Nov. 5, 2012
By Morgan Bailey, U-M Public & Media Relations
With two exhibition games under their belt, the University of Michigan men's basketball team is ready to begin regular-season play. The No. 5-ranked Wolverines cruised through exhibition play, with decisive wins over Northern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State. Last week, Michigan defeated the Northern Michigan Wildcats, 83-47. In the final exhibition game on Monday night (Nov. 5), the Wolverines succeeded in a decisive, 76-48, victory over the SVSU Cardinal.
"These exhibition games are really a tremendous time for growth," head coach John Beilein commented after Monday night's win. "Overall, tonight was a good performance."
Among all of the characteristics that define Michigan men's basketball, the one the Wolverines pride themselves on the most is their unselfish play.
"We are an unselfish team and we are all willing to do whatever we can for this team to win," forward Jordan Morgan commented. "It reflects the kind of guys that we have on this team, and it shows in the way that we play."
Eleven different Wolverines put points on the board during Monday's game, and 23 out of 29 shots were scored off an assist. The exhibition games provide opportunities for several different players to play, and the Wolverines took advantage of getting as many players involved as possible.
"Everyone is getting a chance to play, and they're playing well," said senior guard Matt Vogrich. "Coach (Jeff) Meyer reminds us of the phrase 'Next Man Up,' and everyone is doing well filling in when they're needed."
"We have been experimenting more than we have ever experimented," Beilein remarked in regards to the various lineups the Wolverines have used. "We will settle on some things, but we'll keep experimenting and see what we can do well."
Freshman guard Spike Albrecht commented on the opportunities different people have been receiving; "We have a lot of different players that can produce, and coach (Beilein) is willing to give everyone a chance. As to the number of assists, that's just how we are. We are an unselfish team and we take pride in that."
In addition to the teamwork that has been shown on the court, the Wolverines have taken advantage of having several leaders on the court at one time. The upperclassmen have stepped up during preseason play and have seized the opportunity to guide the freshmen any way they can.
"We have a lot of minutes and a lot of years throughout the people on this team," Morgan commented. "Being able to coach the young guys has been huge, and our team success is a result of that."
"The leaders on this team have helped me a lot," Albrecht said. "Especially in practice and even in the games, they're telling me what to do and where to be in certain plays. We're getting a lot thrown at us right now as freshmen, and they're really helping us get along."
With exhibition play complete, the Wolverines look ahead to their regular-season opener against Slippery Rock on Friday (Nov. 9). Even though they held both exhibition opponents to less than 50 total points, the Wolverines stressed that defense will be a main focus moving forward.
"We can never be too good defensively," Morgan commented. "We need to keep working at that every day and be more and more solid defensively.
"We need to keep working on our defense and prepare ourselves for the teams that we are going to play," said Albrecht.
Taking what they learned from these first two games, the Wolverines will begin the official season and look to earn all of the success that comes their way.