Michigan Basketball: Cleveland State at Michigan — NIT Season Tip-Off — North Regional — Wrap-up — On to New York
The Michigan basketball team held serve Tuesday night in the NIT four pod preseason tournament by beating Cleveland State 77-47 at Crisler Arena.
The first half was a magnificent display of running and scoring against a team that was ice cold. Even though Michigan’s running game can be called a controlled run, it is deadly. A controlled run provides more 3-2 and 4-3 endings versus the better known 2-1 run outs. Even so, Tim Hardaway Junior likes to run a one on whatever fast break ending with coast to coast lay ups or dunks.
Cleveland State after losing its inside scoring leader started upping the speed ante and that was a big mistake, this yielded only 14 first half points. The misses kept coming and Michigan converted big time at the other end. It was pure run out and transition basketball at its best. Stone Cold Nik Stauskas was not the first option on the run outs but he ended up being the final option several times. After a slow start Wild Thing McGary got on a roll and showed why, when he grows up and is housebroken, he could be a major headache for opposing teams.
Michigan still had difficulty on switches and some inside play but Cleveland State misses, negated any advantage that could be gained.
Cleveland State smartly changed strategies in the second half slowing the ball down, and played what coaches call alternative defenses. The play got more physical and Michigan could not answer the toughness Cleveland State showed at times in the paint. It was all for naught, but still, this needs to improve. The perimeter gave up some easy second half shots as well.Michigan showed enough difficulty against the Cleveland State style that other teams will take note. Hardaway junior flashed to the pivot a few times and became the quarterback passing from the high post against the 2-3 zone. The new big three of Burke, Hardaway Junior, and Robinson the III all had excellent nights. Hardaway clearly looks to be improved in all areas.
There is plenty to work on but months until tournament time. Michigan scored the three expected wins at home. The games at MSG will be on a different level against solid tournament likely teams in a neutral setting. It will test the team and the youth of Michigan. But that is how teams get better.
So, into the breach goes Michigan and hopefully the offense stays hot.
IUPUI showed to be a respectful team by taking down MAC hopeful Bowling Green.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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