The Point Guard Spot


Saying that our FT shooting “hasn’t been great” is a ridiculous understatement. We’re next to last in the Big Ten at 62.5%. For perspective, the league leader is at 76.5%, and we were above 80% in NC play last year. As far as 3pt shooting, you can trot out any variation of “regression to the mean” or “the shots will start falling” that you want, but that’s no guarantee of if or when it will actually happen. Robinson is playing a very different role this year, and we don’t know what the “mean” for that is. Zak Irvin’s three point shooting declined significantly as he went from a backup whose main job was to shoot 3s to a starter at the 3 or 4 who was expected to rebound, play defense and guard bigger, more physical opponents.

And when you run down the stats for Big Ten teams, what exactly are our “strengths”?

We’ve been very good at avoiding turnovers, but other than that, we’re no better than middle of the pack on just about everything else, including FG defense. When we start going head-to-head with these teams, where are we going to gain a winning advantage?


The fact that we are number 1 in turnover margin and number 1 in assist to turnover margin is huge. Number 2 in defensive rebounding percentage is promising as well.

I just don’t think this is a typical JB team. We have unusual strengths for a JB team. I don’t remember us stealing the ball like we are doing now in past teams. I feel like we rebound better overall too but not sure. Definitely a better team on defense!

Are you having fun watching this group of players? They have room for improvement but I find this group a joy to watch.

Going to get a lot better too!


I’m still siding with Beilein on this. Need to see it before I believe it. The two teams that Michigan has faced with an offensive pulse ripped them apart. Need to see this team defend well against good offenses. Might be something there, but I wouldn’t go crazy with it yet. Will be very interesting over the next few weeks.


Do big ten offenses qualify as “good” offenses this year? At the very least, there will be less than usual

There’s 5 big ten teams in kenpoms top 50 offenses and two of them are Maryland and Northwestern who just got killed with injuries


Maybe not. We’ll see.

Michigan has held Texas, Indiana, UCLA and VCU below a point per possession. There’s one top-50 offense in that group (UCLA at 43)


Why is that “huge”? And being 2nd in defensive rebounding percentage is more than balanced by being dead last in offensive rebounding percentage.

If turnover margin is the only “strength” you can cite, that’s not particularly unusual for a Beilein team…it’s fairly typical, in fact. And rebounding has never been a strength of Beilein’s teams, even his best ones, so that’s not too big a concern, either. The problem is that FT shooting and 3 point shooting, which traditionally HAVE been major strengths of Beilein teams, are not this year. Not only are we shooting free throws badly, we’re not drawing many fouls, even against weak defenses. We’ve attempted by far the fewest free throws of any BT team so far, and only Wisconsin is even close to us. That’s another area that Beilein’s best teams have relied upon for an advantage.


I am having a good time watching this group of players so there is not a huge incentive for me to try to convince you that you shouldn’t be worried. But a quick look at our turnover margin compared to last year and it looks like our margin is even better than last year. Like most JB teams we are good at not turning the ball over but we are significantly better this year at stealing the ball than we were last year and that is significant. I would also add, because I am looking at this team as sort of a rebuilding year that it is pretty cool that the young guards are meeting the JB standard of having a good assist/ turnover ratio…better than last year I think. We are rebounding the ball defensively better compared to last year as well. I think JB thinks offensive rebounds are overrated so I am not too worried about the lack of offensive rebounds to tell you the truth…

Although, I don’t have the time or energy to look into the stats— I am definitely open to reading more from you (or others) about the areas where we compare to past JB teams. So yeah, we are not shooting well, but my feeling is we are improved in other areas…


…Just looked real quick. It is wise to be skeptical because I am comparing this season to the entire last season, which included the conference teams, but our rebounding percentage, although not great, is better for both OR and DR…

Generally speaking, the big ten just doesn’t seem very good this year. Every time I watch a big team play I think “wow, they stink” or “wow, this team is not that great”. We might be pretty average team and do alright…Hard to say.


First rule of thumb: analyze offensive and defensive rebounding completely separately. Same with turnover margin-- should look at offensive turnover rate and defensive turnover rate.

Michigan isn’t trying to put up big offensive rebounding numbers, but every team needs to defensive rebound.


@umhoops Do any of your stat sources have team transition defense (ppp and/or number of opportunities)? If our offensive rebound rate is going to be used as criticism by some I think the other side of why we do that should be explored as well.


Except that offensive and defensive rebounding are not completely separate. Every rebound is either an offensive rebound for one team or a defensive rebound for the other. And every rebound (and every turnover), whether on the offensive or defensive end, is about either having possession and shot opportunity, or not.


This isn’t a mystery. Beilein has never had his teams hitting the offensive glass hard, and we give up fewer easy transition baskets as a result. Even his best teams have not been particularly good at rebounding, but that’s just his style. And if that were all this was, as I said, it wouldn’t be much of a concern. Beilein has shown consistently that his teams can be successful despite below average rebounding. That’s not remotely in dispute. The problem is, as I’ve said over and over, that we are weak in the areas where Beilein’s teams have traditionally needed to do well in to be successful, and we have not made up for it sufficiently in other areas.


UM has 90 more shots than its opponents.
UM has 161 more 3-point shots than its opponents.
28% of UM’s shots have been 2 point jumpers (as opposed to 3 pt shots or shots at rim).
46% of UM’s opponents shots have been 2 point jumpers.
19% of UM’s defensive rebounds lead to transitions shots.
13% of UM’s opponents defensive rebounds lead to transition shots.

Of course, we’ll have to see how these numbers hold up in conference play. We have done well in these metrics against UCLA, Texas, etc.

Oh, happy new year!


The condensecending know it all tone could use improvement


You do want to look at offensive rate and defensive rate seperately. For example, every time Michigan steals the ball from its opponent we are also “stealing an opportunity” for Michigan to get a defensive rebound. Every time, Michigan fails to turn the ball over and our possession ends in a shot we are potentially “giving an opportunity” to our opponent to grab a rebound. Michigan’s tendency to not foul our opponent also has a negative effect on our rebounding margin (rate too). Rebounding rate is a more reliable indicator than rebounding margin for various reasons.

It is cool that you are making the claims you are making but it would be nice if you tried to back it up with stats. If you don’t think this team is improved in areas that are traditionally JB team’s weaknesses then try to back it up with statistics.


I linked to the site with team stats for everyone in the Big Ten, and made the (accurate) claim that we are no better than middle of the pack in almost every category listed. I challenged you to show otherwise, and you only came up with turnover margin, and its derivative stat, assist to turnover ratio. That is an area where Beilein teams have traditionally done well.

If you think that this team IS improved in areas that are traditionally weaknesses for Beilein teams, the burden is on you to provide the stats. Has our defense against weak offenses improved? It seems so. But as Dylan pointed out, we have yet to show it against teams with real offensive strength.


I’ve kept the discussion about basketball. If you disagree or think I’m wrong, fine. Give your reasons and back them up. That’s part of the discussion. Nowhere have I resorted to personal attacks, insults or disparagement. You’re the one doing that. You can continue in that vein or keep things civil and non-personal. Your choice.


Improved at rebounding,getting steals, not turning the ball over and getting assists? Not exactly sure but seems true…

I am sincerely interested in any stats you can provide that show where this team is relative to other JB teams. We all know we have not shot the ball well…I am not terribly invested in proving you wrong or right. I just don’t feel any incentive to spend much time doing a comparitive analysis because I like what my eyes are seeing and improved defense is hard to quantify statistically. And any time I peek at the stats it seems to confirm what my eyes are telling me…

Not sure what you want from me but I feel comfortable with this teams chances to get 11 big ten wins and to make the tournament…Even if I thought our chances were bad to get 11 wins and/or make the tournament I would feel ok about it because I see this as sort of rebuilding year.

I enjoy watching this group play even with their flaws. Sorry.


I don’t have stats but have watched enough games this year, and over the course of Coach Beilein’s tenure To know this is his best defensive team. For instance a lineup of Teske, Livers, Matthews, MAAR, and Simpson can really get after teams, with Teske as an intimidating presence down low with his mobility and length. This team like no other Michigan team in years has the ability to clampdown. Next season will only get better with the attrition of Robinson and the likely bon voyagè of Wagner.

Teske’s length is undeniable and his agility is very good for a 7’1” man
Simpson’s hands, aggressiveness, and quickness are readily apparent
Matthews athleticism is elite.

I don’t deny they’ve played some horrible teams recently but they pass my eye test


The eye test is also where i am. I see some of the best help defense I have seen from a JB team. Statistics are great and can show trends and help predict. This team shows fight and no quit. We know big ten road games are tough but I will be disappointed if the team does not finish in the top five. The next game against Iowa will help provide more growth for the youngins. If we can pass that test the team will be on its way to accomplishing at least that.