Michigan at Iowa Discussion Thread


I think you have a tendency to overemphasize offensive production and give the benefit of doubt to known commodities—Robinson in this case. I mean, Assessing Livers is relative to Robinson and Robinson has been less than impressive on defense and offense.

Beilein is spending a lot of his free time coaching-up Livers for a reason.


How concerned should we be about Wagner’s injury?

Is it just pain management or time to heal? Or can this possibly turn into a Caris injury?

That tweet and write-up in the recap sounded a little worrisome. Doesn’t sound like a day-to-day injury to me.


Guys, prior to tonight, Livers hadn’t done anything to take any job away from anyone - he didn’t shoot, he didn’t pass, and he wasn’t that good on defense. Tonight he played great - hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. But pillorying Dylan the second Livers plays well because Dylan didn’t credit him for playing well prior to him doing it seems pretty silly.

Regarding the game - after the first few minutes, we really mostly got great shots all night. Both of Simpson’s, all of Livers’, most of Rahk’s were wide open, and most of our misses from three were too. Once Rahk and Simpson broke open the zone, we had a number of great looks closer in, and Simpson scored enough at the rim to make the defense respect his drives. Teske and Wagner both left some points at the rim (though Teske was great overall).

But still - we won because we produced open shot after open shot after open shot.


To be fair, our head coach emphasizes offense over defense - look at who we recruit and what our teams generally excel at.


The extra bone thing - does Moe have what Greg Bird (Yankees) had? It sure sounds a lot like it. It’s called “os trigonum” - and it is concerning if it’s what Moe is dealing with. Bird needed to have surgery and was only right post-surgery. I’m sure each condition is its own, though.


As others have said, Livers needed to actually do something on offense to cut into Robinson’s minutes. He’s still somewhat broken on off-ball defense. Not Poole bad, but probably not even average. Today he did the stuff he needed to on offense (and more) and was then rewarded with more minutes. I think the original Dylan quote that people are arguing is:

“He can do a lot of things better than Duncan in terms of raw physical talent. He hasn’t been doing a lot of things better than Duncan until tonight.”

I don’t really see how that statement can be contested. Offensive rebounding is the one thing looking at the stats that he’s done much better than Duncan this season. Again, this is so far. Obviously at his ceiling there’s many things that he will probably do better than Duncan and if he plays like that every night he should be starting eventually.


-Simpson looked great today. Took it to the hoop, hit open shots, played great D, found the open guy all over the court. Really good.
-MAAR played very well too. Playing to his strengths and still stretching out his passing.
-Livers hit the open shots with authority, seemed like he was the only one to slow Cook down even a little, although only a little, didn’t try to do too much but had a couple drive-and-dishes.
-Wagner looked out of sorts. Hopefully just needs to get back in the flow.
-Duncan struggled, but I thought it was interesting to hear Crean talk about his help defense.
-Poole is there offensively, needs to stop ball-watching on D and stick to the fundamentals.

Nice win @Iowa, especially considering Wagner was injured.


After a quick watch on the DVR - real nice road win. Iowa is historically prone to turnovers but we did a good job getting our hands and arms in the passing lanes and taking advantage. We were much better at converting on the break last night, it seemed. Offense looked beautiful at times - still some real room for growth in terms of guys finding which things they should and shouldn’t be doing. For example, Duncan driving to keep people honest or because he has a big advantage on someone sleeping on him having any ability to drive, fine. Duncan initiating a drive just because something needs to happen on an offensive possession, those are very low percentage. MAAR took a couple from the on the move, off the dribble, step back category at 3 and he’s so damn good at the things he does well, that he just needs to stick with those. Teske took the right shots, although I still wish his inclination was to dunk. A guy like Livers is really growing into the things he can do and that we want him to do.

Iowa seemed actually a little thin on just how many matchup nightmares they brought to the table - usually they have a few more of those on the court. Cox was a nightmare - and, really, kind of a more athletic, taller Jaesean Tate, so, not surprising. Would be nice if Livers could neutralize Tate when we see them in AA. He’s learning how to defend better game by game, it seems. Teske struggled defending mobility around the bucket which was a bit concerning - I really think he has it in him to do better there, but if that’s his current best, he’s going to get abused vs. MSU. Teske’s back seal for the Matthews dunk was terrific.

Z was a downright menace. Wagner’s injury concerns me if it is what I mention above.

Overall, every road W is a great road W in the Big Ten, particularly at Carver Hawkeye - this is not a win to grow overconfident off of, but it is a win to build off of. Very pleased by the overall level of effort and intention, and even some of the shakiness closing a game out was not perfect but was better than it might have been a few months ago.

Random stuff - Poole not boxing out the FT shooter and instead just wandering to the middle of the paint wasn’t good, and never leave the other team’s best shooter - Matthews just turned him over to no one at the top of the key and the result was a predictable 3.

But I thought the team played a really solid game.


No question, we will be much better if Livers can grab that starting spot, and Robinson can come off the bench. Seems like just a matter of time. Would also be nice if Poole can get more consistent minutes to that MAAR is not out there for 36-37 every night.


In the same games you cited to show that Livers hasn’t been good enough, Robinson shot 4/22 on 3 point attempts.


Only livers wasn’t good though. Duncan has been spectacular this year. Not going to waste time looking but I’m betting per 40 would be rather telling how much better Isaiah is per minute than Duncan. Livers passes better, defends better, rebounds better, runs the floor better. No way Duncan is shooting better so I have no idea why this debate is even happening.


ONLY reason Duncan is out there is to shoot and make 3s. Pretty convenient to leave out the 4-22. Besides the obvious stat, his d has NEVER looked average even and rebounding has always been terrible.

Imo this next game vs Illinois is a perfect game to start livers too. Illinois is small and like to run a lot. Don’t think livers has a single problem with guarding Finke or Nichols who they play as the backup PF due to lack of size.


Duncan is 9 for 43 from deep in combined games against these opponents: LSU, VCU, UNC, Indiana, Ohio State, UCLA, Texas, Iowa. That’s 20%. He made 2 or more threes in only 2 of those 8 games (2-8 against VCU and 2-9 against Indiana). It’s no longer a small sample size. He’s been an awful shooter against every quality opponent we have played this year.

He is 26 for 53 from deep against all other opponents. 49% against cupcakes. He made 2 or more threes in all 8 of those games, and 4 or more threes in half of them.


Not to prolong this silly fight, but it’s pretty amusing, merely from a stance of statistical analysis to cherry-pick Duncan’s poorest 8 games (that aren’t consecutive, mind you) and declare them “not a small sample size” while ignoring the 413 attempts he made prior to them (and shot 44% on) in a Michigan uniform. Which clearly informs Beilein’s decision, somewhat.

Look - if Livers plays like he did last night, he should start. Literally nobody here debates that. Up until tonight he was a 22% three point shooter (Robinson was 38%).


That’s exactly our point. Plus his awful defense and poor decision making leaves no reason for him to keep starting and playing much at all. The second he drove to the hoop yesterday, I knew it wasn’t going to end well and Baer walks over to get his easiest block of the year. Maybe the way it helped Simpson moving to a reserve roll, it could help Duncan. Plus, his ceiling isn’t anywhere close to what Simpson’s is. He’s now been at Michigan 4 years and is no better than when he got here. The writing is on the wall.


And that’s great, the eye test has shown one player has been making strides and the other is the same player from 3 years ago and hasn’t improved a single area of his game from what I can tell.


I feel like some of you guys are missing the point here. As I said above, Michigan has desperately needed Isaiah Livers to play well and I’ve been saying that for weeks. Robinson has been struggling – everyone can see that and no one is arguing it – and he isn’t suited to defend the four.

Livers had to do something to take the spot and earn more time. He had to actually play well and make a few shots in important moments. He had to make his defensive rotations. Make good passes, run the floor. All of the things that he’s capable of doing but hadn’t necessarily done in a game situation.

It is no coincidence that the first time Livers made a few shots and played well, he played a career high 27 minutes and Robinson played a season low 13.

If he can keep playing like this, he’s going to play a lot more. And again as I said above, he has the potential to raise Michigan’s ceiling significantly.

It is plenty fair to say that Livers has shown the potential to play a game like this, but it took him 16 tries to get here. A lot of you guys are acting like he’s been this good (on either end of the floor) in multiple games this year. It will be interesting to see whether he can build on it, I think the potential is certainly there.


Unfortunately, context-free “improvement” doesn’t put points on the board. Robinson’s improvement or lack thereof is irrelevant if Livers hasn’t surpassed him (and up until last night, he showed little inclination that occurred).

It’s also worth noting the predilections of our head coach - who loves shooting, abhors turnovers, prioritizes offense over defense, and is relatively agnostic about offensive rebounding (check the profile of every team he’s ever coached).

According to advanced stats, the only things Livers has done this year significantly better than than Robinson is offensive rebound and block shots. Meanwhile, his turnover rate is THREE TIMES as high as Robinson (yes, it’s true).

Adjusted +/- stats suggest the two, last night included, impact Michigan’s overall play in equivalent measure, just in different ways - Robinson has been better (quantifiably, statistically) on offense (+3.7 to Livers +1.8). Livers better on defense (+4.6 to Robinson’s +2.1).

Given tenure, given what Beilein prizes, it’s no surprise Robinson has played.

If Livers builds on last night - by far the best game he’s played in a Michigan uniform - he will play more, deserve to do so, and Michigan will be better for it. I hope it happens.


I’m not in the camp of “Livers should start and Robinson should only play 10 minutes”. I am in the camp of “Duncan’s shooting issues are not just a slump”. I just thought it was interesting to bring up an update on Duncan’s competition-based percentages in the midst of this discussion.


I think when you’ve attempted 446 career threes, a 85 shot sample qualifies as a slump. That being said, you can probably argue that it is a slump induced by a stretch assignment: playing more minutes than ideal, guarding 4s all the time, etc.