I don’t know what to say about this team. Besides Manny Harris, the best thing about last night was seeing Ann Arbor native (and freshman walk-on) Eso Akunne get major minutes and not look totally overmatched. For most of the game Michigan was jacking up ill-advised (and poorly-aimed) shots while Utah was allowed to take whatever shot they pleased. I have no idea how Michigan was in the game until late in the second half, but it certainly wasn’t because of solid all-around play — if Utah didn’t commit 17 turnovers (yes, that’s partly Michigan’s doing, but it was also just carelessness on their part) this would have been a blowout from start to finish. A few player-specific bullets:
- Let’s highlight the one good part of last night’s game: Manny Harris continued to carry this team as far as he could, scoring 25 points on 8-16 shooting, pulling down six rebounds, and adding four steals. He probably would have had more than one assist if anyone else on the team could make a shot. At this point, I really wouldn’t blame him for going pro as soon as this season is over.
- DeShawn Sims — I don’t know how many different ways it needs to be said, but it seems to come up every game: You are not a good three point shooter. Period. Sims’ 10 points came on 4-12 shooting, including 2-7 threes, and Sims — our starting center and second scoring option — failed to get to the free throw line even once. I don’t care how big the team you’re playing is, that’s totally unacceptable. If John Beilein has to anchor him to the block in practice, that’s fine by me. So far, Sims’ senior season has been a complete disappointment, and a large part of it has to do with his unwillingness to stay in the post.
- I really just feel bad for Stu Douglass at this point. He is now shooting an abysmal 23.9% from the field, and is 8-34 on the season from three. Add in the fact that he’s a liability defensively because of his lack of quickness, and he’s really hurting the team just by being on the floor right now. I really hope he finds his shot soon, because the longer this goes on, the less acceptable it is that Beilein gives him big minutes. We need Stu hitting shots if we hope to be a decent team in the Big Ten, but this is one of the worst shooting slumps I’ve ever witnessed. Hope he gets back on track soon.
- The defensive effort as a whole was completely uninspiring. The team isn’t playing help D, is selling out for turnovers, and got beat down the court several times after made baskets. I have no idea how much of this is on coaching, how much is on effort, and how much is on the team’s lack of physical ability, but something needs to change.
- Quickly, the rest of the guys: Anthony Wright needs a long benching after the idiotic transition three-point attempt when Michigan had a chance to make the game very interesting — he just isn’t bringing anything to the table right now. Darius Morris shows flashes of brilliance, and I think he’ll be a very good point guard when he learns how to finish and adds a decent mid-range shot. Zack Gibson totally disappeared, and I have no idea why. Matt Vogrich had one very nice pass to Manny for a layup, but just gets consistently exposed defensively. LLP clearly is doing something wrong in practice, because he played six fewer minutes than Akunne on a night when Douglass struggled mightily and Zack Novak was out with the flu.