Reviewing the Michigan basketball team's 80-58 win over Gardner-Webb
The Michigan basketball team finished its pre-big game schedule with an 80-58 shellacking of Gardner-Webb on Sunday.
While the competition ratchets up markedly this week in the Legends Classic against Syracuse and then either Georgia Tech or UTEP, the Wolverines continue to show progress.
Starting lineup: Guards Darius Morris and Zack Novak; forwards Tim Hardway Jr., Evan Smotrycz and Jordan Morgan
Observations Jordan Morgan:Really like the baby hook out of the low post. If he starts making that consistently, he’s going to be a 10-point-per-game scorer in the Big Ten. That’s a very difficult move to stop. He has really gotten good control with a one-handed, right-handed shot that could be devastating as he rounds out his offensive game.
Darius Morris:Love the pro-hop skills. He can cover the lane in two steps and when he does that, it forces defenders to collapse on him. It might be his best move. It’ll be interesting to see how his cuts work this week when the competition gets better.
Blake McLimans:Not in love with his shot. He’s taking smart shots only when he’s open, but his stroke looks rushed and the ball is leaving his hand too early in his motion.
Offensive rebounding:Michigan crashed the offensive boards well, with Morgan leading the way with six rebounds. But usually the Wolverines had two players in the paint. That was something you saw much of last year.
Ball handling:One thing that really stands out is Michigan’s lack of really good ball handlers. So far Michigan has three. The only players who should really be slashing on any sort of regular basis are Stu Douglass, Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr. They are Michigan’s three best passers and, right now, the Wolverines’ three best perimeter players.
Evan Smotrycz: Best move right now is the pump fake, one dribble and pop. It worked early against Gardner-Webb. He isn’t as strong, though, going to the hoop as he adjusts to the college game.
Defense:Michigan’s man-to-man defense has been fine thus far, but it’ll be interesting to see how it works against big-time guards who have the speed to turn the corner at the top of the key. So far, the 1-3-1 zone has looked unimpressive. Too many easy baskets and missed rotations.
Stu Douglass:Athleticism is really starting to show. His behind-the-back save of an errant Tim Hardaway Jr. pass was the most eye-popping play of the game. It doesn’t show in the box score, but he’s starting to become a "little things" player as well, which is key when Zack Novak struggles.
Spacing:Like the spacing and small cuts Michigan has made on offense the past few games. It’s allowed for some confusion when opponents play man and has opened up interior post passing lanes.
Team play:Almost everything, save for a Morris drive or two, is coming in the flow of the offense. Very rarely did that happen last year.
Michigan Player Impact Chart (courtesy of Statsheet.com)