M made a big run over the first half to push the lead out to double digits over Providence.
M defense is of course legit. They’re giving up little penetration and doing a great job of contesting shots at the same time. One thing I’d note…there are a couple of weak(er) links on that roster with Iggy and Poole. On one occasion, Providence matched up Diallo against Iggy and he torched him. I think as the year goes along and definitely once we get to conference play, you’re going to see opponents work to get those guys isolated and see what they can get done.
The other thing M does very well defensively is balance the floor. Providence got zero in transition and really never had a chance. That’s long been a Beilein staple, even when they were horrendous on the defensive end, so not surprising but they are really disciplined with it.
On offense, at least for now, it’s about one thing and one thing only…put your head down and go to the rim. They took 29 shots in the first half and only 5 were 3s. That’s almost impossible to believe from a Beilein team but that’s the deal with this group and with good reason, because they just don’t have a great group of jump shooters. Job One against them has to be finding a way to limit their penetration, which could be easier said than done, but that’s what you’ve got to emphasize. I think you live with letting them shoot 20 footers. When they’re unable to penetrate, the half court offense looks ugly…there’s no post up game to default to and again, the 3s just aren’t featured with this team. One M staple which helps is that they don’t give it away…4 TOs in the half.
To me, it looks a lot like last year’s M team right now, save for the lack of a weapon like Wagner. Iggy is a productive offensive player but he’s totally different than Wagner…doesn’t give you the inside/outside threat Wagner provided. As I noted above, I’m going to be interested to see if Big Ten scouting can find the weak links I think might be there with their defense and exploit them enough to force Beilein to make some PT decisions. If I’m wrong, that defense is going to keep them in the title hunt (Big Ten variety) all year.