Michigan basketball has found the opening rounds of the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament to be quite friendly. The Wolverines ambushed Cleveland State to the tune of a 42-14 halftime lead and ultimately won by a final score of 77-47.
Michigan used a balanced and unselfish attack to impose their will upon a young Vikings squad.
So far in the early going Michigan has been extremely efficient shooting the basketball. They have scored inside and out. The addition of Nik Stauskas and his ability to stretch the defense is going to cause opposing coaches many a headache as they prepare to play Michigan this year.
Overall, the Wolverines shot 30-59 (51%) from the floor and 9-24 (38%) from long range.
Perhaps most impressively, this new look Michigan squad out-rebounded CSU 45-27. That’s a stat we haven’t been able to type in quite a few years.
Near the end of the game John Beilein went with a lineup on that court that included Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford at the same time. Many fans wondered in the preseason if Michigan would use a double-post look. The blowout scenario was a great time for Beilein to test it out. Michigan didn’t look great in this sequence but it was a start.
If you were to identify one clear leader (a preseason point of interest) on this team, it would have to be Tim Hardaway, Jr. He has the look of a veteran presence on the floor who is playing for his team. He scored a game-high 17 points on 7-12 shooting (3-6 from deep) yet still found time to dish out 4 assists and remained active on the boards with 6 rebounds.
Mitch McGary had a really nice run at the end of the 1st half. Despite his massive size, he is a gifted athlete who can finish in a variety of ways near the rim and chew up defensive rebounds with ease. Expect moments of solid play from him this year sprinkled in with some games where he doesn’t really get it going. The future is definitely bright for McGary though. He finished the night with 6 points and 9 boards (3 offensive).
Nik Stauskas is as advertised from a shooting perspective. But it’s his all-around game that has impressed in the early going. He is active on the glass and isn’t afraid to take the ball into the lane for a layup or a dump-off to a teammate. He poured in 15 points tonight on 5-6 shooting (3-4 on 3′s) and corralled 6 rebounds to boot.
Trey Burke was only 1-4 from 3-point range in this one but finished with 12 points, 7 assists, and 4 boards. He was in total command and looks every bit the part of one of the nation’s elite point guards.
Glenn Robinson III was just 2-7 from the floor but managed 8 points, 7 boards, and 2 assists. He will continue to stuff the stat sheet all season long.
Michigan gets the winner of the Pitt-Lehigh matchup next week at the famed Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of this tourney.