Despite coming in as 31.5-point favorites, Michigan needed overtime to defeat Oakland. It was a reality check for the Wolverines, who played poorly until the overtime period.
Hunter Dickinson Saved Michigan
Hunter Dickinson sparked the Wolverines rally and led them to victory. The 7-1 freshman feasted on smaller opponents in Oakland’s zone defense, as he had 19 second-half points. Not only was Dickinson fantastic scoring down low, but he also distributed it well with four assists. The big man also had some nice defensive plays, as he started Wolverine fast breaks off of a steal or defensive rebound. In a game where Michigan was sluggish, Dickinson gave them the effort they needed to avoid the upset. The freshman looked like a seasoned veteran, as the moment didn’t look too big for him down the stretch.
Isaiah Livers Is Mr. Reliable For Michigan
Isaiah Livers was fantastic. The Wolverines seemingly know what they are going to get out of Livers every night. He consistently plays hard, knocks down open threes, plays solid defense and leads. It was no different tonight, as Livers had 22 points, went 5-for-7 from deep and had four blocks. Livers made a few key threes and a crucial block down the stretch.
It Took Michigan Way Too Long To Figure Out Oakland’s Zone
Michigan had 15 turnovers and 12 made field goals in the first half. In fact, 39% of Michigan’s first half possessions resulted in turnovers. The Oakland zone was giving the Wolverines fits, as they were careless with the ball the entire first half. It is worth noting that Michigan played most of the first half without its starting point guard Mike Smith due to foul trouble, but there is still no excuse for a 15 turnover half. If Michigan wants to compete for a Big Ten Championship this season, they can’t have halves where they cough up the ball like that.
It Was A Rough Day Offensively For Michigan’s Wings Franz Wagner and Chaundee Brown
Franz Wagner has struggled offensively, as he has had just 14 points total in the Wolverine's first two games. Wagner has been really bad from the outside, as the sophomore has missed his first six three point attempts of the season. Wagner has played solid perimeter defense and has helped out on the defensive glass, but in order for Michigan to reach its potential, Wagner will have to become one of the Wolverines' most dangerous threats on the offensive end.
After a marvelous first game, Chaundee Brown cooled off. Brown scored 5 points and went 2-for-14 from the field and 1-for-10 from deep. 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, which is why many were surprised when he went 5-for-7 from deep in the opener. As the season goes on, it certainly will be interesting to see how effective Brown is from beyond the arc.
Where Was Mike Smith on the Last Possession of Regulation?
With 26 seconds remaining in regulation, Michigan had the ball in a tie game. Therefore, it's probably a good idea to have the team's starting point guard and best offensive guard in the game. Yes, Smith hadn’t played much due to foul trouble, but with one possession remaining in the game, Howard should have put his veteran starting point guard in the game. With their floor general not in, Michigan looked lost and managed the clock terribly, as the Wolverines finished regulation with an extremely low percentage shot from Dickinson. If Howard did not want to play Smith during the last few minutes of the game due to defense and a lack of rhythm, as he sat most of the game, that’s understandable, but to not have him in on the last possession of regulation definitely looked like a mistake.
The Wolverines Got A Nice Boost From Their Bench Forwards
Brandon Johns Jr. and Terrance Williams II played very well, as they combined for 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Johns Jr. did a nice job of attacking the rim, and Williams' play helped spark the second half rally by the Wolverines.
The Dust Up Between Howard and Livers Means Nothing
Wolverine fans should not read into the sideline exchange between Isaiah Livers and Juwan Howard at all. It was just two competitive people, who were frustrated about how the game was going. Nothing more than that. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if anyone on the football team besides Ronnie Bell showed the kind of passion Livers displayed on the sideline during that timeout.