Michigan Hammers Norfolk State

November 25, 2008

novaknf11Let me start out by saying I love the chemistry on this team. These guys are really functioning as a unit on the court. They are playing hard and they are playing together. Coach Beilein said you can beat anybody when you believe in what you are doing. These guys believe.

Michigan had to win this game and preferably in convincing fashion and that is exactly what they did with an 81-49 victory over an outmatched Norfolk State team.

Michigan actually started the game 0-10 from the field and did not score until Stuart Douglass hit a three pointer at the 15:21 mark. Zack Novak provided a huge spark in the first half with 10 points.

Manny Harris continued his incredible start to the season by scoring 16 points, hauling down a career high 15 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists, and picking up a steal.

shepherdnfJevohn Shepherd had the best game of his career scoring 11 points to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 0 turnovers.

Anthony Wright started the game 0-5 but finished 4-5 good for 12 points and he had 5 rebounds

Michigan was really pushing the tempo especially when Kelvin Grady was in at the point. Grady was playing very fast and under control. Grady only scored 3 points but had 5 assists against 2 turnovers.

Coach John Beilein said in the post game that Michigan’s offensive transition game was “exceptional tonight”. He said he wants to run on every rebound and every turnover at full speed, just go.

He also mentioned that Manny Harris had 10 defensive rebounds and “that is the greatest face break you can have because everyone has to go at his (Harris’) speed, which is very fast”.

The Wolverines had some very good ball movement as they played very unselfish basketball. They really seem to be coming together as a team and that great chemistry that Coach Beilein said this team has is becoming very apparent.  


Tim McCormick did the color commentary. Being a Clarkston native I have always respected McCormick and I have noticed that he is not afraid to tell it as it is. When things don’t look good he will say that and not try to serve any maize and blue Kool-Aid. On this night McCormick had a lot of good things to say, which I take as a good sign about the team. Here are some of his comments:   

On Laval Lucas-Perry: He said that Lucas-Perry has a unique ability to separate and he said “this guy gets it”. He also said that LLP will be the best point guard Michigan has had since Rumeal Robinson. 

 On Zack Novak: Novak understands the offense at the level of a junior or senior. 

On Manny Harris: Manny reminds him of former Michigan great Mike McGee. He also said Manny is the best scorer in the Big Ten and that he can score in many different ways. 

McCormick also said what I have heard several other basketball people say about Michigan, “they play hard”.  

Inside the numbers: After starting the game 0-10 Michigan shot 32-61 good for 54% from the field. The Wolverines had 21 assists on 32 made field goals. Michigan had 14 turnovers, 7 steals, and 5 blocked shots. Michigan did out rebound the Spartans 49-35 and had 16 offensive rebounds. Michigan was 9-27 on three pointers and had 6 different players make a three pointer.

Notes: Ben Cronin played 8 minutes and scored 6 points to go along with 2 rebounds.
Zack Gibson tweaked his back in the first half and did not return.



Another Look at the UCLA game

November 21, 2008

I like how ESPNs Andy Katz said it in this article, It was just one game, but it was against one of the most famous programs on one of the most famous stages.


83742129NL028_2K_SPORTS_CLAThe first half was a bit rough. Coach Beilein said this about the first half,

“The first half to me looked a lot like last year’s team,” said Beilein, who watched his team fall behind by as many as eight points in the opening half. “We’d act like there’s a grenade in our hands and think the ball’s going to blow up if we didn’t do anything with it.”

They were down but not out. UCLA coach Ben Howland said, “When they got down 10 it didn’t rattle them”.

I think back to what Coach Beilein said last week, that this team has great chemistry. I am a big believer in team chemistry. I could see evidence of great chemistry on this team last night.

One of the most dramatic plays of the game was proof of that. With :34 seconds left in the game Anthony Wright hit DeShawn Sims on a back door cut for a dunk and a 4 point lead. Here is what Sims said about that play, “I knew Anthony was going to make that pass”.

How did he know that?

With less than a minute left, Beilein let Anthony Wright know in a time-out huddle that the Bruins, who were over-pressuring Sims in the five position, were leaving themselves open to a backdoor cut to the basket.


When I was taking a lot of heat for my 21 wins prediction one of my reasons for that prediction was John Beilein. The guy is a great coach and you cannot discount that. We have not seen a coach like this in my lifetime at Michigan.

I remember when Beilein was hired that Tim McCormick said John Beilein will be the best coach Michigan Basketball has ever had.


These guys trust each other and they trust their coach. Their coach believes in them and they believe in their coach. Coach Beilein said, “You can win against anybody if you just believe in what you do.” I think they believe.



Inside the numbers: Michigan was out rebounded 38-25. Michigan had 15 assists against 10 turnovers and forced UCLA into 17 turnovers. I think that is the difference in the game right there. Michigan’s execution of the 1-3-1 forced UCLA into those turnovers and the Wolverines converted those into easy baskets on numerous fast breaks.

In the final 6:50 of the game UCLA scored 9 points. In the final 2:30 of the game UCLA scored 2 points.


This was Michigan’s first win against a top-five ranked opponent since the 1997-98 season when U-M beat No. 1 Duke 81-73 on Dec. 3, 1997, at Crisler Arena.


83742129NL035_2K_SPORTS_CLAFreshmen Stuart Douglass had a break out game and showed off his quick release and unlimited range last night. He also continued to show the ability to set up his teammates as a playmaker.