First off, I would just like to comment on Michigan being the 2nd most aesthetically pleasing team in the country. Love those white unis.
Last year Michigan won a game in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in what seemed like forever. Because of this, and the return of virtually every contributor, they were a highly regarded team coming into the 09-10 season, and even had some sleeper buzz for winning the Big Ten.
However, going into the weekend they sit at just 4-5, which is the 9th best record in the Big Ten. What happened?
For starters, there is a lot of evidence that they weren’t as good as they appeared last year. John Gasaway noted that the Wolverines were actually outscored in Big 10 conference play last season. They also scored more points than they “should have” by looking at their 3 point percentage and offensive rebounding numbers. The Wolverines shot it very well from the line and didn’t turn it over much, resulting in, obviously, less empty trips.
The lack of turnovers has continued this year, as is custom in John Beilein’s offense, but some of the other numbers have collapsed. Their offensive rebounding, as we have already demonstrated with teams who shoot a lot of threes, is not good, but neither is their defensive rebounding. Although it is logical that a team that plays a lot of 1-3-1 zone wouldn’t defensive rebound, Gasaway (again with him?) notes that they rebounded fairly well in Big 10 play last year.
This year however the Wolverines are terrible at defensive rebounding. In fact, they check in at 320th nationally.
But perhaps their biggest problem has been – duh – shooting. If you want to make a recipe for not scoring a lot of points, Id imagine it would go a lot like this:
1. Have 43% of your FG attempts be 3s
2. Make Just 29% of your 3s
It’s really as simple as that. Now, they aren’t doing too hot from two either, but for an offense that lives and dies by the three, Michigan is in trouble. I have to imagine it is going to get better, as Michigan’s best guard (and 2nd team All-American) Manny Harris is shooting just 26% from three, and their best forward DeShawn Sims is shooting just 47% from two, Michigan should get better, and with a good showing in conference still has NCAA Tournament hopes.
Knocking off the #1 team in the nation on Saturday wouldn’t hurt either.