Newcomers shine in blowout win, as Michigan basketball builds depth

NEW YORK — Michigan pummeled Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening, 90-61, simply Michigan’s greatest all-around efficiency of this younger season.

The Wolverines are 3-0 and can attempt to keep excellent and seize a trophy on Thursday evening in opposition to the winner of the Arizona State-VCU recreation, which tipped on the Barclays Center flooring earlier than Michigan was completed with its postgame press convention.

The championship will begin at about 9:30 pm on Thursday, with the comfort tipping first at 7. Here had been the important thing takeaways from Michigan’s win on Wednesday.

Balanced assault

Hunter Dickinson was Michigan’s solely returning starter from final season, and it was truthful to marvel about his supporting solid for 2022-23. Specifically, may they rating sufficient to take some stress off Dickinson’s broad shoulders?

Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel III wasn’t certain. He pointed to Michigan’s poor capturing numbers outdoors of Dickinson and clearly made the massive man the main target of his protection.

The remainder of the Wolverines made Pitt pay on Wednesday. Jett Howard scored 17 regardless of fouling out after simply 19 minutes of motion. Kobe Bufkin and Joey Baker every had 14. Michigan’s two level guards, Jaelin Llewellyn and Dug McDaniel, had eight apiece.

“It was good to see that everybody contributed,” head coach Juwan Howard mentioned.

Dickinson was stable (11 factors on 11 pictures) however not spectacular, and that was acceptable. He posted a plus-15 in his 25 minutes, which implies Michigan was even higher with out him on the ground on Wednesday. That’s an excellent signal for Michigan shifting ahead.

Duggie shines

There was a second in Michigan’s earlier recreation, in opposition to Eastern Michigan in Detroit, when Howard urged McDaniel, a freshman, to decelerate. McDaniel is a blur with the ball in his palms, however that may work in opposition to him too.

On Wednesday, he was in management, posting eight factors, a game-high eight assists, 5 rebounds, and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench. He dribbled off his foot out of bounds in the primary half and threw away a cross in the second however, hey, no one’s excellent.

McDaniel mentioned he leaned on his veteran teammates — Llewellyn, the starter at his place, is a graduate pupil — and discovered the place his teammates just like the ball greatest. “As I preserve taking part in video games, the sport slows down, I get extra mature, and get extra used to the ambiance and stuff,” McDaniel mentioned.

Said Howard: “Dug is simply scratching the floor.”

Baker cooks

Baker got here to Michigan this offseason with the repute as a great outdoors shooter, however he was adamant earlier than the season that his aim was to contribute to profitable in a wide range of methods. Twice in the primary half he misplaced his defender with a shot faux, dropping off to Tarris Reed Jr. for a dunk on the primary and scoring by way of a foul the subsequent time. He wasn’t a legal responsibility defensively or on the glass.

Oh, and he made 4-of-5 3-pointers.

“We’re massive on preparation, so the times main as much as this what is going on to be there,” Baker mentioned about his offensive alternatives. “We know what we’ll be operating for probably the most half. Once it is time to play, simply taking what the protection provides and making an attempt to make the suitable play.”

Baker, who performed 22 minutes off the bench, praised his level guards and all his new teammates for his or her unselfishness. Given all of the capturing Michigan misplaced from final season, and a number of the questions on who would fill that void, Baker’s play — together with his capturing — shall be essential all season.

Familiar faces

Michigan will face an ex-Wolverine on Thursday regardless of the winner between Arizona State and VCU. Frankie Collins, a sophomore, is Arizona State’s place to begin guard. Brandon Johns Jr., a four-year participant for the Wolverines, is in his first season at VCU, as is Zeb Jackson, who performed 1.5 seasons for Michigan.

Michigan going through Johns and Jackson can be enjoyable. Going in opposition to Collins can be way more intriguing.

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