Michigan Basketball: Purdue at Michigan — Wrap-Up
Shooting Cures What Ails You
The good, the bad, and the ugly were all on display at Crisler Center Thursday as Michigan went to 8-0 in conference play with a 75-66 win over struggling Purdue. The beauty was in the offensive execution and shooting. The bad centered on very sloppy ball handling and passing, including more one-handed weak passes that ended up as turnovers. Purdue plays solid defense in the outside passing lanes but the Wolverines simply donated way too much to the Purdue cause last night. The ugly was the points in the paint again given up by Michigan, by either drives, ridiculously easy offensive rebounds, or uncontested entries to Purdue’s seven-footer A. J. Hammons. When Purdue was defended and shot outside, the result was not pretty for the Boilers.Michigan looked like a team that was somewhat out to lunch in the mental phase of the game, excepting shooting, where the Wolverines put up an amazing plus 60% final figure. Michigan would get a lead, give some of it away, and then repeat the process until a 14-point lead was built up late in the game. By that time even the Michigan turnovers and missed foul shots were not enough to help Purdue’s hopes for an upset.
The cruise control effect should not have been unanticipated, as the road last week was tough. Fortunately, Michigan was the only favorite to win in the four Wednesday and Thursday games. Ohio State loses a 10 point lead at home to Penn State, the first loss to a non-ranked team at home for ages: Indiana and Wisconsin lose games and valuable ground in the standings that may be tough to make up.Two things are for certain: (1) Michigan’s offense is very difficult to shut down, and (2) Michigan still struggles with its historical weaknesses. Intense play and effort seem to be the only factors that can somewhat remedy rebounding and defensive basics.
Several teams in the Big Ten have turned cold from the field lately, perhaps due to rugged on the court play, perhaps due to true offensive limitations. Michigan cannot sit back and wait for the likes of Ohio State, Indiana, and Wisconsin to get well. Now is the time to continue putting some distance between the Wolverine team and the teams that have fallen into the mixer.
Michigan’s win streak is now 10 games and the overall record is 16-4, only the Charlotte loss being a blemish on the record. The Wolverines will probably need 19 games to assume tournament entry, certainly at this stage a very likely probability.Walton continues to impress, especially taking the ball to the rim at the right time in the right offensive option. Caris had another solid night and is starting to become a REAL match-up problem going to the hoop. Morgan contributed enough, but Horford never got much going at either end of the floor. Michigan needs to do something about getting Robinson more involved. He is not a schoolboy from the 1950’s that has been told he must stand in a corner. The suspicion is that the coaching staff is attempting to rectify this concern, but only one basketball is in play. When LeVert and Stauskas are slashing to the basket, someone must be the relief pass option.
In retrospect, the coaching staff, if given the opportunity would probably have gladly taken the offer of starting February with a 16-4 record. Guns up, because Michigan enters another tough stretch, hopefully one that does not put the team in a funk like many conference counterparts have encountered. Ohio State and Indiana are going to be harsh environments, but two teams that have had offensive woes. Indiana is now back to full strength and Ohio State will play like, well normally the apocalypse is approaching, but now who really knows, not Thad Matta. Nebraska is playing very well, and then there will eventually be MSU.
No rest for the weary, or even remotely weary in February. Toughness and focus will be at a premium.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
Go Blue — Wear Maize!