The Wolverines opener could not have gone much better, as they looked impressive and took down the preseason MAC favorites, Bowling Green, with relative ease.
The Ball Movement Was Superb
Michigan’s ball movement was fantastic. They had 23 assists on 33 made field goals, as six players recorded at least two assists. For comparison, Michigan only had two games with more than 22 assists last season. The Wolverines got a lot of their assists in transition. Michigan got out and ran the fast break early and often, as they rarely got into late clock situations. There was also not much isolation play, as the ball movement kept the defense moving. It was a great way to start the season on the offensive end and the speed which they played allowed them to score 96 points in the game.
Mike Smith Will Have No Trouble Running The Show
Those who were worried about who would replace Zavier Simpson and run the show on offense shouldn’t be. Mike Smith is up for the task. In fact, Smith is undoubtedly better on the offensive end than Simpson and likely won’t make Michigan fans hold their breath every time he goes to the line late in a ballgame. He is able to score, get to the line and make plays for others. He showed it all in the season opener, as he scored 16 points, made seven of his eight free throws and had eight assists. Smith is quick and showed that he will be able to get out and run the fast break effectively for the Wolverines. I know it's only the first game, but it feels like Smith has the ability to carry this team in a game offensively similarly to how Derrick Walton Jr. did at the end of his Wolverine career.
If Chaundee Brown Can Shoot Like That Michigan Is Dangerous
Last season at Wake Forest, Chaundee Brown made just 0.8 threes per game and shot the three ball at a poor 32.2% clip. In fact, one of the questions about Brown was if he could be effective for the Wolverines from deep. After going 5-for-7 from three point range in the opener, Brown has answered some of those questions. The Wolverines knew that Brown would be a tough player who could rebound, play solid defense and get a few buckets in the paint, but if they can get production from him on the outside also, then Michigan could compete for a Big Ten Championship.
Hunter Dickinson Will Be The Starter Sooner Rather Than Later
The 7-1 freshman Hunter Dickinson won’t be coming off the bench very long, and that is not a knock on Austin Davis at all. Dickinson looked the part from scoring in the paint, to getting offensive rebounds, to solid rim protection and beautiful outlet passes that started Wolverines fast breaks. He is undoubtedly the most talented center on the roster and will find himself in the starting five soon.
Franz Wagner Will Have To Shoot The Ball Better From Deep For Michigan To Reach Its Full Potential
Franz Wagner did not shoot the ball well from deep last season, as he had the worst three point percentage on the team of anyone who attempted over 2.2 threes per contest. Wagner shot 31.1% from deep last season and some thought that could be partly due to the wrist injury he suffered before the season began. Maybe that was the case, but after going 0-for-4 from deep in the season opener, Wolverines fans should be a bit concerned. If Michigan is going to make a deep run in the tournament, then Wagner is going to have to be one of its best players and must be able to knock down open threes at a consistent rate. Wagner looked good attacking the basket and the extra weight he put on helped him get three points the old fashion way, but for the Wolverines to be the best they can be, Wagner will need to hit some threes.