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Posted on Thu, Dec 10, 2009 : 1:25 a.m.

Michigan basketball team gets D's, but it's not for defense

By Michael Rothstein

Playing on the road is never easy, but the Michigan basketball team made it look almost impossible in its 68-52 loss to Utah on Wednesday night.

The Wolverines were bad on offense, on defense and in the coaching box. How bad?

Junior guard Manny Harris was brilliant again scoring 25 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Otherwise, the Wolverines looked lost. Fifth-year senior center Zack Gibson was ineffective in his first start of the year, missing both his shots and scoring no points. He had been Michigan’s most efficient player to this point. DeShawn Sims played decently, considering he may be coming down with the same flu that kept Zack Novak out of the game. Michigan scored less than 60 points for the second time in three games and haven't eclipsed 70 points in regulation since beating Houston Baptist on Nov. 20 (the Creighton game, where Michigan scored 83 points, was an overtime game and the Wolverines had 69 points at the end of regulation).
GRADE: D (Harris B+)

The Wolverines had no answers for Utah inside. David Foster had 10 points and Kim Tillie had eight for the Utes. Michigan had no answer outside either. Marshall Henderson scored a team-high 22 points, made four three-pointers and was open for a lot more. The Wolverines couldn’t stop the Utes’ from slashing the lane. Michigan may have forced 17 turnovers, but a few of them - like stepping out of bounds when no one was around - were unforced.

Michigan looked lost offensively. Again. Its defense, especially the 1-3-1, was victimized by slashers and good interior post players. Again. Michigan coach John Beilein threw former walk-on Eso Akunne into a hostile atmosphere for his first extended minutes. It could have backfired, but Akunne played well. Starting DeShawn Sims and Zack Gibson didn't play effectively, as the dual-big-man combination Beilein had been contemplating for a couple of weeks was demolished by Utah. Right now, this team hasn't improved at all. Missing Zack Novak keeps it from being a total failure.



Thu, Dec 10, 2009 : 12:36 p.m.

Coaching philosophy backfires on UM. The 3 point shooting philosophy will result in the recruit and placement of guards in the lineup. 4 guard, 1 forward lineup sometimes 5 guards will result in inadequate height and heft which will result in the lack of rebounding, defense and scoring inside. Teams will prevent the threes by extending defense beyond the arc and when that happens, it is the end. Sad to realize that Coach Beilein is not the coach who will lead UM to greatness. His unconventional philosophy is not tuned to make it big. Beilein kept on getting guards instead of forwards and centers that could play right away and this is the result. What we see now is what we will see all season long.