Saturday, March 23, 2013

Michigan Clinic: How to Break a Press

I really can't believe it's been 19 years since Michigan reached a Sweet Sixteen. They have either been out of the tournament completely, or eliminated in the first weekend, for nineteen years.

"Havoc" is what they call Virginia Commonwealth's defense, but to me it looked a lot like a high-intense 3/4 press. And I've learned, ever since grade school basketball, that the best way to break a press is to pass.

And boy, I sure saw some great passing by Michigan!

It was clear that head coach John Beilein prepared this team for what it was going to face today against VCU. They ran up and down the court, spreading out the floor and finding the open man when VCU tried to trap.

It didn't help that VCU shot less than 40% from the floor for the game. More important than that, Mitch McGary was out of his mind today, scoring a career high 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The Michigan offense had to prevent turnovers from VCU, and they "only" gave up the ball 12 times. But, considering teams that lost to VCU this season gave up the ball an average of 21 times, 12 isn't that bad.

I was impressed. I hope that Beilein can get Michigan ready for whatever Jayhawk-Tar Heel attack they'll face on Friday...away from Michigan.