Dec 14, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein reacts in the first half against the Arizona Wildcats at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Stanford vs. Michigan -- Preview

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 2:00pm — 12/21/2013

Michigan Basketball: Stanford vs. Michigan — Preview

Smart Versus Smart

Not only are the student-athletes from both universities fine scholars, so are the coaching staffs. Both institutions are also highly noted for world-class athletes and scholarship. Interestingly enough, Stanford frequently wins the all-around collegiate championship that takes into consideration success in all sports, major or minor. Michigan had a fine run and finished well up in the final standings last year.

Coach Beilein is a true professor. He devised his own system and is past sufficient in transferring theoretical thought to actual performance via good teaching. Beilein’s staff also takes on his characteristics.

Johnny Dawkins was one of America’s finest point guards in recent memory at Duke. He played in the NBA and since 2008 has been the Head Coach of Duke. His teams predictably play smart and attempt to take advantages of opponent weaknesses.

Stanford is off to a very nice 8-2 start and recently beat UConn. This will be the third game this season that Stanford has played in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Coach Beilein expressed great concern about Michigan’s recent defensive effort and execution after the close loss to Arizona last week. Simply put, this Michigan team will go only as far as defensive improvement allows. The schedule the Wolverines are playing will certainly be ranked among the most difficult in America and close losses will not suffice.

Dec 18, 2013; Hartford, CT, USA; Stanford Cardinal guard Chasson Randle (5) drives against Connecticut Huskies guard Ryan Boatright (11) in the second half at XL Center. Stanford defeated UConn 53-51. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Another tough test of the Wolverine defense will occur Saturday night. Four Cardinals are high scoring. This is problematic, as Michigan has shown an absolute inability to stop a team’s premiere scorer, or any scorer that starts a game on a roll. As mentioned previously, Michigan currently has several players that chase the ball and lose position or do not cover a breakdown on defense. Some players are playing against bigger opponents inside and are not getting the job done on defense. This partially is a price for playing the quick and athletic four players that lack size and defense.

Dec 14, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Josh Huestis (24) runs past UC Davis Aggies guard Corey Hawkins at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Leading Stanford is guard Chasson Randle, averaging nearly 19 points a game. While Michigan’s toughest matchups have been inside, this game will offer additional challenges across the floor. It certainly is not farfetched to see a Dawkin’s team led by a guard. Anthony Brown and Josh Huestis are big wings and can score similar to Michigan’s wings. The power forward is 6’ 10” Dwight Powell.

Simply put, Michigan again has a handful to deal with and again the theme becomes defense. Even with the great offensive execution, Michigan’s breakdowns on defense have allowed easy scores and caused close losses. The current team has little margin of error against top competition. Saturday will show what seven days of practice, hopefully, defensive oriented, yields. It possesses greater importance for Michigan than a normal preseason game.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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