Game 1: Norfolk State at Michigan Recap

I wonder if Beilein considers the starters as clearly defined as most others seem to do. Time and patience is needed with the whole team (5-10 games), but, without significant improvement by Iggy, Livers should replace Iggy Same with Brooks and Poole. Against a good team, M would have been down a dozen at the 5 minute mark, and that is not a way to play winning basketball or shape your team. It should be a meritocracy.
Furthermore, both Iggy and Poole can benefit from the bench (if necessary). It’s obvious the jump that Iggy has to make and how a lesser role and watching some can help him, but Poole has to make a big jump too. He was a gunner last year, and this year he’s being asked to create for himself and others. Brooks has a lead in those because he has a point guard experience In the long term, it’s clear that Poole’s physical gifts would make him the best choice as SG, but . . . My thoughts, fwiw.


Beilein has made it pretty clear that he likes Eli and Isaiah off the bench because of their flexibility I think.

Brooks can play the 1 or 2, so it makes more sense to bring him off the bench rather than start him next to Simpson IMO.

Livers he likes as a replacement at the 3 or 4 or maybe even two.

Then again, you could make the point that if they are that versatile, they should just start and slide over when the less versatile player enters the game.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Iggy keeps starting, but Livers starts closing games. I also think that I like Eli off the bench regardless.

I also think that the eight-man rotation is much more solid than the starting five, so don’t completely disagree with you.

I feel like Poole still has a lot to unlock this season that pushes Michigan out of the “worrisome offense” stage and closer to last year’s “eh, it’ll do with this defense.” It’s clear he’s been told he can’t be the black hole offensively that he was last year, but I didn’t expect fewer than 20% of possessions. We might need him to play more similarly to last year than we had hoped.


Very impressed by the way Livers looked. I’d would prefer he start the game over Iggy. Poole looked good to me, just barely missed some shots. Brooks role is perfect for him.

Not sure how long it’s gonna take for me to get used to these ugly games…


As ugly as it was we were still at or above the kenpom line until garbage time. I just can’t get too pessimistic with Beilein as coach. The odds that he doesn’t figure something out seem very small.

FWIW, the KenPom line probably doesn’t account for NSU missing their lead guard which is why the Vegas line was up around 27 when it came out right before the game.

I don’t think the margin really means much of anything, Michigan’s struggles against the zone are the thing here – although they aren’t really surprising.

Either way I think we can all agree more than two warm up games before Nova would be optimal :no_mouth:


I think Iggy will be fine, he just has to get under control a little on both sides of the ball. The way defenses will collapse on him there will be a lot of open kick-out looks, the game just has to slow down for him.

the first time that Livers plays like a wing. He and Brooks are light year ahead from their freshman season. I think that Iggy played well and Johns showed some promise but clearly behind Davis at 5. The last 4:30 minutes showed why DD and Castleton will not be ready this year. I don’t remember that Nunez ever got to touched ball.

Nunez got up a shot I believe, but missed pretty badly.

I really believe that there’s a ceiling this team can reach w/ Johns at the five, but he’s further behind where I thought he’d be right now. Big couple of months coming up.

1 Like

I agree that Iggy will be fine overall, but I think Livers fits in well with the other group to get more 3 point shooting in. Having X, Charles, and Iggy in could cause some serious spacing issues.


I agree. I think Brandon Johns’ development is critical. I believe Austin is serviceable backing up JT for a few minutes, but I really think, eventually, we may need more from that backup five. I would love it, I think we all would, if Brandon Johns could just blossom over the next month and a half or so to the point where he could play with confidence at the five. Yes, he’s behind where we thought he could be at this point, but he certainly has the ability. I’m hoping Isiaiah, X, and Charles get in his ear and push the heck out of him. I think the coaches will continue teaching and instilling confidence, but I hope his teammates will help him understand that he needs to keep his motor runnin’. I personally see Isaiah as a perfect mentor for him.

Thanks. The best would be for Iggy and Poole to start, but, as I wrote, there comes a point where potential has to sit for a while if there is a better option. This is not to suggest that they won’t start and be great by the end of the season.

I’m on board with the Johns at the five idea as a very promising option, but frankly off everything we have seen and even high school tape I don’t expect him to get there anytime soon. I’m wondering what the difference is between Johns and Livers in that plan though…couldn’t we just as easily slide Livers down for 10 minutes a game at the backup five and get all the same benefits of shooting, athleticism, and even better defense than we would with Johns?

I know Johns has been practicing solely the 5 and Livers hasn’t, but I bet we see that at some point this year, especially with how clogged the wings are between Iggy, Matthews and Poole/Brooks


Agreed with this. If we truly want to get a small ball lineup going (like against Villanova), why can’t Livers do it while Johns is developing?

1 Like

Thought the regular rotation all looked comfortable out there. Davis is clearly ready to play, and Brooks looked as smooth and confident as anyone. Even considering the level of competition for this first game, this may be the best interior defense we’ve ever seen out of a Beilein team.

Shooting? Well, yeah…everyone on the roster needs to shoot free throws in practice until their arms fall off.

1 Like

This was my take-away too. Charles and Iggy on the wings doesn’t seem to allow the O to function properly. Unless Iggy can start hitting 3s at a higher rate. It feels like Livers would be a better fit with the starters so that they have to respect Poole and Livers as perimeter threats.

Also feels like Charles is pushing too hard again; not playing within the offense.

@buckets12 @kturnup Actually mentioned this on the podcast, but I think at some point you might try to do that.

The reasons why they haven’t yet though are…

  1. You can’t put Isaiah Livers next to Isaiah Livers to provide defensive support for him playing up a position. I think Livers would almost always be next to Johns if he were at the five and they would share those defensive duties. Iggy wouldn’t provide the same kind of support.

  2. They want Livers working down the rotation and trying to grow into a more versatile offensive player. Johns might also be a little more natural as a pick-and-pop five since it has sort of been part of his game and he’s taller.

Will be interesting to watch, that’s for sure.


Yeah, initially I thought, why Johns as a “small ball” five and not Isaiah? For me the answer is that Isaiah is just too valuable as a wing. As Coach B has said, “Isaiah can ply the three, the four, and push someone down to the two.” Right now that is a REALLY important role. I also thought Isaiah should start at the four, initially, too, BUT now I see that his role as a sixth man is pretty critically important. I guess the case could be made to just let him do it all, 3, 4, 5 when needed. He’s probably smart enough to do that, but personally, I really like the role he is playing right now. Brandon Johns has talent. The question has always been motor. He needs to learn the offense, gain some confidence, and as I said, keep his motor runnin’. Just my thoughts. Whatever Coach B decides is, of course, what will and should happen.

1 Like