Michigan Basketball: Michigan at Northwestern — Wrap-up — Wolverines Keep Rolling
Northwestern never seems to grab a break. After already losing two important players, guard Drew Crawford (injury) and JerShon Cobb (academics), Reggie Hearn was not full-go for Thursday’s Big Ten opener. Then on top of everything, Michigan served as the opener. Well, the game could have been in Columbus.
Michigan, like in many games this season, came out early and played lights out, blitzkrieg basketball that created an early and eventually insurmountable lead.
Trey Burke again fueled the early run with spectacular play. Inside play, outside play, finishing at the rim after contact, passing, defense, whatever could happen Burke made happen. He continues to play at the highest level, game after game. His national acclaim is spot on, no doubt.
Then, Michigan let down and took the gas off the throttle at both ends. Easy entry passes to the post and a couple of wide-open threes helped Northwestern make a minor run. The inside defense gave up easy looks. At least Michigan does not foul turning two point plays into three points and a foul given up. That was the nature of basketball until the 1970’s.
Tim Hardaway Jr. helped the cause with four three-pointers and Nik Stauskas hit a couple to limit Northwestern’s damage.
The defensive rebounding for Michigan was excellent in the first half and decent in the second half.
In the second half Michigan gave up several easy transition threes where once again defenders failed to get back or did not guard the shooter. Michigan gets caught with too many players deep and no one willing to make a stop as the ball gets to the other end. Things got a little tougher, but just a little.
Still, the offense just continued to crack along and make up for the small sins at the other end. Currently, Michigan may run the best offense in the country and the entertainment value for Michigan followers has never been higher. This offense is loaded with talent, shooting, and good design.
Caris LeVert loves to score, and as his career progresses the numbers will also progress. He has court speed and quick speed (bam/now effect). His quickness translates to decent defense and getting a jump on offense. Many other schools are wondering how he never was on the big boy radar. Short answer is Caris came on late in the game, and has since grown one or two inches after signing last spring.Morgan is becoming one of the best role players in the nation. Yes, he still misses a lay up now and then and has trouble reaching for any ball at the low range. But his rebounding improvement has been a major factor in Michigan moving from a very average rebounding team to one that can be said to be above average. Although Jordan is rarely a featured option in the Michigan offense, he is patient like a vulture and can clean up and flush on the fast break as a second or third man down the break.
Northwestern became a little frustrated at the 12 minute mark and attempted to run with Michigan for two or three minutes; bad choice.
It appeared Coach Beilein wanted the Wolverines to keep the throttle going at high speed, as Michigan continued to aggressively attack the middle on offense. Several foul shots resulted with a few too many misses, but save the makes for a more important day. Still, foul shooting is focus and technique, regardless of score.
The game closed out with play typical of a 30-point game. Michigan’s major weakness still remains transition defense. Indiana and Michigan State live off of such opportunities. And Ohio State is a team that scores best when the defense kick starts the fast break on offensive mistakes by the opponent.
Overall, a very impressive win for Michigan on the road against a team that the Wolverines beat in overtime last season. The road will get tougher, for Michigan and for every other title contender in the league.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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