FanPost

Quick Thoughts on Michigan's Exhibition Against Wayne St.

Since we're all smarting over the loss to Iowa, I'll try to keep this summary of a painful 47-39 win over Wayne State rather brief.

  • Yes, the game was as ugly as it sounded. Michigan shot less than 40% from the field, shot just over 20% from the three point line, went 4-for-12 at the free throw line, had more turnovers than assists, saw only four players score, and didn't top fifty points against Wayne State. These things all could -- and should -- be remedied fairly easily, but this game was just absolutely brutal to watch. WSU did a great job of slowing down the pace and preventing Michigan from getting out in transition, but still, the Wolverines should have ran away with an easy win. At least they didn't lose like Arizona and West Virginia did.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr and Zack Novak will probably have to carry this team, not that there's anything wrong with that. Tim was the leading scorer with 20 points (on 17 shots, so it wasn't like he was very efficient), but he also rebounded the ball very well (with 9 boards) and seemed much more comfortable running the offense. An inefficient game from Hardaway isn't exactly what Michigan wanted to see, but seeing him in a leadership role on the court was a good thing. Novak was less than stellar from behind the arc, but connected on all four of his two point attempts. He was more aggressive on offense, and while his three point shooting was weak (25%), he still put in 14 points. For the record, his shooting looked great in the open practice I attended, so this was probably an aberration.
  • Trey Burke will probably start sooner rather than later. Stu Douglass started the exhibition, but Burke played pretty well with 7 points and 4 assists. He can create shots for himself and others much better than Stu can, and while he only knocked down one three ball, he showed a pretty solid ability to score in other ways as well. Douglass struggled and went 0-4 from the field. I'd be pretty surprised if Trey didn't start -- or see starter-level minutes -- before the Wolverines go to Maui, but I see why Beilein might be hesitant to start a true freshman over a senior who's contributed every year since he's been here.
  • Jon Horford did start over Jordan Morgan, and I'm wondering if this will become a permanent thing. Horford was perfect from the field, scored six points, and grabbed six rebounds, but missed all five free throw attempts. He's much better than he was last year, but I'm not sure if he's better than Morgan at this point. Morgan didn't do too well against Wayne State; Evan Smotrycz -- who saw some time at the five as well as the four -- did even worse, going 0-5 from the field. Michigan will need much more production from its big men.
  • The rotation appears to be Burke, Douglass, Novak, Hardaway, Matt Vogrich, Smotrycz, Horford, and Morgan. All eight of those players played at least ten minutes against WSU, and the only other player to see the court was Carlton Brundidge (with two minutes). I'd expect to see Brundidge a little bit more over the course of the season, but the coaches seem to be the most comfortable with the eight listed above.
This was only an exhibition game, so there's no reason to panic yet, but hopefully the team will play a bit better in the season opener against Ferris State on Friday.

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