Game 31: Michigan at Michigan State Recap


There’s nothing more difficult to stop in college basketball than elite PG play, which we’ve learned the hard way. Winston is the best PG in the B1G since Burke.

The offense is just so stagnant. Too many possessions where someone dribbles out the shot clock and just hoists up a prayer. Livers, Teske, and frankly Poole (as of late) don’t have the ability to create their own shots.

Question about Johns: is this kid supposed to have a jump shot? Because I can’t remember him making a shot that wasn’t a layup/dunk all year. Not sure what use a 3/4 who can’t shoot is.


I think the idea that Rahk and Duncan, in their fourth year in the program and 200+ games into their career will play with more patience and comfort than Ignas in his 31st is way beyond a reasonable debate.


He’s barely played any minutes at the 3/4. Vast majority of his minutes have been at the 5. And it’s not like Teske was shooting deep in backup minutes his freshman and sophomore years and look at him now. Johns was a decent shooter in high school and I’d be surprised if he didn’t become one here.


Truthfully I thought Iggy played like a vet yesterday. He played great. Only thing that slowed him down was foul trouble.


Scored great. Still around 1 assist a game in the B10 though.


Should also lump in Poole who is swallowing a much larger role and many more minutes.


At least we saw some vision progress. He hit Zavier open in the corner after a hard drive to the hoop. I remember that drive and kick.


His jumpshot is literally Johns best skill. Largely buried at the 5, he always rolled and never popped. Given Nunez at 1/11 and DEJulius at 1/13 from 3, it wouldn’t hard to better those numbers.


Seems so long ago before college BB season began, that Winston’s horrible defense and increased workload would be an issue.

Being the focus defensively of every opponent was no problem for this kid ultimately. Just a great college player.



Teske needs to spend his summer standing in the post with his back to the basket, learning how to post up and score. The team also needs to practice how to pass the ball into the post when Teske is standing there, and also how to pass the ball to Teske high in the air, when the 7-footer is standing next to the rim being guarded by a guy who is a foot shorter than him. Those things alone would have given Michigan an extra 10 points, and I haven’t even mentioned the complete absence of even one pick and roll play to Teske in the second half.

Then Beilein needs to go out on the trail and recruit guys that are good shooters. Because none of these guys are particularly good shooters. Average, maybe, but good? No. Good shooters don’t go cold for 10 minutes a game.


I mean…

  1. the annual scream, when Michigan faces adversity to “post-up more” is a cliche at this point. Post-ups, even when done by highly skilled NBA practitioners, are under 1 ppp plays - inefficient offense. Second, if you want a coach who is going to routinely post up his big, you’d better fire Beilein, because it’s not happening.

  2. I think Beilein’s track record suggests that “recruiting guys who can shoot” is absolutely his intent - Poole certainly carried this rep. I’d go a step further and say that shooting is the single skill he has overwhelmingly prioritized in his tenure, at the expense of other things. Remember that his initial desire was for Winston, not Simpson.



I keep insisting that everyone watch the postgame interviews. because Beilein so often addresses criticisms, implied or explicit, and often very candidly. . . that fans then spend days griping about in the most general terms. At least we can start by knowing what he was thinking!

After MSU he talked at some length about the time needed to throw it inside, how good Rahk was in his senior year. He’s not going to turn Michigan into a team that posts up a lot; they are going to practice getting the ball in.

Obviously you have to adjust–and MSU has–but that’s a different game with Charles in, coming and going. Hope we get a chance to play them again.


The good news is that would mean we are in the final. The bad news is that we still need to figure out how to beat MSU.


I think the only thing we need to really work with post ups this offseason is getting the ball to Teske when he’s guarded by an undersized players. We don’t post up alot, so the players are not all that great at feeding the post. Only time I really want Teske to post up is when he has a guard on him. Right now, we’ve only got one effective passer in Simpson. Poole can be good, but he has not developed how we’ve wanted him to this year. Hopefully he takes that jump this offseason if he stays.

And good shooters do go cold for 10 minutes. The thing with 3 pointers is that they’re hard and you will go through stretches where you’re not making them. Alot of variance with 3s. Might shoot 20% one game and then hit 45% the next. But either way, the shooting will be better in the future IMO as Livers is good, I expect Poole to bounce back, Iggy is fine (if he returns), DDJ can shoot, Nunez will have a year under his belt, Teske should improve, Bajema and Wilson are solid shooters, Johns has shown the potential as a recruit. Could get Quinones or Wagner in and they should be fine shooters as well. This year is kind of an aberration with shooting for JB.


Give our opponents credit where credit is due, but from a Michigan perspective, aside from missing shots (obviously), what are the main factors driving these scoring droughts?

  • getting stagnant with the basketball; not swinging and reversing the ball for shots in rhythm?
  • questionable finishing playing isolation ball when getting to the hoop?
  • lack of players that can create their own shot, compared to last year’s team?

I don’t have the analytics, but it seems like there is a drought toward the latter part of a first half and toward the middle to late part of second halves.

Should Beilein micro-manage these games tighter with calling timeouts sooner to help offset the droughts with proper play calling, and re-adjusting the team focus?

This is still a good team, but against upper echelon squads margin for error is minimal. Missed layups, pivot foot traveling issues, lazy fouls, and at times loss of focus/discipline impact this Michigan side, more than prior Coach B teams, with little depth.

Positives to take away from the past few games: DeJulius, and Castleton beginning to become regular rotation players, Brooks might have had a revelation with his hustle at State, Iggy getting his swagger back to early season form.


Conversely, they can do a better job of identifying the mismatch beyond the post-up with the guard.

From what I recall, there were a few times Iggy had Kithier on him and the ball never got in his hands. (This was after he blew by him earlier on the switch/mismatch.) Dakich called that out on the broadcast.


This was the most frustrating thing to me during the first half when the game was begging to blown open. Simpson and Poole played patty cake with the ball on one side of the floor with terrible spacing on multiple possessions with Kithier switched onto Iggy at the top of the key


Livers, Iggy, and Poole shot 43%, 42%, and 38% from 3 for the year. Those 3 shot 50% from 3 against MSU. The 3 pt shooting, outside of perhaps X, wasn’t the problem.

Last year’s offense went through long scoring droughts too. Last year’s team went 13-5 and didn’t get a double bye in a much weaker Big Ten. Last year’s team lost to Purdue twice in the regular season, got waxed at Nebraska - a team that didn’t make the tournament - blew a big lead to Ohio State, coughed up a late lead and almost lost to Iowa in the first round of the tourney.

Last year was great. 2013, 2014, and 2017 were great. But teams go through ups and downs. This team has some young guys, guys who haven’t played a ton of minutes. They have some guys with offensive limitations. They’ve had an injury to one of their better players late in the season and still gutted out road win against a top 20 team.

This team went 26-5, 15-5 in a very tough conference, has a top 20 offense and top 3 defense. Saturday sucked, but best to enjoy seasons like this, not get too wrapped up in unearthing nonexistent fatal flaws.


IMO, I felt Michigan defended State very well in the first half on Saturday. They switched and covered most rotations pretty well (Johns I believe got lost a couple times). But in the second half, State had our guys on skates – in the last 10 minutes especially. Credit to MSU, but we have to learn to stay disciplined for a full 30 seconds with the defensive plan we have had against Winston and Tillman.

I know Indiana was successful in its first game at MSU hitting the 3, but is there something on film defensively we can take from IU sweeping State, and apply it in a future matchup against Izzo?