Another bright spot, albeit a super small sample size, is this very young teams lack of turnovers. Just checked and it looked like we were in the top 12 in least turnovers as well as top 12 in assist/ turnover ratio. That is a promising stat in my opinion. Hopefully, we can continue to not turn the ball over…
The last things to worry about with any Beilein team: turnovers or three-point attempt volume.
I’m interested to see how many threes we take against a man defense. I keep praying this team and beilein adjust our philosophy a bit this year. I really don’t think shooting 30-35 threes a game is in this teams best interest. I’d love to see us work Wagner in the post a lot this year. I think he can be a great go to guy and that touches on the block need to be a huge part of his game. He’s very crafty down low and even on misses he usually gets a great look.
Overall I believe in this teams talent and balance. Going off what everyone is saying they look kinda crappy but I think it’s more about finding a rythym and getting to know eachother more. Between maar, Wagner, mathews, Robinson and even Simmons potentially you have guys who can score.
I keep pushing the idea that we need to fast break whenever possible and use our speed to get easy looks. In the halfcourt pound Wagner downlow and let maar/ Mathews take their guys to the rack. Both can slash and create at the rim. I believe Simmons will become a nice offensive weapon to when he settles in.
This team needs to accept the fact it isn’t a traditional Michigan roster and adjust. They also need to realize they need to use the balanced attack to put up points. All those guys need to look to score along with Simpson and livers. If we try and chuck threes like past rosters I think we are in trouble.
Just watching the game now, and after being supremely skeptical of Z for almost two years I am won over. He is a more precise and careful passer than Walton, and is going to make up for at least some of Walton’s point production with the way he uses his body, despite his size, to get layups. And he really exercises leadership out there. But that set shot. . .
If I am Beilein I fret over Robinson, though. When he isn’t hitting his threes but is fouling everybody, damn.
Delighted with RAAK in this game; hope he can be the anchor this team needs. Definitely looks like it’s him by default in late clock situations.
I agree on the LSU game. We really need to win that game and then another in Maui, either in the semis or the concilaton game because I can see them losing another 3 games in the Non-conference schedule.
This time of the season isn’t so much about beauty points and eye test as it is avoiding bad losses and figuring out team identity. A LOT of high major schools with NCAA Tournament aspirations have looked questionable the past week; it’s more the norm than the exception. Kentucky was unimpressive in 2 wins and lost tonight in a prime time showdown,Vanderbilt got handled easily by Belmont. My guess is both teams end up in the NCAA Bracket when it’s all said and done. USC, Washington, Cal, Stanford have all struggled (or lost) easy games.
Through 2 games Michigan has avoided a bad loss and Beilein & Staff have 80minutes of game film to help them scheme for upcoming opponents. With so many key minutes removed from last year’s roster, that’s all that I hoped to get out of Games 1&2. Realistically, this is a UM team with the upside of a 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA Tourney, but more likely the team struggles early to find itself and produces a resume of a 9 or 10 seed. Nothing I’ve seen in the first two games changes that outlook for me?
Don’t forget, last year the coaches entered the season feeling like they had around 150 of the 200 minutes of game play accounted for with solid minutes (Irvin & Walton around 35mpg each, MAAR around 30mpg, Wagner & Robinson around 25mpg each). With the offense triggered by Irvin or Walton. At the start of the year the puzzle was finding somewhere in the neighborhood of 50mpg from the bench, with the belief that Simpson was ready to challenge for at least 10-12-15mpg, Wilson could slide into at least 12-15mpg, and Teske or Davis would emerge as a reasonable backup at Center.
Season didn’t fully play out that way, but that’s still a lot of comfortable/known variables which gave the coaches the ability to fiddle with the edges.
This year the coaches entered with about 115 of the minutes reasonably accounted for (Wagner, MAAR, Mathews around 30mpg each, Robinson around 25mpg) and 85 minutes to fill among 7 or 8 candidates (Simmons, Simpson, Brooks at guard, Poole & Watson at the “2/3”, Livers at wing, Teske & Davis at backup Center). A lot more depth, a lot more flexibility, a lot more talented upside, but a lot more uncertainty and more time needed to focus on the core rotation/less time to tweak around the edges.
Not saying one situation is “better” than the other, but in times like this season I would expect the team to look a little lost out of the gate until more of the rotational minutes are secured and the coaches start to tweak around the edges.
It’s not just avoiding bad losses. To have a tournament worthy resume, we need at least a couple of quality NC wins. We had that last year, but it’s not obvious where they will come from this year. Without that, 10-8 in the Big Ten may not be enough.
Isn’t that the idea? If its “obvious” where a non conference win will come from then it’s probably not a resume building quality win. They will have ample opportunities with LSU, potentially ND and another team in the Maui tourney, UNC, UCLA and Texas. If they can win two or more they will have some wins. We just need to see how it plays out.
I think you’ve forgotten about Donnal. He and Wagner were expected to get about all of the minutes at center, with the distribution between them a question.
Pet peeve. Walton gets a bad rap on passing and setting up teammates. After he took over running the team he spent at least two year throwing it to several teammates who could not catch a cold (handle simple passes no less anticipate a pass) or finish if somehow they held on to a pass. Senior year was much better once clutter hands were gone or benched.
Now Z is not anywhere near Walton’s level offensively other than transition (he’s better) and although he is better defensively (quicker and uses hands to deflect balls) he is not as strong as Walton. Now I will leave the past alone and focus on now and the future.
Yep, brain fart forgot about Donnal. So actually it was about 170 of the 200 minutes last season and the staff was just looking to fill 30.
Part of the reason I do not feel bad about criticizing Walton is that he figured it out at the end. He was awesome to end his career and I am very happy for him! I don’t buy the story that Walton’s struggles should be attributed to him having a weak supporting cast for several years. Besides, isn’t that just shifting the blame onto other players, who, like Walton are not here anymore? For most of Walton’s college career it was pretty obvious, to many imo, that Walton was surprisingly deficient at seeing open teammates and deficient at seeing plays opening up. I do not know if it was a lack of focus or a lack of aggression but it was frustrating to many people. This frustration for many even occurred into the first half of Walton’s Senior year when, as you rightly pointed out, there was an upgrade in the supporting cast and their abilities to catch passes. …Z has his issues that he will need to overcome, but Z, from the beginning, has shown the potential (and actuality imo) to see the floor better than Walton ever did (if we exclude the last two months of Walton’s career). We even saw flashes of Z’s very good vision last year. I don’t read Mattski as putting Walton down, rather he is just sharing his excitement of a skill that Z can build off of in the future.
I watched a lot of the game on YouTube. I’m not as nervous now. THe talent is definitely there, it’s much more the team not knowing their roles/ feeling eachother out. If they get a handle on blending together and play to their strengths the team will be tourney good for sure.
Yeah, I don’t buy that Walton’s struggles were due to a bad cast. He was struggling well into the start of Big Ten play last year with distributing. I found this gem of mine from the infamous Illinois game:
I’ll love DWalt until the day I die, and was happy to see him confound the haters because I always believed. But I stand by this observation about Z. There is a hugely promising zip and anticipation there that I don’t think we saw from his predecessor.
I would make the counter argument that Michigan really didn’t have any “gold star” non-conference wins last season — lost to the 3 best non-conference opponents. Avoided bad losses and the 2 neutral site wins over Marquette & SMU gave UM a pair of reasonable wins away from home.
The equivalent this season would be beating LSU & splitting the final 2 games in Hawaii plus win the neutral court game at LCA (for 3 wins away from home) and avoiding bad losses. Combine that with a 10-8 B1G record and 1 win in the B1G Tourney and the resume matches up with resumes that made the NCAAs the last few seasons.
I do agree that a win over UCLA or at Texas or at UNC would be a nice bonus for the resume and would take a lot of angst out of B1G Tourney time.
I see your point. And to some degree agree with much of what you say. Ultimately they are two different players. As you describe it Walton was more of a lead guard. But sometimes it take a while to either develop or develop confidence in your teammate also.
Yeah, I thought about what you said too. After thinking about it for awhile,I do think it is possible that a contributing cause for Walton playing (I’m not sure what to call it) “overly cautious”, for a lack of a better term, may have been that he got into the habit of not trusting some of his fellow players. I’m not sure…Like, maybe after throwing multiple failed alley-oops to Doyle, Dawkins and Irvin, he just did not feel confident throwing an alley-oop to Wilson when the opportunity seemed to be there? Not really sure.
Does anybody know if Walton has ever articulated the factors behind his mid-season transformation?
Well, you can win a game that you’re favored in and still have it be a quality win. The point, and the problem, is that we don’t project to be favored in ANY of the NC games against quality opponents. Any such wins will probably have to be by way of upset, and so far, we have looked more likely to BE upset.
Obviously we’re only two games in, and this is all somewhat speculative, but based on what we’ve seen so far, this team may very well come together, but it may not be in the next 2-3 weeks. It’s fine to say that we’ll improve, but so will the teams we’ll be playing, and it’s not a given at this point that we will improve more.