Michigan played a nearly flawless game as it blew out Chaminade, 102-64, in the consolation round of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night.
John Beilein joked after the win that he had hoped to never face Chaminade in his career. The tournament game against a Division II opponent is a loss before it even tips off because there’s no credit to the RPI and the Wolverines technically lose an official game on the schedule.
But all that Michigan could do on Tuesday was win the game and execute after spending the morning watching film of last night’s loss to LSU. There was no let down, only crisp offense and hot shooting.
Michigan introduced a new starting point guard on Tuesday night, freshman guard Eli Brooks, but the real story was its developing star on the wing. Charles Matthews picked up where he left off on Monday night and finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, three blocks and two steals. He did it all on perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the floor.
Offensively, everything looks better when the threes are falling. Michigan made 15-of-28 threes and most were wide open. Seven different players hit at least one triple in the win and the Wolverines got basically whatever they wanted on offense, finishing with 1.51 points per possession.
Defensively, everything was up to par except for defensive rebounding. Chaminade rebounded 37 percent of its missed shots less than 24 hours after the Wolverines allowed LSU to rebound 39 percent of its misses. On Wednesday, they’ll face another aggressive offensive rebounding team in VCU. Defensive rebounding was a concern heading into the season, but Michigan isn’t just getting overpowered for boards it just isn’t securing them all. One-handed or deflected rebounds have been commonplace and that remains something that needs to be cleaned up.
There’s nothing to overreact to in a blowout win over a Chaminade team that just didn’t have the horses, but there’s something to be said for Michigan’s focus. The Wolverines will need to carry that over against a much better VCU team on Wednesday to right the ship and leave Maui in a good spot.
- Charles Matthews: 22 points on 8 shots. Matthews looks like the real deal and it feels like Matthews (and Michigan) is only just starting to learn how good he can be. He was aggressive attacking the basket today, playing out of ball screens (4 assists today) and he even knocked in both of his three-point attempts. As the confidence started building, the free throws (4-of-5) started falling as well. Matthews also could be one of Michigan’s best offensive rebounding weapons since Mitch McGary.
- Eli Brooks: Brooks got the start and finished just 1-of-5 from the floor with 2 assists to 1 turnover in 21 minutes. Beilein said after the game that even though Brooks didn’t shoot the ball well, he likes his team’s offensive flow better when he’s on the floor. It would be great if the offense could flow and his shots would fall (Brooks is 2-of-10 from three this year) but he does look confident at the helm. Can he handle the ball consistently against pressure and defend quicker point guards? Those might be the two keys toward him keeping his spot at No. 1 — they’ll also be tested tomorrow against VCU. The other half of the equation? The other two point guards aren’t showing much to demand time either.
- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman: The three started falling for Abdur-Rahkman after a 6-of-23 start to the season. He knocked in 3-of-4 long range attempts and had a team high 5 assists in the victory. He’s still feeling his way out toward being a more aggressive cog in the offense, but seeing some shots go down should provide a nice confidence boost.
- Duncan Robinson: Robinson finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 (4-9 3pt) shooting with 3 assists to 0 turnovers in 29 minutes. The game stretched in the second half which resulted in several open transition threes which are his bread and butter.
- Moritz Wagner: Wagner had a quiet day, only attempting 6 shots, but finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. The trailer three seems to be his favorite shot right now from the perimeter, but his improved strength and finishing down low was also evident.
- Jon Teske: Teske is clearly the No. 2 big on the Michigan roster and had 6 points and four rebounds in 14 minutes. He’s disruptive with his length and mobility and continues to look surprisingly comfortable passing the ball offensively.
- Jaaron Simmons: Simmons remained in his role as the first point guard off the bench, but it was another quiet night for the graduate transfer. He missed two driving layups and didn’t record an assist in the win. His adjustment to the Michigan offense continues to take longer than expected and there haven’t been many positive signs in Maui.
- Zavier Simpson: Simpson was relegated to the No. 3 spot in the point guard rotation, but he handed out four assists with some nifty passing in the ball screen game. A lot of that production came late when the game was out of hand, but he showed a good feel. His lone three-point attempt was a bad miss, but he did score on a drive to the basket.
- Isaiah Livers: If Michigan could only have one of its bench players develop into a solid rotation option, it would be Isaiah Livers. His size, length and athleticism are needed at the four spot, but he hasn’t been consistent enough when he’s on the court. It was good to see him hit a few shots late (two corner threes and a breakout dunk), but he continues to make the sort of mistakes that are critical in a close game.
- Jordan Poole: Poole earned some rare first half playing time and quickly buried a three and scored on a fastbreak dunk. The rest of his day wasn’t as fruitful, he forced the issue on a coast-to-coast missed layup, turned the ball over on a poor entry pass and was whistled for a handcheck. The reaction from the bench when he tried an over the shoulder pass ahead instead of grabbing the ball and dribbling the clock out in the final minute was telling. Decision making will be the key to Poole seeing the floor.
- Ibi Watson: Watson appears to be slipping in the rotation a bit as Poole saw the floor before him in the first half.
- Austin Davis: Davis played seven minutes in the second half and grabbed five rebounds (3 offensive) and scored 4 points. He was physical around the basket but was also whistled for a pair of fouls.