Quick Recap: The Wolverines completed their undefeated non-conference schedule by outlasting the Central Michigan Chippewas, 88-73. Michigan, now at 13-0, continued to display their unbelievable offensive efficiency shooting 51.5% from the field en route to their best start since 1985-86. Central Michigan’s up-tempo play was unsuccessful as they fell to 7-6, their third loss to a Big Ten team this season.
Player of the Game: Trey Burke, spearheaded Michigan’s offense, with 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting (4 of 7 from behind the arc) along with 11 assists to only one turnover. Four of those assists led to dunks courtesy of Glenn Robinson III. When Central Michigan tried to establish a frenetic pace early, Trey Burke guided Michigan’s offense at their preferred speed, controlling the pace thereafter.
Positives: Glenn Robinson III quietly put up 20 points on 9 of 13 shooting, continuing to display his athleticism and fantastic finishes in the paint. Nik Stauskas came out firing in the 2nd half with 17 points, including 5 three’s, after only 2 points in the first half.
Negatives: The defense in the 2nd half was a major disappointment, as Central Michigan actually outscored the Wolverines 44-42. Central Michigan completely controlled the interior, although Michigan rarely allowed the Chippewas to cut into their 20-point lead. Michigan will face superior offenses in Big Ten conference play and will need to improve their defensive effort as the season progresses.
X-Factor: Caris LeVert, starting in place of the injured Tim Hardaway, looked confident and aggressive early, scoring 9 points while dishing out 5 assists. He has steadily improved all season and his emergence only strengthens an already deep bench for Coach Beilein.
Game-Changing Moment: Both teams came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, as Michigan led 21 to 15 six minutes into the game. However, the Wolverines struggled early with the Chippewas’ up-tempo pace, as their transition defense looked a step slow. Coach Beilein brought in Mitch McGary and Michigan’s defense immediately improved. The Wolverines opened up a 15-point lead in the next 6 minutes and controlled the game thereafter. McGary has been the defensive MVP of the season thus far, and this game was no exception.
Big Picture: Finishing 13-0 in non-conference play is a great accomplishment. However, the competition will get tougher as conference play opens up, and Michigan will have to shore up their interior defense. Beilein’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, yet Burke and company have not seen a tough Big Ten defense yet and must be prepared to fight through more physical play. The first road test is Thursday at Northwestern.