After 20 Games, What is This Team's Ceiling?

Three reasons why Michigan’s ceiling might be pretty high this year:

The defense - it’s (probably?) time to stop talking about this defense as “good for Michigan” – it’s (probably?) just plain good. It has things it does well consistently - defensive rebound, prevent 3s and transition opportunities, and get TOs. And it’s quite versatile when you look at the lineup of Simpson, MAAR, Matthews, and Livers – a lot of length, quickness, and toughness. Even Mo has been upping his game recently, with 6 blocks in his last 4 games, his defensive rebounding, and his solid ball screen defense. I still worry about dominant post men, but overall, the defense is quite good.

Mo Wagner - Since Mo’s 1-10 start, he is shooting 48% from 3 (42% overall) and is very efficient while being very versatile from 2 – taking it to the rim, posting up, etc. He’s a special offensive weapon at the college level.

Depth – even besides Mo, we have several starters who are offensive weapons – Matthews and MAAR, in particular, with Livers and Simpson also capable. Then, bringing Robinson, Poole, and Teske off the bench is a very solid 6-8. Teske is an upgrade defensively and solid offensively. Poole is a great shooter and spark-plug. Robinson is a great shooter (I’m going with it) and veteran. That’s a deep, versatile rotation 1-8.

The surprising possible Achilles heel(s)? FT shooting (specifically Simpson and Matthews) and general shooting off-the-dribble in the 1-3 spots. And perhaps the not-so-surprising possibility, post defense.


Great write-up and I agree with your thoughts.

My thoughts so far:

  • Moe is the catalyst for this team. If he’s playing well, they just need one other person to step up that day. (Zavier at MSU, Poole against Maryland). If Moe plays well and one guy steps up, they can most definitely play on the second weekend.

  • To go beyond the second weekend? I think that’s where:
    A) Moe needs to be playing well
    B) The second guy has to be playing consistent and counted on
    C) Any other third guy, doesn’t matter who each game, needs to step up

At this point, with how well they’ve been playing, I don’t think they need EVERYONE on the floor to play well to beat a good team. They have enough pieces to make due.

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Yeah, it’s hard to pin the NCAA rounds exactly without seeing match-ups, etc., but it’s not hard at this point, especially with JB’s past success, to see them playing into the second week.


I like how we’re playing, especially with the favorable schedule coming up.

Disappointing to lose games like LSU, OSU, and Purdue that all “coulda, woulda, shoulda” but anyway.

11 games left. Other than @ Purdue, the other 10 seem very winnable. Home vs OSU, @ Maryland, and @ Nebraska being the next toughest. But Rutgers, NW, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Penn St, Iowa…we should finish 7-4 or 8-3. 23-8 (12-6) or 24-7 (13-5).

Depth is the biggest thing to me. We have two guys who are probably starters on half of the Big Ten with Poole and Teske (although this is more indicative of the rest of the Big Ten IMO) and another guy in Robinson who has averaged double digits for a season. It’s good that it’s caused the backup PG to be less important, because if we needed anything out of that position we’d be having issues.

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True, although the UCLA and MD wins probably even out the scales. And losses on the road to NC (KP 9) and OSU (KP 16) and to PU (KP 2) are pretty understandable. The only even RPI Group 2 loss is neutral to LSU (who also has won @Ark and @TexA&M), which may wind up being a tier 1 game by the end.


Across the board, the NCAA is so wide open this year. It feels like, without stretching the bounds of reasonable play, I can make a case for any of 25-30 teams getting to the Final4? Give it another 4 weeks and I’ll probably shrink that list down some. But matchups and health are going to determine a lot of the Tournament’s fate.

Second weekend feels like a good target for this year’s team. Get there & get a favorable matchup…

Considering our wins against UCLA and Maryland I think we’re about even in the coin flip ending outcomes.

EDIT: UMHoopsFan beat me to it

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It’s a good way to think about it.

Here are some fun conference only numbers for Poole:
ORtg - 133.9
Usage - 24%
eFG - 71%
TS% - 73%
FTRate - 38%
FT% - 85%
3pt% - 50%
2pt% - 60%
ppg - 8.4
p p/40 - 27 (by far the highest on the team)

He’s only playing 31% of the minutes, of course, and this is probably not sustainable even in those minutes, But pretty good for a freshman off the bench.

And here are a few for Teske:

OR Rate - 17% (!!!)
DR Rate - 22%
ORtg - 119
TS% - 58%
Block% - 2.5


I too had fun with this exercise :+1:

Im trying desperately to not feel slighted, from losing by such small margins to OSU and Purdue, because it turns out that being entirely competitive in those games means we are a very good team.

I try not to worry about LSU (so early in the season: Z and Livers were especially entirely different players) and UNC (getting smacked in a true road game against a top 10 team, non-con, just happens to not-elite teams).