The truth is that, when Michigan opposes a team like Delaware State and proceeds to house them by 47 points, there's not much to takeaway from it. But, if I didn't find five takeaways, I wouldn't be doing my job. Therefore:
1. Delaware State May Be the Worst D-I Team I've Seen
I thought Houston Baptist was bad, but Delaware State took it to a whole new level.
On offense, the Hornets managed only 33 points, averaging 0.51 PPP, and they were fortunate to score even that much. With 4:00 left, they had 23 points on 58 possessions (0.40 PPP) and had made only 8-of-45 shots (17.8 pct.) up to that point. It wasn't until Michigan inserted a lineup of Andrew Dakich, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Aubrey Dawkins, Mark Donnal, and Moritz Wagner in the final minutes when Delaware State could find any rhythm. DSU hit four of its last five shots to crack the 30-point barrier.
The source of Delaware State's offensive woes wasn't difficult to discover. Yes, the Hornets lost the ball 17 times for a turnover rate of 26.2 percent, but, if a poor-shooting team can't get to the rim, things won't go super well. Now, I knew before Saturday that the Hornets struggled to penetrate because they had the eighth-lowest share of shots that were dunks or layups, but I still don't think I have seen anything like this before:
|12-50 (24.0%)||0-of-0 (0.0%)||0-of-1 (0.0%)||8-of-28 (28.6%)||4-of-21 (19.0%)|
That's only one shot out of 50 that was tallied as a dunk or layup. And it was missed.
To be fair, in the play-by-play data, there are shots from three or four feet that count as jumpers rather than layups, so it's not as if every single jumper by Delaware State was from at least 10 feet out. But, until Delaware State went scorching hot and scored 10 points in the final minutes, DSU had mustered only four points inside the paint. So yeah.
On defense, Delaware State was better but still bad. The Hornets left a Wolverine wide open on Michigan's first three possessions, and that wouldn't be the last time that happened. Plus, the concept of staying between the man and the basket was difficult, too:
Nice defense, Delaware State. pic.twitter.com/Rwgem5CwaJ— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) December 12, 2015
Michigan did pretty much whatever it wanted to do on offense. If it wasn't for a four-minute stretch in the first half during which the Wolverines missed a bunch of wide-open shots, they would have averaged much more than 1.23 PPP against Delaware State.
Now, the Hornets sit at 345th out of 351 on KenPom, and that even seems too high.
2. D.J. Wilson Joined Derrick Walton on the Injury Report
On Friday, John Beilein informed us that there was a mystery injury that wasn't Derrick Walton's sprained left ankle or Spike Albrecht's troubled hips that had been suffered during Thursday's practice. On Saturday, it was revealed that the injury belonged to D.J. Wilson, who didn't dress for the Delaware State game and had his right foot in a boot:
Mystery injury solved: D.J. Wilson's right foot is in a walking boot. He's not dressed to play.— Lev Facher (@levfacher) December 12, 2015
According to Beilein, Wilson sprained his right ankle and will miss one to two weeks:
Beilein says that DJ Wilson sprained his ankle in practice. Says it's a similar injury to Walton, where it will take at least a week.— Matt Pargoff (@MaizeBlueNews) December 12, 2015
Wilson hadn't been playing much before he sprained his ankle, averaging only 3.5 MPG in his last four games as Ricky Doyle and Moritz Wagner earned the chunk of minutes at center, but it's yet another injury for the Wolverines that reminds us far too much of last season. The good news is Michigan should breeze through its next three games like it did against Delaware State, so Wilson has 17 days until the Big Ten opener to return to 100 percent. The bad news is that U-M must be healing, not adding to its walking wounded.
3. Duncan Robinson Made His First Career Start
John Beilein made a change to the starting lineup and inserted Duncan Robinson for Aubrey Dawkins. This was a move I had touched on after the Houston Baptist game:
[...] I wouldn't be surprised if Robinson continues to cut into Dawkins' time. Both players are threats from the three-point line, but Robinson is a machine. He's made 59.5 percent of his threes, including 14-of-21 (66.7 pct.) in his last three games, and owns the third-best offensive rating (155.5) in the country. Dawkins' three-point percentage (47.8 pct.) is nothing to scoff at, but he's disappeared against Michigan's top-100 opponents, averaging only 5.3 PPG and not posting an offensive rating higher than 100 against Xavier, UConn, Texas, or North Carolina State. Further, Robinson has been much better dishing the ball to teammates for assists -- he really likes the backdoor bounce pass -- and not turning it over. He's been the better wing for Michigan's offense so far.
At this point, the move makes sense. Robinson has become too potent on the offensive end. Not only has Robinson posted 15.2 PPG and made 22-of-35 threes (62.9 pct.) in his last five games, his 156.1 offensive rating is the second-best in the nation and best among those with a usage rate above 10 percent. Robinson's defensive weaknesses are well-known, but Dawkins hasn't done enough in those areas to justify that he deserves more minutes than Robinson. Beilein agrees with this, and that's why he made the switch:
Beilein on Robinson's start: We feel our flow offensively and defensively is better with Duncan as the starter.— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) December 12, 2015
4. Zak Irvin's Shot is Broken
Zak Irvin missed all three of his triples against Delaware State, which brings him to 7-for-38 on threes (18.4 pct.) this season. This is after he knocked down 42.5 percent of his threes as a freshman and 35.1 percent of them as a sophomore. Initially, I blamed these shooting struggles on his back, on which he had surgery in September. However, it's clear from watching Irvin play that his back doesn't seem to be acting up much. He has little problem taking it to the hole to stuff down dunks or completing acrobatic reverse layups or finishing through bodies in the paint. However, when he rises to fire a shot from the outside, he seems to draw iron time and time again. And it's not as if all of his three-point tries have been contested. There have been many when he was standing all by his lonesome on the perimeter, and, still, no dice. I think this shooting slump is starting to mess with Irvin's head, too. There were two instances against Delaware State when I noticed that Irvin was passing up open threes for pull-up, mid-range jumpers. Not only is that a bad trade-off, the old Irvin never would have done that. I don't know what's precisely wrong with Irvin's shot because he's always had a funky delivery. However, Michigan really needs Irvin to repair it before the Big Ten season begins.
5. Andrew Dakich Didn't Pee Himself
Andrew Dakich says 'I sort of peed down my leg last year' every time he checked in. Felt better today.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) December 12, 2015
There's that. I guess "dribbles" has two meanings on the court for Dakich.