The Wolverine

April 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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post, struggled on the offensive end in two Big Ten Tournament games, forcing Beilein to turn to 6-10 freshman Mitch McGary early in each contest. Redshirt sophomore Jon Horford, too, came off the bench to provide some big plays in a win over Penn State that allowed Michigan to advance to the quarterfinals. Redshirt freshman Meanwhile, yet another big man — 6-11 senior Blake McLimans — has done such a good job in practice mimicking opposing bigs such as Michigan State's Adreian Payne there are days big man coach Bacari Alexander wonders if the veteran should see more game action. While the Wolverines have played mostly Blake in there as the fifth," Alexander said. "But I thought this season we progressed in this sense — I thought our bigs were willing to welcome contact. In the earlier stages of their development, they were more contact avoiders, to be quite frank. There's a maturation of getting used to those bumps and those bruises without letting Redshirt junior Jordan Morgan "I think we've done a good job in the past few weeks of getting physical, trying to get into the paint, trying to go after offensive and defensive rebounds. I think we've improved in that area. I think we'll be okay." forward Max Bielfeldt, who measures 6-7, has also made contributions this season. "We usually have one or two guys who are going to pick us up on any given day," Beilein said after U-M gathered for Selection Sunday March 17. "When you have four like that, there are times where there's been somebody in foul trouble or not having a good night and somebody picks them up. It's a luxury we've had, and we're glad we have it." small ball this year, going with 6-7 freshman Glenn Robinson III at the four [power forward] spot, each of the centers has a purpose. The versatility has allowed Alexander to give each of his big men meaningful minutes at one point or another, and they've responded by averaging a collective 14.0 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. "This is one of those years we had a group of guys that had five distinctive different approaches, throwing it distract you from reaching your goal, whether that's getting a rebound, making a move or letting a guy bump you off your cuts, any of those things. "Physicality has became the new normal for those guys, and we've still got room for growth." In fact, not being tough enough has been one of the criticisms of a team that was a missed free throw or one more rotation of the ball on the rim against Indiana away

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