The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 43   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL life after struggling early in Big Ten play. He went 4 of 8 from deep in a 62- 47 win over Rutgers Jan. 21 to bring his season average up to 37.1 percent (43 of 116) and still has the green light. Junior big man Moritz Wagner (30 of 73, 41.1 percent) and freshman for- ward Isaiah Livers (16 of 39, 41.0 per- cent) were also over 40 percent. Freshman Jordan Poole, though, is the one who can create his own shot, and it's paid off. He's had stretches this year in which he's been Michi- gan's shot in the arm on offense, including an 11-point game against Maryland in which he hit three triples in a 15-4, difference-making run in the second half of a 68-67 win Jan. 15. Teammates joked he called himself "The Microwave" because of his abil- ity to heat up so quickly, not know- ing someone else held that moniker long before him. "I was just told that [former De- troit Pistons sixth man] Vinnie John- son was the one who had that name," Poole said with a laugh. "I was read- ing about it a couple days ago, and I think it fits me. I just try to bring as much energy as I can. "We obviously didn't have much in the first half, and then in the second half Coach [Beilein] put me in and gave me the opportunity to boost it up — that goes back to the confidence and swagger everyone tells me I have. I just came in and knocked down a couple shots." Michigan made seven straight in one stretch to come back from 10 down at half. "It's crazy because when you hit a three, everyone gets rowdy and starts looking for you," Poole said. "Then you might see another guy who's open and he'll have an opportunity to knock one down. When you see guys like Moe and [redshirt sophomore guard] Charles [Matthews] making those threes, it's an amazing feeling as a teammate." Poole and Beilein both admitted they were still figuring his role, but it's clear he can provide immediate offense. "Jordan is an interesting guy for me to coach," Beilein said. "There are some extracurriculars that go on in the game that we're trying to embrace and work through, but we really have gotten along really well. "If he plays defense and he really tries to make the next right play, then he's got a real good chance to be very good one day. He's got to understand what winning plays look like, and I'm trying to understand better ways to get him there." — Chris Balas JAARON SIMMONS TAKES BACKUP POINT GUARD ROLE At the beginning of the year, many thought graduate transfer Jaaron Sim- mons would be Michigan's starting point guard. After all, he averaged 15.7 points and 7.2 assists per game in his two seasons as a starter for the Ohio Bobcats. However, learning the offensive sys- tem at U-M proved to be easier said than done, and Simmons has been one of the last guys off the bench for much of the season — until recently that is. Against Maryland, Nebraska and Rutgers Jan. 15-21, Simmons out- played freshman guard Eli Brooks, who has fallen from being the starter to now the third-string point guard, behind Simmons. Brooks played four minutes against Maryland, five against Nebraska and did not see any action 2017-18 MICHIGAN MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 3 Grand Valley State^ W, 82-50 Nov. 11 North Florida* W, 86-66 Nov. 13 Central Michigan W, 72-65 Nov. 16 Southern Mississippi W, 61-47 Nov. 20 vs. LSU# L, 77-75 Nov. 21 vs. Chaminade# W, 102-64 Nov. 22 vs. VCU# W, 68-60 Nov. 26 UC Riverside W, 87-42 Nov. 29 at North Carolina& L, 86-71 Dec. 2 Indiana! W, 69-55 Dec. 4 at Ohio State! L, 71-62 Dec. 9 UCLA W, 78-69 (OT) Dec. 12 at Texas W, 59-52 Dec. 16 vs. Detroit@ W, 90-58 Dec. 21 Alabama A&M W, 97-47 Dec. 30 Jacksonville W, 76-51 Jan. 2 at Iowa! W, 75-68 Jan. 6 Illinois! W, 79-69 Jan. 9 Purdue! L, 70-69 Jan. 13 at Michigan State! W, 82-72 Jan. 15 Maryland! W, 68-67 Jan. 18 at Nebraska! L, 72-52 Jan. 21 Rutgers! W, 62-47 Jan. 25 at Purdue (ESPN2)! 7 p.m. Jan. 29 Northwestern (FS1)! 7 p.m. Feb. 3 Minnesota (FOX)! 2:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at Northwestern (BTN)! 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Wisconsin (CBS)! 1 p.m. Feb. 14 Iowa (BTN)! 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 Ohio State (CBS)! 1 p.m. Feb. 21 at Penn State (BTN)! 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Maryland (ESPN/2)! 12 p.m. Feb. 28-March 4 Big Ten Championship (at New York City) March 13-April 2 NCAA Tournament (at various sites) ^ Exhibition; * Maui On The Mainland at Crisler Center; # Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawai'i; & ACC/Big Ten Challenge; ! Big Ten game; @ at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit Freshman Jordan Poole was one of four Wolverines knocking down better than 40 percent of his three-point attempts, con- necting on 22 of 53 (41.1 percent) through 22 contests. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • Michigan's 82-72 victory at then-No. 4 Michigan State Jan. 13 was the Wolver- ines' third win on the road over a top-five team under head coach John Beilein. The previous two both occurred during the 2013-14 season — a 77-70 triumph at No. 3 Wisconsin Jan. 18 and an 80-75 win at No. 3 Michigan State Jan. 25. • The Wolverines' 75-68 triumph at Iowa Jan. 2 snapped two negative streaks U-M had been on against the Hawkeyes. It marked the Maize and Blue's first win in Carver-Hawkeye Arena since 2011, ending a string of four consecutive defeats. It also signified U-M's first victory against Iowa since Jan. 22, 2014, after five straight losses. • As has often been the case under Beilein, Michigan is one of the best teams in the country at taking care of the basketball. The Wolverines committed just 9.8 turnovers per contest during their 17-5 start, and their season total of 216 was tied for 23rd fewest in the nation as of Jan. 21. — Austin Fox

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