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No. 24 Michigan 77, Bucknell 53: The Max Bielfeldt Show

After a shaky start on Saturday, Michigan left no doubt about what the final outcome would be tonight against the visiting Bucknell Bison.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the game on Saturday, the Wolverines were the ones hitting everything in the early stages.

Michigan jumped out to a 10-0 lead, with five coming from Zak Irvin, both of his buckets of the two-point variety (the second an and-1). After Mark Donnal picked up a foul, John Beilein elected to sub in Max Bielfeldt who, naturally, came in and buried a triple. He would do it again a few minutes later. Competition caveats, both shots were wide open looks, etc. etc., but it is interesting to see that that is something he can do.

Kam Chatman, who had a rough outing on the defensive end against Hillsdale, came out early and confidently buried a mid-range elbow jumper. However, this was not long after he couldn't quite finish through contact at the rim: in short, he's a freshman.

The Wolverines started 8-for-12 from the field and led 19-7, all without a point from Caris LeVert, who started the game with a fadeaway miss from the right side. Meanwhile, Bucknell limped to a 3-for-10 start.

Michigan racked up 34 the under-8 TV timeout. Bucknell, needless to say, didn't offer much resistance on defense, especially as the Wolverines were able to get out and run with regularity.

Chatman flashed his length, nabbing a pair of steals in about 30 seconds of gametime, even leading the break on one, capped with a too-high alley-oop to LeVert; nonetheless, a freshman attempting that pass in the first half of a game tells you all you need to know about this first half.

With the announcers looking for any semblance of a negative in Michigan's game, they harped on Michigan's less than imposing low post defenders. Bucknell big man Nana Foulland did make a nice play in the post, backing down Donnal and shooting over the top with a nice little hook. This isn't anything we didn't already know; fortunately, outside of Madison, Wis., the Big Ten isn't necessarily loaded with prolific low post scorers. Matching up against Frank Kaminsky will a tall order, but Michigan's youngsters have plenty of time before even having to think about that task.

After a shaky start to the Hillsdale game and a Bucknell team bringing a similar offensive style and presumably better talent, it was reasonable to think Michigan might have a close game on its hands at the start once again. But, Bucknell turned it over 11 times in the first half and Michigan scored 1.5 points per possession en route to a 48-19 lead at the break.

Best of all? Bielfeldt scored 13 on 5-for-7 shooting in the first half, the first double-digit scoring effort of his career. Can we expect that in meaningful games? No, probably not, but it does up the confidence meter for a player that was sort of forgotten heading into this season.

Bielfeldt buried another triple early in the second, as Seth Davis somewhat sarcastically dubbed him "Maximus." Austin Hatch's appearances in the Wayne State and Hillsdale games made for an incredible story; this performance by Bielfeldt did too, albeit in a vastly different way.

Predictably, things slowed down a bit in the second, as Bucknell battled the Wolverines to through the second frame's first half, edged just 17-14 in that span. The Bison even cut the deficit to 20 at the 8:26 mark.

Even though the offense slowed down considerably, there was no danger whatsoever at any point. The scary thing is, Michigan's best player, Caris LeVert had an off night from the field: 2-for-11, 0-for-3 from downtown. Nonetheless, he continues to prove his versatility and overall impact on a game. LeVert reeled in six rebounds, six assists and tallied a pair of steals. There are many ways to impact a game beyond the points column, and LeVert does it in just about every way you could want.

Irvin led the way with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting, 4-for-5 from downtown. In case you were wondering, Irvin is shooting 64 percent from beyond the arc thus far.

Otherwise, Bielfeldt's performance was a pleasant surprise, Irvin did what he does (and has shown a more versatile game from inside the arc than last year) and Walton continues to look like he can get whatever he wants on the floor.

Overall, just another smooth night in Michigan basketball land. Next week, however, the competition level will get a much-needed boost.