I’m sure anyone who reads this blogs knows that happened Saturday night in East Lansing, so there is no reason to write a recap. The love that Michigan is getting right now from the national media is over whelming, and even my idiot cousin who is a die hard Kentucky fan thinks we are the best team in the Big 10. I caution once again that the schedule ahead is really tough, but I can’t begin to explain how much I love the resolve this team has shown. Instead of getting emotional, I think I will just post some fun with numbers… I hope you enjoy!
The win Saturday was the 9th straight for Michigan, and their first 7-0 start in league play… Ever
Michigan has won 5 of the last 7 versus Sparty, assuring that the senior class at MSU will have a losing record against the Maize and Blue.
Michigan just finished defeating 3 top 10 teams in the last week. They are the first team since 1986-87 to beat 3 top 10 teams in consecutive games.
Michigan’s 4 road opponents so far are a combined 42-5 at home this season. Michigan has attributed for 4 of those 5 loses.
In Big 10 play Nik Stauskas is not only the leading scorer, but only trails Yogi Ferrell and that guy in Ohio for assists per game at 4.7… Nik is more than just a scorer and the world is finding that out. The guy simply makes plays.
Michigan out rebounded MSU 34-30… A key to the victory and something that rarely happens in East Lansing.
Michigan shot 57.9% from 3 and 83% from the free throw line Saturday. The hot shooting and sharing of the ball continues to be a major reason for their success.
Michigan fans, I hope you are enjoying and appreciating what you are seeing. The win at Wisconsin was basically the best road win in 60 years and all they did was repeat or top it on Saturday. This team has grit and genuinely seems to enjoy playing together. It looks like the Big Ten title is a legit goal now and the next six weeks should be a lot of fun. Regardless of what happens, this team has shown that it can play with anyone in the country, and if they remain confident they will be a very tough out in March… Go Blue!
It has been 2 weeks since my first State of the Season address, and in that time frame Michigan has gone 4-0 and been more impressive with each win. In the first installment I talked about how the main goal is to always win the Big Ten regular season above all else and how that should remain the goal even though the loss of Mitch McGary had just occurred and the mood of the fan base was a bit deflated. I’m sure some of you read that and laughed, I know a few of my friends did. But 4 wins later and Michigan sits at the top as 1 of 2 unbeaten in the league and faces a huge opportunity when they travel to East Lansing Saturday night. This team, and this season has life! So let’s look at the details and how this recent run has changed how we are perceived on the national landscape.
Record: 14-4, 6-0 conference
Ken Pomeroy: 10th
Jerry Palm: 5th seed vs. Play-in game winner in South Region
Joe Lunardi: 4th seed vs. Mercer in East Region
Theses numbers have drastically improved since we first looked at them 2 weeks ago. The biggest jump is in Michigan’s RPI ranking, as it has gone from 57 to 20 with Michigan’s current winning streak. The tournament projections are interesting, as both have Michigan playing in the 4 vs 5 game during the 1st weekend. I’ve always preferred that seeding for Michigan instead of a 3 seed because if seeding holds up, it gives Michigan a week to prepare for a 1 seed in the Sweet Sixteen instead of only a day and a half. And as we saw last year, Coach Beilein puts together a great game plan when he has that much time. But this is still January and a lot can happen between now and then so I won’t get too far ahead of myself. But Michigan is definitely trending in the right direction and the numbers show that.
What To Watch For
As I wrote in this section last time, Coach Beilein and Michigan like to view the conference season as 3, 6-game intervals. I really believed that a 5-1 start would have been a huge success, so obvious this start is beyond expectations. The win at Wisconsin was season changing and I think it made the goal of winning the Big Ten much more plausible. But as I mentioned last time, this 2nd 6-game stretch is really difficult. Starting with the game Saturday, Michigan has 4 of the next 6 on the road, all against teams that traditionally give them trouble when they play them away from Crisler (MSU-Ind-Iowa-Ohio). The home games are Nebraska and Purdue, both of which have been exceeding expectations of late and Nebraska already took Michigan to the wire. My point is that we may be in for a rough stretch and I see 3-3 in this second 6-game stint as being a positive and would leave Michigan at 9-3 and very much in the hunt as they head to the final 6 games which are much more forgiving. So nobody panic if Michigan drops a few in the next few weeks or even goes on a short losing streak. Nobody goes unbeaten in a league this strong, and even last year’s National Finalist lost at Penn State. Michigan has gotten off to a great start and has a HUGE opportunity Saturday against a now short handed Michigan State squad. Let’s hope this team stays hot and continues to play with the confidence we have seen in the last month. If so, I think we will be discussing Big Ten title scenarios during the next State of the Season… Go Blue!
Nebraska went zone one too many times… After 2 free throws put them up 70-69 with under 35 seconds to go, Nebraska fell back into the zone that had caused 3 turnovers and 1 missed shot in 4 possessions in the 2nd half. But this time Michigan was ready and as the ball reached Derrick Walton on the right wing he was aggressive and knew what to do, driving the baseline and hitting what turned out to be the game winning shot as Michigan escaped Lincoln tonight with a 71-70 win over Nebraska.
The Wolverines put 5 players in double figures and were led by Glen Robinson with 19. He was aggressive all night and showed his aria of skills by scoring on catch and shoot 3s, pull up jumpers and drives to the basket. I have been on record before as saying that this team is only as good as GR3s aggressiveness, and nights like this are a great example. This was a great team effort, Stauskas was huge, Morgan played great again tonight and I’m thrilled with his play in his last season. But Robinson continues to be the key, and his play tonight for 40 minutes was a huge reason they got the win…
Fun with Stats
Michigan shot 62 percent tonight from the field (31-50) and put 5 players in double figures, which further supports the premise that this team is multifaceted but without a true “go-to” guy.
To further that point, Michigan was GREAT tonight sharing the ball, as they had 16 assists and only 9 turnovers. When you compare that to Nebraska’s 10 assists and 13 turnovers you get a better understanding of how Michigan was able to pull out the win.
One negative, Michigan was only 3-9 at the free throw line tonight and it nearly cost them the game as Nebraska had 3 chances to take the lead in the closing seconds after Derrick Walton missed his “And 1” opportunity on Michigan’s last possession. I am not gonna call this a concern just yet until it becomes a trend. Generally speaking, Michigan is a good Free Throw shooting team…
Bottom line: Michigan won a road conference game and put 5 guys in double figures. I call that a success and can’t wait for Penn State to visit on Tuesday… Go Blue!!
From time to time throughout the season I think it’s a good idea to take a look at where things stand and what needs to happen to obtain the goals of the season as they change based on performance. I don’t have to tell anybody that the #1 goal is to win the Big Ten Regular Season Championship. And while that goal may have seemed to take a serious hit with the loss of Mitch McGary, the reality is that Michigan has started 2-0 in conference and is one of only 4 teams that remain unbeaten in league play. I know that a conference crown seems like a long shot, but I’m sure the same could have been said 2 years ago and that season ended with Michigan in a 3-way tie for first, so for now I think this should be our top focus, along with an NCAA tournament bid.
Record: 10-4, 2-0 conference
Ken Pomeroy: 21st
Jerry Palm: 10th seed vs. North Carolina in Midwest Region
Joe Lunardi: 8th seed vs. Georgetown in East Region
A quick glance at these numbers and projections shows about what we should expect based on the season so far. The Ken Pomeroy ranking is higher than expected and is a good sign, as the selection committee has started a trend of focusing as much, if not more, on his data as the RPI. The seeding projections are low, but expected due to Michigan’s lack of quality wins at this time. But with the Big Ten being one of the top 1-2 conferences again this year, there will be several opportunities for quality wins and an increase in seeding.
What to watch for
This section will have more details as the conference season grows and seeding/standing scenarios begin to take more shape. As for now the focus is on winning games and everything else will take care of itself. John Beilein likes to break down the conference schedule by 3, 6-game stretches. At 2-0 to start, Michigan hosts Penn State and Iowa and has trips to Nebraska (Thursday 9pm eastern) and Wisconsin to finish out the first third of the conference slate. A 5-1 start to that schedule would be huge, as the 2nd 6-game stretch is far more difficult. Hopefully this team sees the trip to Nebraska as opportunity to take one step closer to the goal of a Big Ten Championship and will show up in Lincoln ready to play. If so they will leave 3-0 with all their goals still in front of them…
This time around, we stray away from the college game for a bit and set our sights on the NBA Draft, which features two former Michigan Wolverines, one of which has a shot to come off of the board very early, point guard Trey Burke. Continue reading “NBA Draft Under the Microscope: Trey Burke”
This week, the guys discuss Michigan’s latest football commit, linebacker Chase Winovich. Also, what’s next for the class and what program has a better shot of bringing the school a conference title next season. Continue reading “BBR Podcast 6/11/13: Chase Winovich and Big Ten Championships”
Small forward Vince Edwards is one of Michigan’s targets for their 2014 recruiting class. He is a 6-7, 200 pound product from Middletown, Ohio and is a composite four-star prospect, according to the major recruiting services. He is a wing player that could definitely fill a need for John Beilein and the program, and I recently caught up with him to see where he is at in his recruitment. Continue reading “Player Interview: 2014 Basketball Prospect Vince Edwards”
The 2014 Michigan basketball recruiting class is a small one right now with only Ricky Doyle and Austin Hatch committed, but there are still spots up for grabs and news on that should begin to heat up shortly. I had the chance recently to catch up with one of the players that Michigan is targeting, small forward prospect Kameron Chatman. Continue reading “Player Interview: 2014 Basketball Prospect Kameron Chatman”
Our next installment of the Under the Microscope series has us take a look at another stud prospect from the 2014 basketball recruiting class, small forward Kevon Looney. Continue reading “Under the Microscope: Kevon Looney”
Michigan is hosting their annual College Practice Camp this Saturday afternoon, and will give coach John Beilein and his staff a chance to get a more extensive look at the prospects they are targeting for the 2014, 2015, and 2016 classes. Continue reading “Beilein and Staff to Get Closer Look at the Future on Saturday”