Michigan Basketball: Stanford vs. Michigan — Wrap-Up
More Beauty Than Beast
In a very entertaining basketball game in Brooklyn, Michigan led most of the way and held on to edge Stanford 68-65. Stanford is a very solid basketball team and should do well in PAC 12 play. It was fun to watch highly intelligent basketball from Stanford’s offense. Predictably, Stanford used the big guys inside to hurt Michigan, by entry pass, lob pass, dish off, whatever.At times Michigan was getting abused by the Stanford big guys, especially by Stefan Nastic. He is the type of guy I wish Michigan would pursue every year. Nasty Nastic demonstrated solid fundamentals and hard work on the inside of Michigan’s defense. Simply, he did not want to be denied. Michigan did defend a lob pass once and at least attempted to move Nastic away from the basket. The referees refused to let any center on the court play full-tilt, including Nastic. Eventually, Nastic fouled out, as did Morgan and Horford. The high look and high-low look were fun to watch. In this day of run and gun, these classic sets are becoming somewhat extinct for extended periods of the game. Fade aways, hooks, and wrap-arounds (semi-illegal hooking) led to significant inside points by Stanford.
If one looks at the game statistics, and if the score was blocked from view, the conclusion would be that Stanford won the game. Michigan had fewer turnovers and scored one point more than Stanford at the foul line and apparently that was the game swing since Stanford had better shooting percentages than Michigan.
Robinson and Stauskas again emerged as the go-to guys. Stauskas did not have a great shooting night, but the two fouls shots were the difference that forced Stanford to take a three point shot. Both are starting to become somewhat better at other phases of basketball.Michigan held even on the boards and exhibited overall good poise. There were moments, there always are. Caris LeVert stills loves shooting. It is clear that Coach Beilein has given the green light. But last night Caris took the ball straight into very good weakside defense a couple of times and got stuffed. He also failed on two fouls shots that could have put Michigan at a greater advantage. Zak Irvin looks angry sometimes when he does not get his shot. Last night he hit enough to make his presence a near push. Irvin needs to commit to becoming a total player.
The perimeter defense may have been a little better but it is hard to tell since Stanford had a couple of extended dry spells. When in doubt credit the defense for a decent job. At least defenders were in the neighborhood.The end game scenario again presented difficulty, due mainly to a wilting defense against Stanford’s best player, Chasson Randle. After being held strangely in check in the first half, Coach Dawkins did what every other team does against the soft middle of Michigan: go right down the throat. This happened with about seven minutes remaining and Michigan never had an answer. As such the lead shrunk to near nothing. The guard was beat and the inside guys could do little with four fouls. So, Randle poured in the points rather easily. What observers saw with the point guard rotation may hold up the rest of the year. Walton is better than some are giving him credit for and Spike is a gamer. The move to have Spike run the last few critical sets seems like a no-brainer. Having Walton in on defense made equal sense. Walton is not yet totally immersed in the “spread options” and what is meant to happen on the floor. Not to worry, with time and patience Michigan will have a nice point guard. Defensively, Walton must improve, but he is not the only Michigan player with that distinction.
About those foul shots, Father Flanigan needs to jump LeVert and Robinson. Shooters like that should not have such poor results. Robinson’s shot is a little hard, very little, and a little flat, leading to the rim being scraped and the ball bouncing from back to front. LeVert just needs to smile and think of foul shots as another way of gathering points. Good balance and timing with a knee bend would not hurt either.
Michigan needs to emphasize getting the ball to Stauskas in the end game situations.
Overall, this game should provide Michigan with much needed confidence and experience. With a win next week, Michigan would enter Big Ten play with an 8 and 4 mark: not spectacular, but not Dunkirk. There will be few, if any, smooth sails in conference play. Get ready for Mr. Toad’s wild ride.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
Go Blue — Wear Maize!