ANN ARBOR, Mich.- The Michigan Wolverines (1-0) played their first regular season matchup against the Norfolk State Spartans (0-1). They were heavy favorites coming into the match, and it no surprise that they won convincingly. The game included the rising of Michigan’s Big Ten Championship and Final Four banners into the rafters, and the win marks John Beilein’s 800th career victory. Here are some takeaways from their 63-44 triumph.
Although Michigan dominated the game from start to finish, one thing that they need to improve on is their free throw shooting. The Wolverines shot 13-of-29 from the line which translates to 44.8%. If they were competing against a ranked opponent, then these missed free throws would have certainly cost them the game. Mistakes like this are unacceptable. Players have the entire training camp and summer to work on free throws but still manage to shoot poorly. Just because Norfolk State was not a threat does not mean the athletes can undermine the nuances of the game.
In addition to free throws, Michigan also struggled from beyond the arc. They shot 6-of-26 which equates to 23.1% from the three-point line. Similar to free throws, they cannot shoot like this because more skilled teams will take advantage. Also, since three-point shots are now attempted at higher rates, teams that can shoot the three tend to perform better. For example, Villanova was able to defeat Michigan in the NCAA Tournament because they were consistently hitting shots from outside. In the end, these issues could both be first-game rust and will definitely be addressed by Beilein and the coaching staff in upcoming practices.
Overall, there were not many unexpected moments. There was no stellar performance as Jon Teske was Michigan’s leading scorer with only 13-points. Other than the free throw and three-point shooting there were not many other significant errors, and this game was a solid, all-around team victory.
Michigan will face Holy Cross on November 10th in Ann Arbor, and Norfork State will take on Mid-Atlantic Christain University on November 8th at home.