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But Ekpe, We're Building a New Facility (Eventually)

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Surprising no one, Ekpe Udoh has decided to transfer from Michigan to an as yet unnamed university to finish his college career. Sadly, Udoh's decision to transfer comes on the heels of Bill Martin's announcement that Michigan (finally) has sufficient money to build the desperately needed practice facility every basketball coach since the 60's has been promised.

 

As you can imagine, the news of Udoh's departure does not make me happy. On a team that features more bricklayers than the Civil Engineering Corps, Udoh was one of the few consistent performers. He was also Michigan's only defensive presence in the paint. Michigan is now left with Zach Gibson as Michigan's starting center, red-shirt freshman Erik Puls (6' 10") and incoming 7-foot freshman Ben Cronin. All three young men collectively weigh 57 pounds and are as comfortable playing in the paint as they are on a roadtrip taken in a clown car. Nothing like a seven foot tall center playing wing. Enjoy.

 


Pts Reb Ast
2007 - Zack Gibson 5.4 2.8 0.3

Your new starting center.

 

I'm kind of at a loss what to make of the team for next year. Sims and Harris will play possibly every minute of every game, barring foul trouble. Kelvin Grady, though he got better as the year went on, never shot enough and never showed the ability to defend anyone. CJ Lee didn't show he was capable of doing much more than Grady in extensive minutes last year. Laval Lucas-Perry comes in and may immediately take over one of the starting guard spots despite doing nothing at Arizona, and being only 6'1". Anthony Wright  should've been better than he was down low, given his size, but spent his entire time launching off balance threes. The incoming class may add depth, but Zack Novak is going to have to be substantially better than advertised to be a contributor, and I'm not sure what to make of Stuart Douglass other than the fact he likes shooting threes.

 

If the new guys can hit some jumpers the team will be substantially better. If they can play some defense, it would help to. Take a look at the stats, cringe, cry, repeat.

FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGES
## Team G FG FGA Pct
---------------------------------------------
1.Michigan State...... 36 949 1976 .480
2.Ohio State.......... 37 951 2052 .463
3.Indiana............. 33 839 1814 .463
4.Wisconsin........... 36 841 1872 .449
5.Northwestern........ 30 681 1541 .442
6.Minnesota........... 34 817 1872 .436
7.Illinois............ 35 809 1860 .435
8.Purdue.............. 34 806 1900 .424
9.Iowa................ 32 616 1455 .423
10.Penn State.......... 31 723 1731 .418
11.Michigan............ 32 709 1796 .395


FIELD GOAL PCT DEFENSE
## Team G FG FGA Pct
---------------------------------------------
1.Wisconsin........... 36 719 1879 .383
2.Ohio State.......... 37 846 2175 .389
3.Illinois............ 35 720 1806 .399
4.Michigan State...... 36 793 1973 .402
5.Iowa................ 32 661 1635 .404
6.Indiana............. 33 774 1879 .412
7.Minnesota........... 34 724 1714 .422
8.Purdue.............. 34 730 1675 .436
9.Michigan............ 32 796 1776 .448
10.Penn State.......... 31 746 1664 .448
11.Northwestern........ 30 698 1444 .483

3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGES
## Team G FG FGA Pct
---------------------------------------------
1.Purdue.............. 34 253 679 .373
2.Michigan State...... 36 179 483 .371
3.Minnesota........... 34 245 667 .367
4.Northwestern........ 30 246 671 .367
5.Wisconsin........... 36 212 596 .356
6.Indiana............. 33 221 633 .349
7.Iowa................ 32 222 640 .347
8.Penn State.......... 31 227 668 .340
9.Ohio State.......... 37 252 748 .337
10.Illinois............ 35 196 614 .319
11.Michigan............ 32 228 731 .312


3-POINT FIELD GOAL PCT DEFENSE
## Team G FG FGA Pct
---------------------------------------------
1.Michigan State...... 36 228 734 .311
2.Wisconsin........... 36 194 620 .313
3.Ohio State.......... 37 281 879 .320
4.Iowa................ 32 196 591 .332
5.Illinois............ 35 215 641 .335
6.Minnesota........... 34 215 640 .336
7.Indiana............. 33 229 671 .341
8.Purdue.............. 34 184 528 .348
9.Penn State.......... 31 235 659 .357
10.Michigan............ 32 237 623 .380
11.Northwestern........ 30 248 632 .392

 

Is any of this going to improve? I can't say. My gut says "no way," but I could be wrong. Udoh's transfer, while it pisses me off because he was my favorite player, doesn't hurt Michigan too badly. Even though he was blocking shots left and right, he was too lean to defend anyone in the post and got pushed around a lot. His blocks were nice, but when matched up against a solid big man, he didn't fair too well. While Epke would get some points here and there, he never really developed any interior offensive game. No post moves. Nothing other than an outside jumper he had to learn to see any court time. Udoh was never a factor in the second half of a ball game. Why this is can be argued on many fronts (Harris and Sims hogging the ball, Udoh getting shy, foul trouble, etc...), but he usually disappeared statistically in the second stanza.

 

If the new kids can fill a hole or two scoring wise, Udoh's transfer really doesn't hurt the team that much. It's hard to get too worked up over Udoh's departure when you consider that with him, Michigan was still dead last in FG% defense and 10th conference wide in scoring defense. The defense won't get better, but a few more shots that actually find net will make the transition easier. But based on this year's performance, I'm not getting my hopes up for another year.

 

Next season will probably be more of the same, but at least there's a practice facility on the way.