INDIANAPOLIS – Spring practice for the Michigan football team started Saturday. And after Friday’s ugly 51-34 loss to No. 8 Wisconsin, spring workouts for the Michigan men’s basketball team began that day, too.
Redshirt junior C.J. Lee planned to go to the gym the day after the season ended and see the rest of his teammates there.
When freshman Kelvin Grady heard Lee say it in the locker room, he said he’d be waiting for Lee’s phone call.
“We can’t control what happened in this season, but we can control how we get better,” Grady said.
The loss to the Badgers revealed many areas where the Wolverines can improve during this crucial offseason.
Shooting: Michigan hit just 10 field goals and shot 20 percent from the floor against Wisconsin.
Michigan coach John Beilein will give each player a tailored training plan for the summer. He said a player could get more out of a half-hour workout session than three hours of pick-up games.
Strength: Michigan barely scored inside against Wisconsin’s big frontcourt.
Over the summer, Beilein expects his big men to get stronger. For instance, he said he thinks redshirt sophomore Zack Gibson could add enough muscle to get a few more rebounds per game.
Learning the offense: The Wolverines had no apparent offensive rhythm.
Whether it’s skills or fitness, Beilein’s team will be more prepared for his system.
But NCAA rules restrict the amount of time a coach can spend with his team. Before this season, Beilein spent so much of that practice time on developing skills and track workouts that he couldn’t fully implement his system. With an entire offseason of Beilein-designed workouts under their belts, the players will put more time into offensive and defensive schemes.
Beilein is on board with getting his players into the gym as soon as possible. The NCAA will move the 3-point line back one foot next season. Crisler Arena will have that new line in place by Sunday.
For the players, it will be a day too late.
Forgetting something: During Thursday’s win over Iowa, Michigan appeared to embrace the second chance the conference tournament provided. The Wolverines played with enthusiasm and intensity and talked about being energized after watching mid-major conference tournaments.
On Friday, the team appeared to forget its own message.
“We needed to play with more of a sense of urgency. I don’t think people really played with that sense,” senior Ron Coleman said. “This could be the last one, you know. We got to go out and lay it all on the line.”
The loose balls that Michigan got on Thursday went to the Badgers Friday. A few times, the Wolverines forced Wisconsin into ill-advised shots at the end of the shot clock only to give up an offensive rebound and putback.
When Michigan put together a 5-0 run to make it a close game at the beginning of the second half, it couldn’t get the defensive stops to stay within striking distance.
Instead, the team allowed its own missed shots to turn into mental mistakes on the defensive end.
“That’s something people got to get over,” Coleman said.
Harris develops Flowers allergy: Wisconsin’s Michael Flowers wasn’t named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last week.
Purdue’s Chris Kramer was.
Flowers thinks he knows why: The 26 points freshman Manny Harris scored on him when the Wolverines played in Madison.
Friday, he got his revenge. Flowers held Harris to a season-low four points on 1-for-12 shooting. Much like the rest of his team, Harris couldn’t get anything going against the stifling Badger defense.
“This was his best defensive effort,” Harris said. “He played with a little bit more of an edge.”