8 0.8
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Aaron Cosby (G) 25.3 7.8 29.3 31.1 80.0 3.6 1.7 1.3 0.0 0.3
Leron Black (F) 14.5 5.0 47.0 00.0 68.2 4.3 0.1 0.7 0.2 0.3
Jaylon Tate (G) 20.5 3.6 35.2 08.3 85.3 1.3 3.0 1.4 0.1 0.8
Maverick Morgan (C) 9.1 2.6 44.6 00.0 82.6 1.6 0.1 0.5 0.4 0.1
Austin Colbert (F) 7.3 1.8 57.7 75.0 61.5 2.1 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.2
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 14 Georgia Southern W 80-71
Nov. 16 Coppin State W 114-56
Nov. 21 Austin Peay W 107-66
Nov. 24 Brown W 89-68
Nov. 27 Indiana State* W 88-62
Nov. 28 Baylor* W 62-54
Dec. 2 at #15 Miami^ L 61-70
Dec. 6 American W 70-55
Dec. 9 #7 Villanova L 59-73
Dec. 13 Oregon L 70-77
Dec. 17 Hampton W 73-55
Dec. 20 Missouri W 62-59
Dec. 27 Kennesaw State W 93-45
Dec. 30 at Michigan L 65-73 OT
Jan. 3 at #20 Ohio State L 61-77
Jan. 7 #11 Maryland W 64-77
Jan. 11 at Nebraska L 43-53
Jan. 14 at Northwestern W 72-67
Jan. 18 Indiana L 74-80
Jan. 21 Purdue W 66-57
Jan. 24 at Minnesota L 71-79
Jan. 31 Penn State W 60-58
Feb. 3 Rutgers W 66-54
Feb. 7 at Michigan State W 59-54
Feb. 12 Michigan W 64-52 OT
Feb. 15 at #5 Wisconsin L 49-68
Feb. 22 Michigan State L 53-60
Feb. 25 at Iowa L 60-68
Feb. 28 Northwestern W 86-60
Mar. 4 Nebraska W 69-57
Mar. 7 at Purdue L 58-63
Mar. 12 Michigan#
*Las Vegas Invitational, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge, #Big Ten Tournament
The Series

Illinois leads the all-time series 86-79. Michigan had won eight straight until the Illini topped the Wolverines on Feb. 12. Michigan and Illinois are 2-2 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, including last season’s thrilling Michigan win.

Big Ten hoops power rankings: Pre-Big Ten Tournament

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Power Rankings_header
The Big Ten regular season came to an end on Sunday with Wisconsin retaining the top spot and conference newcomer Maryland grabbing a distant second. There wasn’t a lot of movement in the final power rankings as Indiana took the biggest drop of three places and Iowa had the biggest climb of three. The Big Ten Tournament began tonight, though those results are not reflected in these rankings.

Previous: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 6, Week 7, Week 9

1. Wisconsin (28-3, 16-2) – Even
Last Week: Beat Minn 76-63, Beat #23 Ohio State 72-48 This Week: Fri. (B1G Tournament) vs Mich/Illinois

The undisputed flagship team in the Big Ten finished the regular season with a flourish Sunday, pounding Ohio State by 24 points in Columbus. Wisconsin enters the conference tournament with a No. 1 seed on its mind.

2. Maryland (26-5, 14-4) – Up 2
Last Week: Beat Rutgers 60-50, Beat Nebraska 64-61 This Week: Fri. (B1G Tournament) vs NU/Indiana

Mark Turgeon couldn’t have hoped for a better inaugural season in the Big Ten, as his team cruised to a second-place finish and enters the postseason on a seven-game winning streak. Maryland already took down Wisconsin once, and doing so again would earn the Terps a Big Ten championship.

3. Iowa (21-10, 12-6) – Up 3
Last Week: Beat Indiana 77-63, Beat Northwestern 69-52 This Week: Thu. (B1G Tournament) vs Penn State

On Feb. 15 the Hawkeyes had lost five of their last seven games and stared down the barrel of another late-season collapse. Instead, Iowa blazed through its final six games and picked up the No. 5 seed in Chicago.

4. Michigan State (21-10, 12-6) – Down 1
Last Week: Beat Purdue 72-66, Beat Indiana 74-72 This Week: Fri. (B1G Tournament) vs Minn/Ohio State

Tom Izzo and the Spartans were shaky through 31 games this season, but closed with wins over two lesser opponents to snatch the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

5. Purdue (20-11, 12-6) – Down 3
Last Week: Lost at MSU 66-72, Beat Illinois 63-58 This Week: Fri. (B1G Tournament) vs Iowa/Penn State

Purdue is kicking itself heading into the conference tournament after it dropped two road games in the first week of March that would have solidified its NCAA resume. Instead, the first-round bye may actually hurt the Boilermakers, who will likely miss out with a one-and-done showing in Chicago.

6. Illinois (19-12, 9-9) – Up 2
Last Week: Beat Nebraska 69-57, Lost at Purdue 58-63 This Week: Thu. (B1G Tournament) vs Michigan

Illinois came within five points of finishing the season on a three-game streak that may have been enough to put them on the right side of the bubble. Instead, an 8-6 record down the stretch with five of those losses by eight points or less may not be enough for John Groce’s team.

7. Ohio State (22-9, 11-7) – Even
Last Week: Beat Penn State 77-67, Lost vs #6 Wisc 48-72
This Week: Thu (B1G Tournament) vs Minnesota

A 24-point loss to Wisconsin on Senior Day put an exclamation point on Ohio State’s tremendously disappointing season. The Buckeyes finished with only one win over a team ranked in the final AP poll: a home victory against Maryland. Ohio State was uncompetitive against each of Louisville, North Carolina and Wisconsin and will struggle to make a tournament run, barring a complete D’Angelo Russell takeover.

8. Indiana (19-12, 9-9) – Down 3
Last Week: Lost to Iowa 63-77, Lost to MSU 72-74 This Week: Thu. (B1G Tournament) vs Northwestern

The last six weeks of the season were awfully unkind to Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. After finally cracking the Top 25 with a 15-4 record, Indiana dropped eight of its last 12 games, putting its tournament status and coaching future in question. Indiana probably needed to win three of its last five games, but instead beat only Rutgers, the Big Ten’s junior varsity team, and lost three home games and a trip to Northwestern.

9. Northwestern (15-16, 6-12) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat Michigan 82-70 2OT, Lost to Iowa 52-69 This Week: Thu. (B1G Tournament) vs Indiana

Despite finishing the season with a losing record, Northwestern is trending sharply upwards, having won five of its final seven conference games. The Wildcats looked destined for a last-place finish after a 10-game losing streak, but flipped the switch in mid-February. Tom Crean’s collar is feeling a little tight heading into this Big Ten Tournament matchup.

10. Michigan (15-15, 8-10) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost at NU 78-82 2OT, Beat Rutgers 79-69 This Week: Thu. (B1G Tournament) vs Illinois

As strange as it may sound, Michigan is one of the better teams in the Big Ten… in the first 40 minutes of games. The Wolverines lost four overtime games, and had they finished those wins, they’d be sitting in the No. 4 seed with a double bye in the tournament.

11. Minnesota (17-14, 6-12) – Even
Last Week: Lost to #6 Wisc 63-76, Lost to Penn State 76-79 This Week: Wed. (B1G Tournament) vs Rutgers

Minnesota just couldn’t get rolling during conference play this season, mustering just one winning streak (three games) but following it with losses in five of its last six games.

12. Penn State (16-15, 4-14) – Up 1
Last Week: Lost to #23 OSU 67-77, Beat Minnesota 79-76  This Week: Wed. (B1G Tournament) vs Nebraska

A road win to finish the season snapped a six-game winning streak for Penn State, but it’ll still be one of four teams playing in the first round of the conference tournament Wednesday.

13. Nebraska (13-17, 5-13) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost at Illinois 57-69, Lost to #10 Maryland 61-64 This Week: Wed. (B1G Tournament) vs Penn State

Die-hard believers in what Nebraska accomplished last season considered Tim Miles’ team a legitimate contender heading into the 2014-15 campaign. Instead, Nebraska was the league’s greatest disappointment, finishing in 12th place and losing eight straight down the stretch.

14. Rutgers (10-21, 2-16) – Even
Last Week: Lost to #10 Maryland 50-60, Lost at Michigan 69-79 This Week: Wed. (B1G Tournament) vs Minnesota

Rutgers’ first year in the Big Ten was an absolute bloodbath. The Scarlett Knights will play Wednesday, on the two-month anniversary of their last win, carrying a 14-game losing streak on their shoulders.