Michigan at Michigan State Discussion Thread


Can Johns play a game before we call him an effective stretch four? :slight_smile: Gotta include Iggy as well if we are including next year’s class.


I know everyone in the world (including me) wants more Livers but after reading that preview, part of me thinks this isn’t the game to unleash him. Seems like just based on scouting report alone, there could be some benefits to putting Duncan on the floor and making Jaren Jackson chase him so he can’t protect the rim. Even if Livers is making them more consistently these days, I have a feeling they won’t be running him off the line like they would Duncan…

That plus the whole in-state kid getting his first career start in a Breslin Center out for blood thing…if I had to bet I’m guessing it’s still Duncan starting Saturday.


True, I would’ve said that about Chatman too and look how that panned out. Also true about Iggy, both him and Johns will probably alternate 3/4 based on match ups.


Jackson will get so many rebounds over Duncan that it’ll be a big concern IMO. Both will obviously play, but it will be interesting to see how they are used.


Yeah, I mentioned earlier that I wouldn’t be surprised or even that dismayed about Robinson starting, although I do think Livers plays 25+ minutes. I’d put money on Livers starting for the game after MSU though.


I don’t think he’s 6’7” but I don’t think it matters either. Majerle may have been 230 lbs as a freshman. He was a big dude with a great post game. Good with either hand


The rebounding will be interesting. MSU has been a great offensive rebounding team, but not so much in conference play. Jackson, for instance, has only one offensive rebound in the last 3 games. UM, meanwhile, is still 1st in the conference in defensive rebounding % and 12th in the country.


Livers is basically in the freshman GR3 role: cutter, corner 3-point shooter, transition scorer. Judging by players who have played that role in Beilein’s offense in the past, the next step in his offense will be playing off of pin downs, curls and the like.


What % of Robinson’s offense come from driving it? That last basket by Livers against Purdue seems like something he never had, although I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.


I’m gonna go on the contrary here, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Livers will bring exponentially more energy, more passion, and more fire than Duncan to this game. In an in-state rivalry game to an in-state kid he has to know how passionate this rivalry is and you know MSU is gonna come out firing. They did not like that 30 point loss in Ann Arbor and they will come out trying to run us out of the gym, we need some passion we need a rah rah guy out there one’s that are gonna bring energy and Isaiah is more that guy than Duncan and I don’t think its close.

Not that Duncan doesn’t know how passionate this rivalry is I just don’t think he’s the guy in this rivalry high intensity game and I think Livers is that guy.


Agree. Get that MSU might look for the chance to intimidate him, but I don’t get the sense that he’d be damaged by the encounter, even if he draws the short end of the stick. And he might just thrive on the encounter, as you suggest.


Assume you are talking about this play:

Basically, attacking a closeout. In this case that’s actually tagged as a PNR Roll Man possession, but it is also similar to what Synergy would call “spot up - drive”. Robinson scored 10 points off spot up drives as a freshman, but he also scored 17 points in isolation. As a sophomore the spot up drive numbers increased and the isolation stuff doubled. Michigan also ran a lot more pick and pop action for Robinson like that as a sophomore as well.

Here’s a GR3 as a freshman example:

Right now Livers’s Synergy profile has 2 points as a roll man (from this play), 2 points posting up, and 0 points in spot up - drive. All of his spot up scoring has been off the no dribble jumper. FWIW, obviously very early.


Thanks, I had very little memory of Robinson driving it, but I guess that could be due to watching whatever Burke and Stauskas were doing out of awe.

And yeah, we’ll definitely have to wait on Livers to see if that’s consistent, that was the first time I remember him even attempting a drive like that.


I didn’t/don’t think of GRIII at all because, from what I’ve seen, Livers will be able to create his own shot in ways GRIII could not. Livers has skills of a 2. GRIII did not. Coach Beilein is not utilizing those skills by Livers, but I believe that they are there


He might, but he definitely hasn’t shown them yet.


Agree 99%, but I will say I’ve noticed Livers pushing the ball up after rebounds a couple times recently (not that this means he has “guard skills” but hey, it’s something). A guy like him developing into a consistent grab and go player on boards would be huge.

edit: And with the talk of transition, Duncan had a couple nice possessions earlier in the Purdue game. I think a lay in on one and free throws on the other.


You very well may be right. And I expect Livers to make the most of his opportunity in whatever form it ends up taking. I think he’s earned the right to be the guy at the 4 the rest of the year.

But this is a pretty daunting first test:

  • in-state rivalry for an in-state kid
  • crazy intense road environment
  • head to head matchup with a consensus top 7 NBA draft pick

Changing roles can obviously have a big mental, emotional impact on kids and while I agree 100% that Livers has earned it and appears ready, it might be a lot to make the headline for this one game be “Isaiah Livers makes his first start”. But with the way he’s been playing lately, if he does start he’ll probably come right out and make two corner threes and make me look silly right away lol.

The good news is Livers is such a good kid and openly said after the Purdue game he could care less about his role and that he just wants to win.


It’s hard to predict whether Livers or anyone else will react better starting or coming off the bench. I’m tempted to think of it more in terms of matchups. Jackson likely won’t play more than 25 minutes. Let’s say Livers plays the same amount. Do we want to maximize the minutes they match up and leave Duncan to play McQuaid or Goins?


Yes. Watching Livers play D against Purdue and watching Robinson was striking. Robinson just cannot match up with Jackson or Bridges. I think starting Livers makes both Livers and Robinson more effective.


I do agree that maybe this isn’t the game to change up the starting rotation and give Isaiah a new role to deal with, but I would give Livers more minutes in this one than Duncan by a decent margin. I do also agree with you that maybe this game the moment could possibly be too big for Isaiah but let’s both hope that that’s not the case :slight_smile: