Aubrey Solomon, Mo Hurst, and bad Basketball D - U of M Sports News 1/13/2017
Jim Harbaugh To Visit Aubrey Solomon Next Week
1/13/2017 - Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh is scheduled to make the trip next week to visit DT Aubrey Solomon at his home in Georgia. Land of 10 is reporting that it will be the last visit before Solomon declares his final decision live on ESPN February 1st.
Michigan's Historically Bad Defense is Wasting a Good Offense
1/13/2017 - I love Michigan Basketball, always have, I watch or listen to every game. But, this has been a really tough stretch, even for a die-hard like me.
This is the worst stretch of defense I have ever seen from a John Beilein coached team (and that is saying something).
When Coach B first came here he inherited hard nose grinders like Zack Novak and developed players like Jordan Morgan (who seemed to always play bigger than his actual height). Somehow, those leaders shaped the rest of the team on Defense. He always had some willing defenders and people who would play hard when it was most needed (remember Trey Burke in the NCAA tournament against Kansas, for instance?).
So, how bad is Michigan defensively right now? Brendan F. Quinn sums it up:
"Michigan (11-6, 1-3 Big Ten) is allowing opponents to shoot 46.3 percent from the field and 42.6 percent on 3-pointers this season. Both are the highest marks through 17 games ever allowed by a U-M team under Beilein."
They can't prevent penetration (on-ball is atrocious), they can't guard the 3 point line, and they can't deny interior passing. Last year, the defense was considered such a big problem that Beilein hired a new "Defensive Coordinator" named Billy Donlon to help shore-up the leaky D and things have gotten worse not better.
And as bad as the Defense has been, the rebounding might have been even worse. As Quinn put it:
"Big Ten opponents have rebounded 34.5 percent of their missed shots against the Wolverines. Even when Michigan generates the occasional stop, there's no guarantee the possession is over."
And this low rebounding comes despite the fact that for the first time in recent memory, Beilein is consistently playing two true bigs on the floor at the same time for most of the games.
Defense and rebounding are more about desire than talent (IMHO). I myself was a bench player who got the playing time he got in High School through being willing to scrap for rebounds and play physical defense in the middle (despite being very undersized and slow).
Of course, I keep suggesting that 7-foot Frosh C John Teske could even accidentally get more rebounds (and blocks) than Donnell just by standing near the lane if given a few more minutes and that maybe Frosh PG Xavier Simpson could bring a bit more defensive intensity than Derrick Walton Jr. has (even if he makes a few mistakes on offense).
Something needs to change, because whatever is happening right now is getting embarrassing. I mean, the local press has started calling our defense the "White Collar Defense" for goodness sakes.
The post-game comment by our Senior PG Derrick Walton Jr, after the catastrophic dismantling at the hands of Illinois, that, "The chemistry is there, the want-to is there. I think it's a combination of bad breaks and mistakes." seemed more like wishful thinking and less like an honest reflection on the facts, which sadly keep piling up to define what seems to be a historically bad defense (and season).
At this point, I truly hope that I am wrong and that things will improve. The sad thing, as bad as Michigan is on defense, they are still a reliably good Beilein offensive team. It is sad to see what should have been a great senior led team rot on the vine.
A Crazy Mo Hurst Statistic
1/13/2017 - Nick Baumgardner drew attention to a Maurice Hurst Jr. stat that he discovered in PFF college football's "way too early" rankings for 2017, here it is:
"Hurst recorded a pressure on 19 percent of his pass-rush snaps in 2016, which tied for the best rate among all interior defensive linemen in the nation (minimum 100 pass rush snaps)."
Earlier this week, Hurst himself suggested that he needed to work harder on his fitness so that he could play more snaps more consistently, but when he is on the field, he is one of the best in College Football at creating pressure. Let's hope he comes back next year in incredible shape and ready to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. PFF has Michigan ranked 9th going into 2017.