The Point Guard Spot


I think Michigan is better defensively than it’s been in a while. But using Teske & Livers as examples doesn’t hold a ton of weight moving forward. A healthy Wagner probably means Teske returns to 7-10min/game moving forward. Livers also seems to be on the short end of rotation minutes. Yes, they both bring better defense, but are they going to be on the court enough to majorly impact team defense for the game?

IMO, Simpson (who has been seeing the larger share of PG minutes), MAAR, Matthews are the keys to defense. Robinson is also improved on defense (he’s still below average, but that’s better than where he was last year).

There is also a nuanced difference between being an improved defensive team and being an elite defensive team.

All-in-all, I think this is a better defensive team than last year. I think this is a team that competes better on the boards than it did last year. I don’t think this is as good a 3pt shooting team as last year, but I think it is a better 3pt shooting team than it’s been so far this year. But Michigan counters some of that by being a better finishing team around the rim. This isn’t a great FT shooting team (Matthews is both a poor FT shooter and a high volume FT shooter, but that’s blunted a little by Robinson & MAAR being good FT shooters and Wagner being a descent FT shooter for a Center).

Overall, I think this year’s team isn’t too far off from last year’s team, but overall I think this year’s B1G is a step back from last year’s B1G…so 11-7, maybe 12-6 with a few bounces the right direction.


Zavier Simpson completely won the spot tonight and I really hope he is rewarded with the lion’s share of the minutes and starting and finishing games for the extended future.

I don’t feel that the offense flows better with Brooks anymore. I’m not sure how many minutes he played (it wasn’t many in the 2nd half) but we came out with 5 turnovers in the first 8 possessions to start the game. Something has clicked with Z and it feels like the game has slowed down for him in the half court. Add that to his consistency from three (knock on wood) plus his instincts defensively and quick hands and we’ve got the answer at PG.


Brooks is vulnerable until he proves he can make an open shot. The jury is still out on that. He’s the worst 3 point shooter on the team right now.


Yup and if he’s not making them, I don’t know what else he brings (yet). The only stat he registered on the floor tonight was one turnover.

I’m just really really impressed with Simpson over the last month. I think when he was benched earlier this year it was 100% the right move at the time, but I think he’s earned the job back and hope he is rewarded


Different player when he’s aggressive. Makes us a more complete team.


Z was awesome.


A month ago I was worrying he might just not ever prove out. Tonight I’m marveling that he must have some of the quickest hands in the college game.


The zip on his passes is unreal.


I noticed the same thing, he isn’t lackadaisical with any passes.

His assist rate is up to 26%. Walton’s was 27% last year.


We fans keep giving up on players, thinking that they are a finished project, then Beilein gets them to up their game.



I feel like the game speed helped Z out a bit. His shooting is definitely better. Wonder what’s going on with Eli’s shot.


Mostly, Eli isn’t taking any shots. That’s not all on him, btw.


I haven’t read or seen much talk of this, but Eli really has stopped looking for his shot altogether. I love that he plays with a relative calmness…reminds me of a young MAAR in a way…but the “problem” with X early was he became a swinging door on offense, and now I feel Eli has developed this. I wonder where he is mentally, just with not seeing the ball go in, etc.

*edit - Just wanted to clarify that as good as X is playing, Eli is still going to need to hit some big shots for this team to succeed. That’s why I wonder where his head is at overall. He’s had a heck of a 2 year stretch from relative unknown to starting for UM as a frosh…if/when he loses that spot to Simpson, I hope (and expect) that he will push through and realize just how important a role he plays.


I think one issue is that he’s simply not good at anything in particular yet. Not that he’s bad, just not really above average. He’s pretty small and doesn’t have much overall athleticism (While I do remember some very nice hops from high school, he isn’t showing that at this level) so he’d have to make up for that with skill, but those are still very much in development (especially ball handling). I think we’ll see a big jump from him after this year, but not much improvement throughout the rest of the season. I’d love to be wrong there though.


If Brooks keeps struggling over the next 2-3 games, I would consider sitting him for a week/2games & let him focus on practice habits. Sort of a mental “reboot” before re-inserting him back in the rotation.

Plus it would give the coaches a chance to see if Simmons can handle 8-12 min a night for a pair of games.


Not the best part of the schedule to be experimenting, especially when we are winning.


Eli is shooting 32% from three over the last 10 games. He was shooting 38% over 7 games and then went 0-4 in the last 3. Not that this is blistering the nets or anything, but it’s fine for a backup PG considering Simmons hasn’t shown anything all year. He also makes the offense flow better than Simmons. Starting the year 2-11 drags his overall numbers down. Longterm he’ll have to shoot better to be effective.


X or Z Article…


Did not know that the change was because of a B1G decision. That means he could still prefer X.

And if this rule was a couple years older we would not have been able to list Spike as Spike.