Last nights game and future

I just posted in a few other threads so I’ll try and not ramble to much. I’m very confident we are a top twenty team or better. I’m fairly convinced the trio of bigs might end up being a strength not a weakness. All three are confident and contribute different things.

I feel this teams ceiling relies on Walton and Irvin to carry them to top ten heights potentially. By playing smart and keeping the ball moving/ having faith in teammates this team could turn into a very balanced/ pick your poison roster.

I really have faith in Ibi too so Irvin could see his workload cut back to 30-32 minutes between Ibi and dj. Better for everybody. Duncan off the bench is huge. This is to me the best option. Adds a scoring punch and when he’s cold it won’t be as devastating but when he’s hot it could make things very tough.

For next year this roster is looking prime. I’m pretty convinced Mathews can come in and be a top 3 player on the roster. If we keep Donal which I’m starting to think could be an ok move if we strike out on bamba a rotation of

X / Brooks
Maar/ ibi/ Poole
Mathews / Duncan
Wilson /livers
Wagner / donnal/ teske

That could be a very nice roster. Super excited for it. A lot of our hopes would rely on x developing so let’s hope he shows up late in the year. I’m really liking what beilein has put together here. Not that I ever lost faith but I like our recruits as of now, next four years including this year look bright.

Last night was definitely a nice surprise. We looked good. DJ looked great. Defense did look much improved, even though Marquette simply missed wide open shots at times.

But, last night in the 2nd half we were not good. Walton was bad. Irvin was average. Wagner was lost on D. 9 TO and many had nothing to do with the defense.

I don’t disagree that I was happy after the game, and it is a nice change to come to the forum and people not slamming the coach and team, but we have a long way to go.

1 Like

In my opinion, JB should have yanked Irvin and Walton for playing flat when we had the big lead. They lack killer instinct in general and they both seemed to feel comfortable riding this one out. I bet X, IBI, robinson and Lonergan, ie the players trying to prove themselves, would have played with full intensity. Irvin and Walton are way too comfortable in their roles, but it is not entirely their fault, because JB needs to call them out when they need to be called out.

What is the point of playing it safe with your supposed Senior leaders when they are giving half ass effort and focus?

1 Like

What a difference a capable backup PG makes. X came in and played pretty well in the first half when Walton picked up those quick fouls. Sure it wasn’t reflected on the stat sheet but we went on a nice run with him out on the floor. He did a solid job playing perimeter defense and is a threat on offense. Nothing against Dakich last year (I’m sure he’s a nice kid and great teammate) but he’s just not a BigTen rotation player as we all know. Belien and the team must be pretty relieved to have X backing up Walton Jr.

DJ Wilson continues to impress. He’s very active on both ends and is doing a nice job on the glass. I hope he keeps shooting the open 3’s because if they start dropping soon, he will be an even bigger asset to this team. Already like the look of having Duncan Robinson coming off the bench and firing up 3’s, reminds me of what Irvin did his freshman year.

Nice W, let’s get SMU tonight. Go Blue.


1 Like

It was great to see the improvement of the front court especially. Marquette was really bothered by Michigan’s length, which is the first time I’ve said that during the JB era. Wilson showed some flashes of McGary in his motor down low – another thing I would never imagine saying.

It’s very early yet – and his first game on a big stage – but I’d like to see Simpson deal with ball pressure better, especially if Walton is limited. Spike was great at not getting flustered when they pressured him and keeping the offense flowing. Simpson seemed to put his head down and try to dribble through the pressure, sometimes causing the offense to stall. This could really matter against Texas if Shaka brings the havoc. I really liked his intensity on defense.

1 Like

Wow, wow, wow . Unreal again.

Team stepped up huge and can’t lie didn’t expect it at all. I know its only 4 games in but two questions for the future, what are the odds we see Wagner and Wilson together as seniors? If Donlon turns are abysmal defence around, how long before he gets another head job? Also any chance Donlon is groomed to take over for JB when he retires in a few years. Not trying to jump to conclusions with his tenure so young and that decision being so far away but just thinking you very rarely have a young talented assistant coach with head coaching experience.

It’s not a one way street for Donlon. Clearly he’s made a difference but from his perspective he’s getting a chance to work under a guy thought to be one of the best offensive minds in the game. I really liked when Beilein described Donlon as having the eye for defense that he has for offense. That’s a pretty powerful combination.

1 Like

I think the most important thing about having Donlon here is that the principles of his defense are much more effective. The hard hedge was frankly pretty dumb, so it’s great to see that gone. And the “switch everything” style is the most effective defense if you can pull it off, IMO. Kills anything generated naturally by the team’s offense and forces the opponent to beat you off the dribble or in post-up situations. And it’s way easier to pull off in college where you can sag off shooters and clog the paint easier.

So those principles will likely still stay even after Donlon gets poached.

If we strike out on a big 17 I’m really ok with donall. Kid is coming into his own. Good player now.


Donall has done an excellent job rotating and getting in the lanes to take charges. It’s starting to remind me some of Jordan Morgan in how many charges he’s drawing and drawing consistently. As someone who has played the sport and taking those charges, they are not easy. I admire his toughness and am really amazed how far he’s come in just over a year. I had given up on Mark and thought he was too soft to play but I’ll be the first to admit, he’s proven me wrong.


1 Like

Just four games in, but this looks like one of Beilein’s free-wheeling teams where a lot of different guys can hurt you on a given night; the light has turned on very early in the season. If we continue to play at such a high level/with this degree of success, a scan of the schedule suggests we could be sporting a fairly gaudy record by the time we get into the meat of the Big Ten order. I only wish we played MSU at home first–does it seem like we always have to battle them away in the first game?

1 Like

I wish we could play them right now while they look lost and confused.

1 Like

I said I thought/ expected all five guys to avg ten or more points. I still think this is very possible, or close to. This teams strength is the balance. Best way for this team to play is share the touches and we will thrive.

Regarding MSU looking very confused. I have always thought MSU makes a lot of mistakes early in the year because Izzo is trying to make them play very fast–without regard for the inevitable mistakes–and by the end of the season they are able to play very fast transition ball and not make mistakes. It is one of the few strategies Izzo employs that I actually agree with. The funny thing with this MSU group is they are turning the ball over playing at a very slow speed. I mean, sometimes it just looks like they are horrible at basketball. Just wait until Izzo tries to speed them up…It is going to be a disaster, in my opinion.

We’ll have a hard time with MSU. Hate him or love him Izzo is fully integrating those tremendous new talents in with a group that isn’t as tenured as years past so there are definitely going to be growing pains but they will be a problem down the road for us and everyone else. We have to lean on our size and hope DJ can frustrate Bridges and that by not being the main cover for Bridges Zak can have a game. I like our chances but thinking that MSU won’t be in the top 25 for most of the year and be a tough out isn’t realistic IMO.

1 Like

I said 6 days ago to calm down after we looked unstoppable. I think the same after last night. Calm down, we are not that bad. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. 20-10 still sounds like a good prediction.

1 Like

I’m happy with the roster now, i’m happy with the roster next year, but there is something really odd about a team having no answer for the way they are being played, and seeming to come off the rails where seniors should be providing stability and sticking to the plan which in our case would seemingly be more ball movement and never having zero-pass possessions (which our senior initiated). It was concerning last year against Indiana/MSU, and last night had some the same markers. A team with this tenure shouldn’t have such bad body language or go off-strategy so easily with no answer or ability to punch back.

20-10 seems like the right bar to set, but it will be when we have better decision making/shot selection/poise that we can set higher bars, and i’m not sure it is with Zak having such a prominent role b/c he abandons what got him to this point so easily.

1 Like

Agree. It seemed like all had SC to do was deny the initial pass in our half-court set and the whole thing became totally discombobulated.

The one bright spot in my opinion is MAAR, because he’s the only guy who can say ‘screw it’, drive the lane, grab a bucket, and get to the line. The team really struggled to get anything going in transition and that’s a problem too. I would love for this team to recruit a hard-charging, athletic bully who maybe can’t figure out the sets or shoot the three but can always be counted on to get to the rim to soften up the D and stop the bleeding when things go ice cold.

That’s the thing I don’t understand about last night. The first possession they started denying the pass and we weren’t prepared for it, I would’ve called timeout and explained that in order to get them out of that, jab toward the ball and back cut and when the off defender rotates to the driver, drop if off to the big man or kick it out for three. Irvin kept backing up when the guy hedged and then took a stupid shot. He also waited WAY too long to make a pass and when he did it got our big guys in trouble. MAAR doesn’t have the passing ability because when he had the ball the team knew to just take away the drive. Irvin had his worst career game and we had our worst career shooting game as a team. Not a whole lot can be taken away from this game except to be stronger with the ball. Irvin was all out of sorts and careless with the ball. You can definitely see with this team that if we get our shot blocked, it messes with our confidence. I wish it increased our confidence when we drew fouls like it decreases it when we get our shot blocked. That’s all mentality.

1 Like