After an undefeated November, Michigan kicked off December and Big Ten play with a 19-point rout of No. 19 Purdue Saturday at Crisler.
The Wolverines thrived in the expected areas. Their No. 1 KenPom defense held the No. 7 offense to .92 points per possession. Zavier Simpson filled up the stat sheet again with 10 points, seven assists and six boards.
Here’s what’s scary about this team. It adds another way to beat you each game. Against North Carolina, it was Jordan Poole breaking out (something that continued Saturday). Against the Boilermakers, it was Jon Teske transforming into an offensive weapon.
That and more define the top plays from the 76-57 victory.
Teske ferocious alley-oop caps 10-0 run
JON TESKE WITH THE HUGE SLAM pic.twitter.com/Yl7ibpondX— Wolverine Corner (@WolverineCorner) December 1, 2018
Behind six early points from star guard Carsen Edwards, Purdue clawed to a 21-16 deficit eight minutes into the game.
Simpson started clamping down on Edwards, forcing a turnover and two missed jumpers. In the meantime, the offense built a double-digit lead it would never relinquish.
The capper on the 10-0 run was a ferocious dunk off an alley-oop by Teske off a lob from Charles Matthews. He latter chipped in another slam to stretch the lead to 44-28 just before the horn.
Two years ago, the 7-footer looked like Bambi slipping on an ice rink. Now he’s running the court and finishing at the rim. On top of top-75 national block rate, he is chipping in eight points and six rebounds per game.
He would add another element to his game in the second half.
Brazdeikis step-back three just before halftime
Iggy Brazdeikis can absolutely do it all. My god. pic.twitter.com/vrBlz2yzUb— Wolverine Corner (@WolverineCorner) December 1, 2018
Ignas Brazdeikis is proving to be extremely frustrating to opposing fanbases. Not only is he leading the Wolverines with 16.3 points a contest, but they have to deal with the cocky attitude of a freshman who looks like a founding member of Canada’s Slytherin chapter.
Also, he’s already flexing pro game. He gets a subtle push off an excellent defender in Ryan Cline. Next, he steps back, settles his feet under his base, squares his shoulders and buries a trey to build a 42-28 lead just before halftime.
As a comparison, here’s NBA Rookie first-teamer Donovan Mitchell:
Donovan Mitchell hits a stepback three after shaking Eric Gordon pic.twitter.com/NVzyojhQuF— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 8, 2017
Brazdeikis scored an efficient 12 points on just seven shots. More importantly, he’s adding film for those thinking he’s a one-and-done talent.
Poole’s near-perfect game
Jordan Poole was 8-for-9 for 21 points. That’s only telling part of the story.
After four double-digit scoring outings in the first five games, Poole is unleashing an array of skills to score. First, his excellent stroke and release from three.
Next, he cuts to the basket without the ball, demonstrating his athleticism and awareness without the ball. He does this again to work around a screen for another deep bomb.
To break a scoring drought, he uses his handles to go coast to coast for a layup.
One missed shot and four turnovers kept Saturday’s performance from perfection. With 11.5 points per game and over 48 percent shooting from behind the arc, he’s rounding into a consistent weapon for the nation’s No. 20 efficiency offense.
Three-point barrage from...Teske?
This shouldn’t be allowed. Players like Moritz Wagner make sense, since offense-first big men have been a thing under John Beilein — Evan Smotrycz, Kevin Pittsnogle at West Virginia are others.
Teske is a different animal. He’s a potential all-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. It’s one thing if his scoring contributions come off easy points in transition (which is already ridiculous considering his size).
It’s another thing entirely if he adds three-point touch. It’s a small sample-size, but he’s currently 3-of-12 through about a month of play.
Everything about his shot looks repeatable, as well. It’s a smooth and swift release.
On top of the larger implications for the offense this year, his treys essentially put the game out of reach in the second half. His second 3-pointer pushed back a mini-run by the Boilermakers to cut the lead to 12.
He finished with 17 points on six shots, which also included makes on all five free throws.