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Posted on Sat, Dec 18, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

Michigan guard Zack Novak continues to rebound, a shoe change and more

By Michael Rothstein


Michigan's Zack Novak, right, tries to get past Oakland's Will Hudson Saturday afternoon at Crisler Arena. Novak had 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 69-51 win.

Angela J. Cesere |

Zack Novak insists it has little to do with him, that his absurd rebounding totals this month have more to do with everyone around him instead.

But it isn’t often a 6-foot-4 guard (who is really 6-foot-2), leads his team in rebounding almost every game. Yet that's just what the Michigan junior guard is doing.

“I know you’re probably going to think I’m bluffing on this one, but the game plan today was keep (Keith) Benson and (Will) Hudson ... off the boards and I'll go get 'em.

“So I’m just cleaning up easy rebounds.”

For the third time in five games, Novak has grabbed double-digit rebounds, getting 12 Saturday in a win over Oakland after notching 11 against Harvard and 14 against Concordia. He’s led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in six of 11 games this year.

Combined, the 6-foot-9 Hudson and 6-foot-11 Benson grabbed 13 rebounds.

Novak also had his third double-double of the season Saturday, scoring 13 points. And coach John Beilein thinks a bigger scoring night is coming.

“Now that he’s handling the ball more, I think he’s going to see the court better,” Beilein said. “But he’s going to go off one of these days. His shot is looking so good right now.”

It can't be the shoes

When Michigan wears its maize jerseys, black socks and black shoes typically are worn along with them. It’s a trend started at Michigan when the Fab Five became a cultural phenomenon.

It changed Saturday.

Michigan wore the maize jersey, but went with white socks and, for the most part, blue and yellow shoes — although junior guard Stu Douglass had blue-and-white shoes instead.

So what happened?

“I don’t know, our equipment manager put it in our locker room. I asked the team did they want to do this instead of the black socks and black shoes,” sophomore guard Darius Morris said. “I guess people wanted to show these off, I guess. I was okay with it.

“But we’ll definitely be going back to the black shoes, black socks.”

Technically speaking

Evan Smotrycz had to think back a little bit. He couldn’t remember the last time he had picked up a technical foul.

The answer now is Saturday against Oakland. The freshman forward picked up the first technical given to a Michigan player or coach this season with 12:05 left in the first half.

“I didn’t do anything,” Smotrycz said. “I was just helping Jordan (Morgan) up and the kid pushed me and said some words.”

Smotrycz and Oakland forward Iljia Milutinovic both received technicals for a small scuffle after a jump ball.

As for the last time Smotrycz received a technical? He said it was his freshman year at Reading (Mass.) High School.

This and that

Longtime official Ted Valentine worked his first Michigan game of the season Saturday. … The Wolverines, despite being undersized, outscored Oakland in the paint, 28-20. … Beilein, when asked if his team would receive votes in the AP Top 25 poll this week, laughed off the question and said “Oh, I hope not. Let us play. Just let us play.”

Michael Rothstein covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Sun, Dec 19, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

I have watched Novak play from his first game as a freshman. He has been the most consistent player I have ever seen. He puts it all on the floor every game


Sat, Dec 18, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

Listened to the game and saw the highlights in ESPN. I'm very impressed with this win, especially with the defensive strategy on Benson. Nice job. It's scary that one of our top rebounders is six feet two or three. That just won't fly in the Big 10. By the way, in the pix, Novak, with the ball on his hip, is walking with the ball.


Sat, Dec 18, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

RR and Belien have one thing in common. They both seem to hate being ranked.


Sat, Dec 18, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

I love Novak's intensity, kinda like a young Ron Artest, whether it's defense or offense he goes all out every time. I hope we can keep it up this season. Only losing by 3 to 'Cuse was a start, but now we need an upset. Definitely looking forward to the Kansas game in January.


Sat, Dec 18, 2010 : 6:08 p.m.

TV Teddy was "The Show" and well worth the price of admission with his animated style of officiating....shades of Emmit Ashford.