Well, that was ugly.
After blowing out Pittsburgh Wednesday evening, Michigan was on the receiving end of a blowout, getting beat badly by the Arizona State Sun Devils, 87-62.
Here are some takeaways from the loss.
Wow, that first half was UGLY
Arizona State punched Michigan in the mouth to start this one, and Michigan didn’t really punch back in that first half.
The Sun Devils shot the ball extremely well in the first 20 minutes of play, cashing 56.3% of their total shots and 57.1% of their threes. They had all the energy, they had all the momentum, and Michigan couldn’t really slow them down. DJ Horne, Desmond Cambridge Jr., and Austin Nunez played their butts off, and combined to score 3 more points combined (31) than Michigan did in the first 20 minutes (28).
On the flip side, Michigan couldn’t hit the ocean with a beach ball in that first half, only making 30% of their shots and going 2/9 from three. Aside from a few nice shots from Jett Howard (12 points, 2/7 shooting from three in the game) and a few post-ups from Hunter Dickinson (14 points, 5 rebounds), the Wolverines looked completely lethargic on offense.
Michigan’s offense was at it’s worst last season when everybody just stood around watched Hunter Dickinson get the ball in the post. There wasn’t much cutting, and after a while, it looked some of the Wolverines flat-out didn’t want to play anymore.
It’s kind of astonishing that Michigan looked this bad scoring the ball, especially after looking like one of the best offensive teams in the country in a blowout win against Pittsburgh in the first round of the Legends Classic.
The second half wasn’t much better
Ultimately, Michigan dug themselves into a hole that was too big to climb out of.
The Sun Devils lead hung right around 15-20 points for the first part of the second half, and once they crossed that 20-point threshold, they didn’t look back.
Every time Michigan would try to get momentum after a Hunter Dickinson lay-up or a nice finish from Kobe Bufkin (5 points), Arizona State would answer back with a bucket of their own and the Wolverines couldn’t get a consistent flow on offense going in back-to-back drives.
I wish I could say the Wolverines showed some fight and battled throughout the second half, but that was not the case. They shot the ball abysmally (you can’t expect to win many games when you only make 33.9% of your shots while allowing your opponents to make 60.4% of their shots), and couldn’t get any momentum going, with a lot of slumped shoulders and woe-is-me expressions towards the end of this one.
Where do we go from here?
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: this was one of the ugliest losses of Juwan Howard’s tenure as head coach, but Michigan does have a few chances to get right before a big matchup with No. 16 Virginia on Nov. 29.
Michigan’s next two games are at home against teams it should beat handily, with matchups against Ohio (Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 pm) and Jackson State (Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 8:30 pm).
Michigan needs to have a few strong practices, improve offensively and figure out how to fix this. If the Wolverines play like they did against Pittsburgh, they can beat any team in the country. If they play like they did in this one, it’s going to be a long season.