The Michigan Wolverines (4-0) followed up an impressive victory over eighth ranked Villanova (2-1) earlier in the week with another commanding win against George Washington (0-4). The Wolverines improved to 4-0 on the season and have won every game by at least 19 points.
Here are some takeaways from Michigan’s fourth straight victory against George Washington…
Jordan Poole’s Emergence: In the first three games for Michigan, Jordan Poole scored a combined 13 points and shot just 1-10 from three. Against George Washington however, Poole scored 22 points making five threes on only eight attempts. This is the outbreak that the Wolverines were waiting for.
Poole primarily came off the bench last season but showed promise as a scorer and three-point shooter. The Wolverines were expecting him to take a big step this season as a starter and the kind of performance he showed on Saturday was exactly what they were waiting for.
If Poole can consistently make threes at a high rate the Wolverines will be even more dangerous. Led by senior Charles Matthews who dropped 25 points against George Washington and freshmen star in the making Ignas Brazdeikis, if Poole breaks out as a third consistent scoring option Michigan’s offense could become lethal.
One good game doesn’t mean anything, but it certainly looked like Poole rediscovered his swagger that he carried all of last season. Michigan plays against two ranked teams in their next three games including one against number seven ranked North Carolina. In order for Michigan to stay undefeated, Poole will need to continue to shoot the ball well.
Zavier Simpson’s Impact: Charles Matthews gets most of the spotlight as the Wolverines leader and best player but Zavier Simpson should not be forgotten. The junior guard appears to be picking up where he left off last year as one of the team’s best leaders and most complete players.
Simpson’s numbers don’t always stand out on the stat sheet yet his impact is undeniable. Simpson scored 14 points against George Washington adding 11 rebounds and eight assists. Simpson plays dominant defense and controls the tempo for the Wolverine offense.
Although he may never lead Michigan in scoring, his presence and leadership are what makes the Wolverines tick. The play of Zavier Simpson will likely dictate how far Michigan can go this season.
Simpson was yet another Wolverine to struggle from three-point range to start the season but after going 4-7 from three against George Washington, Michigan fans can only hope Simpson will continue to shoot well especially heading into Big Ten play soon.
Complete Team: Although Michigan’s offense struggled in the first few games of the season, the Wolverines appear to be finding their form. They shot 50% from the field and 50% from three against George Washington and had four players score in double digits.
Everyone expected Michigan to remain dominant on the defensive end but there were many questions about the offense heading into this season. Individual players have shown glimpses of offensive success thus far but Michigan has yet to put it all together until now.
With Matthews and Brazdeikis, and now the emergence of Jordan Poole the Wolverines have three good scorers that can carry the starting unit. Isaiah Livers has played well off the bench and will continue to add a punch for the backups.
Michigan has left off where they ended last season playing complete basketball at a very high level. They will look to build off of their hot start Friday against Chattanooga (2-2). If Michigan’s offense is able to establish some consistency to pair with the already dominant Wolverine defense, this will be a scary team come March.