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Posts Tagged ‘NIT Season Tip-Off’

Michigan 71 – Kansas State 57: Michigan rolls to NIT Tip-Off title

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#4 Michigan 29 42 71
Kansas State 24 33 57

For the second time in two games, Michigan shot fewer threes than their preseason tournament opponent, and for the second time is as many tries, Michigan beat an undefeated high-major opponent behind the scoring punch of Tim Hardaway, Jr.

It’s becoming more and more evident with every passing game that John Beilein is constantly adapting his system to match the strengths and weaknesses of his personnel on the court. In Michigan’s two games at Madison Square Garden, the Wolverines hoisted a combined 29 three-point attempts and only made seven of them. In years past, any Michigan fan could have easily predicted a pair of losses, seeing no way a Michigan team could out-muscle Pittsburgh and Kansas State, two historically big, bruising, rebounding-minded squads, inside the arc. But that is exactly what happened.

Eleven Wolverines saw the court in all, and nine of them grabbed two or more rebounds on the way to dominating Kansas State on the defensive glass by rebounding 74.4 percent of the Wildcats’ misses and grabbing a respectable 32 percent of their own misses.

Tim Hardaway Jr earned MVP honors (Bill Kostroun, AP)

And while Michigan has shot the ball well from deep early on this season, there was simply no need for it tonight. Hardaway, Jr. made a ridiculous nine of his 12 two-point attempts, including an array of smooth mid-range jumpers and strong, gliding drives to the basket on his way to recording 23 points and seven rebounds. Trey Burke chipped in with 10 points, all in the second half, on 5-of-8 shooting inside the arc.

Kansas State’s inside girth with 6’11”, 250-pound senior Jordan Henriquez and 6’7″, 270-pound behemoth sophomore Thomas Gipson posed some problems early on, especially in the rebounding department, but Michigan’s bigs did a good job of boxing out and leaving the boards for the wings to collect. Glenn Robinson III seemed to grab every loose rebound with his long arms and nose for the ball and missed a double-double by just one point, as he grabbed 11 rebounds. Burke added six more himself and Stauskas grabbed four to go along with his 10 points in addition to Hardaway’s high-leaping efforts from the wing.

After a fairly sloppy start to the game that didn’t see either team make a bucket for two and a half minutes, Michigan got on the board with a mid-range jumper courtesy of Hardaway, Jr. and never looked back, scoring the first six points and jumping out to a 29-24 halftime lead. The Wildcats’ closest sniff came with just under six minutes to go in the first half when they cut the deficit to two, but a 22-6 Michigan run over the first 9:19 of the second half put the game out of reach.

There was nothing that stood out as the difference in this game other than Michigan clearly being the superior team in just about every facet of the game. They seemed to play smarter, shoot better, and were all-around more athletic on the court.

Going into tonight’s game as a top-five team in the country, Michigan had a swagger about them that they wouldn’t be denied, and there was very little doubt from the start as to what the outcome would be. It’s getting harder and harder to make an argument against Michigan being so highly thought of, and while Pitt and Kansas State may not be the best barometers of success in the country, they are two solid teams from good conferences that should at least put up a good fight for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Next Tuesday’s match-up with preseason top-five ranked NC State should be the first big test in the young season. A passing grade there would seem to legitimize all the hype.

It’s a good sign after a game when the biggest worry for a fan base is not how well or poorly the team played and what needs to be fixed, but the health of the players. Hardaway, Jr. went down late when he was accidentally kneed in the side of the head by a Kansas State player and was slow to get up and noticeably woozy; a concussion would likely mean he would have to sit out of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge game in Ann Arbor against the Wolfpack. Obviously this is a terrible thought for Wolverines fans, but the injury didn’t appear extremely serious. If he is to sit out, Stauskas would play 30-plus minutes in the upcoming showdown, but the Wolverines would be in for a serious challenge.

At this point, however, maybe they need a serious challenge.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 3-11 0-3 3-4 4 8 12 0 9 2 0 1 1 36
52 Jordan Morgan* 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 6
03 Trey Burke* 5-10 0-2 0-0 1 4 5 3 10 4 5 1 0 32
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 10-15 1-3 2-4 0 7 7 1 23 0 2 1 1 32
13 Matt Vogrich* 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 2 0 0 0 18
02 Spike Albrecht 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 12
04 Mitch McGary 2-4 0-0 2-2 1 2 3 4 6 1 1 1 0 14
05 Eso Akunne 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 4
11 Nik Stauskas 3-6 2-3 2-2 1 3 4 0 10 1 0 0 0 22
15 Jon Horford 3-5 0-0 0-1 1 2 3 3 6 2 0 0 0 17
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 7
Totals 29-56 4-12 9-13 10 32 42 17 71 12 9 5 2 200
Kansas State 22-60 4-18 9-15 12 18 30 15 57 13 6 4 5 200

Michigan vs Kansas State preview/quick thoughts

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

After a hard-fought, grind-it-out victory over Pittsburgh two nights ago, Michigan returns to Madison Square Garden to take on Bruce Weber’s Kansas State Wildcats in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-off. The Wolverines got a taste of the big stage on Wednesday night against a formidable opponent that should find its way into the Big Dance come March while Kansas State barely clawed its way to a 66-63 semifinal win over the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Today’s final (4:30pm on ESPN) pits these two unbeaten teams against each other for all the marbles. The game may look one-sided on paper, but here are some things to pay attention to:

#4 Michigan v. Kansas State
Friday, Nov. 23
4:30pm ET
4-0 Record 5-0
83.8 Points Per Game 78.2
56.2 Scoring Defense 50.2
124-for-230 (53.9%) Field Goal % 142-for-330 (43.0%)
87-for-237 (36.7%) Def. Field Goal % 93-for-274 (33.9%)
37-for-81 (45.7%) 3-point % 34-for-96 (35.4%)
28-for-88 (31.8%) Def. 3-point % 20-for-95 (21.1%)
50-for-69 (72.5%) Free Throw % 73-for-106 (68.9%)
12.5 FT Made/Game 14.6
41.5 Rebounds Per Game 47.2
27.0 Opp. Reb. Per Game 31.8
15.3 Assists Per Game 17.4
10.3 Turnovers Per Game 13.0
4.0 Steals Per Game 9.0
1.8 Blocks Per Game 3.8
G – Trey Burke (18.0)
G – Tim Hardaway (17.0)
Leading Scorer G – Angel Rodriguez (11.2)
G – Rodney McGruder (10.0)
G – Tim Hardaway (6.8)
F – Mitch McGary (6.5)
Leading Rebounder F – D.J. Johnson (6.6)
F – Thomas Gipson (6.4)

1. Preparation: There are a couple reasons for scheduling these so-called “preseason” tournaments at the beginning of the college basketball season. Obviously money, camaraderie, and national attention play a part in it, but teams are also looking for solid opponents early on to prepare for the conference season, fun match-ups on big-time stages, and, perhaps most importantly, preparation for what is to come in March. With less than two full days to prepare for the next game, a neutral floor, and an unfamiliar opponent, the NIT Season Tip-off really has the feel of the NCAA Tournament. For Michigan fans, this could come with a bit of angst, as coach John Beilein has never led his Wolverines to more than one victory in the Big Dance, but he is known as being one of the best Xs and Os coaches in the college game, which should give Michigan a slight advantage against Kansas State. Beilein’s unique offense is also often noted for being incredibly difficult to prepare for, especially with a short turn-around from a previous game, and if Beilein decides to try the 1-3-1 zone again today after using it effectively against Pitt, Bruce Weber is going to have fits. There is simply no way to prepare for both of these schemes in a 44-hour timeframe. One more preparation advantage that should go Michigan’s way: both coaches are familiar with each other after going head-to-head for five years in the Big Ten, but Weber is brand new at Kansas State, so his players are still adjusting to new sets and will have very little knowledge of Beilein’s offense or defense while Beilein has some veterans that have had time to grasp the system.

2. Balance: Kansas State’s star player is unanimous preseason All-Big 12 First Team selection Rodney McGruder, but he has struggled so far this season and is only averaging 10 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 2-of-15 (13.3%) from downtown. Weber’s approach thus far has seemed to stress a balanced attack that won’t rely on one or two dominant players but will ride the hot hand on any given night. So far, it has worked, as the Wildcats sit at 5-0 and have only had one close call. A whopping 11 Kansas State players average more than 10 minutes per game and nine of those 11 score more than five points per game. Obviously these numbers are a bit skewed due to the competition level so far (North Dakota, Lamar, Alabama-Huntsville, North Florida, and Delaware), but it is apparent that Michigan should see a variety of looks with a hectic substitution pace on the other bench. Knowing the scouting report and opposing player tendencies is always important when so many different players will be seeing the floor, so Michigan will have to pay special attention to Kansas State’s five shooters in Angel Rodriguez, McGruder, Will Spradling, Shane Southwell, and Martavious Irving while being aware of each players’ abilities. Michigan’s balanced attack has been solid so far as well, with four guys in double digits, but their scoring punch should be more predictable.

Angel Rodriguez will put pressure on Michigan's guards (Charlie Riedel, AP)

3. Possession: Every statistic in basketball ultimately filters down to one thing: possessions. No, the team with the most possessions isn’t necessarily the winning team every time, but the goal of just about every coach is to maximize the number and efficiency of possessions for their team and limit the number and efficiency of possessions for the opponent. Historically John Beilein has done this by cutting down on his own team’s turnovers and limiting fast-break opportunities for the opponent, thus maximizing his possessions and minimizing the effectiveness of the other teams’ possessions. This season, we have seen a slight philosophical change as Michigan continues to rebound well offensively while still limiting the opponents’ fast breaks and holding onto the ball. The Wolverines are able to do this because they have more size, speed, length, and athleticism than in past years. Kansas State’s biggest weakness so far has been on the offensive end, where they have struggled shooting the ball (43% from the field) and have coughed up the ball at an unacceptable rate (13 turnovers per game). If the Wildcats continue to shoot poorly and turn the ball over to Michigan tonight, it will not be a pretty sight for Weber. On the other hand, if Kansas State starts playing well early on, look for Beilein to give the 1-3-1 a shot to switch up the tempo and force some turnovers.

Prediction: On paper this game looks like it will be all Michigan, and even though paper and stats aren’t always right, I have a hard time seeing how Kansas State will keep up throughout. Michigan will get back on track from long range and dominate the turnover game on its way to a 71-58 championship victory.

Michigan 67 – Pitt 62: Rare 1-3-1 helps Michigan outlast Pitt

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#4 Michigan 29 38 67
Pittsburgh 33 29 62

Just a year or two ago, no one would have given Michigan much of a chance of coming back in last night’s game. With Jamie Dixon’s Panthers leading by four at the half and by seven early in the second stanza, it just seemed like it wasn’t Michigan’s night. Bounces were going the other way, shots weren’t falling, and Pitt was knocking down everything. But this team isn’t the old Michigan.

Right as things could have gotten out of control, John Beilein had the brilliant idea of trying out the 1-3-1 zone, the same zone that has both made him famous and led many pundits to believe that it’s Michigan’s primary defensive set. Contrary to this thought, however, the Wolverines haven’t operated this unique zone on defense for extended periods of time for at least two seasons. The number of possessions it was played last season couldn’t probably be tallied on two hands.

Perhaps that is the reason it was so effective. As soon as Beilein raised three fingers from the bench and yelled out “THREE!”, it was evident that Pittsburgh had not expected it. Dixon’s squad immediately went into shambles on the offensive end after burying the Wolverines in the first half with drive-and-kicks for made buckets with the shot clock winding down. Now, Pitt could hardly get a clean shot off without a Wolverine defender at least getting a hand on the ball at some point in the possession.

Tim Hardaway Jr was big in the second half despite shooting 1-of-7 from three (Kathy Willens, AP)

Around the same time in the second half, Michigan’s vaunted offense came alive after only managing 29 first-half points. It wasn’t a typical night for a Beilein team, as the Wolverines shot only 3-of-17 from downtown, but they still managed to get the job done with a balanced attack, key jumpers from two freshmen, and incredible finishes around the rim from their two superstars.

Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. played 38 minutes each, showing that in close games against top competition, Beilein is still going to rely on his proven talent to carry the team. Their combined 1-of-11 three-point shooting will make Michigan fans cringe, but without them, Pitt would have run away by double digits. Burke and Hardaway attacked the basket with no abandon in the second half and managed 17 and 16 points respectively while shooting 10-of-16 from inside the arc. They also combined for eight rebounds, seven assists, and only two turnovers. If there was ever any doubt about this team’s on-court leadership, last night’s comeback erased it.

Freshmen Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas were again fundamental in the win, going for 13 and 15 points respectively in a combined 7-of-10 two-point shooting. On most nights Stauskas will do his damage from outside the three-point line, and it looked like that would be the case early on as a corner three with a defender in his face hit nothing but net to keep Michigan afloat. As the game went on and Stauskas’s outside shots weren’t falling, however, he showed everyone that he is no one-trick pony, flashing unforeseen quickness in attacking the basket and a mid-range jumper that may be smoother than his outside shot. Robinson III was again fairly quiet, but a talent like him simply cannot go unnoticed. There were no highlight-reel dunks, but there was an impressive block and a slew of rebounds that he got his hands on in addition to some nice cuts for lay-ups.

Looking at the box score, there are a couple items that stand out as being the difference in the game. Pittsburgh took three more shots (53 to 50) than Michigan and the two teams were within a percentage point in field goal shooting (Michigan 46% – Pitt 45.3%), a statistical wash. Three-point shooting, a typical strength for Beilein’s team (Michigan came in leading the nation in three-point shooting at around 53%), was a huge advantage to Pitt, as they made 40 percent of their 20 threes while Michigan was an awful 17.6 percent. Anyone who saw those numbers before the game would have undoubtedly put their life on the Panthers, and probably by a significant margin.

That would not be the case in New York last night though. Michigan’s aggressiveness was key in seeing them get to the line twice as often as their counterparts, and their 81.8 percent mark (18-of-22), led by Stauskas’s 6-of-6 free throw shooting, was huge in the comeback. Pitt got to the line just 11 times and made only six of their attempts, which proved to be more than enough to make up the point differential.

The rebounding game also gave Michigan a little bit of a leg up on the Panthers. After Dixon’s squad dominated the glass early on, Beilein switched to a two-big lineup for a minute to help mitigate the advantage, and it seemed to work before a smaller and quicker five held their own in the second half and got some better bounces. Michigan rebounded 82.1 percent of the available defensive rebounds and 33.3 percent of their offensive misses, impressive numbers for a Beilein team.

Many might look at the rankings and immediately think that this game should have been a gimme for the Maize and Blue, but make no mistake about it, Pittsburgh is a solid squad that should compete in the Big East and make the NCAA Tournament. The crowd was also on the Panthers’ side all night long, and under the bright lights of New York City against the first big-time opponent of the year, this was a quality win for Michigan, if nothing other than to prove the doubters wrong. Michigan’s bigs completed dominated top-10 freshman center Steven Adams, holding him to the tune of one rebound, zero points, and two fouls in just 10 minutes, and Michigan looked like the better team overall when all was said and done.

Two years ago, a Michigan team down at the half, trailing early in the second, and making only three threes all game would have been dead in the water. Last night, as the lights shone bright in the Big Apple, Michigan’s veteran stars shone brighter, and together with some young talent, proved that Michigan is back. No questions asked.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 5-8 1-2 2-4 3 2 5 2 13 1 1 1 1 33
52 Jordan Morgan* 2-4 0-0 0-0 4 4 8 1 4 0 2 0 0 29
03 Trey Burke* 5-16 0-4 7-8 0 4 4 3 17 6 1 0 1 38
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 6-13 1-7 3-3 0 4 4 3 16 1 1 0 0 38
13 Matt Vogrich* 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 8
02 Spike Albrecht 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
04 Mitch McGary 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 4 2 0 3 0 2 13
05 Eso Akunne 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
11 Nik Stauskas 4-8 1-4 6-6 0 5 5 0 15 0 0 1 1 33
15 Jon Horford 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 4
Totals 23-50 3-17 18-22 10 27 37 15 67 8 9 2 5 200
Pittsburgh 24-53 8-20 6-11 6 20 26 21 62 15 10 0 5 200

Michigan vs Pittsburgh quick thoughts

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

After rolling in the preliminary home rounds over IUPUI and Cleveland State by an average of 33.5 points, Michigan now makes the trip to the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York to compete for the NIT Season Tip-Off. The first semifinal pits Jamie Dixon’s Pittsburgh Panthers against John Beilein’s Wolverines, a matchup of two undefeated teams and the first matchup for either team against a high major opponent. Here are a few things to watch out for in the primetime battle (9:30pm on ESPN2).

GRIII and Mitch McGary have played well so far, but can they do it on the big stage? (Paul Sancyz, AP)

  1. Big Stage Jitters: As mentioned before, both teams are playing a BCS-level opponent for the first time this season and both will be playing under the bright lights in New York City with the nation watching. The NCAA Tournament is more than four months away, and not a single conference game has been played yet, but this semifinal has the feel of March for both sides. A Michigan win would keep them in the top five in the country and set the stage for them to win a solid preseason tournament while a Pitt win would almost certainly see them jump into the top 20 and give them a high-quality win on the resume. Dixon’s squad missed the Big Dance for the first time since 2001 last season, and they will certainly be hungry to get back where they belong. A victory tomorrow would be huge, so Michigan needs to play hard and calm to prevent a semi-upset from happening. Both teams have veteran leaders in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. for Michigan and Tray Woodall and J.J. Moore for Pitt, but freshmen will need to step up in key roles for each side as well. An unfamiliar backdrop and court could also affect both teams early on, but the team that comes out calm and confident should have an early leg up.
  1. Strong Start: Michigan has had no problem dispatching of lesser teams by the midway point through the first half, but it has been a bit of a struggle for Pittsburgh in the early goings. The Panthers found themselves down by 14 points at halftime and by as many as 18 in the second half last Saturday before making a huge comeback and taking Oakland down by 10 points in overtime. Before that, Pitt led by only five points over Lehigh at the half despite limiting All American C.J. McCollum’s effectiveness throughout. Beilein has certainly noticed this in his film study and will urge his team to come out strong on both ends to jump out to an early lead. So far this season Michigan’s coaches have stressed getting three straight stops to start the game; an early six- or seven-point lead for the Maize and Blue could be devastating to Pittsburgh. And unlike Oakland and Lehigh, Michigan has the depth and firepower to maintain and stretch early leads. Dixon knows his team can ill afford another poor start, so pay close attention to the score at around the 10-minute mark tonight.

    Jordan Morgan will need to play big on the inside (Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

  1. Size and Rebounding: In recent years, Pittsburgh would likely focus on winning the rebounding battle as the key to putting Michigan away, but with the added size and depth down low for the Wolverines in the form of Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan, and Jon Horford, Michigan will need to hang tough and stick with the aggressive Panthers on the glass. Pitt has simply dominated their opponents so far in the rebounding department, particularly on the offensive end, so look for Beilein to perhaps deploy his two-big offense more often than we’ve seen so far. Freshman big man Steven Adams has been solid thus far for Dixon but he hasn’t been the force many projected early on. The battle between him and McGary should be very interesting and will be something to keep an eye on to see whose freshmen are best prepared. Glenn Robinson III and Hardaway, Jr.’s rebounding should help to at least neutralize Pittsburgh’s perceived rebounding advantage; in the end, though, it will likely come down to who is shooting better and holding onto the ball.

Prediction: Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway will be Michigan’s cogs once again on offense and Tray Woodall and Talib Zanna should put up good numbers for Michigan, but the X-factor will be the second and third tier of players for both teams. If one-time Michigan recruit Trey Zeigler shines for Pitt and catches fire, the Panthers will have a balanced attack that will be hard to stop, but if Tre Robinson and Nik Stauskas continue their impressive college debuts, the Wolverines will be hard to stop. I think the rebounding numbers will be pretty even, Michigan will win the turnover battle, and Beilein’s freshmen will make the difference as the Wolverines advance to the NIT Preseason final, 77-65. Hardaway, Jr. and Burke lead the way with 38 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists combined.

Michigan hoops preview: Pittsburgh

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

#4 Michigan v. Pittsburgh
Wednesday, Nov. 21
9:30pm ET
3-0 Record 4-0
89.3 Points Per Game 79.0
54.3 Scoring Defense 53.5
101-for-180 (56.1%) Field Goal % 122-for-232 (52.6%)
63-for-184 (34.2%) Def. Field Goal % 70-for-176 (39.8%)
34-for-64 (53.1%) 3-point % 19-for-63 (30.2%)
20-for-68 (29.4%) Def. 3-point % 26-for-70 (37.1%)
32-for-47 (68.1%) Free Throw % 53-for-79 (67.1%)
10.7 FT Made/Game 13.3
43.0 Rebounds Per Game 35.8
27.3 Opp. Reb. Per Game 23.0
17.7 Assists Per Game 19.3
10.7 Turnovers Per Game 9.0
3.7 Steals Per Game 8.8
1.7 Blocks Per Game 4.0
G – Trey Burke (18.3)
G – Tim Hardaway (17.3)
Leading Scorer F – Talib Zanna (14.0)
G – Tray Woodall (13.8)
G – Tim Hardaway (7.7)
F – Mitch McGary (7.7)
Leading Rebounder F – Dante Taylor (7.5)
C – Steven Adams (5.5)

After three cupcakes to open the season, Michigan finally has a chance to show what it’s truly made of against a quality opponent on the big stage. The Wolverines face Pittsburgh tonight in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Madison Square Garden.

The Panthers are 4-0 with wins over Mount St. Mary’s (80-48), Fordham (86-51), Lehigh (78-53), and Oakland (72-62 OT). While the first three results were expected just like Michigan’s first three, the overtime win over Okland was not. The Golden Grizzlies are a traditionally solid mid-major, but are just 2-3 so far this season.

In the game, Oakland built a 14-point halftime lead and pushed it to 18 at one point in the second half. But Pitt flexed its big boy muscles and came roaring back, using a 7-0 run in the final minute to force overtime. In the extra stanza, the Panthers continued that hot end-of-game run by scoring 11 of the first 13 points to put the game away.

Pitt is led by a trio of scorers, redshirt junior forward Talib Zanna, senior guard Tray Woodall, and junior forward J.J. Moore. Zanna is currently the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14 points per game. The 6’9″ Nigerian has scored 20 points each in two games and eight points each in the other two. In the two that he scored 20, he shot a combined 18-of-21 from the field.

Woodall is the man who runs the show, averaging 13.8 points and 7.3 assists per game so far. He scored 23 against Lehigh, but struggled against Oakland, shooting 2-of-14 overall and 2-of-10 from three-point range, scoring just six points.

Moore scored 20 against Fordham and recorded a double-double against Oakland with 16 points and 10 rebounds while coming off the bench.

Along with Zanna and Woodall, the other starters are freshman guard James Robinson (seven points per game), redshirt junior wing Lamar Patterson (2.5 points), and freshman center Steven Adams (7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds).

Another interesting player to watch for is former Michigan target Trey Zeigler. The junior transfered to Pitt from Central Michigan when his father, who was CMU’s head coach, was fired in March. He received a special waiver from the NCAA to play right away and is averaging 6.5 points in just over 18 minutes per game.

Last season, Pitt went 22-17 overall, but just 4-12 in the Big East. They didn’t receive a bid for the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, but instead played in the College Basketball Invitational and won it over Washington State.

Pitt certainly won’t be the best team Michigan faces all season, but the Panthers do present a solid early season test. Michigan’s freshmen that play a big role this season will be playing outside the comforts of the Crisler Center for the first time and against a major college opponent. The winner will face the winner of Kansas State and Delaware on Friday afternoon.

Michigan 77 – Cleveland State 47: Wolverines advance to MSG

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#5 Michigan 42 35 77
Cleveland State 14 33 47

After thumping IUPUI on Monday night in the first game of the NIT Season Tip-Off, Michigan returned to action less than 24 hours later with a trip to Madison Square Garden on the line.

The Wolverines got 17 points from Tim Hardaway Jr, an impressive 15 from freshman Nik Stauskas, and 12 from Trey Burke as they cruised to a 77-47 win over previously unbeaten Cleveland State.

Tim Hardaway Jr led Michigan with 17 points (photo by Paul Sancya, AP)

It looked as if it would be no contest from the start as Michigan jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first four minutes. But Cleveland State scored seven of the next nine points to pull within three.

Trey Burke hit a three and CSU answered with a bucket from Anton Grady. Stauskas and Burke both made layups and Glenn Robinson III converted a dunk before CSU’s Tim Kamczyc hit a three. Michigan led 19-12 with 11:45 left in the half, and Cleveland State would only score one more basket the rest of the half. Over the next 11 minutes, Michigan went on a 23-2 run to take a 42-14 halftime lead.

The second half was much more competitive as Cleveland State threw out some defensive looks that John Beilein hadn’t prepared for and Michigan’s offense was slowed somewhat. Even so, Michigan outscored the Vikings in the second half to win by 30.

Stauskas scored 11 points in a five minute span at the beginning of the second half en route to his best game of his young career. CSU even went to a box-and-one defense on him to slow him down. That’s a pretty good mark to make in the third game of your career.

Hardaway hit 7-of-12 shots and 3-of-6 from three-point range in leading the team in scoring for the second time in three games. Burke was a bit quieter with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting and hit just 1-of-4 three-point attempts, but he dished out seven assists.

As a team, Michigan shot just over 50 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three – both lower than the first two games. But make no mistake about it: Michigan seized control of the game early and didn’t let up.

Through three games, Michigan is averaging 89.3 points per game, giving up just 54.3, and shooting 56.1 percent from the field and 53.1 percent from downtown. Granted, the schedule will only get tougher, but Michigan has done exactly what it was supposed to do: win big. Last season, Michigan was playing much closer – and lower scoring – games against teams of this caliber, beating Ferris State 59-33, Towson 64-47, and Western Illinois 59-55 in the first three games. The opening three games this season are the first time in program history that Michigan has opened the season with three straight wins of 30 points or more.

Michigan has a week off before retuning to action next Wednesday against Pittsburgh in the semifinals in New York City. The Panthers beat Fordham 86-51 on Monday and Lehigh 78-53 tonight.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 2-7 0-3 5-6 3 4 7 0 9 2 0 1 0 29
52 Jordan Morgan* 4-6 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 8 0 1 0 0 14
03 Trey Burke* 5-10 1-4 1-2 1 2 3 0 12 7 3 0 0 32
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 7-12 3-6 0-1 0 6 6 1 17 4 1 0 0 31
13 Matt Vogrich* 1-5 0-3 0-0 1 2 3 0 2 1 0 0 1 14
02 Spike Albrecht 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 10
04 Mitch McGary 3-3 0-0 0-0 3 6 9 2 6 0 1 0 1 17
05 Eso Akunne 1-2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 1 1 0 0 4
11 Nik Stauskas 5-6 3-4 2-3 0 6 6 1 15 0 1 0 0 27
15 Jon Horford 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 11
22 Blake McLimans 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 4
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 0 2 0 1 0 1 7
Totals 30-59 9-24 8-12 11 34 45 9 77 16 10 1 3 200
Cleveland State 17-56 6-24 7-9 7 21 28 13 47 7 11 1 4 200

Michigan vs Cleveland State quick thoughts

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

After another dominant performance in last night’s NIT Preseason opener over IUPUI, Michigan will face a Cleveland State team tonight (8pm on ESPN2) that has made a name for itself as a mid-major that no one wants to play in the non-conference season. The Vikings lost four starters and looked pretty shaky in an overtime win over Bowling Green, but they will certainly play their hearts out as they face the No. 5 team in the country. Here are a few things to mull as the game approaches:

Glenn Robinson III has made 81.2 percent of his attempts so far (photo by Carlos Osorio, AP)

  1. Turnovers: Everyone knows by now that John Beilein stresses an approach that maximizes possessions by limiting turnovers, thus giving his team more chances to put points on the board. In last night’s blowout of the Jaguars, Michigan again seemed a little bit anxious and turned the ball over 13 times while putting up only 55 shots. Beilein will generally tell people that a single-digit turnover number is acceptable, but anything over 10 is dangerous when playing a quality opponent. Not only should Cleveland State be a decent opponent tonight, though – they also pride themselves on wreaking havoc on the opposing offense by pressuring the ball and using active hands in passing lands to create turnovers and limit the other team’s opportunities. In two games so far, the Vikings have forced 31 turnovers, a tremendous number, and while those opponents were Grambling State and Bowling Green, Michigan has yet to prove that they will value the rock like a top-five team. Trey Burke has already turned the ball over eight times in two games and backup Spike Albrecht looked hesitant at times in last night’s game when he faced three-quarter court pressure. Burke’s problems have come more in forcing passes and moving too fast than in his ball-handling, so I don’t expect major problems with him in the turnover department tonight, but Albrecht lacks the quickness and the first speed that Burke can use at will to get by his defender. Trey may see himself playing 35-plus minutes tonight if Beilein senses problems early.
  1. Taking Advantage of Aggressiveness: We now know that Cleveland State will do all it can to limit Michigan’s shot attempts by pressuring the ball, but how can the Wolverines take advantage of that? The answer is easy – play smart, fundamental basketball. A team that pressures the ball will frequently give up open passing lanes and driving lanes to the hoop by being too aggressive, and when Burke is able to get into an open lane, there is not a team in the country that will be able to stop one of his drives or a kick-outs to the plethora of good shooters this Michigan team looks to have. In last night’s narrow win over the Falcons, Cleveland State gave up alley-oops on three straight possessions late in the game, partially because of their aggressiveness. And while A’uston Calhoun looked very good for Bowling Green, he certainly does not have the hops of a Glenn Robinson III or Tim Hardaway, Jr., who have both sent home some powerful dunks already in this young season. Burke should come close to tying his career-high nine assists for a second straight night and Nik Stauskas, Matt Vogrich, and the rest of the shooters should see plenty of open shots on the wings.

    Cleveland State forced a lot of turnovers, so Burke will need to stay under control (photo by Carlos Osorio, AP)

  1. Balance: One more thing Michigan and Beilein will have to prepare for tonight is defending a balanced attack. It’s pretty easy to game plan against teams that have one or two star players taking the majority of shots on offense, but it’s very difficult to stop a team that can look to five or six different players to make shots. All five of Cleveland State’s starters have been in double digits in their first two games of the season, both wins, and freshman Bryn Forbes (Lansing Sexton) came off the bench in the first game to score 14 points. Seventh-year head coach Gary Waters will again look for his whole team to contribute tonight in an effort to take down the Wolverines, and though Michigan has the strength and depth to have a balanced offense as well, Beilein will focus on the defensive end of the court in stopping Cleveland State. Forward Tim Kamczyc has been hot so far from downtown, shooting a combined 7-of-12 from downtown in two games, but he appeared a little streaky last night. The rest of the team won’t take a ton of deep looks, so Michigan’s interior defense will be critical to their success.

Prediction: Matt Vogrich will be the team’s leading three-point shooter tonight and Michigan will again run away in the first half from an inexperienced and overwhelmed Viking team on their way to Madison Square Garden. Cleveland State should hang tough for a half or so, but the Wolverines’ firepower will prove to be too much in the end. Hardaway, Jr. will lead the team in scoring as Michigan rolls, 86-61.

Michigan hoops preview: Cleveland State

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

#5 Michigan v. Cleveland State
Tuesday, Nov. 13
8pm ET
2-0 Record 2-0
95.5 Points Per Game 85.5
58.0 Scoring Defense 61.0
71-for-121 (58.7%) Field Goal % 61-for-129 (47.3%)
46-for-128 (35.9%) Def. Field Goal % 40-for-108 (37.0%)
25-for-40 (62.5%) 3-point % 17-for-36 (47.2%)
14-for-44 (31.8%) Def. 3-point % 4-for-29 (13.8%)
24-for-35 (68.6%) Free Throw % 32-for-41 (78.0%)
12.0 FT Made/Game 16.0
42.0 Rebounds Per Game 42.0
27.0 Opp. Reb. Per Game 31.0
18.5 Assists Per Game 18.5
11.0 Turnovers Per Game 12.0
4.0 Steals Per Game 10.5
2.0 Blocks Per Game 3.5
G – Trey Burke (21.5)
G – Tim Hardaway (17.5)
Leading Scorer G – Charlie Lee (17.0)
F – Tim Kamczyc (16.5)
G – Tim Hardaway (8.5)
F – Mitch McGary (7.0)
Leading Rebounder F – Marlin Mason (9.0)
F – Tim Kamczyc (6.5)

Michigan opened the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday night with a win over IUPUI. Tonight, the Wolverines face Cleveland State in the final regional matchup of the preseason tourney.

Cleveland State beat Bowling Green 79-73 in overtime in the Crisler Center. Forward Tim Kamczyc scored a game-high 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range. Guard Charlie Lee and forward Marlin Mason each tallied a double-double with 14 points, 10 assists and 11 points, 13 rebounds, respectively.

The game was fairly back and forth throughout as Kamczyc hit a three to send the game into overtime. Another Kamczyc three gave CSU the lead in overtime and the Vikings never looked back, converting their free throws down the stretch.

The win advanced Cleveland State to 2-0. Their first win was a 92-49 thumping of Grambling on Friday.

Cleveland State was predicted to finish fifth in the Horizon League this year after going 22-11 last season. The year ended with a NIT opening round loss to Stanford. The Vikings return just one starter, Kamczyc, from that team. The four that departed – Trey Harmon, Jeremy Montgomery, D’Aundray Brown, and Aaron Pogue – combined to average 40 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assits per game last season.

Kamczyc averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds. He’s the lone senior on a roster that currently has a combined nine freshmen and sophomores. Last year’s sixth man, Anton Grady, was named to the preseason Second Team All-Horizon team. He averaged 8.5 points per game last season, but was even better (10.5) in conference play. He scored 10 on Monday night and 14 in the opener.

CSU is shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 47.2 from three-point range, while Michigan has been lights out so far this season (58.7 and 62.5 percent, respectively). One stat that stands out is CSU’s ability to get steals. The Vikings have forced 32 turnovers resulting in 21 steals so far.

Both teams will be fighting for a trip to New York to participate in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The winner will likely face Pittsburgh next Wednesday, while the loser will play a consolation game.

Michigan 91 – IUPUI 54: Hot shooting carries Michigan over IUPUI

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#5 Michigan 45 46 91
IUPUI 31 23 54

Michigan kicked off the NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday night with a 91-54 route of IUPUI. The Wolverines got off to a slow start, leading just 23-22 ten minutes into the game. But from there, Michigan began to pull away and took a 45-31 lead into the half. With the Jaguars trying to set up the last shot of the half and take some momentum into the locker room, Trey Burke stole the ball near midcourt, drove to the basket and picked up a foul. He converted both free throws to extend Michigan’s lead and keep the momentum in Michigan’s favor.

The second half was all Michigan as Glen Robinson III hit a three and Burke and Jordan Morgan added layups, and just like that, Michigan was up 21. The rest of the game saw Michigan continue to build its lead even when the starters were pulled with a few minutes to play.

Jon Horford had the highlight reel play of the night (photo by Carlos Osorio, AP)

Burke led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. He also dished out a career high nine assists. Robinson had the best game of his young career, pouring in 21 points while shooting 8-of-9 and 3-of-3 from downtown. Nik Stauskas added 11 points off the bench, hitting 3-of-4 threes, while Morgan and Tim Hardaway Jr each scored 10.

Mitch McGary had a quiet night with just two points in 11 minutes of action, though he did pull in five rebounds. Jon Horford showed a flash of his ability when he got the ball near the foul line with his back to the basket, spun, took a dribble, and slammed it home while getting fouled. Spike Albrecht filled in nicely for Burke, scoring six in six minutes.

It was a game Michigan was supposed to win, and the Wolverines did just that. So far, Michigan has scored more than 90 points in each of its first two games, something it didn’t do all season last season. It was also the first time the Wolverines have had back-to-back 90-plus point games since the 2000 season.

The most apparent and optimistic aspect so far has been the number of scoring options Michigan has. On any given night, a different guy could step up. On Friday it was Hardaway. Tonight it was Robinson. Burke has been consistent in both.

Robinson is now 13-of-16 from the floor through two games and 3-of-3 from three. He’s also averaging seven rebounds. Stauskas is 4-of-6 from three through two games and if he can continue to provide a deadly shooting touch, Michigan will be very tough to defend.

If there’s one thing to gripe about it is turnovers. Michigan committed 13 tonight, including three each by Burke and Robinson. But Burke’s nine assists and the team’s 18 assists more than made up for the sloppy ball handling.

As a team, Michigan shot 60 percent from the field and 62 percent from three. Through two games, the Wolverines are shooting 59 percent overall and 62.5 percent from behind the arc.

Michigan returns to action at 8pm EST on Tuesday night at Crisler Center against Cleveland State. The Vikings beat Bowling Green 79-73 in overtime. The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off next week at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 8-9 3-3 2-4 2 4 6 2 21 1 3 0 0 32
52 Jordan Morgan* 5-6 0-0 0-0 0 5 5 2 10 2 2 0 1 27
03 Trey Burke* 8-15 4-7 2-2 1 2 3 2 22 9 3 0 1 32
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 3-5 0-0 4-6 0 7 7 1 10 2 1 1 0 30
13 Matt Vogrich* 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 19
02 Spike Albrecht 2-2 1-1 1-1 0 2 2 0 6 0 1 0 0 6
04 Mitch McGary 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 1 2 0 1 0 0 11
05 Eso Akunne 1-3 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 4
11 Nik Stauskas 3-5 3-4 2-2 0 2 2 1 11 1 2 0 0 25
15 Jon Horford 1-1 0-0 1-1 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 5
20 Josh Bartelstein 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2
22 Blake McLimans 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
32 Corey Person 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 2
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 5 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Totals 33-55 13-21 12-16 6 36 42 10 91 18 13 1 3 200
IUPUI 22-63 8-23 2-4 5 18 23 13 54 12 9 0 5 200

Michigan vs IUPUI quick thoughts

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The Preseason NIT kicks off tonight in Ann Arbor for the Michigan Wolverines, who will hope to reach the Madison Square Garden to battle for the tournament title with two victories over the next two days. Michigan welcomes the Jaguars of Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis to the Crisler Center at 9pm (ESPNU) this evening in both teams’ first-round matchup. The winner of the game will face the winner of the Bowling Green-Cleveland State game that tips off at Crisler three hours beforehand. With the first Division I matchup finally arriving, here are three things to look for against IUPUI:

Sam predicts a big game from Mitch McGary (photo by the Detroit News)

  1. Big Ten Opponent: No, IUPUI is not a Big Ten team (they are in the Summit League), but they do have one player that used to play in the Big Ten in former Purdue Boilermaker John Hart, the Jaguar’s now-starting point guard. While Hart was never a key player for Purdue, he will be expected to be a major contributor right away for his new squad, and in one game so far he has looked the part, scoring a team-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting (3-of-7 3-pt) to go along with four assists, three rebounds, two steals, and a block in a 67-54 home win over the Utah Valley Wolverines. Hart did turn the ball over four times as well, however, and IUPUI turned it over 14 times as a team. John Beilein will certainly look to take advantage of some of that sloppiness against a lesser opponent and turn some of those turnovers into fast-break buckets. Standing 6’2” and weighing 205 pounds, Hart should be able to at least do a decent job guarding Trey Burke, but his teammates will be called upon to stay with the rest of the Michigan team, who will be significantly more athletic as a whole.
  1. Hardaway’s Hot Start: We all saw what Tim Hardaway, Jr. is capable of when he’s feeling it in last Friday’s opening-night victory over The Rock, when he went off for 25 points and 10 rebounds. Tonight, IUPUI’s senior two-guard Sean Esposito will be tasked with slowing Hardaway, but giving up three inches height-wise and a couple more inches in athleticism to Hardaway, Esposito could find himself in a world of trouble. If Tim comes out hot again the Jaguars could be in for a long game; look for him to get his patented pull-up three off a couple times over Esposito if his shot is falling and pay special attention to Hardaway’s rebounding numbers again.
  1. Streakiness: IUPUI finished last season 14-18 overall and 7-11 in conference play, but the numbers themselves don’t the whole story. The Jaguars were one of the streakiest teams in the country a year ago, winning six straight games at one point and six of seven later on in the season, but they also got icy cold at times, losing eight of nine games from mid-November to mid-December and seven straight in January. If IUPUI comes out guns ablazin’ they could stay in the game for a half or a bit longer, but if second-year head man Todd Howard’s team comes out clanking shots off the rim and turning the ball over, Michigan will run away within the first 10 minutes.

Prediction: Tim Hardaway, Jr. will have another big game, going for 20 more points, but Mitch McGary will be the star of the show with his first career double-double, including a couple monster throwdowns. Michigan wins 83-54 and goes on to face the Vikings of Cleveland State tomorrow night.