One game. 40 minutes. No ties. No lead changes.
Exhibition games in college basketball provide little insight into diagnosing the level of season a team is going to ultimately end up with. What Michigan's 83-47 exhibition win over Northern Michigan Thursday night did showcase to viewers, fans, and any other outsiders looking in, is that the Wolverines have oodles of talent and the makings of a true team.
To head coach John Beilein, the coaching staff and the players, they'll learn so much more.
"We video tape every practice and I watch most of every practice if not at least the scrimmages and five on five things," said Beilein after Michigan's win. "And it's the same type of thing where you're playing against yourself and now we get to watch something like that and there's so many things.
"We'll show those 17 assists and show how we shared the ball and give a lot of gratitude to that," added Beilein. "At the same time I thought that northern Michigan didn't just come in and throw it up and allow us to get 80 points. We had to guard them for 30 seconds a lot and that's really key for us that we had to work defensively, stay in a stance, work defensively so we can get out and run."
Despite applauding the 17 assists, led by the surprise of the evening Spike Albrecht who accounted for six, Beilein was urging others to be a little more aggressive and unselfish, specifically Tim Hardaway Jr. who finished with 13 points Thursday night.
"Timmy was so unselfish," said Beilein. "I told Timmy we need you to score points though. You've built a little more trust, but just the way they passed it around and saw each other it's good. Obviously when you're making three's like we came out and did at the start of both halves, that's pretty good for us."
Michigan was doing the little things necessary for any team looking to have a big season. Whether it's an intuitive steal by senior Matt Vogrich, the lone senior to start for the Wolverines. Or a first half charge endured by freshman Mitch McGary that seemed eerily familiar to fellow Chesterton, Indiana native Zack Novak. Or possibly even the forgotten freshmen among fans in point guard Spike Albrecht, diving for a loose ball with 10:36 left in a 31-point blowout.
Of course Michigan is sure to be tested this season when they'll be forced to navigate their way through a difficult non-conference schedule and then the always physical and talented 18-game Big Ten slate looming in December. But the way the Wolverines beat Northern Michigan, forgetting about the score, should be a very pleasing sign with one more practice game left before the regular season on Monday against Slippery Rock at Crisler Center.
Freshmen lead the way
The freshmen lead the way for Michigan offensively with 3 of the 5 hitting double figures in points lead by Spike Albrecht who finished with 16, Glenn Robinson III with 13 and Nick Stauskas with 17 to lead all scorers.
For all of the talk about nerves for the fresh five leading up to their first game action in front of the Crisler Center crowd, it certainly didn't show.
Albrecht is a crafty point guard with a terrific basketball IQ, filling in nicely for sophomore Trey Burke who sat following his one game suspension for a violation of team standards.
Robinson III looked confident and aggressive, something Beilein was clamoring for in his Wednesday press conference.
Nick Stauskas, known for his outside shooting, had that on full display with five triples, but he showed the propensity to make plays off the bounce as well, routinely setting up teammates for easy dunks or lay-ins.
Center Mitch McGary brought some energy to the Wolverines and obviously some size inside but as Beilein addressed once again after the game, the freshman's playing shape isn't where they want it based on a lingering foot issue that they're trying to get back to 100 percent.
Caris LeVert, who's been raved about by coaches and players since the summer, showed off his quick cross over as well as perimeter shooting, although he struggled with a couple undisciplined turnovers that will need to be cleaned up.
To hear John Beilein's thoughts from his post game presser, press play below.
#5 Michigan cruises over Northern Michigan
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