If you were wondering why senior guard Andrew Dakich didn’t see the floor against Central Arkansas, it’s because he is once again trying to redshirt. Dakich had preferred to sit out last season or the year before, but injuries pressed him into action. The walk-on played 13 games as as sophomore and 24 games last year.
Beilein said Dakich could play at a Division II or lower-level Division I school—a MAC or Horizon school could be a good fit—and have a Master’s degree paid for. But, as in the past, Dakich will sacrifice that opportunity if needed again this year.
“If we had an injury at his position, he’s willing to burn his redshirt immediately if he can get on the court,” Beilein said.
Dakich more than holds his own at practice. Same for senior walk-on Sean Lonergan, who has seen game action this season. Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews, who has to sit out this season, and freshman Austin Davis, who almost certainly will, have been working hard behind the scenes. Neither comes off the floor during practice, and they lift weights and go through individual instruction on game days.
“We realize they’re a big part of our future,” Beilein said of Matthews and Davis. “Both have really been good. Austin’s got some instincts—he actually blocks shots much better than we ever anticipated. He’s got a feel for what’s next.”
That meshes with what DJ Wilson told me last week. He said Davis has been “catching everything, finishing, and trying to block everything.”
Going deep, again
Like many coaches, John Beilein usually talks up the opponent. He did so today, noting how Maryland Eastern Shore had played several teams tough this year. He went as far as saying this is one of the better guarantee games on Michigan’s schedule. The fact is, the Hawks are 1-9, their lone win coming against a Division II school. Their KenPom ranking is the worst of Michigan’s opponents this year. The Wolverines will be a 20-plus-point favorite tomorrow afternoon. There’s reason to think the game could be a lot like their last, a 97-53 win over Central Arkansas.
Like Central Arkansas, Maryland Eastern Shore’s defense allows a ton of attempts and makes from three. On Tuesday, that led to a record-setting performance for Michigan: 19 makes on 45 three-point attempts.
Duncan Robinson—who hit 4/9 from deep in that game—was asked if he was licking his chops in anticipation of the matchup.
“A little bit. We’re just to take good shots. We had so many three-point attempts the other night, but I think they were all really good shots—open, in rhythm.”
He’s right. In fact, Robinson could have let it fly even more. Beilein was disappointed in his tentativeness and has continued to remind him to “hunt” shots.
Michigan had the Central Arkansas game wrapped up by halftime, but they didn’t let up. Blowouts can sometimes get sloppy, but for the most part, the Wolverines continued to execute on both ends. They only committed six turnovers.
“I thought our kids did a great job of not worrying about the score and just playing hard throughout,” Beilein said. “We need that same approach tomorrow.”