The Wolverines only had a three halftime lead, but calmed down during the second stanza to win the game by 13. There’s certainly a lot of work to do for the Michigan team this year. but at 3-1, they discover some things on the fly. Here is what emerges from the 74-61 victory over the Rebels.
1. Moussa Diabaté pushes to start
The odd freshman entered the game quite early in the first half and immediately got to work on both ends of the pitch. He posterizes a rebel on a quick break dunk and blocks a shot on the next possession. He also rounded the circle a few other times scoring 8 points in the first half; he finished with 14. If Brandon Johns Jr. is going to continue playing timidly, it will be difficult to keep Diabate out of the starting lineup. Johns was much better in the second half, and Diabate is the next biggest guy on the team behind Hunter Dickinson, so it will be interesting to see how Juwan Howard handles all of this in the future.
2. Jones from DeVante is still finding out
I congratulated Jones for being cunning against Seton Hall despite some poor play on the home stretch. Coastal Carolina’s transfer is indeed nifty, but he’s also still figuring out a few things. He’s fouled in two games this year, which is rare for a playmaker, and he had fouling issues against UNLV early on. He has also returned the ball five times and sometimes seems a little indecisive on offense. He’s got great vision and he’s shot it pretty well this year, but he continues to work his way through Wolverine’s uniform.
3. Eli Brooks took a step forward
For the second game in a row, rookie Caleb Houstan played a lot but didn’t contribute much. He was on the ground for 33 minutes but only scored five points on 1 in 8 shot. As explained above, Jones also struggled. He finished with nine points but turned the ball too far for an experienced playmaker. Luckily for Michigan, Eli Brooks was rock solid as always. Brooks finished with 22 points and got 4 of 7 from distance. He didn’t have any turnovers and played solid defense without committing a single foul. Brooks has been the same guy his entire Michigan career and it’s going to be more important this season as the roster and rotation come together.