Michigan at Iowa Discussion Thread


My two cents, too many people are hung up on starting vs not starting. That’s kind of irrelevant to be honest. It’s all about the minutes.

If Livers continues to play like he did last night, or close to it, the argument is he should play more
minutes than Duncan. We already have our answer that Beilein isn’t afraid to do that.

Personally I’d prefer Livers continue to come off the bench. Be a spark.


A lot of Isaiah Livers, Zavier Simpson and Abdur-Rahkman in 5 Key Plays.


Robinson struggled with his shooting at times last season, as well, and still was able to finish 45% from 3 in the 18 game B1G season and 40% from 3 in the team’s 7 post-season games.

Maybe something is more fundamentally wrong with his shot this year? I’m not in practice, I don’t know that answer. But he’s shown a past ability to perform against quality opponents.

As much as Michigan’s ceiling depends on how consistently Livers can compete against B1G caliber “4”s, it also depends on Robinson re-finding his 3-pt stroke. Best thing for UM is if both earn about 22-25 minutes a game. The threat of Robinson’s shooting abilities is a leading bullet point in every opponent scouting report on UM; it opens the court up big time for Matthews, Wagner, Simpson, MAAR on offense. Livers doesn’t have that same upside shooting the ball — Livers has higher upside in other areas of the game though.


A few extra notes from the game re: some of our recent conversations:

UM put up 5 more shots than Iowa
UM put up 10 more 3s than Iowa
UM won fast break battle 10-2
UM won 2nd chance points 7-2

Not sure exactly, but I believe there were 3 offensive rebounds off FTs in this game (2 by Mich, one by Iowa, I believe).


Agree. What we are doing seems to be working. I will trust in Beilein to manage the rotation.


Agree completely. Michigan is at its best when Duncan Robinson is hitting shots. And yes he has shown previously he should be a reliable 40% shooter from deep. His freshman year when he was a starter playing 30 minutes a game, much like he has been this year, he only made 35% from three in conference play. He was up to 45% last year in conference play as you mentioned, but his role was reduced. Does that have an effect on his shooting ability? I think it’s possible.

I ran the numbers for his entire career vs major opponents and vs non-major opponents. He’s made an incredible 52% against non-majors in his 2 and a half seasons with Michigan. He’s made a respectable but surely not great 38% against major opponents. This is for his entire career.

My problem is - this year he’s not making them like he has shown he is capable. If it’s really a slump, he’s due for a 10 game stretch of 5-7 nights and if that’s the case we won’t see Livers playing much at all. When he’s making half his threes, he’s an incredible asset. I’m just skeptical that’s going to start happening in the middle of big ten play.


Or, he could simply return to being an approximately 40% three point shooter, which has value. Since the UCLA games, he’s shot 52% from three.

Unless we can show that Robinson has been squeezing off heavily contested looks against the “good” teams you’ve chosen, I don’t think we can argue a good/bad opponent factor here. An open three against UNC is an open 3 again Alabama A&M. Good teams allow fewer of those than bad teams do. To my eye, Robinson has mostly taken open shots, and if anything, he’s tended towards being too passive on his shot selection over his career than too aggressive.


A few three-point stats: Michigan is outscoring its opponents by 12.8 points per game on 3-pointers despite only shooting 35.6%. Only 9 teams in the country have a better margin. UM opponents attempt just 29.2% of their shots from deep (13th lowest in NCAA).


Or maybe it’s possible as Dylan mentioned a few posts above, he’s expending more energy both in terms of role (30 minutes per game) in the 2 seasons he has shot below 40% and also defensively in games against better competition. Guarding a 4 against UNC takes more out of you than guarding a 4 against Alabama A&M.

It’s certainly realistic that he gets his average up to 40% on the year. I hope he does.


Duncan Robinson shot 40.8% from three against Kenpom tier A+B teams in 2016 and 43.3% against them last year. I think using 7 games this year to say he doesn’t shoot well against good teams while ignoring the 48 previous games in which he shot very well is somewhat ridiculous.


I don’t subscribe to kenpom so I’m assuming I couldn’t find these numbers myself. What’s he shooting those years against opponents from tiers lower than A-B? My guess is an absurdly good percent.

I’m not arguing that Duncan isn’t close to a 40% shooter overall, regardless of competition in any gym anywhere over the course of his career. I’m arguing 1) he isn’t that shooter this year yet and 2) in his current role of 30 minutes per game at the 4, he is unlikely to snap out of his “slump” against Big Ten level opponents


Last year he shot 43.3% against Tier A and B teams and 40.7% in all other games.

In 2016 he shot 40.8% against Tier A and B teams and 51.1% against all other teams.

Probably safe to say there’s no statistical correlation.


Thanks for those, can you give us the Tier A-B and below numbers for this year so far also just for reference?


Yes, (going to lunch soon so this’ll be my last post for now)

Tier A+B: 21.9%
Others: 45.2%

I just don’t think this tells us much besides the fact that shooting is very volatile at low sample sizes.


There is a difference between coming off the bench as a 3, with your main role being to juice up the offense shooting triples, and starting at the 4, playing more minutes and having more responsibility, including guarding and having to play offense against opposing 4s. Just ask Zak Irvin. It is not cherry picking to regard this year as a different performance environment for Robinson, with new factors affecting his shooting percentage.


Is that not what I said? @Inmycourt


It’s an interesting stat, but how well does it correlate with actual success, i.e. winning percentage, wins against top 50 teams, etc?


JB is looking for a replacement for DJ Wilson and he knows that Duncan is miscast in that role. Livers is the ideal player to replace DJ but is a freshman and needed time to marinate. Hopefully he continues to take a step forward to at least garner more important minutes.

Last year when DJ went out and Duncan came in JB could hide Duncan by playing Zak Irvin against the other teams 4 or the most dangerous of the 3/4. Mich will be a better team if Livers can take significant minutes from Duncan because as of right now our post defense is pretty bad with the starters and when you have that you need to have better rebounding to cover any missed shots. The team athleticism in the front court i see as a weakness.

Also, I think Duncan’s play and shooting would be better coming off the bench in the long run.


This is an important thing to note. And that Matthews has proven that he just isn’t big enough to play that role in way that some (myself included) thought he might be able to.


Here’s what I’d like to know about Duncan - has he always had such a dramatic difference between his 3 point shots that come off the dribble/on the run coming off a pick and his 3 point jumpers that are catch and shoot? Obviously, the latter will be higher for pretty much every shooter - it’s an easier shot. But right now, Duncan’s catch and shoot 3’s seem like great shots (he’s probably considerably better than most at those shots) and his off dribble/on the move 3’s seem like shots that aren’t good at all (he seems worse than most any good shooter at those this year).

I may be wrong about the dichotomy this year, but I doubt it. If I’m right, has the difference been so drastic in past years? Right now, it seems like he just about shouldn’t take any 3’s except catch and shoot 3’s. I do remember some individual plays in the past that were at least shot fake and then nothing but net, but I wonder what the overall numbers were. Because with the guy I’m watching this year so far - his 3 point shot on catch and shoot is so beautiful that it’s distracting from how imperfect his 3 point shot is when he’s on the move.