Jan 2, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III (1) drives to the basket in the first half against the Minnesota Gophers at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Northwestern at Michigan -- Wrap-Up

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 2:00pm — 1/6/2014

Michigan Basketball: Northwestern at Michigan — Wrap-Up

Better Shooting Wins

The first half of the home opener for Michigan had some suspense. Northwestern hung even on the scoreboard for some of the first half. Then, the shots simply did not fall for Northwestern and the Wolverines pulled away.

Dec 22, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard Drew Crawford (1) reacts after falling on his shoulder in a game against the Brown Bears during the second half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Brown Bears 58-52. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Crawford was invited to shoot unopposed early in the game from behind the three-point line and he promptly cashed in on a few of the invites. Crawford also scored some on inside moves and kept Northwestern in the game the first half with fifteen points.

Throughout the game Michigan was again late guarding the shooter on any rotation that involved two passes, or sometimes just one high crosscourt pass.

Defenders sagged inside and were a good ten to fifteen feet off of the shooter. A series of early Wolverine turnovers helped the Wildcat cause. Things then settled down.

Dec 28, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Jordan Morgan (52) goes to the basket in the second half against the Holy Cross Crusaders at Crisler Arena. Michigan won 88-66. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Morgan helped the Wolverine cause with some very nice production during the first half stretch when things were not going as planned. Morgan hustled hard and scored six straight points in a first half run that started the Wolverines rolling. Jon Horford equaled Morgan’s eight rebounds and between the two centers, fifteen points and sixteen rebounds were contributed. This needs to happen against the better league teams if Michigan is to go .500 or better in conference play.

Walton Jr. and Spike Albrecht made some very nice floor decisions and authored the half-court defense very well. Fourteen combined points resulted from sparse but accurate shooting from the floor. Walton hit five of six foul shots. He needs to continue knocking down a high percentage, so as the shots will fall in end game situations.

Glenn Robinson III never quite got on a roll. Coming off an ankle injury, Robinson never hit a three pointer but did end up in double figures. There will be other games for Robinson and hopefully the ankle heals 100%.

Michigan shot over 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the wildcats by 12, mainly due to a quickness difference to the ball.

Northwestern is going to have a rough year and could easily lose games to the elite teams by thirty or more points. In the second half of yesterday’s game, Northwestern simply wore out and became very shooting challenged. Like most teams lately, Northwestern did do a nice job of taking away at least some of Michigan’s running and transition game, forcing the Wolverines to play more standard half-court offense.

Northwestern also caught Michigan sleeping in transition a couple of times just enough to let the Wildcats get the ball up the court and gain an advantage. This will be fatal against a team like Michigan State unless hard work on falling back ensues.

Mar 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Bill Carmody reacts in the second half during the first round of the Big Ten tournament against the Iowa Hawkeyes at the United Center. Iowa won 73-59. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern had a very good coach in Bill Carmody and several other very capable coaches before Carmody. Carmody had the Wildcats poised for tournament selection, but his players had horrible collapses late in games down the stretch runs. Coach Collins will struggle to win more than a couple of games in the league this year.

The talent on other teams simply trumps the coaching. Northwestern again has hired a good coach, this time one with more typical offensive execution, and sails on the hope that the recruits will come to Evanston. The next two or three years will provide an answer.

Jan 2, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein responds to a call in the second half against the Minnesota Gophers at Williams Arena. The Wolverines defeated the Gophers 63-60. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan will need to be sharp, work on what the team does best and may have many heroes of the day like Jordan Morgan was on Sunday. The schedule will get tougher. Michigan has 10 wins and no further games with the Wildcats and one game against Penn State. Nebraska is next and the Cornhuskers are playing well in their new facility. Nebraska has better athletes than in the past and plays a pretty aggressive and tough style. The Huskers got drubbed at Ohio State and will look to bounce back in an intense manner.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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