Most teams are just four games into the Big Ten season but here are some random statistics that stand out for Michigan early on. Almost all of the team stats referenced in this post refer to conference-only numbers — even if it is a bit early.
Rebounding: Michigan is rebounding 74.3% of its opponents missed shots which is tied for second best in the Big Ten. On the other hand, the Wolverines are rebounding just 18.5% of their missed shots, worst in the Big Ten by a significant margin.
It’s a bit appalling just how bad Michigan is on the offensive glass but this is also by design. Like it or not, John Beilein’s teams are not going to crash the glass and this one is no different.
On the defensive end there’s a lot to be excited about and this doesn’t appear to be a four game anomaly as Michigan ranks second in defensive rebounding over the etnire season as well. I wrote before the season that defensive rebounding was one of the keys this year which makes these numbers even more encouraging..
Shooting: It’s been masked a bit by Michigan’s 1-3 Big Ten record but the Wolverines have an effective field goal percentage of 56% which is third best in the Big Ten. The gaudy shooting numbers stem from the perimeter as Michigan is shooting 41% from three point range in conference games.
The shooting numbers are somewhat encouraging on an individual basis as well, here are the three point shooting numbers for the whole season with past seasons listed for comparison.
Douglass has seen his percentage plummet of late but Novak’s is on the rise. If both players can hang around 38% for the remainder of hte season that would be a huge boost for Michigan.
Evan Smotrycz is the best perimeter shooter on the team with a three point percentage over 40%, not bad for a 6-foot-9 freshman. McLimans and Horford have marred Michigan’s season long numbers and are 2 of 20 combined.
D-Mo: Michigan has made 89 field goals in Big Ten play. Darius Morris has been responsible for 53% of those made shots. The sophomore point guard has made 20 field goals and assisted 27 others in Big Ten play.
When Michigan’s offense is being slowed down, there are often possessions that result in Darius running the pick and roll and having to make something happen. He’s hit rough patches but there’s no doubt that he’s been productive, essentially creating half of Michigan’s offense thus far.
Defense: Defense was a strength for Michigan in non-conference play but the Wolverines are struggling to slow down Big Ten offenses. The Michigan defense is surrendering 1.2 points per possession which is third worst in the Big Ten, ahead of only Iowa and Indiana.
Michigan opponents are getting to the line a lot (FTR 38.2, 9th) and shooting the lights out from three point range (46%, 9th) while rarely turning it over (14 % TO Rate, 9th). Michigan has played some of the leagues best offenses (Purdue, Ohio State, etc.) but the defense will have to improve for Michigan to win conference games consistently.
Tempo. Michigan is playing the second slowest basketball in the Big Ten at 58 possessions per game. This deliberate tempo is obviously by design for Michigan and it makes every possession in a game a little bit more important. The trouble with this is that Michigan isn’t taking care of the basketball as well as they have in previous years under John Beilein. Michigan is turning it over on almost 20% of its possessions in the conference play, a mark that isn’t terrible but not good enough when you are trying to play this style of basketball.