Before we start, it must be said: Michigan is the No. 1 defense in the nation per Ken Pomeroy.
Luke Yaklich for Secretary of Defense, and so on. This was discussed last week, so moving ahead.
John Beilein made a career out of closing talent gaps on offense with math. The principle was simple: three-point plays are worth more than two.
His last three years at West Virginia cemented this fact. The Mountaineers lofted just under half of their shots from deep, always ranking in the top-10 nationally in three-point attempts.
This trend continued in Ann Arbor outside of 2012-13 and this season. These are the percentage of three-point shots attempted overall and the national rank in the Beilein Michigan era.
- 2008: 41 percent for No. 42
- 2009: 48 percent for No. 8
- 2010: 43 percent for No. 12
- 2011: 43 percent for No. 13
- 2012: 36 percent for No. 18
- 2013: 34 percent for No. 144 (NCAA Finalist)
- 2014: 40 percent for No. 34
- 2015: 41 percent for No. 39
- 2016: 44 percent for No. 19
- 2017: 45 percent for No. 18
- 2018: 43 percent for No. 59 (NCAA Finalist)
- 2019: 39 percent for No. 163 (5-0)
Why the change? Three of the potential starters were not natural gunners last season, while Ignas Brazdeikis is a freshman that’s working with Beilein to perfect his shot. Charles Matthews (30 percent from three) and Zavier Simpson (28 percent) both struggled with consistency from beyond.
The Wolverines rank in the bottom-third in three-point percentage through five games, so Beilein needed to adapt to survive.
That means scoring off transition (54 points, or 15 percent of the offense).
That means dunks from Matthews.
That means more pick and roll action to the bucket.
Skip to 1:54.
This all has resulted in the No. 36 efficiency offense. With the defense stifling all comers, the Wolverines don’t have to keep pace by scoring. That alleviates the desperation of many deep heaves.
Now, people are looking at the most complete Michigan team since Beilein’s first NCAA finalist in 2013. Besides the three-point attempt comparison, both teams decisively seized preseason tournaments.
Considering the NBA talent and championship potential of that team, it’s a good comparison to have.