Michigan basketball improved to 2-0 on the season by putting a beat down on the IUPUI Jaguars in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. With 5 players scoring in double-digits, the Wolverines won by a final count of 91-54. Great teams do this to inferior opponents. So far, Michigan looks pretty great.
This is the time of year when John Beilein irons out his rotation and lays the framework for the Big Ten season that looms ahead. So far that rotation is favoring a guard-heavy look. Jon Horford and Mitch McGary didn’t see a lot of action until the game was out of reach in the 2nd half.
In the 1st half, Michigan held just a 1-point lead at 26-25. From there, the Wolverines closed the game out on a 65-29 run. As a team they shot 60% from the floor and 13-21 from 3-point range (62%).
Michigan will play Cleveland State in the 2nd round of this tourney on Tuesday night for the right to hit Madison Square Garden next week. Tip is set for 8:05 eastern and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
For a complete tourney preview and schedule, click here.
Cleveland State is 2-0 after beating Grambling State in their opener and knocking off Bowling Green in OT Monday night. The Vikings were 22-11 a year ago and made it to the NIT tourney before losing in the 1st round to Stanford. They will be a bigger test than IUPUI was.
When Slippery Rock and IUPUI are your first 2 opponents it can be difficult to glean a ton of useful information from the outcome of the game. But moments and performances within the game can be dissected and put to good use.
Here are some things you need to know about this Michigan team so far:
- Trey Burke is better than your point guard. I don’t care who your guy is, Burke is better. Dominant point guards can take a team on an amazing journey if the right pieces are at his side. Burke has those pieces and he is that guy. His 3-point stroke looks effortless and pure. He is going to cause major problems to the opposition all season long. Burke had 22 points, 9 assists (tying a career-high), 3 boards, and was 4-7 from long range.
- At around the 14 minute mark of the 2nd half, Tim Hardaway, Jr. grabbed a defensive rebound, sprint-dribbled up the court, cut through the Jaguar defense and threw down an emphatic jam. Most impressive in that sequence was his confidence handling the rock. It looks as though his mindset is ready for great things this season. He was all over the defensive glass from the opening tip. He had 7 boards, leading Michigan, all coming on the defensive end.
- Jordan Morgan, an isportsweb favorite, is moving exceptionally well. Much has been made of his physical transformation since coming to Ann Arbor. It’s hard to overstate it to be honest. He is a beast who is quicker on his feet now than he’s ever been. He also canned a 16-foot jumper just above the free throw line, which was perhaps the longest made shot of his career. If he can add that to the mix even just a little bit, look out. J-Mo finished with 10 points on 5-6 shooting to go along with 5 boards.
- Glenn Robinson III is a dynamic athlete. He will be able to compete with the best leaper’s in the country as he plays way above the rim, but can still splash down a 3 when needed. He’s a deadly weapon. Robinson had 21 points and 6 rebounds and is just scratching the surface of his potential.
- In Nik Stauskas, it appears as though Beilein has finally found that cold-blooded shooter he’s been seeking since coming to Michigan. Stauskas’ length will serve him well during his Big Ten career. Four years of that jump shot is going to be a lot of fun to watch. Stauskas had 11 points and was 3-4 from deep.