Michigan Basketball: Iowa at Michigan — Wrap-Up
Michigan’s Strengths Outweigh the Weaknesses
Iowa, or Ioway as many Ohioans pronounce it, came into the Crisler Center with a national top-ten ranking. This has been high water for the Hawkeyes after several years of hanging in the middle or bottom of the Big Ten pack. Unless Iowa collapses, the Hawks will make the tournament. Iowa this year has played hard, has depth, has veterans, is tough in the paint, and very good at getting easy transition baskets.Michigan probably needed this win more than Iowa. It was a home game and the Wolverines do not have the overall record Iowa possesses.
After trading a few punches early on, Michigan hit some big shots to stay up by five points or so most of the last 25 minutes of the game.
Iowa was very successful in getting the ball inside with little opposition and essentially scoring lay-ups from the bigs. There was also guard penetration that yielded some fouls and lay-ups. Overall, Iowa got 24 of the 34 point first half total in the paint. Michigan again practiced the strategy of not fouling much the first half, excepting a miscue in the last few seconds that backfired.
In the second half, Michigan hit some key three-pointers, played a little better defense inside, held off Iowa on the boards and hit the free throws down the stretch: one could say a recipe for a win.The fly in the ointment was Caris the light switch LeVert. Caris was not hitting his shots, especially the three pointers, which were rushed and not the best choice. He played Ole defense and then with a lazy one hand flip from out of bounds gave Iowa another two points. So, essentially four points were given up too Iowa in two seconds. Well, that was that and Irvin took over the role of wild card mixer.
Walton was reported as sick and Spike took the floor. Here is a guy who knows his role, knows his limitations, knows when to strike, and knows the game. He knows he does not need to score twenty. He knows he needs to keep the defense honest by scoring some points, so that the game does not regress to a five on four match-up. Spike played very well: seven points, seven assists, four steals, and no turnovers. That in a nutshell equals getting the job done. Again, Beilein’s move of offering up a scholarship to Spike yields dividends. Some day, if he wishes, Spike could be a successful coach.
It was not the best game Michigan has played this year, but the shooting was decent, albeit a little down on the three-point percentage. Michigan almost broke even with Iowa on the boards and the turnover total was ten, one formerly mentioned player led the way in that category.
This team has won eight in a row, played a little better defense, done a nice job of knowing the roles and expectations, and has improved end game play. The team continues to be slow to the ball in 50-50 situations. But last night Iowa was contained on transition points, four, the author believes, was the Iowa total.Stauskas continues to play tougher, he is still outmatched inside the paint on defense, but like every other Beilein team, there really is no good 4 (or inside 3) defender on the team.
The prospects for tournament action look much better than three weeks ago. But the woods are dark and deep; the team has miles to go.
A big mile will be this Saturday when Michigan visits the sure to be nearly insane Breslin Center in East Lansing. The Spartans will have one extra day of rest plus have home court advantage. Michigan will need to dig down deep, but it should be easy to find motivation.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
Go Blue — Wear Maize!