The Wolverine

January 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 69 of 171

BY CHRIS BALAS B arring something unfore- seen — cough, NJIT and Eastern Michigan in 2014, cough — Michigan should finish the non-conference portion of its season 10-3. The Wolverines stood 6-3 and were still facing December games with Delaware State, North- ern Kentucky, Youngstown State and Bryant — four teams with a com- bined record of 6-21 as of Dec. 9 — before opening the Big Ten season at Illinois Dec. 30. On the surface, 10 wins heading into Big Ten play isn't bad at all, es- pecially when they include a road victory over North Carolina State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Wolfpack weren't ranked at the time, but any road triumph over an ACC team is a good win, and the Wolver- ines held up their end of the bargain for the Big Ten in its 8-6 Challenge victory. Another highlight was a 2-1 record at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving week, including a win over a solid and veteran Texas team. The Wolver- ines crushed Charlotte 102-47 a day earlier and seemed to be figuring out exactly who they were. More importantly, head coach John Beilein was starting to figure it out. "I don't know about identity, but I know I'm starting to know more about the buttons to push defen- sively and offensively, what they can handle right now," Beilein said fol- lowing the 66-59 win over the Wolf- pack. "Some guys still can't handle some things. "Certain sides of the floor, going to the right or left, understanding [things] … [junior wing] Zak [Ir- vin] had a big guy on him, shot a step-back three when we were in the bonus. These types of things we're starting to understand and work on … but I also know some things we're pretty good at." Among them — three-point shoot- ing. The Wolverines were shooting an impressive 41.0 percent as a team as of Dec. 9, led by junior point guard Derrick Walton Jr.'s amazing 63.6 percent (14 of 22) in seven games. That number was even more im- pressive considering Irvin, coming Work In PROGRESS John Beilein's Wolverines Are Ironing Out The Kinks In The Early Going

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - January 2016