Michigan left with few answers after Penn State loss

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After this game, I couldn’t help but think how much of this season reminds me of the first half of the 2016-2017 season. That team went to NYC and totally dominated Marquette and SMU, and I was feeling good about things. Got killed at South Carolina, but whatever. Then VT came to Ann Arbor, and flat out stole one. Which is kind of how I felt about the Oregon game this season.

Last nights game reminded me so much of the Ohio St. game in Ann Arbor in 2016-2017. It was a pretty bad Ohio St. team that year. The arena was dead, the broadcast was dead, and the players were dead. No life and no sense of urgency. I was thinking after that game that the team was quitting on the season, but it seemed that particular game was the wake up call.

I can only hope that something like that is happening here.


That’s a great comparison, down to the senior point guard who will be the one dictating whether the team continues down that path or alters its trajectory. I do think Livers coming back will help address many of the team’s shortcomings, but the general lack of confidence being talked about by the team is a little concerning.

I think this is a telling quote, given who said it:
“I think we’re just shooting shots,” Brandon Johns said. “Not being confident in them.”

The team just doesn’t have talent. Franz is a fringe player. Teske is a fringe player. DDJ the same.

Simpson is completely underwhelming. Johns is the least fluid player I’ve ever seen dribble.

Livers is amazing. Hopefully he is fully healed soon, because without him we have a 0% chance of making the tourney. Hopefully he comes back for his senior season… although given UM hoops players history of bolting if they see their name in the 2nd round of some obscure mock, I’m not holding my breath.

To me, that’s pretty clear when watching. I said this in the open thread after the game:

“It’s not a talent issue or coaching issue, the confidence is just shot. Unfortunately, as much as Zavier wants to, he can’t go full Walton Senior mode, he’s not that type of player. Livers being back helps Zavier, helps Johns come off bench, helps take a burden off Teske/Wagner/Eli, it’s a trickle down effect.”

Anybody questioning the coaching or talent is just off-base IMO. The team we saw in the Bahamas was NOT a mirage. That’s what this team looks like when they’re at full strength, have defined roles they excel at, and most importantly play with confidence. Hopefully Livers provides that spark again. Until he’s back, it’s up to Zavier and Teske to be Senior leaders and rally the troops.


I do think talent is an issue… davis being your 7th man is a talent deficit

bajema too skinny, nunez multitude of issues and castleton who knows

agree generally with your premise tho

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Having played on a team before that started off really well, had midseason personnel changes (injuries/suspensions) and then struggled. Yeah once you lose some games you can easily lose confidence without being mentally weak.

Or maybe they just aren’t alphas like you.


With Livers back, DDJ and/or Johns would luckily be the 7th man. Johns is great in that role off the bench.

Castleton is the one player who I’m not sure can get back to his Bahamas play right now. Hope so but obviously hasn’t shown that the past two months.

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honestly if we had beilein… im not sure this team is in that different of a spot record wise

maybe we have jalen wilson (assuming no foot injury) and he might be a rotation piece, but we’d still have no one else (besides x) consistently creating their own shot

DDJ does it sometimes, BJ does it 1-2 times a game (50-50 on if it ends up being a quality look) and brooks can do it cutting to the basket. teske has lost confidence, isnt looking to post and make plays often

very few can actually create with the ball in their hands besides X, so he feels compelled to make plays


[quote=“poppinfresh, post:11, topic:7775, full:true”]…but we’d still have no one else consistently creating their own shot

I remember one possession last night that illustrates that perfectly. The ball was being swung on the perimeter with good pace, with Eli, Franz, and Johns all getting touches. PSU closed out on each touch, and there appeared to be zero thought by any player of putting the ball on the floor and driving. It just isn’t what those guys do. We all know that it’s a limitation of our team, but that possession really jumped out at me. We are a jump shooting team that couldn’t knock down a jump shot last night, whether it was due to confidence or other factors.

Honestly, the offence has performed well overall, given its significant limitation.


Offensively, I think we are getting decent looks. I just don’t think we will win if we don’t make our shots.

Defensively I think it is difficult because we have 2 petite guards playing together most of the time. Bigger and stronger guards seem to outmuscle them.

I am impressed with Johns. He is on track to be one of our better players with his size, athleticism and skill. He might not be ready to play such a huge role but this is a great experience for him.

I hope we make the tournament!


Obviously change in any business or organization is disruptive to the culture. Probably way to much thinking vs. reacting and just playing. If you’ve ever been through an acquisition or merger you can expect a few rough times and lack of understanding. Juwan has a great opportunity to learn and lead these guys through this bump. IMO this is where we’ll see if he can coach and lead. Remember this is his first head coaching job, not easy to follow JB, but he has the talent to win in the B1G. They need a kick in the ass and its time to move forward.

Go Blue!

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Second or third person I’ve seen say that today, what impressed you about Johns’ performance last night?


I was impressed with how lost he seems on offense. I can’t quite recall someone who rarely seems to be in the right place and has to be directed around the court by other players. He caused some major spacing issues.

Him joining Eli in the corner was a fun moment.


Johns love is unfounded IMO. Occasionally he will put in a solid stretch on the glass. But that’s it. He routinely gets lost on defense, and hasn’t at any point shown even a flash of being a serviceable offensive weapon.

No touch. No handles. Poor basketball IQ. There’s a reason MSU let this guy out of their backyard.

To me, his defense and his aggressiveness were impressive. He did reasonably well on Lamar Stevens, despite Stevens hitting some tough shots. I think he can be a tough matchup when he is on offense if he can start hitting his shots, which obviously is a big if. If you put a more traditional big on him he should be able to get open shots and if you put a smaller forward on him he can out muscle them.

He obviously has a ton of development in front of him to reach his potential, but I can see him getting there. I think he is already our best rebounder instinctively. I think Livers coming back and him not having to play so many minutes will help him to gain confidence.

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John’s development has definitely been a disappointment, but that’s not really how it went down…



Lol, what? Look things don’t look good right now , I’m frustrated too but teske is a fringe player? Is Michigan competing in the euro league suddenly? Also Franz is a Frosh. A very nice frosh. Let’s not get crazy here.

Talent level appears not to be what we have hoped or saw early but I wouldn’t call those guys fringe players.


I also think it’s much more than talent. I agree with the mental weakness right now and I think Howard has shown some weaknesses lately as a rookie coach. I do think the three you named though are three of the guys who actually do have the talent to step up and have a lot of potential.

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