You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Nov 28, 2010 : 6:04 p.m.

Michigan learned about high-major college basketball and that it needs to improve

By Michael Rothstein


Michigan's Matt Vogrich (13) collides with UTEP's Isaac Gordon (20) on Saturday. The Michigan basketball team is 3-2 after losing to Syracuse and UTEP in the Legends Classic.

Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - The Michigan basketball players sat in its locker room under the stands of Boardwalk Hall and came to a simple realization. After two games in two nights provided two losses with two sub-par second halves, the Wolverines have a long way to go.

In a 53-50 loss to No. 9 Syracuse on Friday, Michigan saw how a long, athletic team could take its entire offense away with a zone. On Saturday in a 65-56 loss to UTEP in the consolation game of the Legends Classic, the Wolverines watched saw how an aggressive man-to-man defense could suffocate passing lanes and force turnovers and mental mistakes.

Both teams played in the NCAA tournament last year and returned at least one key cog - for Syracuse, Rick Jackson, Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine and for UTEP Randy Culpepper - from those squads.

“For a young team, I think we can draw from that and see how top-level college basketball is played,” junior guard Zack Novak said. “A lot of these guys, this is their first real high-level experience. It’ll be good for them, they’ll get it.

“It’ll be something we can draw on.”

Michigan, 3-2, needs the six freshmen and redshirt freshmen the Wolverines have used so far learn quickly. The Wolverines face Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday.

And then there’s a break from high-major opponents. But what Michigan saw on the Jersey Shore will be replicated for 18 nights in America’s heartland as well.

The Big Ten, both from a size and athleticism standpoint, will look a lot like what Michigan saw in Atlantic City.

“We had a pretty easy first three games,” junior guard Stu Douglass said. “And now we know what college basketball is all about.”

While the Wolverines played well against Syracuse, they faltered in major ways against UTEP on both offense (being held without a field goal for a third of the game) on defense (losing assignments and getting hurt in transition) and mentally (bad shot selection and poor passes).

“We have to blend those things,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “The way we shot the ball at times last night was good, but I thought overall numbers weren’t great. This is a team you just have to watch grow, push through the tough times and just keep getting better.”

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



Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 12:06 a.m.

Good Lord, The Fischer sanctions were well over toward the end of Amaker's tenure. How many years and coaches ago was that? Move on.Blue Every player on this team is JB's. He has a propensity to run off the guys that he doesn't want.


Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Dennis stated the reason for the demise of the Basketball and Football programs at Michigan perfectly. How is is possible not to even get to the NIT with Harris and Sims on the team? At any rate, here we go again with the MANTRA of the Michigan Basketball and Football Programs: "It is what it is". We are paying for the laziness of a guy who made his fortune in real estate by the name of Bill Martin.


Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

@discgolfgeek: We had a hot young coach with Amaker and look what we got there.


Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

Beilein is a good coach and this team will be competitive. I still believe we will make the NCAA tourney with this squad, as they will come on strong as season progresses.


Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 8:11 a.m.

Two things have killed Michigan basketball. 1) Sanctions/penalties from the Fischer era which killed recruiting for years. 2) Crisler Arena is a total relic compared to other arenas that top recruits get see on their college tours. The only top recruits we stand a chance of getting are kids that grew up as Wolverine fans. Honestly, I doubt they could have gotten a bigger name coach than Beilein given these circumstances. However, they could have gotten a hot young coach but obviously decided against taking that chance. I think Beilein can get more out of less as he has done in the past but I am concerned that his offense is too gimmicky and he will never be able to recruit top players to play in it. Now the football job is a different story, that hiring was totally botched.


Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 6:14 a.m.

Great post Dennis and you are absolutely correct. Martin is the guilty party. He alone destroyed the University of Michigan sports.


Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 12:18 a.m.

After going through such a successful football season and as we enter into the Basketball campaign we should all thank Bill Martin for his vision and leadership of the Athletic Department. Evidently he believed that all roads lead to West Virginia. Someone want to do the Math and figure the records of the coaches that he hired in Big Ten competition? Thanks Bill, I have heard that your good at Real Estate and Buildings. Too bad you didn't stick to your strong suites.


Sun, Nov 28, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

17% from the 3 line in an offense that is predicated on shooting at least 40% to be competitive. B*Line should consider running the Utah high ball screen game with Morris and Morgan. It is simple and it works.