What we learned: Reflecting on Michigan's 2018-19 season


This is a great summary of the year and today.

Your very last paragraph stands out to me. Aside from that “elite 1-5 duo” and probably Livers, our incoming freshman are the two other guys that you can count on being on campus next year. It will be a fun and interesting offseason

DB, great read as always.

In adding to your mention of transition, this team struggled with converting 2 point fast breaks. Livers missed many one handed dunks (@Indiana comes to mind), Livers also had poor ball handling on breaks, at times Teske could not finish when moving fast in transition (missed layup at home against MSU was a turning point) and for some reason the team was slow in executing fast breaks and running its lanes.

This was a really good squad, but if all the players had one-half an extra skill in their tool boxes (Simpson, a jump shot; Poole, consistency and better vision; Ignas, passing and minimizing missed layups; Teske, a basic post-up game and consistent finishing; Matthews, a consistent jumper, better passing vision; Livers, ability to drive; Brooks, confidence) simultaneously, it probably could have won all 3 banners contested, or at least one of them.

30 wins is stellar nonetheless, and no player or coach is perfect. Interested to see how Coach B’s future strategy in defending ball screen teams like MSU, and to see how he attempts to modify the offense further.


They lost exactly one game to an NCAA Tournament team and finished 30-7.

I think you meant to say that they lost exactly one game to a non-NCAA Tournament team (PSU), yes?


Whoops, correct.

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Really good recap of a great season!

Assistant coaches come and go, but don’t define the program - that’s generally true, but I think that Yaklich defines the defensive side of the program just as Beilein defines the offensive side. So, I would hope that Beilein finds a way to keep Yaklich from leaving for another program, because who will replace him? (get whoever Texas Tech has!)

That’s the same kind of thing people thought when Donlon left though and no one had heard of Luke Yaklich. I think that some degree of assistant coaching turnover is natural and healthy. Yaklich has been fantastic on the defensive end but he 100% deserves a head coaching opportunity and as his boss I don’t think Beilein should look to hold him back from that and “keep him” at Michigan if there’s an opportunity to be a head coach. Just like Dan Muller pushed him on Beilein because it was best for his career. Sign of a good leader.


Wow, by putting things into perspective with this article, it’s like a salve on an open wound. Thanks for putting this out there Dylan. The fan base really needed it!

Awesome site this year, and LOVED the podcasts, although I’m starting to suspect Brendan is an MSU fan :slight_smile: But thanks for all your work. Don’t know what I’d do without UM Hoops!


Brendan isn’t a Michigan or Michigan State fan, he’s a St. Joe’s fan.

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Haha, that’s good to know, thanks!


is exactly how I will remember this team. Well put.

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Regardless of how the roster shakes out, the pieces are there for Michigan to be very good once again in 2019-20.

The wording of this sentence has me confused. How do we know if the pieces are there or not when (1) Matthews is leaving (2) Poole and Iggy are likely testing the NBA waters so one or both could be gone and (3) the bench didn’t see much playing time so there could likely be transfers.

If all of those things happen, I’m not so sure the pieces are there. If only Charles departs (which would not surprise me), then yeah, we are loaded.

I think that the Simpson/Teske duo is good enough to be a strong foundation even if Iggy/Poole leave and especially if only one leaves.


I think Isaiah Livers is a huge returning piece in a doomsday scenario where Iggy/Poole/CM all leave too. He’s about as close to a returning starter as you can get without actually being a starter this season. There’s really only two major spots to fill if that happens and I think that’s manageable between Wilson, Bajema, Johns, Brooks, DeJulius, or a grad transfer


I thought it was a really excellent year (and an excellent article, but that goes without saying). My 2 takeaways:

  1. Sometimes the other team is just better. TTU and MSU are, to me, pretty clearly the best 2 teams in the country this year (maybe add Gonzaga). Certainly not near-all-time great teams like Nova last year, but a significant step over anyone else I’ve seen (Duke, UVA, UNC, Tennessee, etc.). Last year, we got lucky with our tourney draw, and this year it was unfortunately the exact opposite. If we’re in the South or Midwest, or if you switch us and MSU (ironically, given the hand-wringing when everyone saw MSU’s draw), I’m guessing we’re still playing. Similarly (and while we’ll never know), I would guess that last year’s UM would have had a really hard time with this year’s TTU too (and maybe last year’s TTU, who remember gave Nova their toughest game of tourney).

  2. It’s really, really hard to win in basketball (pro or college) against good defense without a go-to guy on offense. When nothing was working and we desperately needed a bucket, we had nowhere to go except to continue to try to work the offense. In cases like that, Winston just completely takes over for MSU - we saw it in all 3 games against us and yesterday against Duke. Last year, we had Mo, and before that, Walton, Stauskas and Trey. We crap on Carsen Edwards a lot here, but PU has a plan when nothing else is working. There’s a theory in chess that any plan, even a bad one, is better than no plan. We had no plan against TTU or, in key stretches, MSU, and it cost us.


The lack of transition offense was noteworthy, regardless of the 3pt shooting. I remember so many instances where the offense would just fizzle and run out of ideas. Not sure if it was guys not running the lane correctly or what.

Thanks Dylan, great job this year and thanks to the entire UMHOOPS team! What a fantastic job with the content this season.

As I watched the games this week it was apparent we have to out score teams to win. DUH!! Defense helps but can’t overcome hot shooters, especially from three point range. I’ll be very interested to see who evolves in the rotation next year. I think Jordan is the guy but was hesitant to just let it fly because he’s such a great play maker.
IMO the team needs to replace the guy in the corner and one who lags in transition. SImilar to Nik and DR. The ball seemed to stick so much more this year and I’m not sure why. I think having so many slashers on the team hurt the three ball and was a tough match, especially for the TT clog in the middle. I thought Nunez/DD would evolve but obviously didn’t. I’m not a big Edwards fan but that was fun, reminded me of Spike when he went off in the finals. GO BLUE!!

Good point on grad transfers. Michigan might, probably would, still be playing had they landed Mooney from Texas Tech. He and X have some of the best hands in college basketball.

Excellent point as well on transition 3’s. I had no idea the scope and depth of the regression.

Watching other teams, Auburn in particular, MSU, and others get to the rim in transition is another aspect M didn’t exploit much at all, if my memory serves me. X likes to pull up at 3 point arc and rarely gets to the rim. Poole seemed to be the guy to get coast to coast, but it was limited.

Poole and Iggy should test the draft process. They need to hear about the areas they need to improve and THEN return to Michigan and develop.
Teske is only going to get better and I think with his ability to shoot and his size, he could get a look from a NBA team, maybe a 2 way contract like Duncan.
I don’t see the freshman class as is horrible as the article makes them sound. Johns and Castleton were fairly solid in the minutes they played. As freshman, Beilein is only going to put them in situations where he trust them or really needs them.

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As usual a great article. I look for Davis to transfer. Testing my new Samsung.:slightly_smiling_face:

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