Wolverines Have Their Issues, Too

The Golden Gophers are on a bit of a slide, but their next opponent has been struggling more with a new coach, leading to speculation and rumors about the mental state of the team.

Has John Beilein lost his team in his first season as coach at Michigan?

Not so, say the Wolverines. Multiple players debunked a report by the Detroit News on its website that there was a mutiny afoot and they were tuning out Beilein.

"I don't know who made that rumor up," freshman guard Kelvin Grady told the Ann Arbor News. "Coach Beilein, he's put a lot into this system. Everything is starting to come together from what he's been talking about. No, we've never stopped listening to him."

Ironically, the report came just before Michigan nearly pulled off an upset at Wisconsin on Jan. 22 before falling 64-61.

"We started to pick up the intensity," sophomore forward DeShawn Sims said. "If you want to play big-time college basketball and compete, you have to pick up the intensity."

The intensity was also there against Michigan State on Jan. 27 but Michigan was outclassed in a 77-62 road loss that sent the Wolverines to their fourth straight loss and nine in their last 10 games. That left the Wolverines 5-15 overall and 1-7 in the Big Ten.

NOTES

  • Michigan has faced eight ranked teams in their first 20 games this season and gone 0-8. The latest loss came at Michigan State, 77-62 on Jan. 27. The previous defeats came at the hands of Georgetown, Butler, Duke, UCLA, Wisconsin twice and Indiana.

  • Michigan is 5-15 for its worst record after 20 games since the 1981-82 team also opened 5-15.

    F Ron Coleman has lost his starting job since the senior missed the first game of his career Jan. 12 against Northwestern with a sprained right ankle. However, Coleman is getting healthier as his 16 minutes off the bench in the loss at Michigan State on Jan. 27 indicated. He had played a combined 11 minutes in the previous two games.

  • F Epke Udoh, the Big Ten leader in blocked shots, swatted only one shot in the loss at Michigan State on Jan. 27. That marked only the third time in 20 games this season that Udoh did not have multiple blocks.

  • G Jevohn Shepherd has started the last five games in place of F Ron Coleman (sprained right ankle) and averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds.

  • F DeShawn Sims and G Manny Harris are the only two players to start all 20 games this season. Harris has reached double figures in scoring 18 times and Sims has been in double digits 17 times.

    IN FOCUS: Michigan's young backcourt will have to handle the pressure of Minnesota's defense, one of the best in the nation at forcing turnovers. The Wolverines have won three straight and five of their last six games against the Golden Gophers.

    PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — F DeShawn Sims, F Epke Udoh, G Manny Harris, G Jevohn Shepherd, G C.J. Lee. Key Subs — F Zack Gibson, F Anthony Wright, G Kelvin Grady, G David Merritt.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're trying to learn intangibles about basketball right now and the effort areas. We're starting to understand those are important parts of winning." — Coach John Beilein.

    GAME REVIEW:

    Iowa 68, Michigan 60

    Wisconsin 64, Michigan 61

    Michigan State 77, Michigan 62

    GAME PREVIEW:

    vs. Minnesota, Thursday, Jan. 31

    at Ohio State, Tuesday, Feb. 5

    vs. Penn State, Saturday, Feb. 9


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