ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With Derrick Walton and Spike Albrecht on the mend and not quite at 100-percent efficiency early on in the season, it's clear that the team will, at times, have to ride the wide shoulders of guard Caris LeVert.
Averaging about 17 points-per-game this season, LeVert has shown at certain points he is up to the task.
In the case of Tuesday night's 82-58 thrashing by SMU, that was certainly not the task. Playing arguably the worst game of his entire career, LeVert finished with a measly five points and making one a single field goal from the floor.
The uncharacteristically bad night shooting will only go down as a misnomer, Michigan head coach John Beilein said during his weekly radio interview on WTKA's The Michigan Insider Thursday. You can also contribute the attention LeVert deservedly receives from the opposition as a contributing factor.
"What is happening right now and we saw it a little bit last year too is that he's going to attract the other team's best defender," Beilein said. "Him and his reserve that's all they're going to do, shut that guy down. They're just going to load up against him. That's something he's continuing to learn, that sometimes he's going to do less to do more and sometimes when he has opportuniities that he has to take advantage of. He's learning every day, a terrific kid to coach and that will not happen again."
"You know it was a bad night when he was missing foul shots. I think he went in there shooting 90-percent in volume. It was a tough night for him, it was a tough night for all of us. We can't run of the same stuff that we normally run through him because, without Derrick in there, there's just a lot of little dominoe effects when you have an injury like Derrick has, it effects the rest of the team."
When nights that a player is off, he is simply off. That was the case for LeVert on Tuesday night, no matter what Beilein can or can not say to him. However, Beilein did give some insight about his team and his thought process regarding LeVert's bad night.
"As the game went on when we don't play well is when the ball sticks," Beilein said. "When you got two or three guys infront of you and you take that -- it's just the matter of one extra dribble, one extra dribble -- before you hit somebody that's open, that's the timing that you need. Don't get frustrated by it, keep the ball moving and let the game come back to you."