Michigan Wolverines: Matt Vogrich


 
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- VCU has spent much of this season flustering opposing point guards, sending them into various states of disarray and their "Havoc" defense wreaked, well, havoc on the plans of opponents all season long.

The Rams, though, have not seen an offense quite like the one they will Saturday in the round of 32. VCU turns everyone over. Michigan, with its sophomore point guard Trey Burke, hardly ever gives up the ball.

Something has to give.

“It’s a difference of style,” VCU sophomore guard Briante Weber said. “If they take care of the ball, they win. If we get them to turn over, then we win.”

It may come off as that simple, but trying to beat Havoc is anything but.

[+] EnlargeAkron vs. VCU
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesVCU's "Havoc" defense forced Akron into 21 turnovers during the Rams' first-round rout.
Michigan spent Friday morning looking at variations of VCU’s Havoc, then walked through the varying press breaks it would try to use to stop it.

It is not something the Wolverines can simulate. Other teams have tried and failed.

“We really haven’t seen pressure like that in my years of being here,” said Memphis junior guard Chris Crawford, whose Tigers lost to VCU 78-65 in November. “We had to adjust to it, but it was like they were everywhere.”

That is part of the plan. VCU spends its entire preseason working on conditioning and defense in an effort to run Havoc at almost all times, forcing opponents to flail about and start to see passing lanes that aren’t really there.

It happened for Memphis, which turned the ball over 22 times in that loss. That number is what the Rams have averaged in their 27 wins this season. They have blitzed opponents left and right with a press that can have a multitude of variations, depending on the opponent.

“We just try to deny the wings,” VCU guard Darius Theus said. “Team stops, actually. Just build a wall around the basket.”

The wall, at times, can seem impenetrable. It took Memphis a half to figure out exactly how to move the ball up the floor against VCU. And trying to do it with one primary point guard alone won’t work, either.

“What’s crazy is it’s one thing to try and prepare for it,” Memphis assistant Damon Stoudamire said. “When we actually seen it, it started our guys on the initial. If we played them now, we’d be prepared.

“When you see stuff like that, the way it came, it’s like a barrage, boom, boom, boom, boom. And they made shots. They turning you over and then they score, that’s a bad recipe right there.”

The key is to not try and go up the sides of the floor. Doing that will be the high-risk, high-reward maneuver for Michigan. If it beats VCU up the side, it’ll have a fast break. If it doesn’t -- it’ll be a likely turnover.

And it needs to get more than just Burke involved, using guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas and maybe even backup point guard Spike Albrecht as options.

“Our guys have to stay connected,” Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan said. “They are all connected defensively with their rotations and their traps. We have to be connected offensively.”

Someone will get disjointed Saturday. Whichever team doesn’t likely will end up winning.

News and Notes

  • Memphis and Michigan State know each other well even as nonconference opponents. Tigers point guard Joe Jackson and Spartans guard Keith Applingplayed together on the USA Basketball Under-19 team this summer. “I’m real cool with Keith Appling,” Jackson said. “We played together in the USA games overseas. I kind of know what he can do good and what he can do bad."He isn’t the only one to know a Michigan State player. Memphis’ Adonis Thomas and Michigan State’s Branden Dawson were teammates on the West team in the 2011 McDonald’s All American game, and Dawson said they have stayed in touch. “He’s a great guy,” Dawson said. “A great player. The thing that really shocked me is that he’s 6-7, 240 now. When we were at the McDonald’s, he didn’t weigh that much.” There’s also a decent chance Appling will be matched up with Jackson and Thomas with Dawson on Saturday.
  • Appling tweaked the patellar tendon in his left knee Thursday against Valparaiso. A day later, he said it is still bothering him “a little bit off and on,” but that he anticipated playing tomorrow.
  • Burke said his back is “a little sore” from falling yesterday but definitely would play Saturday. Michigan guard Matt Vogrich, who missed Thursday’s game with strep throat, was back with the team Friday.

WolverineNation Mailbag 

March, 6, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Welcome to March and with it, one of the greatest tournaments and spectacles in sport, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

While there aren’t questions -- yet -- in this week’s mailbag about Michigan’s NCAA future, we discuss basketball and a little bit of college football recruiting in this week’s edition.

Have questions for next week’s Mailbag? Send them to jenningsespn@espn.com or @chanteljennings on Twitter.

On to your questions.

WolverineNation mailbag 

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Could a former Michigan coach return? What will Michigan’s record be next football season? This basketball season?

These questions and more are answered in this week’s WolverineNation mailbag. Chantel has the mailbag next week, so drop her questions at jenningsespn@gmail.com or @chanteljennings on Twitter.

Now, to your questions:

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WolverineNation mailbag 

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
10:05
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Denard Robinson, Jordan KovacsAP Photo/Tony DingOnly one of Michigan's co-captains could be team MVP. If you guessed Denard Robinson ...
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan football is headed to the Outback Bowl and will ring in the New Year in Tampa. The Big Ten has become a basketball league (six teams in the top 20 doesn’t lie). And it still feels like springtime in December. I think I’m finally starting to believe the Mayans might’ve been on to something …

But it’s Wednesday, which means it’s mailbag day! Mike will be taking care of this next week so send your questions to @mikerothstein or michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com.

Carter, New York: How did Jordan Kovacs win the team MVP award over Denard Robinson?

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Five Questions: Tim Hardaway Jr.

September, 20, 2012
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Editor's Note: In the buildup to Midnight Madness, we are taking an in-depth look at Joe Lunardi's top five seeds in a series called Countdown To Madness. In addition to the Insider stories, Eamonn Brennan will offer Three Big Things about each team and we'll have Five Questions with a player or coach from each squad.

For Tim Hardaway Jr., the scenario is becoming routine. Every single day on the Michigan campus -- whether he’s eating lunch with a teammate, sitting in class or walking to practice -- someone stops him to talk about Wolverines basketball.

“We could be out and about, and a group of fans will just walk up to us,” Hardaway said. “They’ll wish us luck and say, ‘Oh, we’re so excited for the season.’”

The buzz in Ann Arbor is certainly understandable.

One season after claiming a share of the Big Ten title, the Wolverines are expected to contend to reach the Final Four thanks to a mix of talented returnees, such as Hardaway and Trey Burke and highly touted newcomers Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III.

“There’s a lot of hype,” Hardaway said, “but I think we’re doing a good job of just making sure that everyone settles down. The season hasn’t even started yet. We’re all just preparing to play anyone in the country. Everyone is excited about the season. Everyone is trying to make it seem like we’re back. But we have a long way to go."

Hardaway, who averaged 14.6 points as a sophomore last season, spoke with ESPN.com earlier this week.

[+] EnlargeTim Hardaway Jr., John Beilein
Rick Osentoski/US PresswireTim Hardaway Jr. said Michigan coach John Beilein, left, puts great trust in his guards.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve seen from your teammates thus far?

Tim Hardaway Jr.: Just the mindset of everyone coming in, with everyone having the same intensity and passion about playing Michigan basketball. Everyone sees that and we’re all trying to fulfill our dreams and get back to where we were last year and win a Big Ten championship.

Who will be the “surprise player” on this year’s squad?

TH: Everyone has been making a lot of improvement. Jon Horford is coming off an injury and has been playing really well in the summer. Matt Vogrich has been shooting the ball really well. Blake McLimans is getting better. Jordan Morgan -- just everyone in general. Everyone has added little pieces to their game to make them more successful and help the team out any way they can.

Even though you had a great season overall, you went into a major shooting slump and made just 35 percent of your shots in February. How were you able to snap out of it and finish so strong?

TH: It was a team effort. We had a lot of guys coming into the locker room with me and having conversations about what I needed to work on. During the Nebraska game, Zack Novak talked to me at halftime before we walked onto the court. He said, "Hey, you can help the team out in different ways than scoring." Once I heard that, I think I just snapped out of it from then on. That’s what helped me out the most.

What did you do in the offseason to better prepare yourself for your junior year?

TH: I feel like I’ll be playing a lot more at my normal position [combo guard] instead of being at the 3-spot. We lost two of our main guards, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, from last year. So I’m working on my ball-handling, guarding the point guard and guarding the shooting guard. I’m just trying to have fun and play Michigan basketball. Wherever Coach Beilein wants me to play, I’ll play. I’m not a picky guy. I just want to be out there on the floor and have fun and help my team in whatever way I can.

What’s the best part about part about playing for John Beilein, and what goals has this team set for itself?

TH: [Beilein] is an excellent coach. He lets us play. He lets the quarterback, the point guard, call out the plays. He has the utmost confidence in his guards to make the right decisions out there.

As far as goals, the first thing is to get better every day. We’ve been saying that since the first day of the fall semester. We’re not focused on national championships or Big Ten championships. We’ll worry about those later in the season. Right now we just want to do everything we can to get better as a team, build our chemistry up with these new freshmen and get better every single day.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) honored three Michigan basketball players on Tuesday when graduate Zack Novak and rising seniors Matt Vogrich and Josh Bartelstein were named to the 2011-12 Honors Court.

The three players comprised half of the members honored in the entire Big Ten. Novak, Vogrich and Bartelstein also honored as U-M Athletic Academic Achievement recipients and were named to the Academic All-Big Ten list.

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John Beilein always wants to be in the Big Ten’s footprint.

As the sixth-year Michigan basketball coach discussed his recruiting philosophy during a wide-ranging conversation with reporters Thursday, he explained the states comprising the Big Ten will often be a focus of his recruiting.

“The footprint of where we are recruiting is still the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “Neighboring states are always good.”

Those neighboring states will make up much of the Michigan roster the next two seasons.

(Read full post)

Loss Impact: Zack Novak 

April, 22, 2012
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Loss Impact is where WolverineNation takes a look at how much the departure of a starter or major contributor will mean to Michigan.

Former guard Zack Novak was Michigan's blue-collar guy from day one it seemed. Google his name and you'll find images of him screaming at his team, or with blood on his face. And yes, that sort of sums him up. He would do anything for the team and ended his career as one of the most memorable Wolverines, despite coming in undersized and underrecruited. The lefty definitely left his mark on Michigan basketball. A recap of that, along with his thoughts on his career can be found here.

But what does his loss really mean for Michigan coach John Beilein and the rest of the Wolverines?

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Michigan roundtable 

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
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Joe BoldenMiller Safrit/ESPN.comFreshman LB Joe Bolden, an early enrollee, is a player to keep an eye on in the spring game.
The Michigan spring scrimmage is Saturday, Trey Burke is back for another season in Ann Arbor, and the Wolverines picked up commitment No. 17 on Tuesday night.

Just another week around the Michigan program.

However, there are many topics to discuss as the final week before the two big Michigan sports -- football and men's basketball -- officially hit their offseasons.

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Basketball banquet roundup 

April, 10, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a season in which the Michigan basketball team won a share of the Big Ten title, the Wolverines' end-of-season banquet entitled a "celebration" seemed just that. It was jovial and lighthearted, jokes were made and shots were taken at teammates.

Even Michigan basketball coach John Beilein got in on the action.

While introducing each class he picked on juniors Matt Vogrich and Blake McLimans, telling the crowd both needed to get a hair cut. Later, he looked over at Vogrich and asked, "Have I really never started you? I must not know what I'm doing."

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Loss Impact: Stu Douglass 

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
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Loss Impact is where WolverineNation takes a look at how much the departure of a starter or major contributor will mean to Michigan.

Former Michigan guard Stuart Douglass meandered his way through a four-year career with the Wolverines, ending up playing the most games in school history and with top 20 career marks in numerous statistics. A recap of that, along with his thoughts on his career and his future, can be found here.

But what will his loss mean to Michigan next season?

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Where Michigan hoops goes now 

March, 21, 2012
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The Michigan basketball roster had a major overhaul Wednesday afternoon when sophomores Evan Smotrycz and Colton Christian along with freshman Carlton Brundidge decided to transfer.

This is a big shift for a program that had been trending upward the past few seasons. It loses a former starter in Smotrycz and someone who was looked at as a likely backup point guard to Trey Burke in Brundidge.

It also leaves Michigan with more holes to fill than it had 24 hours ago. Here's the immediate aftermath:

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WolverineNation Roundtable 

March, 8, 2012
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In the weekly roundtable discussion WolverineNation staff writers Tom VanHaaren, Michael Rothstein and Chantel Jennings examine three questions pertaining to Michigan football, basketball and recruiting.

1.) If you're in a touch football game, who's your first pick off this season's Michigan squad?

Tom Van Haaren: Denard Robinson. Who else would I need? He could run and I could eat and watch him score.

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Michigan State enters the Big Ten Tournament with the top seed, despite a two-game losing skid to end its regular season schedule.

While the losses at the end of the season were surprising to say the least, it seemed to exemplify a conference in which on any given night any team (that's right, all you Wildcats and Boilermakers fans) could win.

But here are my predictions for how the Big Ten Tournament goes down in Indianapolis. But I will preface that with the fact that I'm terrible at predictions. With the exception of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, in which I picked all four No. 1 seeds to make it to the Final Four, I've never done well in bracket competitions. So, here goes…

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QOTW: Pick your super power 

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
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Kevin KogerLon Horwedell/Icon SMIKevin Koger said his super power would be flight, which would make it easy to get to class on time.
Question of the week is a weekly feature at WolverineNation where we ask Michigan athletes and coaches all the same questions and publish their best answers each Monday.

This week's question: If you could have any super power, which would it be and why?

MATT VOGRICH, Michigan basketball player: “I would want to be able to fly, because everyone knows I can’t jump that high and it would be really cool to be able to jump really high and fly, basketball-wise. I think that’d be really helpful. Everyone knows I’m not the most athletic person on the team, so that comes to mind. I would also take being a mind reader because I’m always wondering what people are thinking and it’d be cool to know that at all times.”

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