It's like someone had just broken up with Michigan basketball.
When a boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you, you tend to be down on yourself. You wonder where it went wrong, why it wrong, and what's wrong with you. That's how Michigan basketball felt after SMU took them to the woodshed, 82-58, earlier this week. Is Michigan good? Why can't this team compete with top-25 programs? What's wrong?
But, when someone breaks up with you, you usually find a rebound: someone to be with that boosts your confidence and self-worth. That was Delaware State for Michigan.
The Wolverines (7-3) thrashed the winless Hornets (0-9), 80-33, in the Crisler Center on Saturday afternoon. Michigan had six scorers in double digits -- Caris LeVert (15), Zak Irvin (12), Duncan Robinson (11), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (11), Ricky Doyle (10), and Kameron Chatman (10) -- and dominated in every facet of the game. The Wolverines knocked down 32 field goals, which was more than the number of points that Delaware State scored until the Hornets' final offensive possession. Over a 20-minute stretch that spanned from late in the first half to late in the second half, Michigan outscored the Hornets, 42-5. This was as much of a total blowout as it possibly gets. Utter domination.
It was clear from the opening minute that Delaware State never had a chance. On Michigan's first three offensive possession, the Hornets left a Wolverine wide open. Irvin was that lucky player the first two times but bricked both of his shots. The third time it was Robinson on the right wing, and, as what happens when Robinson is open, swish.
From there, the Wolverines ran out to a 27-8 lead. However, a four-plus-minute scoring drought by Michigan allowed Delaware State to cut into it, making the score 29-18. But Zak Irvin re-ignited the Wolverines with slam dunks on back-to-back possessions:
Nice defense, Delaware State. pic.twitter.com/Rwgem5CwaJ— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) December 12, 2015
And Zak Irvin flushes it after this precise backdoor pass by Duncan Robinson. pic.twitter.com/l6RaPiDk48— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) December 12, 2015
Then 42-5 happened because Delaware State couldn't get to the rim -- only one of its 50 field-goal attempts was a layup or dunk -- or knock down contested outside jumpers.
This was the rebound that Michigan needed, but there's not much to glean from this win. Delaware State is one of the worst teams in Division I basketball, ranking 346th out of 351 D-I teams on KenPom before today. The only important takeaway was that D.J. Wilson was spotted with a boot on his right foot and appears to be the mystery injured player. The severity of Wilson's injury is unclear right now, but he's the third Wolverine to have suffered an injury this season (Walton's ankle and Albrecht's hips). This is a time when Michigan needs to be healing before the Big Ten season starts against Illinois on December 30th. That another Wolverine has to sit out with an injury is not promising.
Nonetheless, Michigan is no longer on the rebound thanks to Delaware State.